Religion: Life Without End

Most astronomers and theologians assume that the earth's life began on the earth. Maybe not, thinks Cornell's Astronomer Thomas Gold. In a paper read at a Los Angeles meeting of space scientists, Gold suggested that "life" may have existed elsewhere in the universe for uncounted billions of years before it took root on the earth. How did life reach the earth and begin its long climb toward human consciousness? His answer: perhaps it was brought by spaceships.

Life has existed on earth for about one billion years. Gold points out. It began as very simple forms of microscopic size, has developed...