Vatican “ok’s” belief in alien life forms

Religion / Science

This really just says it all:

“The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Funes says that such a notion ‘doesn’t contradict our faith’ because aliens would still be God’s creatures.

The interview was headlined ‘The extraterrestrial is my brother.’ Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like ‘putting limits’ on God’s creative freedom.”

Read the full article here.

Of course the theological $64,000 question is “Are the alien races (should they exist) fallen or not?”

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. > Are the alien races (should they exist) fallen or not?”
    James Blish’s A CASE OF CONSCIENCE, 1959, dealt with this theme: an alien race that hadn’t suffered The Fall. The topic of aliens and religion has occupied much of science fiction and produced some thoughtful work such as Blish’s.

  2. If by “fallen” we mean imperfect, my money’s certainly on the fallen state of alien races. On the other hand, if by “fallen” we mean formerly existing in a perfect state of some sort, but then screwing the pooch along the way, the classic courtroom response is “Objection, your honor; assumes facts not in evidence.”

  3. BTW Nick, did you read Dr. Nick Bostrom’s piece in MIT Technology Review, opining that in the search for extraterrestrial life, no news is good news? That we have not detected signs of intelligent life elsewhere, says Bostrom, suggests that there is a Great Filter that has prevented life from making it that far into space. The filter could be that life itself is extremely hard to get started. That would be good news for us, inasmuch as we’ve already made it past that hurdle; it would mean that the Great Filter lies behind us in our existence as a species. The bad news would be if life proved comparatively easy to start, but difficult to sustain long enough to colonize interstellar space. This implies that existential doom may well await us in the future.

  4. Hi DC – I did read Bostrom’s piece. Given my view of the fallen state of all creation, I actually found Bostrom’s point quite reassuring.
    The Copernican Principle, that we are not special – taken together with our human record of the exploitation of peoples less technologically adept than ourselves – leads me to fear first contact rather than long for it.

  5. In short, yes. I believe so, anyway.
    Also, the picture that Yahoo! News chose for that article is hilarious, and slightly terrifying 🙂

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