ExoTheology & Space-Age Interpretations of the Bible

(religious implications of an inhabited universe)

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Torah reaches extraterrestrials (from a Midrash for Col. Ilan Ramon and other shuttle astronauts lost in 2003)

This is the ending to a midrash written for Col. Ilan Ramon and the six others who died when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry, back in 2003.

What a wonderful thought. I love this.


[Ramon] took this Torah up into space, for to him, “This scroll symbolizes, more than anything, the ability of the Jewish people to survive everything, including horrible periods, and go from darkest days to days of hope and faith in the future.”

And though neither he, nor this Torah, nor his six crewmates, returned to earth, we can be assured that all seven souls returned to God, who created them, and that the letters of the Torah, written in deep black ink, soared among the stars and cast a heavenly light among all of God’s creations, chanting “The earth is Adonai’s and its fullness, the world and those who inhabit it.” [Psalm 24:1] And that somewhere, somehow, in a galaxy far, far away, some extra-terrestrial bar mitzvah tutor is teaching some extra-terrestrial being: “Mercha tipcha munach etnachta, mercha tipcha mercha sof pasuk. That’s how it goes. Trust me. I got it straight from this Torah scroll that came whizzing by me early one morning, much to my surprise.”

And that’s where Moshe interrupted God: “You really expect me to believe this story? That one day, human beings are going to ascend to your holy mountain, that they’ll actually fly into space, like the angels?” And God shushed him: “Moshe, my dear boy. After I freed you from Egypt, split the Red Sea, provided manna for you in the wilderness, when are you going to learn? With God, all things are possible!”


Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan on extraterrestrial life

I found an article pointing to some Jewish perspectives on the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life: “Extraterrestrial Life” by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, posted on torah.org.

Kaplan discusses the range of sages’ views on extraterrestrial life.

One Rabbi figures there’s nothing in Jewish thought that precludes ETs and quotes, as Kaplan says, “the Talmudic teaching (Avoda Zara 3b) that “God flies through 18,000 worlds.” Since they require His providence, we may assume that they are inhabited.”

Another Rabbi figures that since the universe was created for human beings “no other creature can exist possessing free will,” and without free will, why exist? (I’m not sure I get the logic which goes from “the universe was created for human beings” to “no other beings with free will exist.” I guess this Rabbi is assuming that ETs with free will could not benefit man in any way (assuming this Rabbi’s understanding of the universe as created for the benefit of humanity). But why not? ETs could serve us well in multiple ways. Read more of this post

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