Meteor From Mars?
Our century has been fascinated with the possibility that there may be life on other planets. The idea of rational life forms inhabiting worlds other than our own was practically nonexistent before the Age of Enlightenment during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, however, with such movies as War of the Worlds, Star Wars and Star Trek there is little if any doubt among the vast majority of people in the Western world that extraterrestrial beings exist. In fact, we are thought of, in most "science fiction" scenarios, as being a primitive and backward race; just a little above troglodyte on the intelligence and emotional scale. There are thousands who claim to have had experiences with extraterrestrials from sighting interstellar spacecraft to being abducted and medically experimented upon. Unlike most of the previous generations both the Boomers and Xers take for granted that we live in a universe inhabited throughout by humanoids or other sentient beings.
Recently, it was big news that an ancient meteor found in the antarctic purportedly came from Mars and there is "evidence" of microscopic life forms. The National media was all abuzz. Professors were coming out to proclaim that religion had finally been proven wrong. There were even questions by "experts" which implied and were some times explicit that if life could be shown to exist on another planet then this somehow proved that God does not exist. In reality the fact that such statements could be made with confidence not only speaks of how pathetic the level of education is in the fundamentals of basic logic even among the most highly "educated" but also that the struggle between religion and science has reached a new low in its constant "never the twain shall meet" attitude.
Some very important questions must be asked before taking this theory of a Martian rock on planet earth seriously. First, how can any scientist be positive this meteor is from Mars? The theory is that some asteroid or comet smashed into Mars millions of years ago causing big chunks of rock and planetary debris to fly into space and eventually some of these fragments were caught in earth's gravitational pull and fell into the antarctic. My question is, why couldn't a meteor have struck earth causing debris to literally be jettisoned beyond our atmosphere into space and it, not having the force to leave earth's gravitational pull, fell back into the atmosphere crashing back to the planet at the antarctic? Secondly, where is it written in the scriptures that God could not have produced life anywhere else in the universe? IF this rock is literally from Mars and IF these microscopic filaments are actually fossilized life forms what is so astounding about that? The possibility of primitive or even complex life forms existing somewhere else in the universe does not logically take away from the existence of God. He is the Creator after all. If He chose to create extraterrestrial life it only shows His intent to create life everywhere as an outward manifestation of His nature as Author of Life.
It may be interesting to note that the majority of scientists who have studied this meteor have now determined that there is no evidence of life present. Nevertheless, as Roman Catholics we must address this issue of extraterrestial life and its theological implications. The main article in this issue deals with this timely subject.
Before you read that article think about this: In the early days of science fiction story telling and with these stories subsequently being expressed in the movies of the 1950's the existence of God was never questioned because of the possibility of aliens from other planets. In fact, in many of these movies (usually the most popular) there were religious sub-themes. For example, in two of the most popular science fiction movies about extraterrestrials, "The War of the Worlds" and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" there were significant statements concerning God's providence. In "The War of the World's" for instance, the last statement made by the narrator was "After all that men could do had failed the Martians were destroyed and humanity was saved by the littlest things that God in His wisdom had put upon this earth." The movie then ended with a hymn. X
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