I am fond of reading Fr. Dave's blog Blood of Prokopius. Although he writes mostly about fantasy gaming, he also has played Traveller and has written a number of posts that discuss it in relation to the Orthodox faith. I don't know why I hadn't spotted the post I quote from before, but it explains much better than I did what I wanted to say about aliens and God.
Read the whole post here:
What makes us Human?
"Christianity offers an answer to the question that encompasses culture, technology, intellect, reason, and genetics and also transcends them. That answer is found in Genesis when God creates humanity in His image and likeness. In other words, what makes us human is the ability to share in divine characteristics — love, creativity, freedom, justice — and to become like God."It's not about out stuff, or even the fact that we're endowed with reason. It's about how much we imitate our Creator.
"When we limit ourselves to culture, technology, reason, intellect and genetics, the idea of a sentient alien species wrecks havoc with our belief systems. There are countless sci-fi stories out there that abandon Christianity for this very reason. However, Christianity is not limited in this way, and is far more resilient than many understand it to be. The question we need to be asking of these sentient alien species is this: are they created in the image and likeness of God — Can they love and create? Can they value and participate in freedom and justice? Can they be transformed and become more like God? If these can be answered Yes, then they are human."In all of my musing on the existence of intelligent & talking dogs, dolphins and whatnot, it never occurred to me to consider what Human attributes they should have. I tossed in a few thoughts just because it sounded fun (or funny) at the time.
In my description of Dolphs, I mention Dolph art, music and literature. So maybe Dolphs are human? Hmmm. Neo-dogs, on the other hand, do not have any art, but are very loyal, just as normal dogs are. Do they understand Love as between God and Man? Maybe they do. This is my universe, I'll have to decide in time how I'm going to represent these non-human Beings.
What about robots and clones in the Church? Robots, as I said earlier, are not alive and do not bear the Image. Clones, though, are based on human biology, so they might possess the attributes/qualities that Fr Dave discussed.
Wow. This has just gotten a lot more complicated. But in real life, I've said for years that everything is complicated. So as my TU grows and develops, I will find a place within it for Dolphs and Dogs and maybe eventually some non-terrestrial human Beings, and consider how Earth humans and the Church will interact with them.