03 October 2011

The "problem" of multiple, simultaneous incarnations

An MSNBC article covers a weekend conference where theologians discussed how to reconcile the concept of a god with the probable existence of intelligent, alien life. If there are some "125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each," then it seems much more likely than not that there are other civilizations out there with creatures who have free will and thus need some kind of intervention. So did the Christian god incarnate to all of them?
[B]ased on the best guesses of how many civilizations we might expect to exist in the universe, and how long planets and civilizations are expected to survive, God's incarnations would have had to be in about 250 places simultaneously at any given time, assuming each incarnation took about 30 years, [Protestant theologian Dr. Christian] Weidemann [of Ruhr-Universität Bochum] calculated.

[ ... ]

If God truly became corporeal and took human form when Jesus Christ was born, this wouldn't have been possible, Weidemann said.
Eh? I thought the Christian god was omnipotent and omnipresent. What would stop him from incarnating simultaneously in multiple locations?

Am I missing something? Granted, I've been out of the church for a long time and was never a student of theology. When Jesus walked the earth, was god no longer anywhere at all but 100% housed in the body of Jesus? That has never been my understanding of the story. But then, I was raised Catholic; so I don't have the foundational problem of being required to accept the bible as the literal telling of god's revealed truth. (That is, I can look at both the Genesis story and the objective truth that the round planet we live on is billions of years old, and reconcile them by saying, "Oh, now that was a nice symbolic way for god to explain to us our relationship with him," without my brain being blown by a fundamentalist's need to stick to a young-earth creationist timeline.) Seriously, though, if god was not also outside of Jesus's body while Jesus was out and about, then who was Jesus talking to when he prayed to his father? When he taught his followers how to pray, it began, "Our Father, who art in heaven," not, "Our Father, who art usually in heaven, but who art not in heaven at the moment because thou art totally, completely, and universally standing before us."

Clearly, I quit my C.C.D. classes too young. What did I miss? Why can't god incarnate on 250 separate planets at the same time? Please comment. Thanks!


Oskar Kennedy (LBB) said...

Because they're making it all up as they go along.

Glomarization said...

At least the Catholics have been working on it for some 1000 years longer than the evangelical Protestants, and have some better angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin answers.