Re: Judaism and extra-terrestrial life

Akiva Miller (kgmiller@datacorinc.com)
Mon, 3 Feb 1997 17:30:22 -0500

In Torah Forum 3:21, Elliott Brandwein responded to my post, and wrote:
<<< The universe was not created for any other creature besides humans.
It is as unthinkable that any alien life would have any more of a Torah
than a cow has on Earth. Nor would this alien have any more Bechira
(free will) or Neshama (soul) than an animal. >>>

First of all, I see that we agree that there might be undiscovered
animals on other planets, just as our oceans and forests contain many
as-yet undiscovered species here on earth.

Second, I don't see why those undiscovered extra-terrestial species
can't be intelligent, speaking, and free-willed. Our Torah was given to
us in a form which we could relate to, and that is why it is so
ethnocentric and speaks only of this planet. If there were something in
our Torah which denies the possibility of life elsewhere I would agree,
but from what I have seen, the Torah is silent on the issue. I agree
that if we would ever find such beings we would be in a difficult
position of determining their status as animals or people, but we can
deal with that when the time comes.

Let me sum up: I agree that <<< The universe was not created for any
other creature besides humans. >>>, and it is entirely possible that as
the cows were created for us, so too were the e.t.'s.