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Byzantine2008
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« on: March 18, 2009, 07:05:51 PM »

If life forms similar to human beings were discovered within our universe, would that change or have any bearings on the Christian Orthodox Faith?

I sometimes become very intrigued by the vastness of our universe which leads me to think that extra terrestrial life has existence somewhere.

 Huh

Is it wrong for me to think this way?
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2009, 07:13:30 PM »

This is something I've also struggled with. The idea that every man now has to live in a fallen world because man sinned is one thing, and something that I find hard to swallow, but to extend that to life forms on other planets...? It just seems plain silly, if such beings do actually exist.
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2009, 11:21:46 PM »

I don't believe it is wrong to think that way.  I believe there must be other forms of intelligent life within the Universe.  But, I am not sure about the answer to your first question, unfortunately.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2009, 11:41:14 PM »

No, it's not wrong.  No, I don't think it will alter our faith one bit.

No, I don't think it's good to expend too much mental capital on this question, unless you either (a) have seen living beings from other planet(s), or (b) will see such beings during your lifetime.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2009, 11:42:30 PM »

Or are a being from another world... *cue X-files music*
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2009, 12:03:46 AM »

This idea is one that several Science Fiction authors have worked on. The first one that comes to mind is A Case of Conscience by James Blish 1958


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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2009, 11:15:28 AM »

This idea is one that several Science Fiction authors have worked on. The first one that comes to mind is A Case of Conscience by James Blish 1958

I remember reading that book as a teenager.  A Roman Catholic priest exorcices an entire planet.   I think my young mind was too theologically undeveloped to really know everything that Blish was trying to say.
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 11:26:17 AM »

“All Planets the Same: Religion’s Response to Space Life V,”
Rev. John S. Romanides, PhD., The Boston Globe, April 8, 1965, page 18.

I can foresee no way in which the teachings of the Orthodox Christian tradition could be affected by the discovery of intelligent beings on another planet. Some of my colleagues feel that even a discussion of the consequences of such a possibility is in itself a waste of time for serious theology and borders on the fringes of foolishness.

I am tempted to agree with them for several reasons.

As I understand the problem, the discovery of intelligent life on another planet would raise questions concerning traditional Roman Catholic and Protestant teachings regarding creation, the fall, man as the image of God, redemption and Biblical inerrancy.

First one should point out that in contrast to the traditions deriving from Latin Christianity, Greek Christianity never had a fundamentalist or literalist understanding of Biblical inspiration and was never committed to the inerrancy of scripture in matters concerning the structure of the universe and life in it. In this regard some modern attempts at de-mything the Bible are interesting and at times amuzing [sic].

Since the very first centuries of Christianity, theologians of the Greek tradition did not believe, as did the Latins, that humanity was created in a state of perfection from which it fell. Rather the Orthodox always believed that man [was] created imperfect, or at a low level of perfection, with the destiny of evolving to higher levels of perfection.

The fall of each man, therefore, entails a failure to reach perfection, rather than any collective fall from perfection.

Also spiritual evolution does not end in a static beatific vision. It is a never ending process which will go on even into eternity.

Also Orthodox Christianity, like Judaism, never knew the Latin and Protestant doctrine of original sin as an inherited Adamic guilt putting all humanity under a divine wrath which was supposedly satisfied by the death of Christ.

Thus the solidarity of the human race in Adamic guilt and the need for satisfaction of divine justice in order to avoid hell are unknown in the Greek Fathers.

This means that the interdependance [sic] and solidarity of creation and its need for redemption and perfection are seen in a different light.

The Orthodox believe that all creation is destined to share in the glory of God. Both damned and glorified will be saved. In other words both will have vision of God in his uncreated glory, with the difference that for the unjust this same uncreated glory of God will be the eternal fires of hell.

God is light for those who learn to love Him and a consuming fire for those who will not. God has no positive intent to punish.

For those not properly prepared, to see God is a cleansing experience, but one which does not move eternally toward higher reaches of perfection.

In contrast, hell is a static state of perfection somewhat similar to Platonic bliss.

In view of this the Orthodox never saw in the Bible any three story universe with a hell of created fire underneath the earth and a heaven beyond the stars.

For the Orthodox discovery of intelligent life on another planet would raise the question of how far advanced these beings are in their love and preparation for divine glory.

