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Was There Life on Mars Long Ago?

by Donald L. Rose

Over the past several months there has been a debate about the existence of life on Mars long ago. I am raising the question of intelligent life on Mars in the past.

Why in the past? As briefly as possible here are two reasons. First we are told that Swedenborg spoke with spirits who had been people living on other planets beyond our solar system. Through the eyes of such spirits (who were associated with living beings) he was able actually to see life on planets beyond our solar system (see n. 135 of Earths in the Universe).

For some reason Swedenborg did not get to gaze on life on Mars or elsewhere within our solar system. He spoke with spirits of people who had lived in our solar system. Why did he not see onto those planets as he did those beyond the solar system? One possible explanation might be that in Swedenborg's day, life no longer existed there.

The second reason is the vision of the bird of stone. Although Swedenborg never saw a person from Mars and never gazed upon the Martian surface, he did speak with spirits from Mars , and in the account of this he speaks at considerable length about the appearance of a symbolic bird turning to stone. The last four pages of the chapter about Mars deal with this bird. Does it symbolize the termination of life on Mars ? (See E. U. 94-96.)

For now consider just these two reasons, as we note that one year ago we had an article on life on the moon. The author of this fine article ends by suggesting that we have the humility to accept the paucity of our understanding of the data.

Thinkers Pondering Questions About Life

The debate about life on Mars stirred up some intriguing comments, and then came the discovery by a Galileo spacecraft of an ocean on one of Jupiter's moons. Here is what a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania wrote: "The information is only the latest in a series of astonishing findings that have raised the intriguing question: Is it possible that life might have evolved elsewhere?"  Here are the closing paragraphs of Gino Segre's article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Some future spacecraft may prove that life on Earth is one of many forms of life that exist in our universe.

"The two Galileos have stretched our understanding of the cosmos.

"They have underscored both our smallness, for we are only specks in the vastness of the universe, and our greatness, which ultimately lies in our capacity to dream, to explore and even to question what gives meaning to our lives."

   

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Was Life on Mars?

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