We found this in the Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. Their headline is ‘Intergalactic missions’: planet spurs questions, written by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press. It doesn’t look like they have a comments section. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Discovery of another planet that might support life has given rise to speculation about intelligent life elsewhere in the universe — and whether such lifeforms would need the Gospel.
We wrote about the discovery in Proxima Centauri Has Planet in Habitable Zone. Everyone reacts differently to the news, but whether the inhabitants of that planet need the Gospel is the big issue for readers of the Baptist Press. They say:
“Briefly stated, saying that scientists ‘think there may be life’ on [the newly discovered planet] is greatly overstating what the scientific community is thinking,” said Bill Nettles, physics department chair at Union University. But “if there is intelligent life on other planets, we definitely need to tell them Earth’s Gospel story and learn what their history is,” Nettles told Baptist Press in written comments.
Okay. Let’s read on:
Theologically, Nettles believes “there’s nothing in the Bible that excludes biology on other planets, just as there’s nothing to exclude other planets. The larger theology comes into view when you consider the work of Christ in redeeming mankind, and the extensiveness of that work.”
“Most conservative Bible scholars” seem to believe “there is only one created universe, one fall, one redemption for all time and space and a glorification of one set of created beings along with their Savior,” Nettles said, referencing the theory that humans are sole focus of Christ’s atonement. Others, however, speculate there could be parallel sequences of history in other universes that include atonement for other intelligent creatures.
Then we’re told about another opinion:
John Laing, a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary theology professor who says he has “long been fascinated by the possibility of life on other planets,” told BP that Scripture doesn’t rule out the prospect.
If God created other intelligent life forms, He likely did so on the fifth or sixth day of creation, “when sea creatures and land creatures were created, respectively,” said Laing, associate professor of systematic theology at Southwestern’s J. Dalton Havard School of Theological Studies in Houston. Any intelligent extraterrestrials are not likely to be created in God’s image, Laing said, noting that possessing intelligence is not the same as being created in the divine image. Humans uniquely are made in God’s image and therefore “the apex of creation.”
You must admit, dear reader, these are fascinating reactions. We continue:
In considering the possibility of redemption for lifeforms on other planets, Laing said it’s important to remember the entire creation was affected by the fall and that “salvation is only available through Jesus Christ.” Yet “just because [potential lifeforms on other planets] are subject to the law of sin and death, it is not immediately apparent that they can or need to receive redemption in the same way we do,” he said. Perhaps intelligent life forms on other planets “will not sin,” Laing speculated, “or if they do, they are not recoverable. Perhaps they … have no soul.”
Here’s yet a third reaction, from another heavy thinker:
David Fannin, pastor of a Houston-area congregation where 10-20 percent of members work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, agreed that earth is the “centerpiece of God’s creation.” Humanity has been granted “control of the whole universe,” he said, citing Psalm 8. That leaves Fannin skeptical of claims any other human-like life exists.
“All of time itself revolves around our planet,” Fannin, pastor of Nassau Bay (Texas) Baptist Church, told BP. “The concept of the 24-hour day and 365 days in a year — all of that is found very clearly. God’s creation of this planet is the centerpiece of His planet creation.” He added, “The Bible really doesn’t teach there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.” Fannin encourages exploration of outer space, including the search for other lifeforms. But he cautioned that humans must “look at science through the lens of Scripture. We don’t look at Scripture through the lens of science.”
There’s more to the article, but those are the three main sets of ideas. And now we’re wondering: Why didn’t you, dear reader, think of these issues when we were blogging about the news of Proxima b? You materialist Darwinists are so limited in your thinking!
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