1. Kessie says:

    It’s such fun to speculate, and that’s where our fiction comes in. That book about whether elves have souls sounds really awesome.

  2. Bob says:

    Colossians 1:23
    if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
    I’m thinking this means that the only market for souls is with mankind, to whom the gospel was given.

    • John Otte says:

      Ah, but here’s the thing: Does what Paul says there really exclude aliens? It could be that Paul is engaging in some colorful hyperbole in describing the apostles’ activities (since at the time of the writing of Colossians, a lot of creatures hadn’t heard the Gospel yet).
      Or another question that we should consider is if Paul intended that as a geographical designation or an existential one. Perhaps “under heaven” could mean “creatures that live in the mortal realm,” which aliens certainly could be.
      Proof texting can be tricky, especially when it comes to stuff like this.

  3. Galadriel says:

    As I said last week, the odds against intelligent life on ANY planet are so high that I do not expect this to become a real-world issue anytime soon, although it is fun to speculate on. I also should add that Summera Elvitica to my reading list.

    • John Otte says:

      Oh, I agree. In the end, I’m not a “true believer” when it comes to alien life. I have serious doubts as to whether we’ll ever know. But, like you said, it’s fun to speculate and “dance on the end of a theological tree branch,” as it were, especially since such speculations can have real-world connections.

  4. Krysti says:

    I’ve read the book. I give it two thumbs up! Thanks for the interesting and informative review. 

    I was aware of the debate on whether Africans were human, and whether they were equal in intelligence and therefore ought to be treated as equals. I wasn’t aware of the debate about the Native Americans, although somehow I’m not at all surprised.

    I could go off on a tangent about this, and how the theory of evolution has contributed to encouraging this debate in other parts of the world even today, but I wouldn’t want to derail the general gist of the conversation.


  5. Lisa Lickel says:

    The every creature under heaven led to all dogs go to heaven too speculation. If God created the heavens and the earth, why would he give souls only to some sentient beings and not others? A former pastor used to say he believed we were the only sentient beings in this creation because God wanted to show us how big he is.
     John asks what is a person? Is is sentience? So the creatures who come, bring the book How to Serve Man are pretty smart (awful glad they didn’t want girls), are people or not? If all this other sentient race wants to do is eat us, does that make them less people-ish? If they don’t see us as people but great snacks? Or capable only of being a servant who needed to be cared for and given a purpose for breathing and taking up space? 

  6. Paul Lee says:

    Since Mr. Otte started his series, I’ve been thinking on this question, and I feel that any aliens that may hypothetically exist would really be no less “human” than us.
    There was a great thread on the Anomaly [This is a link even though it doesn’t look like one.] about this subject that you guys want to read; I posted more about my idea there.
    I have read Summa Elvetica as well, and the comparison with that and the mention of Native Americans gives me another thought.  When the Americas were discovered, they were a New World; people had known the world was round long before Columbus, but I’ve taught that no one in any of the civilizations of Asia and Europe had ever conceived of the existence of the Americas.  And when Europeans came out this way (I’m in the U.S. ;-)), they found strange alien cultures, but the Native Americans were just as human as they were.
    I think could only relate meaningfully to beings created in God’s image as we are.  Therefore, if we were ever to discover sentient life that we could relate to on other planets, I think the aliens would also have to be created in God’s image.  I think a ramification of this is that all aliens would be essentially “human”; if you prefer to have the word “human” mean exclusively Earthlings, then these aliens could be said to be in the family of Mankind.  They might look very different physically, but I think they would definitely be humanoid in form and probably able to breed with Earth humans.

What do you think?