Did aliens or God create the human race, asks Ridley Scott in 'Prometheus'

  • In the Ridley Scott film "Prometheus," an origin to life on Earth is discovered -- in outer space.

    In the Ridley Scott film "Prometheus," an origin to life on Earth is discovered -- in outer space.  (20th Century Fox)

Sci-fi fans are eagerly awaiting Sir Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a quasi-prequel to his 1979 blockbuster film, “Alien” that lands in theaters Friday, June 8.

In the film, an Earth-based crew is sent on a long journey to a near-by star system to explore a planet believed to host an advanced civilization. The film asks not just how realistic such a premise is, but more complex questions: Did aliens create the human race? If so, does that negate the existence of God? Or, did God create the aliens?

Ridley Scott, it seems, is a believer.

“The more you go into it, the more you realize that it kind of makes sense,” Scott told “You stand outside at night, you look at the galaxy, and think, ‘The fact that we think we’re the only ones here is entirely ridiculous.’ It’s an arrogance to believe that we’re the only ones here.”


“Prometheus” scientist Elizabeth Shaw (played by actress Noomi Rapace) agrees. After discovering a series of mysterious symbols written inside a cave, a deeply religious Shaw sets on a intergalactic quest to prove her theory that humans were created by alien life forms.

Shaw sees no conflict between her faith in God and evidence that extra-terrestrials were responsible for mankind’s existence on earth.

“I love that contradiction in her, to be a scientist and religious at the same time,” Rapace told “It just like a constant war zone in her between those two sides. But I do think it’s because she chose to believe and she is connected with something -- her God -- that makes her strong in the most destructive, dark and crazy moments when everything is falling apart."

"Because she has that faith -- that’s what makes her a survivor. It’s her faith that saves her, not the science. It’s not the brain, but the heart, and I find that quite beautiful,” Rapace said.

Scott explained that Shaw’s religious faith was based in part on dinner he shared with nine astrophysicists, including three scientists from NASA.

“Scientist who are believers -- that’s not unique,” Scott said. “I asked, ‘Who in this room believes in God?’ And four put their hands up. It’s kind of odd that somebody working with such specific clarity will say, ‘Well, actually, you know, I hate to tell you -- but I believe in God.’ So, that’s an abstract thing called faith.”

David, an android who joins the scientists and crew on their mission to find their alien creators, is intrigued by Shaw’s faith.

“He’s definitely taken a specific interest in Elizabeth,” Michael Fassbender, who portrayed David, told “I think he finds something very interesting in her. He’s curious about her -- her determination, her faith, her work ethic. He’s all about gathering information.”

David, who Fassbender modeled after David Bowie, Peter O’Toole’s T.E. Lawrence in “Lawrence of Arabia,” Dirk Bogarde in “The Servant” and Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, takes away Shaw’s cherished silver cross necklace -- a very curious thing for an android to do. 

“It’s all about, ‘What would happen if I took this away, what sort of reaction would I get?’” explained Fassbender. “But yes, there’s a little bit of something else going on in there. Is he getting his own motivations? Is he getting some sort of pleasure out of things? Or, is there jealousy or vengeance there -- very sort of human traits?”

Logan Marshall-Green, who portrayed Shaw’s agnostic personal and professional partner, Charlie Holloway, doesn’t see a conflict between having faith in God and practical science. “I believe in evolution and Darwinism, but do I believe there’s a power greater than ourselves? Absolutely, and it’s out there somewhere. Do I believe that there’s intelligent life out there? Totally.”

“I really do believe that it’s ridiculous for us to think that we’re the only intelligent life in the universe,” adds Marshall-Green. “I don’t expect people to abandon religion or science after seeing this, but I certainly expect them to look up to the skies.”

Despite the advancement of science and technology, Marshall-Green believes that humans will always have faith -- even if it’s one day proven that aliens were our creators, not God. 

“I absolutely think that religion will always be a part of humanity, because it was one of the first inventions of man,” he said.