A Question from The Mountains of Madness

Pax Christi everyone!

What would it mean for Christianity if paleontologists discovered the fossils of a sapient race of creatures living long before our time? I think it’s called “The Silurian Hypothesis”.

By the way, this is a serious question.

Pax,
Charles

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I guess for me it would have little to not influence on my beliefs. Neanderthals we’re here before us. Ultimately o guess though it would depend on what all they found.

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It’s far from clear whether paleontological data could give us anything useful for assessing the spiritual status of something like that. For high intelligence in the Silurian, the options would pretty much be cephalopods, fish, and extraterrestrials. All of them are sufficiently different from us that we might not be able to comprehend any sort of theology of theirs, if it existed.

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Its not a serious question if it what -ifs the impossible

Creationists would dismiss them as soulless brutes, while others might embrace them. Look at Neanderthals.

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Might make us a little jealous to not be the only apple in Daddy’s eye but other than that, God’s love should overcome our pettiness. The narrative changes a bit but either we are made in God’s image or we aren’t. If that is affirmed I don’t think anything else matters. Genesis 1-2 could care less about the issue.

I wondered about this especially after watching that “life after people” show. It wouldn’t take long at all for traces of us to disappear. Against this speculation we would probably have to look at the fossil record, brain evolution, genetics and phylogeny. While there is a complete lack of evidence for it, is the record complete enough in these areas to rule it out? Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence but I am guessing the more science you know the less likely this hypothesis becomes.

You come off as rude. The question is serious to the author as stated and other’s have certainly thought about it from time to time. Dare I say the majority of the population will also not have the requisite scientific knowledge to answer the question. From your comments I have noticed a dismissive tone, presumption and sloppy writing the last few days. If English is a second language the writing can be excused (“if it what -ifs the impossible” and many others) but given word plays like “suture” I doubt it and you don’t get to presume things about people you can’t know or decide what is and isn’t a serious question for them.

You also completely deflected from the entire point of the question about what this would mean for Christianity only to nitpick at something irrelvent. The author clearly is aware this question is not popular consensus. That is why the caveat was added. Sometimes its best to keep your fingers off the keyboard.

Vinnie

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Why yes, your lengthy post there illustrates your point.

I think it would simply mean … that sapient creatures existed before our time. Why should that pose any problem for general (deep-time acknowledging) Christianity?

If I can be forgiven for tacking on another somewhat related question of my own into this thread:

We often have heard Christians asked “So how would the discovery of other intelligent life - or any life at all - elsewhere in the universe affect your faith?” - with the (mostly erroneous) presumption often having been that the Christian ought to be at least a little (if not a lot) rattled by this if it turned out to be the case.

But what about this question turned the other way: Would it really rattle non-believers if it were somehow definitively discovered that earth and earth alone harbors life in the entire universe? Would such a flagrant exception to the law of mediocrity disturb any of you as non-theists?

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For me it would mean the same thing other hominids mean to me at present. That is to say, it doesn’t matter to me what God’s relationship with Neanderthals or Denisovans was. Or put another way, if he had a particular relationship with them or not in the same way as modern homo sapiens, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m made in his image and called to follow him.

Or put still yet another way,

Jesus answered, “If I had a special relationship with Silurians, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

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That has a familiar ring to it.

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There was a guest post on Biologos in 2017 called
The Elimination of Intermediate Varieties: How Evolution Lays the Groundwork for Assigning Rights

The original post doesn’t seem to be accessible, but the discussion is still there. I found the post very disturbing and so did several others. The poster claimed there were "non-personal Homo sapiens animal” around at one time alongside “real” humans, as well as other racist ideas.

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You mean something like the realization that the whole universe doesn’t revolve around Christianity and Christians?

About time for such a realization!

Is that also what the whole to do is over aliens is about?

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But God only keeps one ant farm and we’re the ants*. :wink:

*For @LM77’s amusement

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As long as it’s not revolving about the shoggoth xd.

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interesting question! Thank you. If neanderthal are outside of the Salvation story, and I have one to 3% Neanderthal genes, does part of my body stay behind at the resurrection? It seems God can work that out

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Does God save our ever changing cells or the sum total person, the full constituents of which is still very much up for discussion.

Vinnie

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I totally agree. That’s a difficult question. I just know that some people feel that our bodies will be resurrected, so although that doesn’t bother me, it’s more of an interesting question

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I don’t think resurrection involves our original bodies, which as you point out are constantly replacing cells. Or Will people be fighting over donated organs? If so, it could get messy…

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Reminds me of the philosophical question: If you replace every single part of a ship over time with new pieces, is it still the same ship?

Vinnie

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The other thing to consider is that some of our cells may have once belonged to somebody else!

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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