Did you ever give thought to extra-terrestrial beings (ET’s) and the possibility that other parts of our wonderful mysterious Creation are known and loved by God? Given how little we know of the evolution of our creation did you ever consider that maybe we are descendants from ET’s who made their way and home here? You scoff? So did the “knowing” at having to accept the earth was not flat, that the earth revolved around the sun, not the sun the earth that native peoples discovered in the Americas and Africa were fully human and had civilisations far in advance of what Europe had – yet the Europeans claimed to have discovered these far off lands. What arrogance and ignorance.
White supremacist and biblical thinking (that lasted officially in some Christian Churches and sects until the 20th century and with today’s fundamentalists) condemned people to slavery and accused people of crimes based on the Bible. Do you condemn same-sex relationships? Of course – the Bible does. Agree with capital punishment? Of course – the Bible does. Do you approve genocide of the Jews in Christian Europe, of Tutsi in Christian Rwanda? Of course – God orders genocide in the Books of Joshua, Kings and Chronicles in the Bible. Do you pick and choose your bits of the Bible? Of course. Jesus is silent on these matters. On what authority do you base your opinions and convictions?
Would you like to become an ET or to meet one? Is your name down for Mars? When you were small it wasn’t even down for New Zealand but now you may visit any place you choose, allowing for social distances.
I give you four names: Pope Benedict XVI, Monsignor Corrado Balducci at the Vatican, Fr Jose Gabriel Funes and Brother Guy Consolmagno, two Jesuits who work at the Vatican observatory.
In 2009 Pope Benedict called on the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to convene an international conference to discuss the theological implications of contact with extraterrestrial civilisations, and thirty scientists and theologians met over five days. At the end of the conference Fr Funes said: “We say with St Francis of Assisi that if we can consider earthly creatures as sisters and brothers – why not speak of sister and brother alien, intelligent and created by God?” Guy Consolmagno (who writes regularly for the Tablet) wrote in Harpers magazine in 2006:
“There are unquestionably non-human intelligent beings in the Bible. Any creatures of Creation, created and loved by the same God who created and loves us, we might call our brothers and sisters.” Monsignor Balducci said “Encounters with ET’s deserve to be studied carefully . . .”
So there you are, where you might have come from and where you might enjoy going: to meet our ET sisters and brothers with whom we shall share eternity. Imagine how many civilisations there might be in outer space! Maybe many are more advanced than ours.
“Nah, I don’t believe any of it,” you say. Good for you. So explain creation, space, time, evolution. If you can’t understand it – does that mean it isn’t true? In a mysterious passage in his letter to the Romans (Chapter 18) St Paul writes of the whole of Creation groaning in an act of giving birth and waiting to have revealed who are the children of God.
Is he glimpsing other forms and ways of life being included in God’s love – to share eternity? Is the coming of Christ not to save from death but to bring a fullness of life? In St John’s Gospel Jesus says “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.”
God bless us with the fullness of life,
(13th September 2020)