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Monday, October 27, 2014

Can Klingons be saved?

I was amazed to stumble upon an interview in Scientific American, entitled "Did Jesus Save the Klingons?"

The person interviewed clearly is not a friend of Christianity. But so what? Is he right, and, could Jesus save the Klingons, or do Klingons need salvation through Christ?

I have previously posted on the question of religion among extraterrestrials (or not). My conclusions haven't changed. Here they are, re-stated:

First, we do not know, from science or the Bible, whether there are any intelligent races other than humans in the universe. The Bible is silent on the subject, unless Jesus was referring to such when he spoke about other sheep, not of this fold. (John 10:14) I'm not sure what He meant, but perhaps He was referring to the Gentiles. He might have been referring to extraterrestrials. Probably not. There are a lot of planets out there, orbiting other stars, and it is close to certain that there are a lot more that we haven't been able to detect. That doesn't prove that there is intelligent life out there. For that matter, it doesn't prove that there is life of any kind outside the Solar System. It is, however, impossible to disprove the existence of other intelligent beings.

Second, if there were intelligent aliens, would they need salvation? My guess is that they might not. Humans, according Christian doctrine, need salvation because of The Fall, a decision to disobey by our first ancestors, which resulted in sin becoming part of our very natures. Extraterrestrials might never have made such a terrible choice, or, possibly, may never had the opportunity to make such a choice. C. S. Lewis, no less, wrote about not one, but three races of intelligent, unfallen beings in his Out of the Silent Planet. It was fictional, of course. (See here.)

Would unfallen beings would need any sort of redemption? Maybe, maybe not. Fallen beings do.

Third, if there are fallen intelligent beings on other worlds, is it necessary that Christ died for their salvation? Maybe not. His death, once, on earth, might have been adequate for the redemption of the entire creation. Or, on some other planet, it might be that the equivalent of The Fall might require some other sort of atonement -- don't ask me what kind.

If the Bible is true, humans living on this planet need redemption through Christ. See here and here. We did sin, and we do need redemption, and can't provide this for ourselves. It is interesting to speculate about intelligent beings on other planets, but probably not very wise to speculate about it very much, unless and until we know that such beings exist.

It is possible that dolphins, whales, and great apes, and possibly some other animals, might be substituted for the extraterrestrials in the above discussion. But, again, we have no certainty that they can make important moral choices, and communicate about them effectively. Maybe, maybe not.

If there are Klingons, and they need salvation, God must have provided it, somehow.

Thanks for reading!

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February 6, 2015 and July 27, 2015: Shannon McDermott has posted on this subject, at Speculative Faith. There are links to other posts about this subject, including views contrary to McDermott's, here.

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