As on this planet, so on any other, the fact that one may have not as yet learned about the Lord of Glory of the Old and New Testament, does not mean that he is automatically condemned to hell, just as one who believes in Christ is not automatically destined to be involved in the eternal movement toward perfection.

It is also important to bear in mind that the Greek Fathers of the Church maintain that the soul of man is part of material creation, although a high form of it, and by nature mortal.

Only God is purely immaterial.

Life beyond death is not due to the nature of man but to the will of God. Thus man is not strictly speaking the image of God. Only the Lord of Glory, or the Angel of the Lord of Old and New Testament revelation is the image of God.

Man was created according to the image of God, which means that his destiny is to become like Christ who is the Incarnate Image of God.

Thus the possibility of intelligent beings on another planet being images of God as men on earth are supposed to be is not even a valid question from an Orthodox point of view.

Finally one could point out that the Orthodox Fathers rejected the Platonic belief in immutable archetypes of which this world of change is a poor copy.

This universe and the forms in it are unique and change is of the very essence of creation and not a product of the fall.

Furthermore the categories of change, motion and history belong to the eternal dimensions of salvation-history and are not to be discard[ed] in some kind of eternal bliss.

Thus the existence of intelligent life on another planet behind or way ahead of us in intellectual and spiritual attainment will change little in the traditional beliefs of Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2009, 11:34:43 AM »

This idea is one that several Science Fiction authors have worked on. The first one that comes to mind is A Case of Conscience by James Blish 1958
Also C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength. This issue was one of the chief reasons he wrote the series, and it remains one of his outstanding works.
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2009, 03:18:36 PM »

I remember reading a Star Trek: Next Generation novel, and it involved a Roman Catholic nun evangelizing a planet.
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2009, 04:44:54 PM »

In Genesis, everything LIVING (i.e. plants, animals, humans) are only created ON EARTH.  There is no mention whatsoever of ANYthing living being placed beyond the realm of earth.  The only things created in the heavens were the stars, whose sole purpose is to serve as indicators of day/night and seasons ON EARTH.

And the thing is, any speculation about life on other plants is usually specifically about INTELLIGENT life on other planets… which implies an intelligence on par with (or greater than) humanity.  The Bible is extremely clear that man is the most supreme being in all of creation.  The only entities higher than us are the angels.

So, if any intelligent life not of earth comes for a visit, rest assured they are either angels or demons.  And considering that contemporary society is overwhelmingly atheist in its worldview, it is a safe assumption that any visitors “from outer space” are simply demons in “alien” / “intelligent life” disguise.

Hence the reason even saints from over a millennia ago always assumed any “intelligent life” not from earth who came for a visit was unquestionably demonic.
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« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2009, 04:49:17 PM »

In Genesis, everything LIVING (i.e. plants, animals, humans) are only created ON EARTH.  There is no mention whatsoever of ANYthing living being placed beyond the realm of earth.  The only things created in the heavens were the stars, whose sole purpose is to serve as indicators of day/night and seasons ON EARTH.

And the thing is, any speculation about life on other plants is usually specifically about INTELLIGENT life on other planets… which implies an intelligence on par with (or greater than) humanity.  The Bible is extremely clear that man is the most supreme being in all of creation.  The only entities higher than us are the angels.

So, if any intelligent life not of earth comes for a visit, rest assured they are either angels or demons.  And considering that contemporary society is overwhelmingly atheist in its worldview, it is a safe assumption that any visitors “from outer space” are simply demons in “alien” / “intelligent life” disguise.

Hence the reason even saints from over a millennia ago always assumed any “intelligent life” not from earth who came for a visit was unquestionably demonic.


There is also the possibility that the author of Genesis, being a human being, could not have fathomed the possibility of planets existing beyond ours. Why, exactly, would demons have to travel to us on space ships if they are spiritual in nature? Can't they just appear?
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« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2009, 05:03:42 PM »

There is no mention of lots of things in Genesis, but that does not mean that they don't exist. Viruses, the Japanese and Hawaiian Islands and more...

To assert that intelligent beings from another planet are automatically "demonic" is working from incomplete information, imo
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2009, 05:37:38 PM »

There is also the possibility that the author of Genesis, being a human being, could not have fathomed the possibility of planets existing beyond ours.

If he could fathom an Uncreated Creator creating creation… existence being formed out of non-existence, it doesn’t seem likely there’s much else you could have really surprised him with.

Why, exactly, would demons have to travel to us on space ships if they are spiritual in nature? Can't they just appear?

