Does the Incarnation bar the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence?


I get what you’re saying, but I simply don’t see how God’s triunity excludes a subunity of corporeal incarnations, or vice versa. I’m not saying that the Son really did or would incarnate in several locations to several species, but rather that I don’t think the reasoning here against it is thus far sound.

Jesus did not exist before time. The Son existed before time, and as you say, He did speak to our redemption, which would be won through his incarnation as Jesus, but I still fail to see how this excludes his speaking to the redemption of another hypothetically fallen species. Everything He tells us pertains to us and our relationship with Him, but it does not exclude the possibility of another relationship. Certainly, it’s not explicit either way, but I would like to understand the implicitude in what was told to us, hence my asking in the first place. I don’t think anything about this hypothetical implies God lying about His true nature.


I don’t think the question about whether God lied is the issue here. Lying is against God’s nature, because He is Truth. However, it just seems unlikely that He would withhold information about His nature from His Church on earth if He could be incarnated into another species. But even this can’t be state with full certainty because:

  1. God gave us the Church and sacred doctrine because He knew it was necessary for man’s salvation

  2. We should not seek for what is above our reason unless it is revealed by God, in which case we would be obliged to accept through faith

Therefore, since God did not give us this information, then it must not be necessary for our salvation. So we should focus on what is relevant to the salvation of our own species rather than others. And we shouldn’t be going after something that is above our reason which God has not revealed Himself. I’m just saying it’s unlikely that He would remain silent on an issue that pertains to the very essence of the Second Person of the Trinity.

Just my two cents. :wink:


Why try to limit the way that God could bring about redemption to hypothetical extraterrestrial intelligent entities?

Christ’s sacrifice was perfect and fitting for all of humanity, but that is not to say that a different form of redemption wouldn’t be fitting for a different entity.

God operates in His own way based on what would best fulfill His will. The fall of an extraterrestrial intelligent society would be unique to that society and whatever covenental relationship God had established with them, and the restoring of that covenental relationship would be equally unique.


No, the Incarnation does not preclude the existence of other intelligent species.

Your question presumes that somehow, each species out there (1) fell; and (2) require the same economy of salvation that we do. Neither of these can be safely assumed.

God became man because (1) man fell; and (2) God chose to redeem us by becoming man. This is OUR economy of salvation.

If there are other intelligent creatures out there, God will have his own economy for them. It may involve incarnation, but it may not. It may even be that they never fell, or that God never bound them to the same moral laws and commands as he did us, or maybe they fell and he did not see it fit to redeem them (he didn’t see it fit to redeem the angels).

God did not reveal the existence of intelligent aliens or of his plan for them. What you’re describing is possible, but God is not bound to have to do anything. We may just have to find out thorough future xenoanthropology when we finally encounter them.


My faith would not be shaken. You speculate about “their God.” There is one God. Their God is our God too. The one, true God created all things and also all truth. To quote the Catechism:

God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. … [The] things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.

Substitute “universe” for “world” in that.

If the hyper-intelligent beings are benevolent, they could show us truths about the universe and perhaps about human history. Perhaps they would share their faith. The only problem is, if their intelligence far surpasses ours, we would not be able to understand faith at their level. To explain it at all, they would have to map their higher-level concepts onto human-level concepts so we can grasp it. That would be both frustrating and fascinating.


What if the aliens, like the movie prometheus could prove that THEY created us?


Then who created them? Go up the chain of causality until you reach the eternal, uncreated existence. (My apologies to St. Thomas Aquinas.)


Just one more thing: if they have a book that looks like this, DO NOT BOARD THEIR SPACESHIP !!!


(and now I’ve revealed the source of my CAF avatar)


Now we know!
Hope that doesn’t mean you’ll have to kill us. :wink:


Only serve.


Maybe he did reveal it:

John 10:16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.


Jesus’ salvific act is efficacious for all those “made in the image and likeness of God.”

If alien race(s) were “made in the image and likeness of God”, then Jesus’ incarnation would be sufficient to save them, too.

If they were not, then no salvation would be necessary (just as it’s not necessary for divine incarnations into each of the species of living being on earth).


What if they have free will and reason and sinned (and thus require a savior), but are not created in the image and likeness of God? Would that be theologically possible? Are angels created in the image and likeness of God?


I always thought He was foreseeing all the heresies and schisms that would divide the Church…


I think he was speaking of the Gentiles, or all peoples of the world, but it could apply to other worlds as well.


I think the “free will and reason” part of that equation is what makes a creature as being in the likeness of God. Although it does pose an interesting question I’ve never quite had answered regarding the angels. It is generally accepted that angels don’t possess free will, or at least not in the way we understand. Yet, clearly there was a choice at some point, in order that Satan would fall and other angels with him.


I read the following:

“The freewill of angels is not like that of man, their worship does nothing to raise their station. However, if they were to abandon their worship, they would fall.”


You mean, “what if they have free will and reason, but do not have an immortal soul”? After all, that’s one implication of the “imago Dei”.

But, to answer your question: if they do not have an immortal soul, then they do not need a savior. (After all, if God created everything in the universe except humans, there would be no need for a savior.)

Either Catholicism is true, OR... Aliens

Okay, so you seem to be saying that it’s theologically impossible for a being to have free will and reason and to not be made in the image and likeness of God.

Since God had already created the angels prior to creating man (Job 38:7), and yet still said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26), this would imply to me both that angels were not created in God’s image, and also that humans were like God in a way that the angels were not.


Let me nuance that a little bit, then: the claim is about physical created beings, specifically, since that’s what we’re talking about here.

I would prefer to leave angels out of it, since they’re a completely different type of being. If we’re talking about aliens, let’s keep the discussion on physical beings. Fair enough?

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