Pope Benedict XVI's astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens
#26
(12-01-2011, 12:30 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
St. Augustine Wrote:It is also asked whether we are to believe that certain monstrous races of men, spoken of in secular history,  have sprung from Noah’s sons, or rather, I should say, from that one man from whom they themselves were descended. For it is reported that some have one eye in the middle of the forehead; some, feet turned backwards from the heel; some, a double sex, the right breast like a man, the left like a woman, and that they alternately beget and bring forth: others are said to have no mouth, and to breathe only through the nostrils; others are but a cubit high, and are therefore called by the Greeks “Pigmies:”  they say that in some places the women conceive in their fifth year, and do not live beyond their eighth. So, too, they tell of a race who have two feet but only one leg, and are of marvellous swiftness, though they do not bend the knee: they are called Skiopodes, because in the hot weather they lie down on their backs and shade themselves with their feet. Others are said to have no head, and their eyes in their shoulders; and other human or quasi-human races are depicted in mosaic in the harbor esplanade of Carthage, on the faith of histories of rarities. What shall I say of the Cynocephali, whose dog-like head and barking proclaim them beasts rather than men? But we are not bound to believe all we hear of these monstrosities. But whoever is anywhere born a man, that is, a rational, mortal animal, no matter what unusual appearance he presents in color, movement, sound, nor how peculiar he is in some power, part, or quality of his nature, no Christian can doubt that he springs from that one protoplast. We can distinguish the common human nature from that which is peculiar, and therefore wonderful.

Going off St. Augustine here, it would seem that one could easily argue that any intelligent aliens that we were to find could be saved through the Church since they would be rational mortal animals.

On the other hand, it would seem to endanger the view of humanity that we find in some of the Fathers. For example, St. Athanasius thought that God had chosen the design of our bodies with the Incarnation in mind. He specifically chose a form that would be fitting for his Son to inhabit, so, in a certain sense, the Image of God in man extends beyond just our intelligence to even our physical appearance. I suppose in such a situation we could still say that man has some special place even if he is not alone.

Here's some more relevant St. Augustine:

St. Augustine Wrote:But as to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite ours, that is on no ground credible.  And, indeed, it is not affirmed that this has been learned by historical knowledge, but by scientific conjecture, on the ground that the earth is suspended within the concavity of the sky, and that it has as much room on the one side of it as on the other:  hence they say that the part which is beneath must also be inhabited.  But they do not remark that, although it be supposed or scientifically demonstrated that the world is of a round and spherical form, yet it does not follow that the other side of the earth is bare of water; nor even, though it be bare, does it immediately follow that it is peopled.  For Scripture, which proves the truth of its historical statements by the accomplishment of its prophecies, gives no false information; and it is too absurd to say, that some men might have taken ship and traversed the whole wide ocean, and crossed from this side of the world to the other, and that thus even the inhabitants of that distant region are descended from that one first man.  Wherefore let us seek if we can find the city of God that sojourns on earth among those human races who are catalogued as having been divided into seventy-two nations and as many languages.  For it continued down to the deluge and the ark, and is proved to have existed still among the sons of Noah by their blessings, and chiefly in the eldest son Shem; for Japheth received this blessing, that he should dwell in the tents of Shem.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf102.iv.XVI.9.html

This seems like a wise policy, though, as it turns out, the Antipodes *were* inhabited after all.
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Re: Pope Benedict XVI's astronomer: the Catholic Church welcomes aliens - by Parmandur - 12-01-2011, 02:27 PM



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