Additional evidence for extraterrestrial life

On Simchat Torah and Parsha Bereshit, the Torah discloses that God said: “Let us make mankind.” Who are the us?

Most traditional rabbis say this is a reference to the angels who help carry out God’s activities. I say it is a reference to the millions of extraterrestrial societies spread throughout our universe that we are just beginning to learn about.

The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, and since then almost 4500 exoplanets have been confirmed. A study using gravitational micro-lensing suggests that almost every star in our galaxy has at least one planet circling it; so the 100 Billion+ stars in our galaxy means there are at least 100 Billion+ Planets in our galaxy.

Astronomers have found one of the most important building blocks of life, glycolaldehyde — a simple form of sugar (the common name for a range of small carbohydrate molecules containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen) in the gas surrounding a young binary star, with similar mass to our Sun.

Glycolaldehyde has been seen in interstellar space before but this is the first time it has been found so near to a Sun-like star, at distances comparable to the distance of Uranus from the Sun in our Solar System.

This discovery shows that some of the chemical compounds needed for life existed in this system at the time of planet formation. This molecule is one of the ingredients in the formation of RNA, which — like DNA, to which it is related — is one of the building blocks of life.

When I wrote my book about Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) in 1983, there was no evidence at all that any other stars even had planetary systems. But 37 years later, astronomers have already discovered over 4400 exoplanets.

This supports my assertion, based on Kabbalistic teachings, that God didn’t create a universe with millions of billions of stars and leave it devoid of intelligent, spiritually aware lifeforms, with the only exception being on planet Earth. Earth size planets at the right distance to support carbon based life will be discovered in the next few years, and some of them may show signs of life.

Of course, life on earth took almost four billion years to evolve into intelligent life. Life on Earth began about 3.8 billion years ago, initially with single-celled prokaryotic cells, such as bacteria. Multicellular life evolved over a billion years later and it’s only in the last 570 million years that the kind of life forms we are familiar with began to evolve, starting with arthropods, followed by fish 530 million years ago (Mya), land plants 475 Mya and forests 385 Mya. Mammals didn’t evolve until 200 Mya and our own species, Homo sapiens, only 2-300,000 years ago.

So humans have been around for a mere 0.004% of the Earth’s history; and our technologically advanced civilization is only 0.1% of Homo Sapiens history. We do not know how long a technologically advanced civilization lasts. It is possible that thousands of scientifically advanced societies have arisen on other worlds and have long since died out.

In my introduction to Modern Kabbalah, “God, Sex and Kabbalah”, I devoted an entire chapter to Extra Terrestrial Intelligent Life as evidence of God’s universal creation. In that chapter I point out that the key ingredient that is essential for two advanced civilizations to meet is the half-life of advanced civilizations.

If such civilizations last for only fifty to one hundred thousand years; the odds against their being close enough in both time and space to be in contact with us is millions to one.

Only advanced technology civilizations that achieve a fully peaceful society (called by Jews-The Messianic Age) have any chance to last the hundred’s of thousands of years that would make interstellar contact possible. This is a religious and not a scientific issue.

All organisms on Planet Earth come from a single ancestor; and as far as we can tell, life only happened once. Photosynthesis evolved 1.5 billion years after the Earth’s formation, complex cells after 2.7 billion years, complex animals after 4 billion years, and human intelligence 4.5 billion years after the Earth formed.

That is a very long time; but God’s universe is 13.8 billion years old so there should be vast numbers of planets where life formed millions or even billions of years before us.

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 250 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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