Could the discovery of life elsewhere negatively impact religion or will it prove God exists?
Is earth 2.0 bad news or good news for God?
By the turn of the 21st Century, the human race has witnessed massive advancements in astronomy and our understanding of the universe. Gone are the days when we only know basic facts of our solar system. Today, experts at NASA and other space agencies are exploring the depths of the universe searching for clues as to how the universe and planets were formed and there’s also the unending probe for the existence of life or a livable planet somewhere else.
The most recent and exciting discovery made by the Kepler telescope was the existence of an earth-like planet several billion miles away from our home. Planet Kepler-452b is now often referred to as Earth 2.0. Whether there’s life on this distant planet or there’s none, it will take quite some time for us to find out.
Kepler- 452b is not grounds for “bad news for God.” If anything, it is good news about God.
— Tommy G (@tommybgaston) July 29, 2015
But will the discovery of life in another planet or solar system negatively impact religion and will it translate to bad news for God? Or perhaps, it’s a good news that will only confirm God’s universal might.
Why life on another planet will be bad news for God
Jeff Schweitzer of The Huffington Post argues that the future discovery of life in other parts of the universe is nothing but bad news for religion and God. Schweitzer cites that such event shall only lead to the questioning and inconsistencies on the texts contained in the Bible. The writer mentioned several examples particularly those that detail how God created life on earth.
First, Schweitzer pointed that the Bible never cited that God created aliens or life elsewhere other than those mentioned in Genesis 1:1: man, fish of the sea, birds of the air, livestock, and creatures that move along the ground.
The same is true for Genesis 1:3 wherein God created “light” (sun and the moon). According to Schweitzer, by the time God supposedly created light, there were already numerous stars which provides light somewhere else in the universe that were existing billions of years before our very own sun and moon.
The writer also finds a problem with the amount of time required for God to create earth, life on earth, including the sun, moon, and stars. In the Bible, it only took God six days to complete his work. This is clearly inconsistent with our modern day knowledge that it took billions of years before planets, stars, and life on earth have eventually emerged.
Jeff Schweitzer concludes that when life in another planet is eventually discovered, religion will only be undermined. It will also result to a major historical edit. But he predicts that when such events will happen, religious groups will only claim that nothing is inconsistent with their faith and teachings. According to him, religion will only evolve and try to accommodate the new reality no matter how twisted or inconsistent it is. Similar as to how everyone accepted the fact that the planets revolve around the sun and not the sun revolving around earth.
Why life on another planet will be good news for God
Jeff Schweitzer’s colleague Shastri Purushotma has also written an article on the subject a few days later. And compared to Schweitzer, Purushotma sided on the positive or “good news” side.
According to Purushotma, when God and religion is understood in a broader view, the discovery of other solar systems and life on another planet will be good news. It’s because it will only confirm that only a “God” can create such a complex and beautiful universe. He cites that: “whatever intelligence created this astonishing universe could also potentially make multiple other dimensions.”
The writer also mentioned the Baha’i Faith which started in the mid 1800s. And from those early days, members of the faith already believed that every star has planets and planets have creatures “whose number no man can compute.”
Finally, Purushotma stressed that as we expand our knowledge of the universe, it only poses a challenge for use to raise the level of our social organizations and behavior.
- Huffington Post – “Earth 2.0: Bad News for God”
- Huffington Post – “Earth 2.0: Good News for Our Understanding of God”