Hello, I have just found your site and have been reading the Questions & Answer Page. This is a great service that you are providing and really shows your integrity. I was born an raised Catholic. I have recently (past three years) drifted away to study other beliefs. I have a question that has been bothering me for many, many years.
How do Catholics, and the other world religions who claim to be the only path to God, explain life on other worlds, either in our own solar system (very unlikely) or other solar systems in our galaxy or in other galaxies (very likely)? Are we so arrogant as to believe all of the billions of things God has been doing since the Universe was first formed, are written in a single book given to humans 2000 years ago?? Isn't God free to do as He pleases? The way to God: I would have to think that there are many ways to God. God cannot be limited. He sent Jesus here on earth. He is the root of Christianity here on Earth. Could there be other Messiahs on other planets? Or maybe Christianity may not be the only way to God?? The Bible says so, but how accurate is it, really?? There were people in existence before Christ was born. What of them? I cannot believe that God who is All-Knowing would create any man knowing that that man would sin and be damned for all eternity (else he would have sent Jesus before creating man, or he would have mad man incapable of sinning).
Thank you for your email and kind words. Your question is complex, but for us Christians we already know part of the answer. After all we have always known about other intelligent beings in the universe for whom the plan of salvation was different from us. The Bible refers to them repeatedly and the Catechism has a beautiful section about these "extra-terrestials" who have visited us and continue to do so. They are of course the angels. The Catechism quotes St. Augustine, "'Angel' (messenger) is the name of their office, not their nature. If you seek the name of their nature it is 'spirit'." (#329) It goes on to describe their functions as well as their intelligence and freedom. But unlike some people in the 'New Age' we do not consider them as independent from God. The ones who chose that are the fallen angels or devils. Their rebellion may have been caused by refusing to worship Christ in light of his taking on human nature.
As far as other intelligent beings who may exist on distant planets, there are some possibilities:
1. They did not fall and therefore do not have need of a Redeemer. C.S. Lewis has a beautiful science fiction story called "Out of the Silent Planet" which tells about three species of rational creatures not ruined by sin. Also Perelandra about an 'Eve' who succesfully resisted the devil.
2. They fell and God somehow will redeem them thru Christ.
3. They fell and God has some separate plan for their salvation.
All this would be speculation until we actually meet them. I also
"cannot believe that God who is All-Knowing would create any man knowing that that man would sin and be damned for all eternity"
The Catechism explicitly teaches that "God predestines no one to go to hell." (#1037) And that hell is a state of self-exclusion. (#1033) Anyone who goes there does so by his own choice, but it is still a real and terrible possibility, something that none of us should take lightly. For us who know about Christ and his Church we have a great advantage, but also a heavy burden. "To those whom more has been given, more will be required." Part of what is required is witnessing our faith to others who do not know Jesus or his Church. The book of Revelation, really the whole Bible, testifies that what will last is Jesus united forever with his bride the Church. Everything else is illusion and will pass away like a house of cards collapsing.
Tammy, do feel free to write again. I hasten to add I am hardly the last word. On the internet there are many beautiful sites which explain the faith.
Fr. Phil Bloom
Salvation of Non-Catholics
Homily about Salvation in Catholic Church