Dec 10, 2009

Where are the Zogons?

I see no reason to seriously doubt that human persons are the crowning work of God’s creation, made in his image, as we find claimed in the first chapter of the first book of the Torah. [Before you fall asleep or say "blah, blah, blah" under your breath, I note that this piece has only had a few minutes put into it, but the title phrase is so good I might turn it into a proper, (or at least a more proper) article; feel free to share your perspective.]

Humans are pretty cool; messed up for sure, but still pretty cool. In us is a potential for self-awareness, rational reflection and theorizing about the nature of the universe which the chimpanzee would perhaps be envious of if in fact he gave a sh*t. In slightly more estimable language, Graham Cole, Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, says: “We may share an enormous amount genetically with a chimpanzee, but will the chimp ever know it?”

Yet, with Genesis in mind, I can quite easily imagine a situation, where, after some further investigation in geographical areas not known by the ancient Hebrews; other continents, the ocean, or other planets; it was discovered that humans are in fact inferior, in terms of characteristics that might reasonably be ascribed to God (should God exist), to another class of creature. Let us call such a creature a Zogon. If a Zogon or their ilk were found to exist, the sceptical child (if we are allowed to label a mere child as ‘sceptical’) could easily ask in Torah class or in Sunday school, “but what about the Zogons?” But, friends, such a child is out of luck, as there are no Zogons! The absence of Zogons and the very real existence of human persons together provide a challenge for the atheist which, as a member of the latter species, they ought to be cognizant of and perhaps concerned about.

Douglas Adams may tell you, if he were alive and took his ‘Hitchhikers’ series a bit too seriously, that the search for the Zogon is unnecessary as we already have on this planet the species Rattus norvegicus and Tursiops truncatus . In response I’d say if given the chance “your books are funny, Doug, but your atheism is the really sad joke in this context; and even the genetically engineered illicit lovechild of a lab rat and a dolphin has nothing on humanity.

Flippancy aside, I am fully serious that if you can show me a Zogon I will have to put much work into reconsidering my theology concerning Genesis. Regardless, with your presence and the use of just a common household mirror, I can quite easily show you a human being – and this, as various postings in this blog have hinted at, is an astounding fact indeed.


  1. "there are no Zogons" - That's quite a strong claim you know. We haven't exactly looked very carefully yet.

    Vaguely related:

  2. If you're gonna make a claim, may as well be a strong one. I was inviting controversy, of course. I see no Zogonian candidates; and actively disbelieve in extra-terrestrial life of any significant complexity (any ET really) but am open to argument. What's generally on offer isn't so much argument as assertion, I suspect.