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RELIGIOUS SCHOLARS DON'T RULE OUT CREATION ON MARS.

Byline: Scripps-McClatchy Western Service

Life on Mars? God is big enough to do it. But if he did, wouldn't he let earthlings in on the secret?

So say strict biblical interpreters faced with Tuesday's news of finding rudimentary life on Mars.

``If there was intelligent life on other planets, which would eventually affect us, we would find evidence in Scripture. But there is none,'' said the Rev. Frank Cook, pastor of Northwest Baptist Church in Denver.

On the other hand, as a creationist, Cook isn't bothered at all by the notion of inert microbes existing elsewhere: ``God can do anything he wants.''

For other religious leaders and scholars, the notion of someday finding intelligent life ``out there'' is exciting.

``This news implies there's a kind of magnificence and variety in creation,'' said Regis University professor Dave Thomas. ``For instance, we say there's one type of human being divided into women and men.

``But there may be other varieties. To me that's why we've had the teaching about angels - because there's a lot more out there than just us.''

But no matter how many other worlds there are, God will always be supreme and good and operating within moral law, he added.

What's more, if God made mankind in his image - as the Bible says - even fantastic-looking beings could fit the mold, since the phrase doesn't seem to refer to physical resemblance, said Frederick Greenspahn, professor of religious and Judaic studies at the University of Denver.

As for Christianity's central tenet, Christ's redemptive death on the cross, there's no reason the act couldn't be part of an interplanetary plan, said the Rev. John Anderson, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.

On the other hand, maybe those creatures didn't need redeeming: ``There could be a parallel existence,'' he said. ``Perhaps God has a whole new creation someplace, another Garden of Eden where they're still romping around, free of original sin. Nothing precludes that.''

The Koran actually predicts finding life elsewhere, said Mohamed Jodeh, president of Colorado Muslim Society. It encourages Muslims to seek other planets ``to see the glory of the kingdom.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 10, 1996
Words:354
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