The Vatican’s concluded its Astrobiology Week today. CNS featured the story. From Chris Impey of the University of Arizona:
The astronomer said it is widely believed that life needs three basic ingredients: carbon-based material, energy provided by stars, and water, “which is one of the most common molecules in the universe.”
Energy provided by a star: that assumes that we’re talking planet-based life on the surface of a body orbiting a star. I think the scientist is thinking too narrowly. The three basics are right. Carbon–there’s just no other element that could possibly bear the basis for the chemistry of life. Water, certainly, is everywhere in the universe. Energy, however, is not just a factor of stellar radiation. There are other forms of energy in the universe. The moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus have subsurface water and plenty of energy from gravity and tides.
What of intelligent life? Father Jose Funes, SJ, head of the Vatican Observatory addressed this at a press conference, and cited Jesus telling of the lost sheep:
God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ was a singular and “unique event not only in human history but in the history of the universe and the cosmos,” he said.
The existence of evil and original sin on Earth meant God, the good shepherd , had to leave behind his entire flock to go get his one lost sheep, he said.
“Humanity would be this lost sheep and in order to find this lost sheep (God) became man in Jesus,” Father Funes said.
Are we the lost sheep of many? Or are we the only sheep in the cosmos?