What is the Job Definition of God?

Avi Loeb
4 min readJun 2, 2024


“The creation of Adam,” a fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling by the painter Michelangelo. (Image credit: Wikimedia)

If biologists created primitive life out of a soup of chemicals in the laboratory, would they be qualified to the title of God? Perhaps not, because their initial recipes will not include intelligent organisms like us. But if tech entrepreneurs generated a system with artificial general intelligence, would they be qualified for the title? Not really, because God might have created many other things beyond the life we find on Earth, 13.8 billion years after the Big Bang. Just look at the remarkable Webb telescope images published last week of the first generation of stars and galaxies that formed when the Universe was a few percent of its current age, as theorized in my 2012 textbook, “The First Galaxies in the Universe.” This leads us to the ultimate question: if quantum-gravity engineers created a baby universe in their laboratory, could we finally agree that they are God?

The job description of God appears in traditional texts of religions and philosophical books. With all its tremendous qualities, we can still imagine future scientists satisfying this job requirement. According to Genesis 1:27: “God created humans in its own image,” but perhaps what the text referred to as “God” was actually intelligent beings like us with the extra benefit of advanced knowledge of science that allowed them to exhibit superhuman abilities.

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared: “God is dead” in 1882, before the emergence of modern science. But two centuries later, another philosopher may find it timely to state: “God exists,” either as a result of advances in terrestrial laboratories or the discovery of technological advances pioneered by extraterrestrial scientists long ago.

Our awe at the capabilities of superhuman entities stems from our feeble existence. Moses felt religious awe and was compelled to believe in God after witnessing a burning bush that was never consumed. Today, we can purchase online many technological products that would have triggered similar awe for Moses. His newly inspired awe would stem from not knowing our latest scientific knowledge of electromagnetism, atomic physics and quantum mechanics.

In a similar vein, we will be struck with awe when witnessing technologies based on new scientific knowledge that awaits us in our distant future. Taking that to the limit, future scientists could qualify as miracle makers based on our current knowledge. Indeed, Arthur C. Clarke noted: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” A fundamentally new understanding of reality enable us to shape reality in ways that would not have been conceivable before this understanding was gained.

We can wait until we grow our scientific understanding of reality to make future “miracles,” or we can learn from smarter students in our class of technological civilizations within the Milky-Way galaxy. If another civilization advanced beyond our capabilities long ago, we might witness their technological relics near Earth in the form of space trash or functioning devices. Our archaeological findings of technological interstellar objects or Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAPs) close to Earth, could endow us with the experience of Moses and educate us about our own technological future ahead of time.

An interesting question is whether Earth was already visited in the past by superhuman entities. History was recorded by humans only over the last millionth of Earth’s past. Extraterrestrial visits were more likely witnessed by microbes than documented in the written annals of human history.

Over the past six months, the Galileo Project observatory at Harvard University documented up to a million objects in the sky over Boston but none appeared anomalous so far. Two new Galileo observatories will be constructed in Colorado and Pennsylvania over the coming year. Altogether, they would provide a census of tens of millions of objects in the coming years. This search will be complemented, starting in 2025, by an all sky survey for interstellar objects of the Rubin Observatory in Chile, as well as by our planned ocean expeditions to retrieve materials from interstellar meteors.

Even if one in a billion of these interstellar objects originated from a more advanced technological civilization, the implications will be great for the future of humanity. We might finally discover scientific evidence for a superhuman entity that qualifies for the title of God.


(Image credit: Chris Michell, October 2023)

Avi Loeb is the head of the Galileo Project, founding director of Harvard University’s — Black Hole Initiative, director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and the former chair of the astronomy department at Harvard University (2011–2020). He is a former member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and a former chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. He is the bestselling author of “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth” and a co-author of the textbook “Life in the Cosmos”, both published in 2021. His new book, titled “Interstellar”, was published in August 2023.



Avi Loeb

Avi Loeb is the Baird Professor of Science and Institute director at Harvard University and the bestselling author of “Extraterrestrial” and "Interstellar".