by Brianna Abbott ’17
The discovery of alien persons is more theologically complex; however, there is still room for alien persons in the Catholic faith. There is no definite theological basis for human beings as the only persons created in God’s image or created at all, and if these persons do exist, they could be either fallen or unfallen. Unfallen persons, those who have not disobeyed God, could live on an idyllic planet—much like the world described in Perelandra by C.S. Lewis. If the alien persons have disobeyed God and exist in a fallen state, they may also have been saved, potentially through sending another savoir, a second person like Christ.
“Can God save them? Of course he can. Could the second person be an alien like them? It’s possible, if that’s what he wanted to do,” said Fr. Nic.
Fr. Nic is not the only member of the Church or even the only Dominican Friar to believe that alien life is possible. The 16th century Dominican Friar Giordano Bruno hypothesized that there could be an infinite number of worlds with an infinite number of saviors, and St. Thomas Aquinas pointed out that there is no reason why Christ cannot have additional, unknown natures other than the human and the divine.
Even Pope Francis has weighed in on the subject in the past, saying, “Until America was discovered we thought it didn’t exist, and instead it existed…I think that we should stick to what the scientists tell us, still aware that the Creator is infinitely greater than our knowledge.”
Many keep their faith and science as two different—and contradictory—subjects that they do not attempt to reconcile. However, as scientific discovery and process continue to shape our world, it is impossible not to bring them together.
The good news is that they do not have to contradict each other. They can coincide, feed off each other, and give us a fuller explanation of the universe when working together. So, although we are unsure of whether or not we are the only persons in the universe, there is still room for God on the planets surrounding TRAPPIST-1.