Monday, March 20, 2017

Are They Out There?

People have always been intrigued by the unknown, such as far off lands and just-out-of sight mysteries. One of the most fascinating avenues of exploration, both real and imaginary, is outer space. With each new galaxy that modern astronomers discover, there is the hope for, and perhaps the possibility, of finding extraterrestrial life.

Does the belief in, or desire to find, the existence of aliens contradict basic Judaism? Oddly enough, this is not a new question. There are records of discussions about “Torah and aliens” even in the Middle Ages. In fact, the idea is even presented in the Talmud, which is not surprising, as there is written acknowledgement of other planets as far back as ancient Babylon.

According to one Talmudic suggestion, Scripture alludes to other-worldly life when, in the Book of Judges, the prophetess Deborah’s song of victory states: “They fought from the heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera...’Curse you, Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord, ‘Curse you bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord’” (Judges 5:20, 23). Meroz, states one Talmudic opinion, was the name of a star (Talmud Moed Katan 16a), and, if so, its inhabitants would be extraterrestrials.

As in the larger world, among the Jewish scholars throughout the ages there are those who believe and those who don’t. The general overall attitude toward this question, however, is that whether aliens are out there or not, God is Master of the Universe. He created everything, all worlds--and since His power is limitless, aliens are not a complete impossibility.

Copyright © 2017 NJOP. All rights reserved.
Bibliography

No comments: