``Good evening. Tonight on Round-Table I have three distinguished guests, each expert in their respective fields of evolutionary biology, philosophy, and theology. Please welcome Dr. James Hammond from the Cambridge Science Laboratories; Prof. Hans Dunster, from the Oxford Centre for Humanistic Thought; and Rev. Dr. Alex Jameson, from the London Theological Institute. Gentlemen, welcome.
``As everyone must be aware by now, three alien craft have been detected in the outer reaches of the solar system, and they appear to be heading to Earth. They should reach us in two months. Now, the question I want to put is, what should we expect when they arrive? Dr. Hammond?''
``Thank you, Sue. What your listeners need to realise is that these aliens will be predators. To develop the technology needed to travel interstellar distances, they are bound to be at the top of the food chain on their home planet. All my computer models confirm this. We need to be prepared for a vicious battle for supremacy. The universe is Darwinian, and we need to be prepared to do whatever is necessary to survive.''
``I totally disagree!''
``Simplistic evolutionary models will seriously lead us astray. To have developed such sophisticated technology these beings must have had a stable society for a considerable time. I anticipate we'll find them highly civilised and peaceful, if we ourselves act peacefully. Indeed, travelling between solar systems must have taken them many decades, if not longer. Assuming there is more than one entity on each vessel, they must be peaceful and placid to have survived such a journey in such close proximity.''
``Dr. Jameson, does the Bible address our issue?''
``Well, from a theological point of view, the open question is whether or not they were influenced by Adam's fall, and, if so, how. As you may know, the Bible teaches that Adam's first sin means his descendents---that is, all of us---are inevitably corrupt, in rebellion against God from birth. And the rest of the `cosmos' or `world' became `cursed'---changed from the paradise that it had been. However, we aren't quite sure of the extent of this curse. In particular, whether it involved the aliens' home world.
``There are three options: these aliens may turn out to be morally perfect super-beings; or they may themselves have fallen; or they may be like animals on earth, subject to creation's curse. If the first, we will probably find them naive and trusting. Of no threat to us, except maybe as a moral one, for we will no doubt be tempted to enslave and exploit them. If one of the other options, I suspect Dr. Hammond is more likely to be correct than Prof. Dunster. We should expect them to be as nasty and as vicious as we can be.''
``The Reverend here seems to be saying that these beings may be `sinful': I find this an appalling category mistake, as though moral codes that developed in the ancient Middle East could possibly apply to an alien race. I suppose you Christians will be wanting to evangelise them too!''
``This raises a number of theological issues. As Prof. Dunster is well aware, Christians contend that it is God, the creator of the universe, who determines the standards for his creatures’ behaviour. However, I do not argue---nor did I imply---that God will require exactly the same moral behaviour from these aliens as he does from us. Although, we should expect substantial commonalities, for God's laws reflect his character. As for evangelism: our gospel is based on God's Son becoming one of us and standing in our place. Unless he has also become incarnate as an alien, we have no good news for them, anymore than we have one for demons.''
``Thank you. Dr. Hammond, would you like the last word?
``Yes. Well, war is coming. I hope the Reverend's first option is right, and these beings turn out to be gullible. We will conquer them and take their technology, as will be our right as the fitter species. If not, we'll have a real battle on our hands. Then may the Reverend's God help us.''
``'Or rather, may he forgive us.''
``Well gentlemen, thank you. After the break, I will be asking a new panel, what does this all mean for the Stock Market? Is there a killing to be made in the defence sector? Or should we be selling our shares and putting our capital in commodities such as gold? Stay tuned.''
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