The theology of aliens: Would extraterrestrials need to be baptized?

Do you believe in aliens? Many think it is unlikely that humans are the only intelligent beings in the entire universe. But fewer probably think about what that would mean in terms of the aliens’ souls. If personal beings were discovered on another planet, would inter-planetary evangelization be necessary?

Recently on The Patrick Madrid ShowPatrick responded to a question from a listener about whether aliens would be in a fallen state, and therefore need to be baptized. Patrick responded:

“My answer would be yes, they would be in a fallen state also. And I would reference Romans 8:23 to make that point. This is St. Paul’s description of the entire universe:

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not of it’s own will but by the will of the one who subjected it in hope. Because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay, and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God, we know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons of the redemption of our bodies.

Now, this reference to the whole creation, this is language that’s used to describe the entire cosmos – all of the universe. So, to go back to your question, I would say yes. Biblically speaking, if there were beings that we discovered who had an intellect and a will, they were personal beings, then they would be in a fallen state too. And this would be an entirely new mission field, telling them about Jesus and what Jesus did for all of us, because they would be encompassed by the futility that was brought about by Adam’s sin in the garden.

I’ll also mention one other thing – this kind of thing has happened before. And you may be thinking, ‘What?!?’ Yes, when the European explorers were at the very earliest points of the exploration of what we now know as the New World, they were encountering these races of people that did not look like them, did not speak like them, did not live like them.

And during these early days of the contact becoming more regular between the Europeans and the indigenous people in the New World, there were actual questions and even debates about whether these people were human. Now to us that is laughable, and we would look at it as ridiculous and insulting to the indigenous people, but these were questions that many of these European explorers asked themselves. They asked if these people were human because they didn’t know anything about them or the way they lived.

So that kind of historical precedent (as crazy as it might sound to us now) is kind of a parallel to how we might react if, in fact, we encounter a race of aliens that are like us, in the sense that they have an intellect and a will, and therefore, souls.”

Listen to the full response below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9-noon Eastern/6-9 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.

 

Holy Land Pilgrimage with Drew Mariani
Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.