Monday, June 23, 2014

Would God allow other intelligent life forms to exist?

If other intelligent life forms exist, what might they look like, and how might they develop.  Those were the topics of my last two posts.  Today I would like to discuss the third question in this series: would God allow other intelligent life forms to exist?

I am a Catholic, and that makes me also a Christian.  I, therefore, believe in one God, father almighty, maker of heaven and Earth. In other words, I believe that God created all things.  He created men and women in his own image, and the entire purpose of our lives is to obtain the wisdom of God, because God is all wisdom.

I think the answer to this question is best explained by Oscar Lukefahr in his 1989 handbook "The Catechism Handbook."  He wrote:
We believe that God made all things.  In this fact we find the answer to life's most basic questions: Where do we come from and where are we going?  Scientific studies of the development of life forms and of the appearance of human beings on earth can be helpful in explaining the when and how of creation.  But religion must study the why of creation, its meaning and purpose." 
No one knows when God created the planet, nor when God created mankind. Back in the 19th century most scientists believed the earth was about 6,000 years old, and they determined this by tracking back the generations to Adam.

There were problems with this timeline.  One was that fossilized boners were found of large animals, animals which eventually became known to us as dinosaurs.  Original theories pegged these bones as those belonging to the animals of Noah's Ark.

Later, however, when carbon dating was invented, it was determined that these bones were much older. How could this be?  How could anything be older than creation?  Well, the logical answer here is that the Biblical should not be taken verbatim; that the stories in the Bible are allegorical.  That does not mean they are not true, it simply means that they were written long after the fact.

You see, you have to realize that a written language was not invented until about 5,000 years before Christ.  Before this time, all wisdom was shared from one generation to the next by word of mouth.  Even after that time only scribes could write, meaning 99% of civilization could not.

What this means is two things.  One, in order for stories to be easily remembered, they were made to be pithy.  Often they were turned into easy to remember poems or songs.  Two, by the time these stories were recorded for the Bible, they had been told over and over again, and Lord knows that every person retelling a story tells it different.

So, by the time the Bible stories were recorded for posterity purposes, they had, in essence, become allegorical.  This in no way means they are inaccurate.  This does not mean they are unimportant.  This does not in any way change the meaning of the Bible versus, because God would not allow it.  It simply means that the stories are summaries of what actually happened.

Genesis, for example, says God created the universe, the world, all the animals, and mankind in six days, and that he rested on the seventh.  You have to keep in mind that most people were not educated, and so what would be the easiest way to explain this.  Well, it would be to trim all time down to days, something every person can understand.  So, in this sense, creation became seven days.

Now, science has proven that creation did not occur in seven days.  Evidence suggests the earth is about 4.54 billion years old, much older than the scientists of the 19th century thought.  Does this mean the Bible is inaccurate?  Absolutely not. Does this mean the Bible is allegorical? Probably.

So, to answer our question: would God allow other intelligent life forms to exist? Why not? According the my previous posts on this subject, we see that intelligent life forms, if they exist, would have to be created in a similar manner as humans were, and would have to come from a planet created in the same fashion as earth, and in an environment similar to how man was created.

The development of intelligent life on Earth was not a coincidence.  If intelligent life exists on another planet, it would, not by coincidence, resemble what we have on this planet.  This is sound evidence that all things, indeed, are created by the same creator: God.