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Vast Universe: Extraterrestrials and Christian Revelation [Kindle Edition]

Thomas O'Meara
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

If we have learned anything from recent advances in cosmology and astronomy, it is that we have only barely begun to comprehend the vastness of our universe and all that it contains. For Christians, this raises some fascinating questions:

    If there are intelligent beings out there, what would be their relationship to what Christianity claims is a special history on Earth of life with God?
    Would the fact of persons on other planets banish or modify our understanding of God? Would it reduce the importance of Jesus?
    What role might goodness and evil play in extraterrestrial civilizations?
    Might God have incarnated himself among other races of creatures, as he became incarnate as Jesus among us?

Respectful of the sciences that disclose the reality of the universe, Thomas O'Meara wonders about good and evil, intelligence and freedom, revelation and life as they might exist in other galaxies. In this book, one possible aspect of the universe we live in meets the perspective of Christian revelation.

Editorial Reviews


Thomas O’Meara is a Catholic theologian of international reputation and exceptional breadth of vision. In Vast Universe, he has produced a study of singular significance on what could at any time emerge as possibly the most important issue that the Catholic Church has ever faced. His volume provides readers with faithful analyses of the views of prominent thinkers from many cultures and many centuries.
Michael J. Crowe, Cavanaugh Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and author of The Extraterrestrial Life Debate, Antiquity to 1915: A Source Book

Vast Universe is written in the clear, concise, and accessible style that characterizes all of O'Meara's work. Here it is suitable for upper-division undergraduates.

Susie Paulik Babka, University of San Diego, Horizons

About the Author

Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P., Warren Professor Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, is the author of Erich Przywara, S.J.: His Theology and His World (2009) and God in the World: A Guide to Karl Rahner's Theology (Liturgical Press, 2007).

Product Details

  • File Size: 513 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Glazier (May 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00866GO1E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #807,020 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative Journey! November 1, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While some have argued for an anthropic principle that would render improbable the emergence of life and intelligent life on other planets, Thomas O'Meara argues, based on probability and given the expanse of the universe, that conditions for other habitable planets with advanced beings is quite high, perhaps "one in every four hundred thousand star systems" (10). What are the implications for Christian theology that holds to the particularity of the incarnation of God in the human person Jesus Christ?

O'Meara is Warren Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, who in this scientifically-grounded book has posed speculative questions for us to ponder. Odds are that intelligent beings would have evolved different forms from humans, yet also have developed social life, cultures, and civilizations. Would they also have fallen into sin and exercised free will in choosing evil? O'Meara thinks this is not necessarily so. Perhaps other forms of intelligent life have developed a benevolent character and social existence.

Whereas on earth, Christians hold, God became human in Jesus Christ, what would this incarnation mean for intelligent creatures with other forms and histories? Would God become incarnate otherwise on other planets? Would there then also be other salvation histories among different extraterrestrial species? O'Meara sees promise in these possibilities: "more life, more art, more science, more revelation" (100). How large is your imagination? How big is your God?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Are Definately NOT Alone May 10, 2013
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Based on another persons review, I purchased this one as opposed to one I was looking at. Thanks Whoever You are! It's intelligent and sophisticated and well done. Visuals are awesome and helpful. I just keep watching them and find myself going...Oooooo.....Aaaaaa.....
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O’Meara small book briefly discusses some of the rudiments of the questions which relate to how our understanding of Christian thought would be affected or altered given evidence of an extraterrestrial reality. He poses many of the well-known, fundamental and pertinent questions but does not answer most of these explicitly, and of those he does answer, does not offer a systematic or comprehensive response that one would expect in a book-length examination. His basic frame of reference of the question, for the Christian, is his focus on the triad of person, divine relationship, and sin as a universal reality and central significance for all rational creatures. However, this is yet another anthropomorphic projection that places limitations on what in reality likely is much different. Other beings may not necessarily share our same sense of individuality, consciousness of self-determination, awareness of general or personal morality, or experience of divine relationship. Atheists on our own planet, for that matter, do not share a belief or consciousness of the divine with religious persons, and it is not difficult to imagine given our earth’s history, of a society devoid of morality or personal responsibility. In addition, it is possible that a highly advanced civilization outside our earth could establish a culture in which all individuals function as a collective consciousness, enabled by the use of cybernetic and synthetic implantation, where all thoughts, awareness, and decisions are shared and sense of person and individuality have ceased to exist. These are just a few of the unknown types of possibilities of which terrestrial theologies must consider when attempting to formulate an understanding to accommodate new information of this kind. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expands your mind February 11, 2013
By Annie
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O'Meara's text is an excellent example of how the issues of faith and the facts of life (science) intersect. No one can read this book and think of God as only for us Earth-born folks.......
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5.0 out of 5 stars Science and Religion inform each other April 20, 2015
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O'Meara ties what the latest science tells us about the universe with our Christian faith. Science and Religion are not mutually exclusive. The science of the universe makes God that much more mysterious. Highly recommended.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars theologian July 24, 2012
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Reverend O'Meara, a prestigious American theologian, has scored a first in presenting a comprehensive view of possible extraterrestrial life within the context of Christian revelation. It is wonderful expose of the immensity of God's creative power. How vast is the universe? Only God knows, as it is gradually unfolded to us. Truly a must read.
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