Theological Implications Regarding the Impending Discovery of Extraterrestrial Humanities
By Giorgio Piacenza
The term â€œCatholicâ€ means â€œuniversalâ€ but is the official Roman Apostolic Catholic Church doctrine truly â€œuniversalâ€ in relation to what we are gradually discovering about the Cosmos? If we consider that important elements of Roman Catholic doctrine and (and of other religions) are ESSENTIALLY â€œuniversal,â€ there will be room for an interpretive development suitable to the current growing awareness that we are being “visited.”Â What is happening right now? Perhaps the unofficial (yet-semi-official because of being high-level in the hierarchy and not being formally suppressed) declarations of Mons. Corrado Balducci and Fr. Gabriel Funes S.J. (director of the Vatican Observatory) are the first intended and un-intended stage of promoting a revolutionary conceptual move in the direction of a truly more â€œuniversalâ€ (catholic) and cosmically appropriate kind of interpretation. This entails not just making faith more agreeable with modern science butÂ also developing more adequate theological interpretations that attend to increasing factual evidence connecting Earth humans with the extraterrestrial presence.
It is happening now and the role of “God” (also understood not just as “creator” but as “sustainer of being” in some ET contact experiencies) should increasingly become a matter of discussion and study. I bet that in trying to find fresh explanations matching settled theologies with current ET-related surprising facts theoretical leaders of many religions will come to recognize how much they share in common. It is not just that the nations of the world will out aside their differences in case of an “alien threat” as president Reagan suggested, the news will be that religious commonalities should also be gradually realized.
Many of the faithful will come to realize that ETS can be welcome in the classical versions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism.Â The ET presence will inspire the finding of inter-faith ecumenical connections and -perhaps- more sophisticated concepts of God’s nature such as “PANENTHEISM” will form a basis to supersede strict “this vs. that” more superficial doctrinal disagreements.Â Furthermore, these enhanced interpretations should inspire many of the faithful to update their cultural perspectives.
In relation to Christianity, how are we to understand the redemptive role of Jesus when the extraterrestrial presence becomes widely known? Is â€œoriginal sinâ€ and Jesusâ€™ redemptive intervention on Earth applicable to extraterrestrial beings in the Cosmos? This is a crucial issue here.Â This was mentioned and discussed in the Vatican sponsored conference (in Vatican grounds) regarding the plausibility of extraterrestrial life in the universe in 2009.Â
I believe that, after being on the wrong side of the rational debate by rejecting scientific advancements which routinely and quantitatively displace Earth’s Man as the center of all creation, the Vatican curiaâ€™s attitude is now becoming quite auspiciously agreeable with the findings and extrapolations of biological-cosmological-material science. This is becoming obvious in articles like those of investigative journalists Paola Harris and Marc Kauffman in which public opinion-relevant, researcher-priests (like Fr. Funes and Mons. Balducci) were consistently allowed to declare that God may have created intelligent extraterrestrial beings. While both Funes and Balducci suggested that extraterrestrials would be like cosmic â€œbrothersâ€ to us the latter was allowed to speculate (beyond a scientifically â€œsafeâ€ orthodox view) that extraterrestrials may have already visited Earth.
In my view, both declarations are part of a tardy but, nonetheless, healthy move towards the always valid idea of complementing faith with reason, even if it was also done in order to remain culturally relevant in the modern world. However, I think that complementing faith with classical â€“and intuitively-obvious physical science is simpler than what may be in store for upcoming theologians.
Issues for an Upcoming Theology
After rather simple generalizations about possible intelligent extraterrestrial biological existing only in our physical universe are superseded by a realization of the multilevel-multidimensional diversity of actual contacts with extraterrestrials already ocurring semi-discretely, a conceptual challenge will arise. I think this will occur when science and gradual ET disclosures advance to the point of exposing extraterrestrial diversity and complexity in relation to the dependence of multiple physical realms on non-physical realms. This sophistication about the multi dimensionality of creation will call for a more sophisticated theology. According to some believable contactee friends, this gradual reconnection with -a long forgotten- ET life will increase after December 21st, 2012 which will mark a “point of no return” towards ending our relative and conceptual isolation from the rest of the intelligent Cosmos.
