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Christian Views of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence

Christian Views of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (1600-2000): An Alien Concept?
Jennifer Laing, August 2002

                                                      

Author

Jennifer Laing, School of Tourism & Hospitality, La Trobe University,
Bundoora, Victoria.

Abstract

The 17th century saw a shift in Christian thinking about the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligence (ETI), in line with changes in scientific understanding. Mainstream Christian doctrine began to accept at least the possibility of a 'plurality of worlds', although divided on the theological ramifications of such a doctrine.
For Christians, ETI has long been a difficult issue on which a wide range of opinions have been expressed or indeed suppressed; from dismissal of the idea as outright heresy, through to a belief that a wise and benevolent creator God could indeed have created a multitude of inhabited worlds replete with intelligent life.


This paper will examine the opposing Christian perspectives on ETI from 1600 to the close of the 20th century, and consider why some Christians have found the idea of intelligent life populating the universe confronting to their faith.

 

Key words

extra-terrestrial intelligence, ETI, Christianity, plurality of worlds, universe, faith, heaven, creation, geocentric, cosmology.

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