York, PA - In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. - Genesis 1, New American Standard Bible Nearly everyone is familiar with the opening verse of Genesis on how Earth came to be. In John 1:3, the Bible leaves no doubt about God's role in creating life:
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
But what if life exists somewhere else in the universe? If that happens, can it still be said that mankind is unique -- made in the image of God?
The idea is no longer the recycled plot of a bad science fiction film. NASA recently discovered an Earth-like planet outside the solar system that could support life.
Eyed through the Kepler space telescope, Kepler-22b has a surface temperature of 72 degrees, scientists say, and is the best candidate yet for a life-bearing world beyond our solar system.
If researchers find intelligent life forms who have never heard of Jesus Christ, Mohammed or Buddha, what does that mean for religious belief systems?
After all, the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo for suggesting that the Earth orbited the sun, not the other way around, as the church was teaching in the 17th century. It wasn't until 1992 that the church publicly exonerated the Italian astronomer.
Did Jesus die for Klingons?
Several surveys and polls indicate that religious beliefs would remain largely unchanged by planetary discoveries. Yet, theologians who gathered in September for an Orlando conference sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency say potential issues of faith exist.
In particular, Christians might have difficulty because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, concluded speakers such as philosophy professor Christian Weidemann of Germany's Ruhr-University.
In his talk, titled "Did Jesus die for Klingons too?" the professor discussed the conflict between Christianity and extraterrestrial life. Namely, why would Jesus Christ have come to Earth, of all possible inhabited planets in the universe, to save Earthlings over the rest of God's creatures?
In remarks reported by MSNBC, Weidemann, a self-described Protestant Christian, suggested some possible solutions. It's possible that extraterrestrials aren't sinners, like humans, and aren't in need of saving.
Or God incarnated multiple times, sending a version of himself down to save each inhabited planet separately, Weidemann said.
Lee Barrett, professor of theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary, said he disagrees with Weidemann's interpretations. The Bible is addressed to us specifically, he said, but what we know does not preclude what we don't know.
"The idea that if there are other life forms and they should have been revealed to us, I think that's mistaken," Barrett said.
Please see THIS LINK to read this lengthy article, complete with commentary from several religious leaders...
Said Jesus, from The Urantia Book:
140:6.8"...Also must you remember that I have sheep not of this flock, and that I am beholden to them also, to the end that I must provide for them the pattern of doing the will of God while living the life of the mortal nature."
188:4.6 Jesus lived and died for a whole universe, not just for the races of this one world. While the mortals of the realms had salvation even before Jesus lived and died on Urantia, it is nevertheless a fact that his bestowal on this world greatly illuminated the way of salvation; his death did much to make forever plain the certainty of mortal survival after death in the flesh.
188:5.13 We know that the death on the cross was not to effect man’s reconciliation to God but to stimulate man’s realization of the Father’s eternal love and his Son’s unending mercy, and to broadcast these universal truths to a whole universe.
1:0.1 THE UNIVERSAL FATHER is the God of all creation, the First Source and Center of all things and beings. First think of God as a creator, then as a controller, and lastly as an infinite upholder. The truth about the Universal Father had begun to dawn upon mankind when the prophet said: “You, God, are alone; there is none beside you. You have created the heaven and the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts; you preserve and control them. By the Sons of God were the universes made. The Creator covers himself with light as with a garment and stretches out the heavens as a curtain.” Only the concept of the Universal Father—one God in the place of many gods—enabled mortal man to comprehend the Father as divine creator and infinite