What may ensue is an awareness of additional theological implications in relation to how different extraterrestrial beings may have been affected by a more universal â€œFallâ€ into â€œsinâ€ (defined as an interpretive mistake or deviation from an adequate relation with God through the Logos). The “Fall” would have included non-physical, non-ET, â€œangelicâ€ creation-helpers established in a higher, non-physical realm and capable of negatively influencing and-or challenging a variety of physical civilizations some of which may have also “fallen” for it and some of whom may have resisted. This is also part of contactee lore.
Considering that human witnessing is decisive for faith and for validating human experience in general (as Monsignor Balducci proposed), Iâ€™d say that in-depth ET contact research also suggests that there is credible witness evidence that some extraterrestrials of the â€œmany mansionsâ€ in the “Physical Multiverse” may have also been swayed more than others by this â€œFallâ€ originating in beings from yet â€œother mansionsâ€ of a higher ontological realm. Accordingly, different context-dependent ways to reconcile with the Creator (the Profound LOVE of Cosmic Consciousness) by positing different kinds of â€œincarnationsâ€ of the Christ-Logos Principle may become necessary as we gradually learn how complex the history of the entire Cosmos really is and grow out of our cosmic parochialism.
Again, we must collectively find how â€“in relation to extraterrestrials- the partially understood essential truths expressed by todayâ€™s religious leaders (of all sincerely-inspired world faiths and denominations) may harmonize much better with each other. To advance the cause of reasonable faith in this global (and perhaps soon-to-be cosmically aware) age we need to converge the most plausible truths under a truly spiritual, non-reductionist, integral attitude. Integral metaphysicians like Fritjoff Schuon which deeply and reasonably went to the mystical and rationally “PRINCIPIAL” core of WORLD RELIGIONS discovering common truths could be a sure guide for the mind-expanding and sentiment-expanding which is to come.
Protestant minister Gary Bates (2009) of Creation Ministries International stated that â€œthe entire focus of creation is mankind on this Earth.â€ He may be correct in that â€œthe entire focus of creation is mankindâ€ but he may be clinging to a false interpretation if we limit â€œmankindâ€ to Earth. He may be rightfully defending his understanding of a pure version of Christianity against excessive flights of fancy and for that I applaud him. nonetheless, the expansion of concepts is slowly but surely coming.
Perhaps, if we think of â€œmankindâ€ not as quantitatively limited to â€œthis Earthâ€ but as defined by an essential quality of consciousness and mode of being capable of personally relating with God in a uniquely profound way, a being created by Godâ€™s infinite power in innumerable beautiful varied forms and measures in His Cosmos an intelligent, self-aware being equally capable of saintliness as of paying homage to temptation into â€œsin,â€ we may approach a more useful understanding. The outer appearance of this essential being “created in His image and likeness” may be similar or vary but its essence -qualifying as â€œhumanâ€- may not. The role of God personally creating Man in each habitable planet or as a universal template (the Adam Kadmon?) after which particular beings representing God and His template molded particular human-suitable forms will need to be carefully addressed.
We may also need to further inquire and discover which created physical beings (of different physical forms and “densities”) do not correspond to the category of “Man” but must, nevertheless, be essentially loved and respected as they would still be part of God’s Creation. We will also need to essentially understand those (human or not) who do not respect us, not allowing them to hurt us but assisting them to align themselves with God’s will in special ways we might not imagine right now.
Bates, Gary (2009). â€œDid God create life on other planets?â€ Retrieved from http://creation.com/did-god-create-life-on-other-planets
Harris, Paola (2008). â€œThe Vatican Officially Proclaims that Extraterrestrial Life most Probably Existsâ€ retrieved from http://exopolitics.blogs.com/exopolitics/2008/07/exopoliticsco-1.html
Kauffman, Marc (2009). â€œThe Religious Questions Raised by Aliensâ€ retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/06/AR2009110601899.html