We Christians believe that the preexistent and eternal Word of God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. The Word of God is one of the three persons of the Trinity and the Word is omniscient, omnipotent, infinite, perfect, and unchanging.
But Jesus was also perfectly and truly human. Because human beings exist in time and in a contingent universe, the process of the Word becoming one with the flesh of the perfect human being, Jesus, is hard to understand. I speculate that this process may have been accomplished in steps. For instance, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then born as an infant. I assume He learned to talk and walk as a human being, learning from His parents. Then, after His visit to the temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12, we are told by Luke that He went back to Galilee and then grew in ďwisdom and statureĒ. This must refer to His human nature as it is hard for an infinitely wise God to grow in wisdom.
Then, at around the age of 30 he was baptized by John the Baptist and then He began His public ministry and began to work miracles. After the crucifixion, He was resurrected into a glorified body. We know this body was not exactly like His previous body, it was glorified and had additional capabilities. So at times His close disciples did not recognize Him. I speculate that He manifested more of the divine attributes at this stage than as an infant. Ultimately, he ascended to sit at the right hand of God and rule the entire universe. Now, after His ascension, He is completely the Word of God but still remembers His experiences in His more limited earthly body and life, so He can empathize with us.
This incarnation of God, His crucifixion, resurrection, glorification and ascension are the greatest events in history.
Now letís speculate, what happens if we make contact with advanced alien beings. Assume an alien civilization is far more advanced than our own and that the alien beings are far more intelligent than human beings. How would that scenario affect the faith of human beings? It would be very interesting to find out whether such beings would have any religious or spiritual beliefs, and if so what kind, or would they instead be atheists. I hypothesize two alternatives.
First, what if the aliens turn out to be not only atheists but to view our religions as primitive superstitions, not worthy of serious consideration. I assert that this would in no way diminish the truth or value of our religions and our spiritual history. Religious belief is not only a function of intelligence but rather a function of our lived spiritual histories as individuals, civilizations, and as a species. Our spiritual traditions and beliefs would still be just as valid and powerful, despite the beliefs and philosophies of other species and civilizations. In particular, the meaning of Jesus to Christians would still be valid and true and powerful. We believe in an all-powerful God, and that God is much more powerful than any alien civilization.
Second, what if the aliens had already experienced an incarnation of their own. Again, that need not shake our faith in Jesus Christ. We know our Lordís status and role and it is not in jeopardy. Could or would God possibly cause an incarnation of His Word into another living form? We donít know.
But for that matter, what about the spiritual sensibilities and realities of the intelligent alien beings on our own planet, the other intelligent species here on earth? We donít know about their inner realities either and they may have beliefs we canít understand. Even if they are not as intelligent as humans, at least in some ways, that does not mean their realities are not valid. What about the spiritual realities of whales and dolphins, crows and parrots, octopuses and cuttlefish? I would not be surprised if they have beautiful understandings or intimations of the meaning of life and death, even if we may never have any way to learn about them.
But when you get right down to it, we are all alien beings, all of us including each and every human being. We each live in our own consciousness and canít really know whatís going on in other humanís inner spiritual realities. We are strangers in a strange land, and we each have our own inner spirit and soul that we are responsible for. And we must each ultimately decide where we stand spiritually. And we know that our God is bigger than any contingent beingís religion, concepts, ideas or beliefs, including any other alien beings, no matter how intelligent and advanced those beings might be.
And our great God is the source of our hope. Being a God of sacrifice, we know He sacrificed His only begotten Son for our sakes. And we know that our human lives require sacrifice and hardships, but they are made meaningful by His sacrifice and, being greater than any evil, we know His power and plan will ultimately make all sacrifice, all hardship, and all evil be worth the cost, and the end result will be the ultimate good. So while we are strangers in a strange land, we are bound for glory in a home prepared for us by God, and all creatures, high and low, great and small, alien and common, will be brought into their proper home by an all powerful God.
ďAll shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.Ē -- Julian of Norwich