News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

NASA asks religious experts how to respond to 'life on Mars'

by Donna Birrell

It's emerged that NASA has been working with 24 theologians to examine how each of the world’s major religions may respond to news that intelligent life exists on other planets.

The $1.1 million NASA funded research was entitled “The Societal Implications of Astrobiology” and  took place in the United States at the Centre for Theological Inquiry at Princeton University.

Rev Dr Andrew Davison from Cambridge University was one of the religious experts recruited for the nine-month-long inquiry which began in 2016. He revealed his part in the project in a blog for the university’s Faculty of Divinity earlier this month and he’s written a book called Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine looking at his time as part of the study. 

Rev Davison, who has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Oxford, says his own role focused on the connection between astrobiology and Christian theology and the prospect that there may have been ‘many incarnations’ of Jesus Christ.

The Times has seen a copy of the book, in which Dr Davison says: “The headline findings are that adherents of a range of religious traditions report that they can take the idea in their stride.

“Non-religious people also seem to overestimate the challenges that religious people . . . would experience if faced with evidence of alien life.”

Rev Davison writes that “creation” is seen as a “generous gift” from God and said: “That would apply equally to . . . whatever other life there might be in the universe.

“A large number of people would turn to their religion's traditions for guidance” if aliens were ever discovered.

“Detection [of alien life] might come in a decade or only in future centuries or perhaps never at all, but if or where it does, it will be useful to have thought through the implications in advance.”

Earlier this week, Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope was launched into orbit to replace its 30-year-old counterpart Hubble.

Astronomers hope it will transform our understanding of the universe. 

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email