Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jesus - Le Petit Prince

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of French writer, poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It has been translated into more than 190 languages and has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books ever. (Wikipedia)
The discovery of the immense dimensions of cosmos has totally shattered the older world view in which humanity is in the center of the universe.

Bible was written by people living in geocentric reality in which Sun and Moon circulate the center of everything, the (flat) Earth.

Bible is a very human centered collection of ancient Near Eastern and Roman period books. In it the fate of universe is intimately tied to the God and Man relationship. Christ, Greek for Messiah, is the King of the Kings who is going to judge at the end of world mankind, the nations, every individual, about what he or she has done in this life.

Modern science has shown us a different world, one in which not only humans but also our planet and solar system are just a little spot of dust in an enormous universe.

Our planet Earth in a photo taken near Saturn

Space theology must deal with the crushing news that first came from Mr Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953) patiently staring and photographing those "nebular clouds" using the 2.5 meter Hooker and other telescopes at Mount Wilson Observatory:  Those dusty spots turned out to be galaxies like our owb Milky Way and red shift if their light proves that these immense islands of stars are flying with increasing spead away from their point of origin.  

Jesus - Le Petit Prince
The discovery of the immense dimensios of world not only makes Earth a little rock in one spiral hand of one of billions of galaxies. For the dimensions of space science is showing also affects our intellectual thinking and our faith in the Son of God.

To our surprise we find out that our Lord is actually the ruler of a rather insignificant rocky planet that can hardly be seen from planet Saturn. 

Theologically this brings us to the Athanasian creed (Quicumque vult).  This follows the brilliant thinker, Saint Augustine, who was so fascinated with the concept of Holy Trinity. Unfortunately, Athanasian creed has a sentence that really flattens the mystery of Trinity and the creed even threatens those who do not accept the mighty play of words it contains about the One God:

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.  

He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

With such human additions to the holy Bible our Lord Jesus Christ Himself cannot be saved. For according to the Gosple of John 14:28 He has said:

Father is greater than me

Modern astronomy gives majestic commentary from the Nature to the word of our Lord - Father is indead greater than the Son of Man.

What does this mean to us as?

Not much.

Bible is safe - it was written long before Copernicus and Brahe and Hubble it does break free from a tight geocentric world and talks about God who is immense beyond our imagination and capability of understanding.

Christ is still King of the Kings of the entiry humanity living on this planet and elsewhere. He is the Saviour who is going to judge humanity and do whatever else His Father wants in this petite domain given to Him.

People go on with their daily lives without being too much affected by the vastness of the universe described by modern astronomy and cosmology. Even those who know  ... what does it matter, really?

For until we break the Speed of Light limit even our fastest messages to outer space take millions of years to reach anyone out there capable of understanding it and their response will take as much. SMS message to Andromeda and response will take 5 million years - about us much as human race has existed on this planet after separating from chimpanzees.

So, practically Earth is still the center of the universe as we humans know it.

This really is a small world, after all.

His Majesty!
"For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him."  (Colossans 1:16)

Not that petit, after al!.

UPDATE See also the 2012 July post on Saint Patrick and Cosmic Christ

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Prolegomena for Extraterrestial Intelligent Life

Everything from ONE 
Uniform physical Universe

Uniformity of Universe is included in the credo of the Jewish people - God is One.

So there is a single starting point to everything, to Cosmos, to Life, everything and we cannot fathom where things have reached from this single point of all that exists, God of Israel. In other words, our knowledge and minds and imagination are not strong enough to think what God has made in this wonderful world of His.

Modern astronomers, cosmologists, physicists, chemists and other scientists generally assume a grand unified view of the Universe:  Laws of Nature known to us in our own planet and in our Solar system are valid also in understanding cosmic events and even the origins of the world. For example, intensive research of sub-particles of atoms provides information that can be directly applied and physically examined by astronomers.

Similarly, astrobiology works on grand unified view of the Universe. For example, there are fresh estimations that there are over 8.7 million different life forms on our planet (BBC article).  Earth may have been a source of life to other planets when material spinning off to space with organic things on it has perhaps reached favorable environment for growth and development - in a kind of reversal of the pansperm theory about the origins of life on our planet (BBC article). Such research, for example the probing for life on Mars or on Titan, relies on what is known about life on our planet and life forms that might possibly survive such a space trip.

Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence SETI project relies on the expectation that intelligence is in some way uniform in the Universe. We think that we can detect an intelligent signal from the noise by our analyzer algorithms.

Of course, scientists do not limit the Laws of Nature in the Universe only to those laws, that are familiar to us in our Solar system. The Laws our science knows are assumed to be universally valid in the cosmos although they may represent just special cases in some yet unknown world of super laws of nature.

Uniform spiritual Universe
In God's image - contemporary ideas
Avatar movie (2009)

So, considering uniformity of the Universe in scientific theories it is not such a big leap of faith to suggest that also intelligent life is uniform ín the entire Creation regardless of in which star system or particular galaxy it happens to flourish; including intelligent life forms.

Scriptures are the key here for any theological speculation and we might be surprised by the familiarity of the intelligent fellows that God has created in some corner of Andromeda Galaxy:

1. They would have some divine tasks and purpose of existence and the ability to perform the tasks in their place of living
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26

2. They would likely be sexual - perhaps not physically like man and woman or bees and flowers, but still male female in some form.
And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Genesis 1:27

3. There would indeed be good and bad, friends of God and His adversaries, even Star Wars for the God of Israel is Lord of Hosts and even in heaven there was a war!
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels;  Rev 12:7

4. Because of the uniformity of universe, ET would have a universal spirit immediately recognizable to us and a feeling, loving and hating soul as the movie character ET has and there would also be intelligent life forms with soul like horses and dogs and birds and...

5. Because of the uniformity of universe, theological speculation would suggest that also other intelligent beings in the Cosmos are not be marionettes in some predestined divine play but objects of divine love and to some extent free in their personal relationship to God, their Creator. They would not be just intelligent social animals like ants in a brilliant but limited life system.

On this line of thinking we can imitate scientists and apply what we know about intelligent life here upon Earth and assume that human like beings exists all over the Cosmos. However, we can only argue on the limited experience and knowledge of human race and cannot claim that we represent all possible forms of intelligence or personality or sexuality in the huge world of God that modern Astronomy is surveying.

Drop from a bucket
Some 2500 years ago it was written in Spirit and in Hebrew - with the knowledge of God's world that existed then:

Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales;
Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
Even Lebanon is not enough to burn,
Nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before Him,
They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

To whom then will you liken God?
Or what likeness will you compare with Him?
As for the idol, a craftsman casts it,
A goldsmith plates it with gold,
And a silversmith fashions chains of silver.
He who is too impoverished for such an offering
Selects a tree that does not rot;
He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman
To prepare an idol that will not totter.

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Isaiah 40:15-22 NASB

Spirit of God
Some of the ETs will also have received the Spirit of God. That is true uniformity, One God in the entire Cosmos.


For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 2:9-14 NASB