Many astrotheologians argue that God's image refers to our spiritual nature, with our physical forms being irrelevant. Not everyone, however, agrees.
"If there are aliens, the Bible specifically does not say that they were created in his image," said Mark Conn, pastor of the Noble Hill Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri. "God created many other intelligent beings on this planet, and they were not created in His image."
Conn's church recently met to discuss the issues posed by extraterrestrial contact, ultimately deciding that "if they're there, they're there. It doesn't change a whole lot."
Unlike Peters, Conn suggested that missionary work may be required, something the aliens may not welcome -- especially if, as many postulate, they are technologically superior to humanity and do not have religions of their own.
"Maybe they'll say that they used to need religion but have outgrown it. Some people say that would be a great blow to religion, because if an advanced civilization doesn't need it, why do we?" said Douglas Vakoch, director of interstellar message composition at SETI.
"I don't buy it, though. I think religion meets very human needs, and unless extraterrestrials can provide a replacement for it, I don't think religion is going to go away," he continued. "And if there are incredibly advanced civilizations with a belief in God, I don't think Richard Dawkins will start believing."