Who says they always come in spaceships?  Besides, the main goal in everything they do is DECEPTION.  Pretending like they need a vehicle implies they are supposedly physical entities, which can lessen people’s inhibitions and suspicions against them… voila: deception.
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2009, 05:39:23 PM »

There is no mention of lots of things in Genesis, but that does not mean that they don't exist.

Um, yeah… that’s an open window to whatever you want it to be.
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« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2009, 06:21:13 PM »

There is also the possibility that the author of Genesis, being a human being, could not have fathomed the possibility of planets existing beyond ours.

If he could fathom an Uncreated Creator creating creation… existence being formed out of non-existence, it doesn’t seem likely there’s much else you could have really surprised him with.

Why, exactly, would demons have to travel to us on space ships if they are spiritual in nature? Can't they just appear?

Who says they always come in spaceships?  Besides, the main goal in everything they do is DECEPTION.  Pretending like they need a vehicle implies they are supposedly physical entities, which can lessen people’s inhibitions and suspicions against them… voila: deception.

Every primitive society imagined gods.
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« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2009, 07:12:26 PM »

Quote
And considering that contemporary society is overwhelmingly atheist in its worldview

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2009, 07:15:44 PM »

Every primitive society imagined gods.


All the gods of the pagans are demons.
Psalm 95:5
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« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2009, 07:25:53 PM »

Quote
And considering that contemporary society is overwhelmingly atheist in its worldview

 Roll Eyes


If have a question, please ask.  If you have something to actually contribute to the discussion, please share.
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2009, 08:08:23 PM »

There is also the possibility that the author of Genesis, being a human being, could not have fathomed the possibility of planets existing beyond ours.

If he could fathom an Uncreated Creator creating creation… existence being formed out of non-existence, it doesn’t seem likely there’s much else you could have really surprised him with.

Why, exactly, would demons have to travel to us on space ships if they are spiritual in nature? Can't they just appear?

Who says they always come in spaceships?  Besides, the main goal in everything they do is DECEPTION.  Pretending like they need a vehicle implies they are supposedly physical entities, which can lessen people’s inhibitions and suspicions against them… voila: deception.

Perhaps God felt we had no need to know of extraterrestrial life??
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2009, 08:41:04 PM »

If life forms similar to human beings were discovered within our universe, would that change or have any bearings on the Christian Orthodox Faith?

I sometimes become very intrigued by the vastness of our universe which leads me to think that extra terrestrial life has existence somewhere.

 Huh

Is it wrong for me to think this way?

No change, we already know that other life forms exist in the Created realm.......both seen and unseen.


I know that Seventhday Adventists believe that life exist on other worlds(planets). The same is true for other Protestant groups......like some Prespyterians.

I don't see a problem with the idea of life on other planets.

God put us on this planet for a reason, we are pretty much isolated from the rest of the galaxy......I think this was for a reason.

In our new bodies, there will be no need to travel on space ships. We will be able to do so in our new bodies. Jesus went up into the Heavens......with two Angels........he didn't need a space ship to travel. Nor do Angels need a spaceship to travel.......so yes, I believe in other life forms in the Universe......both seen and unseen.







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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2009, 09:00:55 PM »

In Genesis, everything LIVING (i.e. plants, animals, humans) are only created ON EARTH.  There is no mention whatsoever of ANYthing living being placed beyond the realm of earth.  The only things created in the heavens were the stars, whose sole purpose is to serve as indicators of day/night and seasons ON EARTH.

And the thing is, any speculation about life on other plants is usually specifically about INTELLIGENT life on other planets… which implies an intelligence on par with (or greater than) humanity.  The Bible is extremely clear that man is the most supreme being in all of creation.  The only entities higher than us are the angels.

So, if any intelligent life not of earth comes for a visit, rest assured they are either angels or demons.  And considering that contemporary society is overwhelmingly atheist in its worldview, it is a safe assumption that any visitors “from outer space” are simply demons in “alien” / “intelligent life” disguise.

Hence the reason even saints from over a millennia ago always assumed any “intelligent life” not from earth who came for a visit was unquestionably demonic.


There is also the possibility that the author of Genesis, being a human being, could not have fathomed the possibility of planets existing beyond ours. Why, exactly, would demons have to travel to us on space ships if they are spiritual in nature? Can't they just appear?


I disagree. When you read the book of Enoch (which is pretty much a commentary to Genesis). But when you read the book of Enoch....you kind of get the feeling that they did know about that.





