ExoTheology & Space-Age Interpretations of the Bible

(religious implications of an inhabited universe)

“Are the Gliesans Going to Hell?”: Extraterrestrial implications of cosmic view of the fall

From Christianity and Extraterrestrial Life: Are the Gliesans Going to Hell? (Karl Giberson, Ph.D. BioLogos Foundation. Posted: October 10, 2010 09:00 AM, Huffington Post)

I almost didn’t read this article — even with a title like that — because I’ve seen many articles that only repeat the kind-of old refrain, saying “Oh, look — this extraterrestrial thing could become an issue for Christianity.” But in this article, Giberson¬†makes a point I haven’t seen before: that interpreting Genesis traditionally literally (i.e., as if when it refers to “heavens and earth” it means the whole universe) means having to draw some absurd conclusions in regards to possible extraterrestrial life.

This is the last part of the article.

The creative interpretative scheme used by the Young Earth Creationists leads them to find biblical support for claims about laws that science discovered centuries later. Other Young Earth Creationists suggest that the Second Law of Thermodynamics actually appeared for the first time as the scientific consequence of sin.

In this view, the sin of the first human affected everything, even stars trillions of miles away. To see how odd this claim is, imagine that there were life forms on Gliese at the time of Adam’s sin. What would this sudden cosmic change look like to the Gliesans, as the entire universe, including their planet, was suddenly cursed? In the Creationist worldview, Gliese would have been a paradise, like the Earth before Adam sinned. Presumably the citizens would have been very happy, immortal (since there was no death before Adam sinned), and getting along fine with docile herbivores, and the laws of physics would not be causing everything to decay — no need for Gliesan dryers to have lint filters. All of a sudden, because of an act on a planet trillions of miles away, Gliese would have been stricken with inexplicable suffering, death, and different laws of physics.

This worldview undergirds the displays in the Creation Museum. Highly creative interpretations of cosmic events are forced into the Bible, doing great violence to the text. Bronze Age scribes are transformed into uncomprehending secretaries, writing things about an undiscovered universe that nobody could have possibly understood for centuries.

And, adding insult to injury, even though human sin on a distant Earth wrecked their planet, the poor Gliesans “can’t have salvation,” says Ham. “Only descendants of Adam can be saved.” To even “suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong,” he says.

This bizarre and unsympathetic cosmic picture results when we force the Bible to be something it is not. By ripping the Bible from its time and place of origin, Biblical literalists destroy its credibility, rendering it incapable of speaking to a contemporary reader. By insisting that this is what the Bible teaches, and raising children to believe it, Young Earth Creationists are driving thoughtful Christians out of the church.

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