In my youth, I wasted much of my time on science fiction, flying saucers, and aliens. I finally lost interest in those subjects, but today I see many nations are now exploring space. They’re expending much effort and money trying to establish contact with alien civilizations on other planets.
The United States has developed outstanding capability to journey to the moon and Mars. In fact, President Trump, in January of this year, established a new branch of the military, the Space Force, to protect America from threats launched against our country from space.
Before the worldwide acceptance of space travel in the modern era, I had already come to terms with the Catholic faith I learned in my childhood. In the back of my mind, I always held it to be true that God created the entire world, that God revealed Himself to us and that what He revealed is absolutely true. It was one of the reasons I gradually lost interest in science fiction and ancient aliens. Today I have a different view of space travel.
After I had gotten deep into science fiction, flying saucers, and aliens, it eventually became obvious to me that much of the world of science and science fiction does not recognize God. Many of their leaders think religion was something born in medieval times. In the modern age, however, where great advances have been achieved in science, we no longer need God or religion. We are capable of almost anything we want if we try hard enough. Or so it seems.
Prominent Atheistic Scientists
Today our culture is enamored with evolution, which attempts to explain how we came to be, step by step, through natural causes, without need of a Creator. Many high ranking scientists, like Carl Sagan, did not or do not believe in God or in an afterlife. I read some of Carl Sagan’s books, as well as Jerry Coyne’s, Why Evolution is True, and Richard Dawkins’ works and others. All these men are convinced that God does not exist.
Carl Sagan is the one I know the most about. I own his Cosmos, a Personal Journey video series and have read his books Contact and Cosmos. The latter contains a fascinating chapter called “Encyclopedia Galactica” (which I will reference below). I have researched a great deal about him on the Internet. He is famous for his statement that if Jesus ascended into heaven two thousand years ago travelling at the speed of light – the fastest velocity anything can reach – He would not even have risen out of our galaxy.
There are one hundred billion galaxies in the universe, implying that Jesus is still somewhere in space trying to reach heaven. Here is what Sagan had to say about life after death: “I would love to believe that when I die, I will live again . . . but as much as I want to believe that . . . I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.”
This stumped me for a while. Most evolutionists are convinced that we humans are utterly gone when we die, yet much of what evolutionists say in their writings and speeches gives one the impression they don’t really believe this.
A Curious Inconsistency
For example, when discussing human progress, they say things like “when ‘we’ achieve space travel,” or, “in the past ‘we’ did this or that.” Carl Sagan himself said: “’We’ humans are capable of greatness.”
I was confused by this. In essence, it means that when I am alive, I am part of a collective “we” of humanity, but when I die, if there is no afterlife, I will be completely gone. I will not be alive in the future, just as I was not alive in the past. That is what it will be if their opinion is true and there is no afterlife.
Of course that’s another inconsistency. These men imply a communal “we” as if humans are all somehow bundled up into a collective whole. This is not true on its face. Humans are individual persons, now and for all eternity. Even according to their own doctrine, if one dies with no afterlife, that person is gone, extinct! That person cannot have a part in anything anymore.
So, why would anyone want to board a space ship, travel a risky and dangerous journey, perhaps die on the way, just to become extinct? The “we” that supposedly will enjoy life on a distant planet is not the “we” who began the journey. There is something in the atheistic scientists’ mentality that makes them think that mankind is somehow all gathered into a collective “we,” which somehow seems to be immortal. But doesn’t this contradict Sagan’s “wishful thinking” statement?
Humanity as God
I have a feeling that some evolutionists, in the backs of their minds, think that mankind itself will eventually evolve into God. It’s curious that while they reject religious doctrines, they also, at the same time, casually adopt an esoteric New Age teaching which is its own sort of doctrine based on eastern religions.
Of course, evolving into God is impossible; but when I read how some of them have expressed themselves about the glories of “we” humans and the things “we” humans will eventually achieve, I wonder what exactly evolutionists have in mind.
Scientists and science fiction writers have often speculated that there are physical beings with intelligence on other planets. I think this is entirely possible, provided that it is in God’s plan for the universe. The Internet is full of articles about life on other planets. Carl Sagan was also convinced that humans will eventually encounter alien, extraterrestrial civilizations. There is an incredible amount of money and effort underway to discover life elsewhere in the universe.
Creationism and Naturalism
In contrast to what atheism offers, creationism describes a robust life after physical death. Our mortal bodies die, but the spiritual soul remains alive and awaits the resurrection where all human beings are once again in possession of a physical, though transformed, body. This new body is immortal like God intended in the first place.
Most other cultures, even primitive ones, anticipated some state of life after death. The Egyptians did and went to extremes to prepare a person for their journey after death. Even very primitive tribes, like the Amerindians, did so with their anticipation of the happy hunting grounds. The departed would be rejoined with his family and those he knew during this life, along with uncountable ancestors who died before him and live in peace and joy with no hostility from others, peacefully hunting sufficient food to maintain himself and family. Actually, this was an ideal picture: being with loved ones, basking in peace and harmony with children, grandchildren, grandparents, and ancestors.
The Christian Idea of the Afterlife
Even for modern humans, this would be “heaven”. God revealed that He is love. The love we have for our family and friends is derived from the love God has for all He creates. It would be heavenly bliss to be surrounded by people you love and who love you in return. This is what God wanted for all of us in this mortal life, but it was spoiled by the devil’s rebellion.
I remember the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984. The opening ceremony presented a parade of participating nations, one hundred forty-one of them, including many tribes of Amerindians from North and South America. It was so charming to see the various Indian tribes dressed in beautiful clothing adorned with feathers, singing and dancing as they paraded by.
I felt sorry that history dealt so poorly with them when the white man settled these two continents. I wished it could have been otherwise, but I can’t change history. In the next life, there will be no conquest, no strife: everything will be peaceful and fulfilling for all because everybody will be doing God’s will joyfully and thoroughly. No nation, no matter how small, need worry about the aspirations of larger nations. In heaven, they will all obey God’s will in peace and harmony with respect and love for others because they all love God.
All the famous people you learn about in history books will be in the heavenly kingdom also (or at least we hope they will). You will be able to visit and converse with anyone from an earlier age. Sagan made a big point about learning what others, even on other planets, had been thinking when they were alive when he introduced his “Encyclopedia Galactica”, which was like a database of all the information gleaned from all the civilizations in the universe.
When I read his work, it occurred to me that not everything people think and write in this mortal life is true. How much better it would be to actually speak to the people who, in the past, made important discoveries about the world we all live in. I think the afterlife promised by God is much better than what scientists are offering.
Some Theological Concerns
One more item: If there are intelligent beings on other planets, the revelation God made to the human race would still be valid. The presence of an extraterrestrial race would not refute what God has already revealed.
If there really are alien civilizations on other planets then it seems to me that God has chosen earthlings to combat Lucifer and evil in this world. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity chose to become incarnate within the human race. Jesus Christ, through His human nature is God’s Messiah, King and High Priest of heaven and earth, of all angels and all physical intelligent beings, whether native to earth or some other planet.
My speculation is that extraterrestrials do not have to defeat Satan. We earthlings under Blessed Mother have to do it. That would make the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ very special compared to alien civilizations.
So, we must keep the faith! God is offering us much more than science fiction has ever dreamed of. Pick up the mantle of truth and goodness God has given us earthlings, and when we leave this earthly life and stand before God’s great white throne, after the incredible grief of this earthly struggle. And I pray we all hear God’s voice saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23)