The Case for Klingon Christ


Image from A Great Work, via io9

I’m glad that serious thought is being put into the subject of Klingon Jesus.

I read an article on io9 recently about a panel titled “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” that addressed issues related to Christianity and alien intelligences.

Basically, the issue is this — if there are intelligence species on other planets in the universe, then, from a Christian perspective, there seem to be two possibilities: God becomes incarnate as messiah on each one, or Christ came once to Earth, and it’s the responsibility of humans to tell the galaxy about Him.

I’ve had this conversation several times over the years, beginning with a conversation with some friends in a Mexican restaurant in Jackson, Miss., during which one of my friends argued that this was why he believed there was no extraterrestrial intelligence — the theological implications were too daunting.

Interestingly, we ended up with the same nickname for the question that this researcher, and apparently some others have, all independently — “Klingon Jesus.” If there were Klingons, would God send them a Klingon Jesus, or would we have to tell the Klingons about Jesus? Why it’s not Vulcan Jesus or Wookiee Jesus I don’t know, but Klingon Jesus seems to be the inevitable name for the quandary.

The researcher tends to disagree with the “one Jesus for all the universe” hypothesis, arguing it would make humanity too special, but I personally don’t know that, in a universe in which interplanetary cultural interactions are common place, it would necessarily be any more of a big deal than it was sharing a Jewish messiah with the rest of the world over the last 2,000 years.

There’s a related issue that this article doesn’t get into — Christ had to become a man in order to die for men; can he become a human to die for Wookiees? Or does a Wookiee have to die for Wookiees for it to be equivalent? I suppose the same argument applies — how much different is it from a Jew dying for an aborigine? Answer: I have no idea.

The other issue that this article barely touches on that has been central to some of the discussions I’ve had is the issue of original sin and Jesus as the second Adam. One could argue that, for a human Jesus to die for the sins of other intelligences, they must have been without sin prior to the Garden of Eden on Earth; that no species anywhere was fallen prior to the Terran Fall. And that just seems unlikely, and thus a seeming argument for multiple planetary messiahs. (Which in turn begs for speculative Christian science fiction — what would have happened if a planet which was in its post-messianic era had made first contact with Earth between the fall and the coming of Christ — could humans have been saved by another species’ incarnation of Christ during that period?)

My favorite implication of this is that, really, until humans know that either there is no extraterrestrial intelligence in the galaxy or that the multiple planetary messiah theory is correct, it is arguably a Christian theological imperative to support space travel, lest aliens who need to hear not receive the word of Jesus.

“Go ye therefore for into all nations (on all planets) …”

So, what do you think? Are their aliens out there? And, if so, is there a Klingon Jesus?

4 Responses

  1. Every ounce of theological intuition I have is screaming out that the Incarnation is a one-time, unique event.

    I think one Incarnation would be sufficient as long as whatever intelligent beings are out there are of the same essential nature as we are. Christ doesn’t just become man to die for man, he assumes our nature and pulls it up into the Divine Life.

    Even if the aliens are unfallen, there may be benefits for them of the Incarnation. This gets into Nature and Grace and a whole other can of worms, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

  2. Do you believe in original sin? Would one incarnation for you require that no aliens sinned before Adam did?

  3. I have no idea, much less a theory, but I do know that God is big enough for whatever the truth is, since he is the source of all truth and whatnot. Personally, I liked pondering the question while reading C.S. Lewis’ “Perelandra.” If you’ve never read it, you should. 🙂

  4. Yeah, I agree — back when I had the original conversation, it made me dubious to hear “God couldn’t have …” Well, yeah, He probably could. 🙂

    Thanks for the recommendation, I have the trilogy in my To Read list.

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