[Fwd: Re: Life (?) on Mars]

Murphy (gmurphy@imperium.net)
Fri, 09 Aug 1996 19:18:14 -0400

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From: "Sweitzer, Dennis" <SWEITD01@imsint.com>
To: Murphy <gmurphy>
Cc: asa list <asa@calvin.edu>
Subject: Re: Life (?) on Mars
Date: Fri, 09 Aug 96 11:30:00 EST
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[George--if this does get onto the ASA net, could you forward it? It's been
bouncing back from the ASA server]

I wrote about the recently discovered evidence of life on Mars...>>>
> 200 yrs ago, the possibility of life on other planets was commonly
accepted, and presumably by educated Christians as well.
> However, I don't know about what they thought about the salvation of such
extraterrestials. (Would the big word for the topic be 'Exosoteriology'?).

After re-reading this, I should make it clear that I had in mind what people
thought 200 years ago about exosoteriology--not what we think currently
(they thought that there could well be sentient beings on other planets).
The Martian evidence is of something like bacteria, and certainly there is
no need to worry about the salvation of bacteria. [There isn't, is there?
:-) ]

If there is (was) life on Mars, it will be very interesting to see how it
differs. How similar are the genetic codes? Does it use DNA? Does it have
the same internal celluar structures as Earth life? Are there any
multicelluar life forms on Mars?

I would speculate that much depends on the possible
interplanetaryinterchange of life between Mars and Earth (i.e., via meteor,
as far fetched as it sounds). If it occured, than Martian and Earth life
could be very similar--indeed, since Mars had a friendlier climate earlier
than Earth did, the early appearance of life on Earth (within a billion
years after formation) could be partially explained by it have an earlier
appearance on Mars (giving life up to another billion years to form).

I defer on offering any more ignorent speculation until the biologists &
geologists share theirs ;-)

George Murphy responded>>>
>Questions about the religious status of ETs etc revived by the claims
about past Martian life are important. However, let's not foregt the more
immediate implication. IF the claims for Martian life hold up, they lend
very strong support to the idea that chemical evolution from non-living to
living systems CAN take place through natural processes - even though we
still wouldn't understand the mechanism. That is, God can limit himself to
working with and through natural processes, and those processes are able to
be instruments through which God brings forth life.

Martian life would imply that chemical evolution occurs more easily than
often thought. Some will claim that this disproves the existance of God (at
least, of our God), but it's really no problem for either special creation r
for directed evolution. God may have created some life on Mars just for the
fun of it in the same manner he did on Earth.

Let's face it, God is God and he does whatever he wants and not what we
would expect. My read on God's personality is that, given the marvelous
fecundity and diversity of life on Earth, he would enjoy life on Mars.

Sort of like a master gardener with a huge, showcase garden in the back
yard. He'll probably have a small plot out front as well.

Grace & peace,

Dennis Sweitzer