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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2009, 09:06:34 PM »

I don't believe there is intelligent life anywhere in the universe.  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2009, 09:11:38 PM »

I don't believe there is intelligent life anywhere in the universe.  Smiley


It's ok. You had christians in the past believed in a flat Earth, and you had christians in the past that didn't believe in a flat Earth.

You had Christians in the past that believed no human life was in the America's......and you had Christians in the past that did believe human life existed where we are.


You had christians in the past that believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. And you had Christians in the past that believed the Earth Revolved around the Sun.


It's ok, because you will always have Christians on both sides of the issue.


Angels are part of the Natural order (created Order) therefore they are part of our Universe.





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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2009, 10:38:59 PM »

I don't believe there is intelligent life anywhere in the universe.  Smiley

 Wink
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« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2009, 10:40:35 PM »

Every primitive society imagined gods.


All the gods of the pagans are demons.
Psalm 95:5


 Exodus 21:17  "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

My point being- some of the material of the OT is contingent upon time and culture, while other parts are meant to convey a higher meaning  not meant to be taken literally.  To state that other intelligent life can not exist beyond our solar system because, according to your view, Genesis implies it, is to take a book of an essentially spiritual, higher meaning and hold it up as hard science, which it was never intended to be.
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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2009, 11:29:27 AM »

I don't believe there is intelligent life anywhere in the universe.  Smiley


It's ok. You had christians in the past believed in a flat Earth, and you had christians in the past that didn't believe in a flat Earth.

You had Christians in the past that believed no human life was in the America's......and you had Christians in the past that did believe human life existed where we are.


You had christians in the past that believed the Sun revolved around the Earth. And you had Christians in the past that believed the Earth Revolved around the Sun.


It's ok, because you will always have Christians on both sides of the issue.


Angels are part of the Natural order (created Order) therefore they are part of our Universe.





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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2009, 12:11:07 PM »


I think we have enough to worry about on our own planet.  Why look for more trouble outside of our solar system?

Discovering "new" planets seems silly when we don't even know what lies at the depths of our own oceans.

There is so much to learn and phathom in the here and now. 

Besides, nowhere does Christ refer to "other" beings.  Not in any parables, nor sayings.

..if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.

Maybe it's none of our business, and we should look to better "ourselves" before we expand to other planets.



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« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2009, 12:42:31 PM »

Actually Christ does refer to His other flocks elsewhere. We assume, I guess, He means HERE.
There is a thread over on monachos forum on this "issue" that has raged for what seems years now. As I only spend about 4 minutes a week there reviewing posts, I ignore the entire thing. Now, the question comes to OC.net

As to "Life on other planets", the question can only be answered, so far, in mathematical probability.
1) It is possible we ARE alone, but with a very small degree of probability that this is so.
2) Likewise it is possible that we are alone by virtue of being the first; again, small probability, but possible as well.
3) It is possible for us to be the first, but not alone....
Until I meet "E.T" I won't fret over this artificial issue. IF I do meet "ET" I will find out if "ET" is a follower of the Way. If not, I'll give ET the Good News.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2009, 11:41:30 PM »

Actually Christ does refer to His other flocks elsewhere. We assume, I guess, He means HERE.
There is a thread over on mo nachos forum on this "issue" that has raged for what seems years now. As I only spend about 4 minutes a week there reviewing posts, I ignore the entire thing. Now, the question comes to OC.net

As to "Life on other planets", the question can only be answered, so far, in mathematical probability.
1) It is possible we ARE alone, but with a very small degree of probability that this is so.
2) Likewise it is possible that we are alone by virtue of being the first; again, small probability, but possible as well.
3) It is possible for us to be the first, but not alone....
Until I meet "E.T" I won't fret over this artificial issue. IF I do meet "ET" I will find out if "ET" is a follower of the Way. If not, I'll give ET the Good News.  Smiley


Seems to me that I had read somewhere that the assumption there is plentiful life throughout the Universe simply based on the math, may not be as solid as once thought.

It turns out that there is an extremely delicate and vastly complex combination of factors that allowed life to exist here on Earth. Even the presence of just one Moon circulating in just the right orbit (or not) is enough to make the difference between life or no life. Once all of the complexities are properly factored in, it may well be that this combination is utterly unrepeatable or at best there is intelligent life elsewhere in numbers few and very far between.

