Andrew Davison | Cosmic Incarnation - BioLogos

The question of intelligent extra-terrestrial life and the possible need for a Saviour for them has been addressed before. One argument is the the Word becomes incarnate in their species too and all the incarnations in each special still make up one cosmic Christ event that draws the whole universe to a completion and deals with sin everywhere it arises. Of course id there is no other IET life the question does not arise.

St. Raymond, thank you for your comment. Because the documentary is unavailable for review it is hard to evaluate. However, I can make some observations.

The relationship between the cheetah and gazelles is interesting be3cause they apparently coevolved. Gazelles are too fast for other big cats, while cheetahs seem to prey exclusively on gazelles. Cheetahs depend on gazelles for food and gazelles depend on cheetahs to cull the herd.

However, since cheetahs do eat grass, they are not in competition with gazelles for food. Humans have tended to get taller and faster with time also, but this is not the result of genetic changes which is the focus of Darwinian evolution. This is another way we adapt to our environment, just as the cheetah and gazelle do.

Interesting podcast…i havent had time to read it all as of yet but i have got to the following…


The point of your book is not really to work through all of the current science of astrobiology, but as your subtitle says, to explore the implications for Christian theology of there being life elsewhere in the galaxy or the universe. And you’re really specifically homing in on intelligent life elsewhere, right? The existence of moss, or trees, or even animals elsewhere doesn’t pose much of a problem theologically?


Well, I’m not sure that very much at all poses a problem for theology. But, here I’m in a bit of a position of attention because I think theologically, the really interesting questions get posed once we start thinking about beings that have memory, and intellect, and will, and moral capacity, and capacity to have a relationship with God, or to muck that up, and so on.

Its a great theological question, i believe that the Bible already answers it quite emphatically on a number of occasions:

  1. We know biblically that there is only a single origin of sin…the fallen Lucifer now known as Satan.
  2. We know that Lucifer was cast down out of heaven to THIS EARTH. There is nothing biblically that tells us anything other than this fact.
  3. We know that Satan is bound to this earth biblically.
  4. We know that Christ died once for ALL sin

Romans 6 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God .

I don’t think Davison’s statistics are correct. I think he is overestimating the possibilities for life by a considerable number of magnitudes.

  1. We are in a high planet forming region of the universe, but most of the universe is not that way. So taking the frequency of planets we find around stars close to us is not a good measure of how common planets are in the universe.

  2. Many of the high planet forming regions in the universe are also flooded with deadly radiation, so we cannot expect life to form in places like that.

  3. Even looking at planets nearby we are not finding conditions at all similar to our own. Most solar systems observed have the large planets close to the sun, and we know having it the other way around is very important because the larger planets shield the smaller inner planets of our solar system from having as many asteroid collisions.

  4. We know the rich element content of the earth requires the collisions of neutron stars. The result is that considering everything that was required to creating the conditions for life on the earth, 13.8 billion years is not that long.

This is not to say that we do not find places elsewhere in the universe where we can expect life to be possible. And in such places Davidson’s argument applies to suggest that life is likely in such places.

My final assessment is it is not impossible that we are the only (earliest) civilization to exist in the universe, but given the enormity of the universe, it is unlikely.

However. I don’t see any theological problems with the existence of other civilizations because I don’t think everything (God or the universe) has to revolve around Christianity. Christianity is about mankind and the earth – and that is all. To think everything must be about Christianity is vanity and provincial as well. It makes God very small. I believe in a God which is bigger than that – a lot bigger.


What is this weirdness you are talking about? Is that just a word for EVERYONE who has a different opinion than your own? Sorry… not trying to be nasty to you… though this does remind me of your comment on the charismatic movement in Catholicism (not in your favor). In any case, I really do want to know what you mean by “weirdness.” Is it just a difference in opinion or is there a reason for criticism?

They’re in competition to stay alive.

Who benefits if the cheetahs kill all the gazelles?

The gazelles certainly do not, nor do the cheetahs, because they have none to hunt. Generally speaking, the cheetahs do well when the gazelles do well. which means plenty of grass and water. I understand it is during the dry season when the situation is difficult for both gazelles and cheetahs.

You quoted it just above – the “Cosmic Christ” doctrine (if it deserves that label).

Though perhaps you’ve never encountered it; it’s a bit esoteric: the idea is a strong panentheism asserting that Christ is incarnate in the entire universe or at least is present fully in every part of the universe. A boiled-down version de-emphasizes the panentheism, rather holding that Christ cares for the universe in its whole and all its particulars. Another ‘reduced’ version is eschatological, maintaining that at the end of the age and the beginning of the next Jesus’ presence will embrace the entire universe much as He presently embraces the church.

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Well I am certainly not a fan of pan(en)theism (often to a degree where many ways of thinking common in Christianity look too pantheistic to me, so I oppose them). Nor do I like this exaggeration of the importance of Christianity as if all the universe and God must revolve around it.

Yeah that is what I saw when I looked it up. So I take it, an earlier version was more pan(en)theistic in its terminology. Be aware that refining their explanation of their idea and distinguishing it from things like pan(en)theism is a good thing. Self-correction is to be encouraged and mistakes should not held against people as permanent labels.

Interesting… does that bother you in some way? Maybe I don’t understand the meaning and implications so well… do you have a criticism of this?

Hmmm… it reminds me of this idea proposed in another thread a little while ago that Christ’s death and resurrection should be thought of as the origin of the universe. Now… I thought that was weird.

The first one I described is the weird one, the others not so much. The eschatological version seems weird because it seems to be the first one, just postponed so to speak. The middle one I have no real trouble with.

