From: Steve Petermann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Sep 22 2003 - 17:10:50 EDT
Thanks so much for your response. While this is still a sticking point for
me I appreciate the dialogue.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr. Blake Nelson" <email@example.com>
To: "Steve Petermann" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2003 3:52 PM
Subject: Re: C.S. Lewis on ETs and theology
> Brief (due to time constraints) comments interspersed:
> --- Steve Petermann <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Dr. Nelson wrote:
> > > I did anything but merely pass off your questions,
> > but
> > > tried (apparently not to your satisfaction) to
> > address
> > > all of them.
> > Okay. Here goes: In what follows I'm assuming that
> > there is some *concrete*
> > salvic benefit incurred by the incarnation of the
> > second person of the
> > trinity, life, death and resurrection of Jesus here
> > on earth. I'm also
> > assuming that it would rather arrogant of us to
> > assume that the salvation of
> > all ET's everywhere were dependent on what happened
> > on this planet. So, if
> > there turns out to be ET's out there:
> > 1) Is another incarnation, life, death and
> > resurrection of the second person
> > of the trinity necessary for their salvation? Or at
> > least an incarnation at
> > some point in the planet's history?
> I think the simple answer is it depends, and I don't
> know how we can speculate about it. The point I tried
> to get across is that the actions, life, death and
> resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth were for *human
> beings*. I do not know what biological, cultural,
> etc. factors would go into making *different*
> redemptive actions for the second person of the
> Trinity in union with the nature of some other ET.
> I doubt as an initial matter, if there were more than
> one Incarnation that every Incarnation would be a
> carbon copy passion play. What happens would depend
> on those creature's nature and what God wants for
> > 2) Is there a limited scope to any particular salvic
> > scheme? Country?
> > World? Solar system? Galaxy?
> Why should there be? I would caveat that some
> versions of christianity posit a limited scope, e.g.,
> limited atonement, for christ's action -- now that
> does not apply to world, country, globe or galaxy, but
> to the elect.
> I am not sure what you mean by salvific scheme? I
> think that Jesus of Nazareth may be able to speak to
> ETs who still have had their own experience with the
> second person of the Trinity (or as Howard might say
> The Sacred). They, likewise, may have good news to
> share with us, too.
> I think it odd to say that salvation is geographically
> delimited since even Jesus of Nazareth is not about
> geographic limitation -- quite the reverse. And as I
> pointed out before, to the extent some christians talk
> about exclusivity it is neither ethnic nor geographic.
> > 3) If I move from one planet to another, am I
> > covered by the salvic scheme
> > of my previous planet or the new one?
> Ah, hah! Here I think we are beginning to get to the
> root of the problem!?
> One's understanding of atonement influences what the
> answer to this is. First, like so many things varies
> significantly among and within christian traditions.
> Second, if you are looking at it from a penal
> substitution perspective, which your question implies
> (and I wouldnt necessarily look at it that way), then
> the answer is you're covered by the one from your
> biological planet of origin. Although, I would not
> view it in those terms. Although God is God no matter
> where you go. To the extent that God reveals Himself
> to ETs consonant with their nature, one might suppose
> that it would be most "natural" to understand
> revelation vis-a-vis made to your planet of origin,
> but I see no reason why there might not be good news
> to share as I have said before.
> > 4) If there can be different salvic schemes on
> > different planets does that
> > mean that there can be different salvic schemes on
> > this planet as well, say
> > by another religion in another part of the world or
> > can there only be one
> > salvic scheme per planet?
> Well, I dont think christianity has one understanding
> of God's salvific scheme for this planet.
> I think the broad christian sentiment is God is most
> fully revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. That does not
> make claims, necessarily, about other relligions.
> Theologies differ widely. For the purposes of this
> list, I will stay away from getting any more explicit
> on this question.
> > 5) Assuming that ET's may be very different than us,
> > is salvation species
> > specific? In other words if there are more than one
> > sentient species on a
> > planet, does the second person of the trinity have
> > to incarnate in each?
> Well, I have addressed this already. The first
> question, I presume would be do they sin -- however
> you want to define that. If not, if they have a
> relationship with God that is not broken, an
> incarnation would seem unnecessary.
> Where there is sin, in some way, God would reveal
> Himself to them and join His nature to theirs, which
> is why I suggested that following the example for your
> "species", as you use the term, might be appropriate,
> although not necessarily exclusive.
> As I discussed above, whether an incarnation is
> necessary and what happens vis-a-vis that incarnation,
> I don't pretend to guess, because it will be
> particular to the nature of each "species". (Not to
> eliminate the possibility that where context is
> appropriate it might not be part of God's intent to
> have one "species" evangelize another.)
> > That should be enough. I know it sounds like I'm
> > just trying to be
> > obnoxious but that's not it at all. It was around
> > this very issue that I
> > came to reject the "concrete" idea of the Christ.
> > That does not, however,
> > mean I reject the symbol of the incarnation, cross
> > and resurrection. Can
> > Christianity survive without a concrete Christ?
> > Steve Petermann
> To the contrary, I think the concrete Jesus of
> Nazareth is the greatest hope (and promise) that God
> will join His nature with ETs who are in need of
> redeemption, too...
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