More and more I am tending to believe we are alone .
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2009, 02:48:31 PM »

There is no mention of lots of things in Genesis, but that does not mean that they don't exist.
Um, yeah… that’s an open window to whatever you want it to be.
No, it's an invitation to examine our universe and draw conclusions from our observations.  If we restrict our knowledge to only those things specifically mentioned in the Bible, we are destined to be extremely ignorant of God's creation.

Quote from: LizaSymonenko
Besides, nowhere does Christ refer to "other" beings.  Not in any parables, nor sayings.
..if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.
Maybe it's none of our business, and we should look to better "ourselves" before we expand to other planets.
I disagree.  By this same logic, viruses are perhaps none of our business and we could conclude that if God had wanted us to know about them, He would have said something.  Even though he didn't, I'm quite comfortable believing that God is pleased that we know about them.
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« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2009, 10:50:45 PM »


I think we have enough to worry about on our own planet.  Why look for more trouble outside of our solar system?

Discovering "new" planets seems silly when we don't even know what lies at the depths of our own oceans.

I don't think any astrophysicists or astronomers are looking for "trouble" outside this solar system.  They are trying to learn more about the universe. Why would that be "silly"?  Some people investigate the seas, others land or physics or the skies or human beings and their physical functioning or diseases or any number of other things.  God gave human beings intelligence and imagination and curiosity and reason and ways to learn.  Why should it be limited?

Quote
..if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.

God didn't mention a lot of things in the oceans in the Bible, should there, then, not be marine biologists and oceanographic studies?  ???He didn't mention lots of places and cultures that do exist here on Earth (like Australia and Native American Tribes etc.) but people learn about them. 

I'm sorry, but I don't understand why learning new things and research and inquiry somehow shouldn't be done. 

Ebor
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« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2009, 10:54:52 PM »

There is no mention of lots of things in Genesis, but that does not mean that they don't exist.
Um, yeah… that’s an open window to whatever you want it to be.
No, it's an invitation to examine our universe and draw conclusions from our observations.  If we restrict our knowledge to only those things specifically mentioned in the Bible, we are destined to be extremely ignorant of God's creation.

I agree, Chrevbel, and I think that the question of any kind of life on other planets can be answered simply with "We don't know." because that's the truth from the present data.  I think that's an honest and reasonable answer.  Smiley  To state flatly that there isn't is making  a dogmatic answer and drawing a conclusion,  without any information to base it on.

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« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2009, 11:17:56 PM »

Quote
if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.

Yeah. Computers as well. Who needs those? If God had wanted us to know about them, he would have told us about them! And automobiles. The list is endless!
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« Reply #34 on: March 22, 2009, 10:34:05 PM »


I think we have enough to worry about on our own planet.  Why look for more trouble outside of our solar system?

Discovering "new" planets seems silly when we don't even know what lies at the depths of our own oceans.

There is so much to learn and phathom in the here and now. 

Besides, nowhere does Christ refer to "other" beings.  Not in any parables, nor sayings.

..if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.

Maybe it's none of our business, and we should look to better "ourselves" before we expand to other planets.






To mine for oil/methane, gold, diamonds, silver, platnum, and all that other stuff that makes people crazy & go to war.

There would be less wars on earth if we started space colonies. But we would have more wars in space.


But if you are going to start a space colony then you would have to take the eco-system of the earth with you.....for we won't survive without trees, plants, fish, ants, spiders, bees, water, birds........ect. And you would have to have the thing rotate in order to create artificial gravity(the rotation speed will vary depending on the size of the colony, the bigger the colony the slower the speed, the smaller the colony the faster you must rotate in order to have the same type of gravity as earth), the colony would have to mimic the planet we came from......or else we won't survive.

The first groups that would have an interest in building a space colony would be christians, for the World is becoming more and more evil and more and more hostile.......everybody wants to kill us, so we leave and worship in space somewhere.

The second group to form colonies are merchants, and everyone that hates christians. They will try to follow us because they hate us. They will try to change us or kill us whereever we go. The merchants will try to make us work for them.

But moving to outerspace(in our solor system) would be no different from western Europe coming to the Americas.





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« Reply #35 on: March 22, 2009, 10:55:32 PM »

There is no mention of lots of things in Genesis, but that does not mean that they don't exist.
Um, yeah… that’s an open window to whatever you want it to be.
No, it's an invitation to examine our universe and draw conclusions from our observations.  If we restrict our knowledge to only those things specifically mentioned in the Bible, we are destined to be extremely ignorant of God's creation.

