08 June 2008

Aliens Need Christ's Redemption Too

In an article in this week's Catholic Herald, "American science fiction writer John C Wright, a recent convert to Catholicism, considers how the Church should react to the discovery of alien life forms".

I used to read science fiction almost to the exclusion of all other fiction, other than that which was set for me at school or university. I had thought I had grown out of it - until I read this article.

I'm not going into the arguments about what sort of alien could be christened: there are cleverer people than me to do that. Read Wright's article.

What thrilled me in this essay was this image:

"Here we can see, once again, what seems to be a theological question is really a question of the poverty of imagination. It is hard to imagine in a cosmos so wide that God would incarnate in one small world. But this is really no harder than to imagine that in a world so wide, that God would incarnate in some humble dung-ridden stable in the poorest and remotest province of the Roman Empire, and that the herald angels would seek out, not the wise and great, not the senators of almighty Rome nor the philosophers of Athens nor even the learned Levites in Jerusalem, but a band of unwashed and unlettered shepherds from the hills, to announce the heavenly tidings. Why a little world like Earth on the ragged outskirts of the galaxy? Well, why a poor province like Judea, on the ragged outskirts of the empire?

It is no cause for pride if Earth should turn out to be the only world where the Incarnation took place. God often selects the younger son, the poor fisherman, the tax-collector, the harlot and the sinner, the weakest and humblest things in the world to do his almighty work. Earth may have been selected because she is the lowest world in the galaxy, the cosmic equivalent of a stinking stable.

In any case, imagining that God selected a lowly stable for His cradle is no harder and no different than imagining God selected a lowly world for His cradle; the difference is only in the magnitude of what one's imagination can grasp. "


FrGregACCA said...

Interesting stuff, although the media, in general, trivialized it. As I recall, the Vatican priest suggested that perhaps such aliens could be unaffected by Original Sin. That would, perhaps, suggest a species of angel, but not necessarily. OTOH, certain anecdotal accounts of alleged encounters with aliens on earth smack of a certain demonic quality, which, again, brings up the question of angels, but in this case, fallen ones.

I think the point about the lowliness of earth is immensely important. "The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of men".

Kirk said...

I heard this article discussed by Fr Roderick on the Daily Breakfast podcast the other week. I cannot remember now if it was his view but I recall him saying that the entire universe is affected by Original Sin and so the aliens would need God's Saving Grace as much as we do.
It is an interesting topic but I was always (Church) taught that we are alone in the universe so have never really believed in the possibility of 'people' on other planets . . .