Astrotheology: Could discovery of intelligent aliens end all religion?

Common logic dictates space is so impossibly huge, the right conditions for alien life must exist somewhere out there. Scientists also continually underestimate life’s ability on Earth to survive or even flourish in the most inhospitable places.

But the discovery of alien life is not at odds with religion and faith could even thrive, a theologian has claimed.

Professor Ted Peters of Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley believes God’s creation can extend beyond a single planet.

He told “God’s creation is going to include the entire cosmos any living creatures that might be in it.

“I was concerned about that was it seemed to be tacitly accepted by some scholars and scientists, as well as the media, that if we encounter creatures in space more intelligent than we are, our religions would somehow suffer.

“So my short answer to the question is things will probably go on the way they have been without much change.”

Theologians have long grappled with the question whether, for example, Jesus Christ being born on Earth makes the planet unique in the universe.

Some believe this to be the case, while others argue God incarnated multiple times for each intelligent civilisation.

Dr Peters said: “We published a book in 2018, called Astrotheology, where a number of scholars to please address this question.

“Out of five articles, four answered they would expect God to incarnate multiple times – one for each planet with an intelligent civilisation.

“One of the articles said, ‘No, the historical event of Jesus Christ suffices for God’s atoning work for the entire cosmos’.

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“So we have to say this is an open question, at least amongst Christians.”

As to the question of whether he believes alien life exists outside of Earth, Dr Peters is unsure.

He said: I believe the existence of alien life to be a scientific question.

“Right now there is zero empirical evidence such alien life exists.

“But as many people said, in our religious crisis survey, the universe is really big.

“And there certainly could be life out there. We just have to get ready to meet them.

“God has created an unfathomably large and beautiful universe.

“And if we can share it with alien intelligent creatures, all the better.”


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