Quote from: LizaSymonenko
Besides, nowhere does Christ refer to "other" beings.  Not in any parables, nor sayings.
..if God had meant for us to know about them (if they exist) then He would have said something.
Maybe it's none of our business, and we should look to better "ourselves" before we expand to other planets.
I disagree.  By this same logic, viruses are perhaps none of our business and we could conclude that if God had wanted us to know about them, He would have said something.  Even though he didn't, I'm quite comfortable believing that God is pleased that we know about them.

Angels(watchers) are part of the natural world so we already know that other beings exist.  What we don't know is if other beings like us exist.

We know they don't in our solar system. And since our solor system is pretty far away from the next solor system........I would say that we are alone in this area. God put us way out here for a reason.

This solar system is ours so we should play in it. ......for we won't be going anywhere else(to another solar system) anytime soon.






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« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2009, 10:10:22 PM »

Perhaps God felt we had no need to know of extraterrestrial life??


extraterrestrial: life which does not originate from earth

Quote
“And there was war in heaven.  Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.  The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”  (Revelation 12:7-9)

“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer…” (Isaiah 14:12)

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’  Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’”  (Job 1:7)

“angels in heaven” (Matthew 18:10)
“angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30)
“angels in heaven” (Matthew 24:36)
“angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25)
“angels in heaven” (Mark 13:32)

“…a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.  (Genesis 28:12)
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« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2009, 10:11:01 PM »

I don't believe there is intelligent life anywhere in the universe.   Smiley

Witty reply… but this subject isn’t exactly a laughing matter.
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« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2009, 10:11:49 PM »

Exodus 21:17  "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

My point being- some of the material of the OT is contingent upon time and culture, while other parts are meant to convey a higher meaning  not meant to be taken literally.  To state that other intelligent life can not exist beyond our solar system because, according to your view, Genesis implies it, is to take a book of an essentially spiritual, higher meaning and hold it up as hard science, which it was never intended to be.

Over the last several decades, there have been millions of “contactees” (persons who claim to have experienced contact with extraterrestrials)… including a large number of “hard scientists.”   These people claim they were contacted by intelligent life/entities/beings from other planets/dimensions.   And these “beings” always communicate messages of a very philosophical/religious nature.  Their messages always discourage any belief in a single omnipotent Creator, and instead emphasize a variety of bizarre alternative explanations for the existence of mankind.  (One of the most common is: the aliens claim to have visited earth millions of years ago to perform an experiment in which they planted humans “seeds”… i.e. they “created” us.)

Quote
“Some or many of the experiences, it may be, are the result of hoaxes or hallucinations; but it is simply impossible to dismiss all of the many millions of UFO reports in this way.  A great number of modern mediums and their spiritistic phenomena are also fraudulent; but mediumistic spiritism itself, when it is genuine, undeniably produces real “paranormal” phenomena under the action of demons.  UFO phenomena, having the same source, are no less real.”
-Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future, by Fr Seraphim Rose
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« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2009, 10:15:44 PM »

Actually Christ does refer to His other flocks elsewhere. We assume, I guess, He means HERE.


Quote
I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work you gave Me to do.
(John 17:4)


As to "Life on other planets", the question can only be answered, so far, in mathematical probability.
1) It is possible we ARE alone, but with a very small degree of probability that this is so.


Seems to me that I had read somewhere that the assumption there is plentiful life throughout the Universe simply based on the math, may not be as solid as once thought.
It turns out that there is an extremely delicate and vastly complex combination of factors that allowed life to exist here on Earth. Even the presence of just one Moon circulating in just the right orbit (or not) is enough to make the difference between life or no life. Once all of the complexities are properly factored in, it may well be that this combination is utterly unrepeatable or at best there is intelligent life elsewhere in numbers few and very far between.
More and more I am tending to believe we are alone .

(thank you, Marc!)


2) Likewise it is possible that we are alone by virtue of being the first; again, small probability, but possible as well.


Quote
"[On the sixth day] God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing.” 
(Genesis 1:26, 2:2)


3) It is possible for us to be the first, but not alone....
Until I meet "E.T" I won't fret over this artificial issue.


While you personally may not have met E.T. (and thus consider the issue to be “artificial”), there are certainly millions of people who claim to have experienced exactly such an encounter… and many of these people cannot escape or suppress these encounters even when they try.  To such people, this issue is anything but artificial.


