Mars photo

Special Focus:
The Possibility of Extra-Terrestrial Life

The Pathfinder's exploration of Mars, following on the heels of the Roswell anniversary, has turned our attention and imagination to space once more. The question of extraterrestrial life looms again as an issue of great interest. Underlying questions about the origin of the of the universe and its relation to the God of faith may be raised again with renewed vigor. We have put together a special focus to discuss some questions relating to these issues.

Feature Article

Are We Alone in the Universe?
Dr. Ray Bohlin
Recently, there was great excitement in the media about the announcement by a group of scientists from NASA that proclaimed they had found evidence of life on Mars. Their evidence, an alleged Martian meteorite, was vaulted to center stage, and everyone from CNN to "Nightline" ran special programs with interviews and video footage of the scientists and their prized specimen.

Additional Resources

Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang and God: Part 1
Dr. Fritz Schaefer III
Stephen Hawking's bestseller A Brief History of Time is the most popular book about cosmology ever written. The questions cosmology addresses are scientifically and theologically profound. Hawking's book covers both of these implications. Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole--its structure, origin and development. I won't answer all the questions Hawking raises concerning cosmology, but I will try to make comments on many of them.

Stephen Hawking, the Big Bang and God: Part 2
Dr. Fritz Schaefer III
Part 2 of the previous article.

DNA: The Message in the Message
Nancy R. Pearcey
If we consult everyday experience, we readily note that objects with a high information content--books, computer disks, musical scores--are products of intelligence. It is reasonable to conclude, by analogy, that the DNA molecule is likewise the product of an intelligent agent. This is a contemporary version of the design argument, and it does not rest on ignorance--on gaps in knowledge--but on the explosive growth in knowledge thanks to the revolution in molecular biology and the development of information theory.

The Prerequisites of Life in Our Universe
John Leslie
Also published in Newton and the New Direction in Science, ed. G.V. Coyne, M. Heller, and J. Aycinski (Vatican City: Specola Vaticana, 1988). John Leslie studied philosophy and psychology at Oxford University before coming to the University of Guelph in Ontario in 1968, where he is now Professor of philosophy.

Is There a Role for Natural Theology Today?
Dr. Owen Gingerich
Dr. Owen Gingerich is Senior Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Professor of Astronomy and of the History of Science at Harvard University.

The Explanatory Filter: A three-part filter for understanding how to separate and identify cause from intelligent design
Bill Dembski, Ph.D.
Bill Dembski, one of the organizers of the Mere Creation conference, has a Ph.D. in mathematics and philosophy, and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. As a visiting scholar at Notre Dame, Dembski is investigating the foundations of design.

The Resurrection of Theism
William Lane Craig
Back in the mid-1960's Time magazine ran a cover story for which the magazine's cover was completely black, except for three words emblazoned against the dark background in bright, red letters: "IS GOD DEAD?" The article described the then current "Death-of-God" movement in American theology. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it seemed that the news of God's death was premature. At the same time that theologians were writing God's obituary, philosophers were re-discovering His vitality.