Does the Incarnation bar the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence?


#1

I apologize, as I know that there have many discussions on the matter of extraterrestrial life and intelligence, and I’ve seen a few asked with regard to the Fall, but I’ve not quite seen the question posed this way.

Essentially, if we hold that Jesus was both fully man and fully God, and that He rose to Heaven bodily, how would that effect the possibility of a hypothetically fallen species on another planet? Is it theologically allowable that the Logos could incarnate as several Christs who are both fully God and fully corporeal respective to each hypothetical species? Or does our theology of the Incarnation exclude the possibility of a Vulcan Christ, Klingon Christ, Ferengi Christ who all fully God—fully the Logos—but each also uniquely only fully their own species, a la sub-trinitarian multi-aspected oneness?


#2

Your blowing my mind man :wink:


#3

Would the hypothetical fallen species on another planet have free will and reason?

I suppose there is nothing preventing the possibility of this happening, but one would think that if Jesus is fully God, fully man, and fully something else, etc, wouldn’t He have revealed this - as it would be part of His very nature - to our Church on earth as well?


#4

Yes, this hypothetical species would have free will and reason. As to your second question, yes and no, possibly. He didn’t bother to set the record straight on heliocentrism and the spherical shape of the earth, so I don’t know that He would’ve found it terribly relevant to go on about a species on another planet when we had yet to even grasp the relative structure of the universe. Also, it may be that in this hypothetical scenario, we are the first in our universal timeline to fall and receive redemption.


#5

It’s simple. If there are intelligent extraterrestrials, they were created by God, and his plan covers them in some way. If they have souls and can love God, then God must have a plan for them. Are they fallen like us? If so, God has a salvation plan for them. Did they never fall from grace? If so, then they are all set. Will we ever meet them? Who knows! God knows, and he’s got it covered.


#6

Heliocentrism and the shape of the earth are different though. They are scientific questions, just like the question of evolution, which God apparently did not find relevant to comment on. The Church is not infallible scientifically.

In Question 1 of the Summa, St. Thomas Aquinas did mention that God gave us sacred doctrine because He knew it was necessary for our salvation. Meanwhile, there are plenty of theological questions that are still open to debate because they have not been dogmatically declared, so I guess the answer to this question is not necessary for salvation. Whatever is revealed by God needs to be accepted by faith, St. Thomas says, but man should not seek to answer what is above his reason.


#7

The only person I knew who was both Catholic and a lover of all things ET came to the conclusion that if there was other intelligent life then they never fell because God would not lie about having to send His ONLY Son.

I tend to agree with this mostly because it makes sense to me, and I don’t really think much on the matter.


#8

That seems extremely closed minded. If an intelligent alien species traveled milions of light years to earth with superior technology and intellect compared to us humans, it would be in our best interest to listen to their views since their science would obviously be superior to ours.


#9

But according to the question, Jesus IS God’s ONLY son. He has two natures - divine and human - but that does not make Him two different people. If He had more than two natures, then I think God would have revealed this to the Church. But natures and persons are two different things.


#10

A hypothetical being has no free will or determined existence. Since they are hypothetical one simply ascribes which attribute and let speculation take its course. There is no justification for linking such speculations to theology or scriptural exegesis.


#11

:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

That’s what I was saying. Because my friend concluded that Jesus was God’s only Son, the only possibility for other life would be beings that did not require a savior. IE not fallen.


#12

Okay, I see what you mean now.

He came in human form; therefore this proves that humans require a savior.


#13

He GAVE His only BEGOTTEN Son (not made). This says nothing of the Son’s singular Incarnation as Jesus Christ, but rather refers to God the Son as proceeding from God the Father, Who has existed for all time and Who was given to us. The act of giving precedes the Son’s bodily conception. His bodily conception is the earthly actualization of the act of giving.


#14

I don’t get your assessment of my statement as closed-minded. I see no incompatibility between what I wrote and what you wrote. Maybe they are more intelligent. Of course we would benefit by listening to them and learning what they may share. Maybe they can solve some of our problems. Maybe we can also help them. This may be part of God’s plan.


#15

:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

No.

The hypothesis went something like this.

God created all life, and perhaps other creatures that, unlike humans, were not the image and likeness of God.

Those other creatures (like angels) may have any number of human/angel/whatever traits but they did NOT fall.

My friend got there by the fact that God made it very clear that He was sending his ONLY Son to save people. God knew this was going to happen when He made people and had the perfect plan. Humans may not have required a savior if they had behaved.


#16

I agree in that respect, but would you believe the Aliens if they could PROVE their God was real and could show us how we as humans were created? This is a conundrum that scares many religious people I feel, the thought that everything they believed or have faith in was not true.


#17

However, Jesus’ existance since before time spoke to God’s plan for redeeming people. Since we know that God is triune, there are no more options for other creatures to be redeemed. Thus, if they exist (as my friend’s theory goes) they must never have fallen as either we would be mislead as to God’s nature (God cannot lie, so impossible) or they would have no hope of salvation (again impossible for God)


#18

Since only humans were created in the image and likeness of God, then other species cannot possibly have reason and free will like we do. For instance, why didn’t He just take on the nature of an angel and save them in some way?

I still don’t understand this. I think what you mean is that God made it very clear that He was sending his Son to ONLY save people. The Father didn’t “make” the Son for the purpose of saving people. The Son is begotten of the Father and has always existed.


#19

This makes sense. That’s why in my first post, I said that if Jesus has been incarnated into other species as well (see original question), He would have told His Church on earth as well.


#20

The original response wasn’t close-minded; it appeared to be an acknowledgement that we don’t know everything merely by our reason, and this is where faith comes in. We should really just focus on our own salvation for now; in heaven we’ll understand and then faith won’t be necessary anymore.


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