IF I do meet "ET" I will find out if "ET" is a follower of the Way. If not, I'll give ET the Good News.  Smiley


Quote
The soul has three powers: first, the power of nourishment and growth; second, that of imagination and instinct; third, that of intelligence and intellect.  Plants share only in the first of these powers, animals share in the first and second only, and only men share in all three.
-St. Maximos the Confessor

How will any physical being in the universe, other than man, be able to understand and willfully accept the Good News?
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« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2009, 10:17:22 PM »

I think that the question of any kind of life on other planets can be answered simply with "We don't know." because that's the truth from the present data.

To entertain this question inevitably leads one to further ponder if humans will come into contact with these life-forms… otherwise the question is pointless and meaningless.  The fact is humans have not even stepped foot onto the nearest planet in our own solar system.  As of May of 2008, the farthest probe man has sent into space is 9.87 billion miles (14.72 light-hours) from the Sun… and we STILL haven’t found any other planets with life on them.  Its pretty obvious that any direct contact mankind may have with extraterrestrial life will not be initiated by us, but rather by INTELLIGENT extraterrestrial life… and Patristic literature makes it clear that mankind’s intelligence has no equal, rival, or superior in the physical universe.  Therefore, the only possible explanation of humans being visited by extraterrestrial life is: demonic deception.
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« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2009, 10:18:28 PM »

…it's an invitation to examine our universe and draw conclusions from our observations.

Provided we are submitting our observations to and screening our conclusions through the discernment of the Church.

By this same logic, viruses are perhaps none of our business and we could conclude that if God had wanted us to know about them, He would have said something... 
...If we restrict our knowledge to only those things specifically mentioned in the Bible, we are destined to be extremely ignorant of God's creation.


In regards to purely physical elements, yes… but every spiritual matter relevant to our salvation has been made known to us in the scriptures and Patristic writings.  The subject of “extraterrestrial” beings supposedly from other planets/galaxies who come to us and present a completely anti-Christian worldview is blatantly spiritual in essence.

Quote
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
(Galatians 1:6-9)
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« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2009, 10:24:18 PM »

The Holy Fathers of the Church make it very clear that man is on a level of intelligence that he alone possesses.  Therefore, even if there does happen to be any life in the universe outside of earth, Patristic literature makes it very clear that none of these life-forms are anything higher than an animal.  If mankind still hasn’t successfully traveled to other planets, it is pretty clear that no animals ever will.  Therefore, any “visitors” we have from outer space cannot possibly be physical entities, which only leaves one alternative: they are angels… and because they deceptively make false claims about their origin: demons.


Quote
Level 1
—The soul is the life-force of the body, which keeps it unified and harmonious;
—It maintains nourishment, growth, and reproduction.
—This level is seen in man, animals, and plants.

Level 2
—The soul seeks whatever suits the nature of the body.
—The soul has memory, remembering what is has experienced through the senses (touch, sight, smell, etc.), and what is has learned through habit.
—This level is seen in man and animals.

Level 3
—The soul learns and remembers through observation (language, reading, writing, etc.), and not only through habit.
This is the level of reason and logical thought, and of music, poetry, eloquence.
—This level bears the mark of greatness.  Only humans are on this and subsequent levels.

Level 4
—The soul turns inward, seeking self-purification.
—There is recognition of the fear of death.
—The soul turns away from worldly things.
—The soul is aware of its state of purity vs. defilement.
—The battle between good and evil begins.
—The soul seeks universal love and goodness.

Level 5
—The soul is free of all corruption and sin;
—it possess utter joy and no fears;
—it advances towards God.

Level 6
—The soul focuses on God only;
—it possesses a clean heart and thoughts;
—it eliminates all attachments to corruptible things;
—it seeks the highest perfection and truth.

Level 7
—This is the dwelling-place to which the previous steps have led, everlasting peace and goodness.
—The soul truly understands the supreme reality of God’s truth, how “all things under the sun are vanity of vanities.”
—It apprehends the truth of the seedless incarnation of Jesus Christ, and of all the teachings of Mother Church.
—In its certainty of faith, it yearns for death as the greatest boon.

-Blessed Augustine, The Magnitude of thy Soul


Quote
Animals are said to be irrational, to lack reason.  Reason is the logical faculty in man by which observation and analysis of data leads to logical conclusions.  Animals were not given this ability, because they do not have free will.  Instead, they have heightened sense reactions… God compensated for the lack of reason in animals by endowing them with the superiority of their senses.

