The Salvation of Extraterrestrials

The Salvation of Extraterrestrials

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Some years ago a group of scientists produced an exercise in probability: the Drake equation. It looks at the percentage of galaxies with the right kinds of stars, the percentage of stars forming planets, the percentage of planets hospitable to life, to intelligence, and to intelligence adequate to communicate out into space. Some scientists then estimate the number of intelligent civilizations just in the Milky Way to be between one thousand and one million.

A theologian would not presume to decide whether there are other intelligent beings in the universe. Does the Christian faith insist that only one salvation-history exists, that on Earth? The one recorded in the Bible? Is Jesus so central a figure that only he and his Middle Eastern religious world can reveal God? Christian revelation has as its goal the salvation of the human race. And yet, Christianity suggests not a terrestrial elite behaving itself before a strict God but a universe aiming successfully at intelligence and at the presence of forms of divine love. The universe and its source invite these reflections. Religious faith encourages rather than fears reflection on our universe.

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