For onto you another child is born

Brian Jones
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Typically, a bunch of geeky scientists picked Christmas week to make a blockbuster announcement in a field of study that could eventually force millions of Christians - and many of their co-religionists - to confront some very disturbing questions about their faith.

A team of astronomers sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) revealed this week they have discovered two Earth-sized, rocky planets.

The telescope crowd has already tallied about 100 planets orbiting other stars.

But all the previously discovered planets had been gaseous or giants, unfit for habitation by either human beings or Republicans.

Finding the pair of Earth-sized, rocky planets brings the search for extraterrestrial life one step closer. Unfortunately, the newly named Kepler 20e and Kepler 20f are both too hot to sustain life.

So scientists continue to search for an Earth-sized, rocky planet that lies within the so-called "Goldilocks" zone - not too hot and not too cold, and thus able to provide that necessity of life, liquid water.

Shedding light

Of course, astronomers needn't find alien life forms resembling characters in "Star Wars" to prompt people to ponder their place in the universe.

You look up at the night sky and, if you're in an existential mood, you're almost forced to wonder what God was thinking.

OK, He created Heaven and Earth ... fine, but what's with all those billions and billions of stars? Why are they there? Were they really necessary?

If mankind is indeed beloved by God, and is sort of His special project, why did He feel the need to sprinkle the sky with uncountable stars?

Did He do it because He knew we would think it was pretty?

Was it because He knew the stars would be helpful for trans-oceanic navigation, enabling a significant portion of mankind to escape the hellhole of Europe?

God could have created just the sun and the planets, but no, He had to go and complicate things by creating not only the Milky Way, with its 200 billion stars, but billions of other galaxies to boot.

There is a simple explanation, of course. He created the entire universe to test our faith.

You look up at all those shimmering lights, and you're tempted to think we're not so special after all, in the endless expanse of the cosmos. Tricky fella.

Intergalactic goodwill

The nerdy scientists on the NASA research team seem convinced they are on the verge of discovering alien life. One guy from Harvard said he thinks it will happen within his lifetime.

Whether or not he's being overly optimistic, he's right about one thing: if and when it happens, the discovery of alien life will be one of the most dramatic events in human history.

It will challenge philosophical notions held for millennia. It will reverberate through the human psyche with a blast far more powerful than when Charles Darwin scribbled down his ideas about evolution in "The Origin of Species."

Millions of believers will drop to their knees - some metaphorically, some literally - and ask the Almighty, "OK, we get the thing about the stars, but what's up with those other civilizations?"

Never mind the science. It is the social questions that will be captivating, and possibly unsettling. Are there wars on those alien planets? Do their leaders send other people's children off to die for highly suspect causes? What do they do with their poor?

Perhaps they have their own Bible story. Maybe a child was born unto them, grew up, became a saviour and was crucified.

If so, God is going to have some mighty big explaining to do.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at


Organizations: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, The Telegram

Geographic location: Europe

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Recent comments

  • Charlotte
    December 26, 2011 - 11:33

    Personally I think WE are the aliens and a far superior life form watches US with peculiar interest, wondering if we will ever evolve to our maturity. Hey, I believe in God and am even a minister (female at that - blasphemy!!!) but I think anyone who thinks for a minute they have it all figured out from one book compiled of a few ancient manuscripts that have been seriously mistranslated and wrongly used over many years is seriously delusional. God is bigger than our imagination, even with the help of scripture, will ever take us.

  • Anon
    December 23, 2011 - 15:28

    What do atheists, christians and investigative scientists have in common? They all have the answers and neither of them can prove a thing. Hogwash. The thesis of this article is tragically flawed. Other lifeforms in the galaxy and beyond wouldn't disprove anything in the bible. The ancient sanscript texts of india make several allusions to alien life forms. This is not a new concept - not even to religion.

    • Jack Roberts
      January 20, 2012 - 16:58

      I liked how you justified your point about the bible by referencing sanscript texts ;) I get the feeling you haven't written very many theses. While your right that the existance of aliens is not a new concept to religion as a whole the discovery of other lifeforms in the universe will most definatly shake the faith of people that believe that the bible is the exact word of god (i.e fundamentalist christians)

  • David
    December 23, 2011 - 10:18

    Read the firsf .few chapters in Genesis and its explained how their is only life on earth. That is, if you believe in God

  • David Day
    December 23, 2011 - 08:48

    This is not so inconsistant with biblical accounts of the universe. Christ's last words according to one account is that he had beings from other worlds to attend to. Merry Christmas!

  • Warren Schmaus
    December 23, 2011 - 07:57

    While your basic assumptions may be based upon the bible account that God created the heavens and the earth, the idea that a scientist on earth will outsmart God is laughable. Your questions at the end of your article are based upon the improbable, and thus follow into the form of "what would happen if ice formed and sank?" Interesting to contemplate but of little value otherwise. God seems to want a relationship with mankind based upon faith. The more I understand His character, plans, and purpose, the more my actions are seen by others as faith. Religious people require actions based upon a set of rules. In following a set of stringent rules, the breaking of rules usually follows rather quickly. It would be best to believe that the creator GOD was more interested in our knowing Him than following a set of rules. This would give me true hope in my future as well as the future for mankind.