-Basil the Great


Quote
Throughout the Holy Scripture and the works of the Desert Fathers, animals are referred to as irrational or dumb.  These terms were never intended to be derogatory; they were used as terms of comparison between the natures of animals and men, to distinguish different and unique characteristics.
The mind is the guide and counselor of the soul.  God gave man and animals a soul, but only man was given freedom of will.  Animals were not given freedom, but God guides them with His mind. 

-Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue from Ochrid


Quote
As a rational being, man leads nature rather than being led by it.

-St. John Damasence,
quoted in A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel, by St. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain


Quote
…when man again will be renewed and become spiritual, incorrupt and immortal, then also the whole creation, which had been subjected by God to man to serve him, will be delivered from this servitude, will be renewed together with him, and become incorrupt and as it were spiritual.  All this the All-Merciful God foreordained before the creation of the world.

-St. Symeon the New Theologian


Quote
The soul has three powers: first, the power of nourishment and growth; second, that of imagination and instinct; third, that of intelligence and intellect.  Plants share only in the first of these powers, animals share in the first and second only, and only men share in all three.

-St. Maximos the Confessor
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« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2009, 10:26:22 PM »

Alien Abductions and the Orthodox Christian
by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna

Quote
What, then, if they are not advanced beings from other planets, are these alien abductors? Ultimately, one cannot escape the conclusion that they are demons or phantoms created by demonic power. In the first place, they look like demons. They appear to be material creatures, and yet have a transparent character. According to the teachings of the Church, demons are spiritual beings; that is, they are fallen Angels. But because they are corrupt and degenerate, they thrive on the human passions—feed on them. This well explains the almost universal sexual exploitation of their captives by alien abductors. In the second place, in the course of their physical examination of abductees, the aliens inflict pain on their victims and frequently scar them. In spiritual literature, and especially in the lives of the Saints, we repeatedly read of physical attacks against Christian believers by demonic spirits. If these aliens are not demons, how is it that beings so advanced that they can achieve space travel cannot prevent pain and scarring during routine physical examinations? It is not pain which the aliens cannot control, but their demonic passion for inflicting the same on mankind. Moreover, at least initially, abductees experience terror and fright in the presence of their alien abductors; only later, after having been reluctantly won over by the aliens, do they feel secure in the presence of their abductors. This is a classical demonic machination. Demons inevitably strive, in a methodical way, to overcome the initial and natural repulsion that human beings feel in their presence, gaining the confidence of those whom they seek to mislead. Finally, the spiritual effects of abductees’ contacts with aliens, as we have pointed out, are anti-Christian. Abductees are drawn away from the universal teachings of Orthodox Christianity and towards the demonic delusion that underlies modern New Age philosophies. Human transformation ceases, for these victims of alien visitation, to be a God-oriented, Grace-mediated process, but becomes part of a personality-dissolving return to the "elemental" universals upon which the pagan notion of Paradise is predicated.

It is worthy of note that the late Father Seraphim Rose, in his book Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future (Platina, CA: Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1990; Revised Edition), has also examined the phenomenon of alien visitations to earth from an Orthodox standpoint. He devotes an entire chapter of this work, "‘Signs from Heaven:’ An Orthodox Christian Understanding of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)," to the true nature and meaning of alien contacts with human beings... His deeper analysis of the phenomenon is ingenious and supports much of what I have suggested about alien encounters with humans. He also observes that the aliens in contemporary abduction reports are similar in appearance to the demons which, for centuries, have been described in Orthodox literature (p. 134). In fact, he recounts two cases of demonic "kidnappings" in fifteenth- and nineteenth-century Russia that, in Father Seraphim’s words, are "quite close to UFO ‘abductions’" today (pp. 136-137). It is his conclusion that classical demonic possession, known to the Orthodox Church for centuries, accounts for the alien abductions that we see in modern times and that "...modern men, for all their proud ‘enlightenment’ and ‘wisdom,’ are becoming once more aware of such experiences—but no longer have the Christian framework with which to explain them" (p. 137). This conclusion perfectly reflects what I have said about alien abductions and how they should be understood and viewed by the Orthodox Christian.

From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XIV, No. 1, pp. 57-62.

read the full article here:
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/alien_abduct.aspx
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« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2009, 10:28:44 PM »

Talk to yourself much??
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