Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prolegomena for Extraterrestial life - ET

Encounter of the Third Kind

Astrobiology studies life in our solar system and in outer space and is becoming an increasingly significant field of research about the origins of life on our planet. The Titan expedition was trying to find out conditions that could resemble earth some three billion years ago when the crust of our planet began to be cool enough.

This blog is not about Astrobiology but Astrotheology, Space Theology, yet I do propose some indications about what biological extraterrestial life might be. You are welcome to join in the discussion and propose additional prolegomena to my list!

1. All life originates ultimately from a single source
Creator of the entire Universe, God of Israel, is the only one who gives life. His universe is full of life.

Life cannot be generated artificially; only life begets life. Therefore modern biologists consider that the various life forms upon Earth have single point of origins.

Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) gave prominence to the Panspermia theory according to which particles of life are flying in the interstellar space in asteroids and meteroids. Such rock has hit our planet over 2 billion years ago starting life for the first time here when the environmental conditions were ripe. Additional "impregnations" may have happened since the beginning causing perhaps multiple beginnings of life or, for example, bacterial epidemics, macro evolutionary changes or have in other ways affected life on our Tellus.

Panspermia theory does not explain the origins of life - it only moves the riddle further to the deep space. Logically reversing the Big Bang of Life we can propose that all living beings in the entire Universe do originate from a single source of life.

We humans have about as good chances to explain more closely the Origin of Life as we have in explaining the state of the Universe just before the Big Bang.

2. Extraterrestial soul and intelligence is recognizable to us
According to the self-revelation of the Creator of the world in the Hebrew Bible, man and woman are together an image of the hidden and invisible God. Since all extraterrestial life having sufficient level of consciousness to communicate with the Creator is also image of God, the extraterrestial soul and intelligence is recognizable to us. So is the presence of male and female ETs!

Science-fiction tends to fill the space with human devouring alien monsters. Well - these products of human imagination are rather in the image of the adversor of God upon planet Earth, who loves to make us to murder each other in different ways.

The Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence (SETI) of the University of Berkeley is not a bad idea. It is just a very difficult attempt of finding intelligence in outer space because of the level of noise in space and the immense distances between stars and galaxies.

The Kepler space telescope has reportedly already collected data about 1200 stars that seem to have planetary system similar to our Sun. It is probable that many millions of stars even in our own Milky Way, not to speak of Andromeda, have intelligent life. And these life forms are recognizable to us and can communicate with us - maybe with Spielberg type music of close encounters - because the same God has created them who created us.

3. Biodiversity in the cosmos is beyond our imagination
Our rapidly evolved brains separates us from the rest of life upon Earth. We humbly call ourselves homo sapiens sapiens exactly for this reason - without being there we can even calculate in our brains what probably happened during the first milliseconds of Creation in the Big Bang (if there was one...). We are able to understand the strange mathematics of atomic particles and the electronic orbits and antimatter. Maybe someday we will figure out what is dark matter and energy.

Yet our imagination is limited to painting images on what we have, images that our brain is capable of producing from the input of memes and memories and observation and imagination.

God has demonstrated such immense richness of imagination when creating the biodiversity upon this planet (which we are quickly destroying in our greed for rapid and constant economic growth) that there must be myriads of life forms in the Universe that are totally beyond our imagination. Once we see one of them, we can imagine others like it.

Update June 3 2012. Highly focused technique for search of intelligent life BBC article

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Quicumque vult

The home planet of Son of God and all humanity
as seen in a photograph taken from a satellite orbiting Saturn

Quicumque vult - Athanasian Creed - is not from the highly respected Athanasius but may have come from the same milieu, namely the area of Lérins in southern Gaul and dates to the sixth century. Its theological content relies largely on the work on Holy Trinity by Augustine (415).

There is something repulsive in the threatening spirit of this Creed which is accepted by western churches and also by my own Evangelical-Lutheran church of Finland.

One reason to this feeling is the inclusion of anathemas.

But I am personally even more bothered by the "flattening"of Holy Trinity against the words of Jesus Himself as given in the Gospel of John.

This issue has wider implications in the modern world in which we are aware of the immense objects and distances in space.

And the Catholic Faith is this:
That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.
For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.

The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited.
The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal.
As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.

So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty.

So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.

The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another.
But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.
So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.
Section of Athanasian Creed

In these sacred words there is much important and essential about the Holy Trinity. But the flattening of the Holy Trinity lies here

"none is greater, or less than another"

However, in John 14:28 it is written

ἡκούσατε ὅτι ἐγὼ εἶπον ὑμῖν, ὑπάγω καὶ ἔρχομαι πρὸς ὑμᾶς. εἰ ἡγαπᾶτέ με, ἐχάρητε ἄν ὅτι εἶπον, πορεύομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα, ὅτι ὁ πατὴρ μου μείζων μού ἐστι·

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.

When we look at the Cosmos, Universe, and the size and location of our beloved planet Tellus.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the Savior of humanity, the human race that Father has created in this planetary system circulating our middle sized star we call Sun. In the Orion wing of this galaxy we call the Milky way.

As Jesus, the son of Mary, says "Father is bigger than me"

For us Christians, our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of Man, is certainly big enough!

so what to do

certainly no need to change the wording of Quicumque vult

just to note that it goes against divine revelation in its attempt to explain the Trinity.