There are aliens among us, and you may be one of them. The Bible speaks of these aliens in Genesis 1: Having completed the creation of the natural world, God decided to create women and men in God’s image. Whereas everything else in the created world is fashioned within the cosmos, people are created in some liminal space and plopped on the earth to rule over her—alien invaders set on expansion and domination (Genesis 1:26–28).
Aliens believe they are in the world, but not of the world. They long for heaven, dream of rapture, and too often promote martyrdom and homicide as ways of hastening their entry into the extra–planetary paradise they believe is their due. Aliens are alienated from the earth, feel no obligation to nature, and exploit her remorselessly.
Aliens frighten me.
I prefer the company of earthlings, organic beings drawn up from the earth to serve creation rather than dominate it. The Bible speaks of these earthlings in Genesis 2: the earth was lifeless and bare for there was as yet no water to moisten the soil and no gardeners to till it. So God caused a mist to rise up from the ground, and took from the freshly made mud and formed an earthling. God breathed into this mixture of water and earth and it became aware (Genesis 2: 4–7). Aware of what? Aware of itself as mud, aware of its task as midwife to nature’s creativity, aware of itself as speaker for the sea and the land and all their inhabitants.
Earthlings give me hope.
But my hope is contingent upon their ability to continually till the soil, to break up the hard lifeless clumps of barrenness and allow the waters to moisten and the air to enliven and the creative to rise and birth and die and birth and die again and again and again. I fear that the earthlings are drying out.