Yeah, that’s a bit strange. The idea that the Incarnation, specifically the first moment, is the foundation for the universe is something I’ve encountered and entertained, the idea being that the universe can only exist because Christ took on material existence; that’s something that has popped up in some of my reading in the Fathers and the mystics. The version I like has the universe unfolding both forwards and backwards in time from that moment, effectively creating the entire timeline at once – from the Creator’s perspective, anyway; we’re stuck within the temporal flow.

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Romans 6:10: The death we die with Christ through baptism, we die to sin once and for all; but the life we life with Christ through baptism with Christ we live with GOD.

This restatement of this verse better catches it meaning, esp. when quoted out of context. Jesus did not need to be freed from the power of sin, humans do and we are saved through His life, death, and resurrection and not just His death. Jesus lived His whole life in God’s Love, while we need to be saved by Him. It is through the Love of Jesus that caused Him to die for our sins that we are reconciled with the Father and are able to live in right relationship of Love with GOD through the Spirit.

Other than that. I would say that your attempt to unite an OT understanding of evil (Lucifer) with a NT understanding of evil, putting GOD first in one’s life. If Lucifer were the source of evil, a dualist point view which is not acceptable theologically. then Jesus’ struggle would be against him, not against our self-centeredness.

Now I understand your love for the Bible. It is a great book, but it is not the Word of GOD. Jesus Christ and He alone is the Word, Logos of GOD, John 1:1 & 14. Likewise, the Old Testament is GOD’s covenant with GOD’s People Israel, but the new and fuller covenant in Jesus Christ has come and the OT is no longer valid.

Today too many “Christians” confuse the Old and New Testaments, which results in a legalistic monster which is neither. As was said above by cosmicscotus among others, GOD’s reconciling Word is not limited to a particular nation or locality. It is for all. How that happens is GOD’s problem, not ours.

Even that is too pan(en)theistic for me. Change that to giving life to the universe and maybe… But not existence – NO! The universe exists because God created it – in the beginning. But then I am totally opposed to the whole Calvinist. absolute foreknowledge. block universe, determinism collection of ideas as effectively indistinguishable from pan(en)theism (and incompatible with science even).

But the idea that Christ’s incarnation and resurrection gave life to the universe (well earth anyway) – in a spiritual not biological sense, I can sympathize with that. Not really my way of thinking. … but ok…

It must be noted that Mitchell is quoting someone else. These are not his words.

Let us start with the obvious. If there were no universe then there4 would be no incarnation. or4 so to speak if there were no Father Who created the universe, there would be no Son Who redeemed the universe. Also/ of course there would be no humanity.

That of course does not mean there would be no GOD, but there would be no GOD as we know Gose we would not exist.

Pantheism says that then universe is a part of GOD. Christianity as I understand it says that GOD is the Source of the universe. The diffe3rence being that the universe if comes from GOD and is shaped by GOD, but it is not GOD.

The questi09n here is how Can the universe be derived from GOD and shaped by GOD, but not be controlled by GOD?. In some sense we cannot answer that question, but only say that our theology and science confirm that the universe is not absolutely dependent on GOD, but interdependent with GOD because GOD is LOVE.

That totally butchers the meaning. Paul’s words are plain, and those do not match them. When Paul chose the words ὃ γὰρ ἀπέθανεν, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ· ὃ δὲ ζῇ, ζῇ τῷ θεῷ, he didn’t do so sloppily, and those words do not express what you “restated” them as, they match what adam posted.

That depends on how you mean it. All our sin was laid on Him, "the LORD laid on Him the iniquity of us all:.

no problem with what you wrote, it just isn’t what the passage says.

That is exactly what I mean and not what it says. The problem seems to be that Paul says that sin through th4e Fall cause death. I think most people would agree that death did not arise from the sin of the Fall. Death is part of Creation and based on its and our finitude. Sin is related to death in that sin results from human dependence on the finite, instead of GOD.

Jesus Christ was never dependent on the finite. He was always dependent on the Father. The only way that Romans 6:10 makes literal sense is to say that Jesus died on the Cross in part for His sin as well as ours, which is categorically untrue. We are saved not because Jesus Hied for His own sin, but because He died for our sin…

To say that Jesus died for His own sin is the opposite of what Paul is trying to make clear. It is also the basis of a legalistic false version of “Christianity in name only” which could be the reason why many conservative CINOs embrace the Orange Jesus.

You’re dealing with two different definitions of death.

No, it isn’t. Recall that Paul says that God “made Him to be sin”. Paul is talking as though sin is an entity, not as a legal issue, and he portrays that entity as being closely tied to Jesus’ death.
When meeting apparent contradiction in the scriptures, declaring that one of the inspired writers is wrong is not a useful approach – instead, take their words seriously and work to resolve the apparent contradiction.


St. Roymond, I still think that my objections to mixing OT mythology with NT theology still stands.

The problem is that sin is not an “entity.” Mark 15:34 “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?!” Jesus Christ accepted our sin, yet did not sin. He was never under the power of sin, but He defeated sin and freed us to be able to relate to GOD if we accept the forgiveness of the Father and the power of the Spirit.

Sin is not a thing. Sin is not an entity. Sin is a negative relationship to GOD and others.
Paul was mistaken about the character of sin, but the4re was enough information in his th4ology and the4 gospel that we can discern the facts about the relational character of GOD and salvation if we are willing to trust in the Logos. We are saved by the Logos, not the Bible.

My problem with that is that the moment someone decides they can dismiss something an inspired apostle clearly said they’ve crossed into the realm of a cult.

I am not dismissing anything. I am arguing that no passage in the Bible can be taken as perfect out of the context of the whole. If you want to attack a cult, you need to take on the cult of the Orange Jesus who dismisses the entire Bible with everything he says and does.