Donnerstag, 9. Juli 2009


"It might turn out that the redemption of other species differed from ours by working through ours. There is a
hint of something like this in St. Paul (Romans 8:19-
23) when he says that the whole creation is longing and
waiting to be delivered from some kind of slavery, and
that the deliverance will occur only
when we, we Christians, fully enter upon our sonship to God and exercise
our "glorious liberty/'

On the conscious level I believe that he was thinking
only of our own Earth: of animal, and probably vege-
table, life on Earth being "renewed** or glorified at the
glorification of man in Christ. But it is perhaps possible
it is not necessary to give his words a cosmic mean-
ing. It may be that Redemption, starting with us, is to
work from us and through us.

This would no doubt give man a pivotal position. But
such a position need not imply any superiority in us or
any favouritism in God. The general, deciding where to
begin his attack, does not select the prettiest landscape
or the most fertile field or the most attractive village.
Christ was not born in a stable because a stable is, in it-
self, the most convenient or distinguished place for a

Only if we had some such function would a contact
between us and such unknown races be other than a ca-
lamity. If indeed we were unfallen, it would be an-
other matter.

It sets one dreaming to interchange thoughts with
beings whose thinking had an organic background
wholly different from ours (other senses, other appe-
tites), to be unenviously humbled by intellects possibly superior to our own yet able for that very reason to de-
scend to our level, to descend lovingly ourselves if we
met innocent and childlike creatures who could never
be as strong or as clever as we, to exchange with the in-
habitants of other worlds that especially keen and rich
affection which exists between unlikes; it is a glorious
dream. But make no mistake. It is a dream. We are

We know what our race does to strangers. Man de-
stroys or enslaves every species he can. Civilized man
murders, enslaves, cheats, and corrupts savage man.
Even inanimate nature he turns into dust bowls and
slag-heaps. There are individuals who don't. But they
are not the sort who are likely to be our pioneers
in space. Our ambassador to new worlds will be the
needy and greedy adventurer or the ruthless technical
expert. They will do as their kind has always done.
What that will be if they meet things weaker than them-
selves, the black man and the red man can tell. If they
meet things stronger, they will be, very properly, des-

It is interesting to wonder how things would go if
they met an unfallen race. At first, to be sure, they'd
have a grand time jeering at, duping, and exploiting its
innocence; but I doubt if our half-animal cunning
would long be a match for godlike wisdom, selfless valour,
and perfect unanimity.

Of course after the first debauch of exploitation we
shall make some belated attempt to do better. We shall
perhaps send missionaries. But can even missionaries
be trusted? "Gun and gospel" have been horribly com-
bined in the past. The missionary's holy desire to save
souls has not always been kept quite distinct from
the arrogant desire, the busybody's itch, to (as he calls
it) "civilize" the (as he calls them) "natives." Would
all our missionaries recognize an unfallen race if they
met it? Could they? Would they continue to press upon
creatures that did not need to be saved that plan of Sal-
vation which God has appointed for Man? Would they
denounce as sins mere differences of behaviour which
the spiritual and biological history of these strange
creatures fully justified and which God Himself had
blessed? Would they try to teach those from whom they
had better learn? I do not know.

What I do know is that here and now, as our only pos-
sible practical preparation for such a meeting, you and I
should resolve to stand firm against all exploitation and
all theological imperialism. It will not be fun. We shall
be called traitors to our own species. We shall be hated
of almost all men; even of some religious men.

But let us thank God that we are still very far from
travel to other worlds.

I have wondered before now whether the vast
astronomical distances may not be God's quarantine
precautions. They prevent the spiritual infection of a
fallen species from spreading. And of course we are also
very far from the supposed theological problem which
contact with other rational species might raise. Such
species may not exist. There is not at present a shred of
empirical evidence that they do. There is nothing but
what the logicians would call arguments from "a priori
probability" arguments that begin "It is only nat-
ural to suppose," or "All analogy suggests," or "Is it not
the height of arrogance to rule out ?" They make very
good reading. But who except a born gambler ever risks
five dollars on such grounds in ordinary life? "


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