How would the discovery of alien life impact the Christian faith?
By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries
A recent report anticipates that due to the rapid increase in technology demonstrated by NASA's Kepler spacecraft, alien life could be discovered within as little as ten years. This raises the question, how would the discovery of alien life impact beliefs about God, sin, Jesus Christ, salvation, or anything else we believe?
Above all, let me say, I do not believe aliens exist. Let's also differentiate between sentient aliens and non-sentient aliens. While I would not necessarily have a theological problem with the concept of non-sentient beings (fish, birds, dogs, etc.) existing on other planets, I do have a huge theological problem with the concept of other sentient beings existing elsewhere. It just does not mesh with the teachings of the Bible. The Bible presents humanity as uniquely created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Angels are not created in the image of God. Animals are not created in the image of God. According to the Bible, we are unique, specifically created to have a personal relationship and connection with God the Creator.
Intelligent/sentient life in other parts of the universe destroys, or at least weakens, this uniqueness. And it raises all kinds of questions. When did God create the aliens? Do the sentient aliens have an eternal soul? Did they fall into sin? Did God reveal Himself to them? Does their understanding of God match what the Bible says? Did God provide them with an alien Bible? Did God provide for and offer them redemption and salvation? If so, how? Did Jesus die for them too? How would that work with Jesus' "once for all sacrifice" (Hebrews 10:10)? Will saved aliens be in Heaven and unsaved aliens in Hell? The list of questions could go on and on.
None of those questions are singularly a problem for me. Rather, it is the totality of all the questions. The Bible describes God's will and plan in great detail. The existence of sentient alien life on another planet does not fit with the plan the Bible describes. Nothing in the Bible gives a purpose for such aliens. In contrast, I see numerous truths in the Bible that point to the uniqueness of our relationship with God and the uniqueness of the salvation He has provided through Jesus Christ. For God to replicate this relationship and redemption in other sentient alien civilizations is, well, alien to the Bible.
With all the interest in aliens, supposed sightings and abductions, and purported "evidence" that has been found, I would not be surprised if Satan and his demons impersonated aliens, came to earth, and claimed to be the progenitors of directed panspermia. But that only makes it another elaborate deception by the enemy — not proof of sentient alien life. Sadly, billions of people have fallen for Satan's deceptions.
In regards to communicating with aliens, have the scientists never been to the movies? Contact with aliens never goes well. If an alien civilization had the ability to receive our communications, understand them, communicate back to us, or even travel to visit us, their technology would have to be vastly superior to ours. Should we really be letting them know that we exist?
All joking aside, if God intended for humankind to meet alien life, He would have outlined these encounters in the Bible, along with an answer to what He has done for them regarding sin. Many atheistic and evolutionary scientists hope for alien life because it would give credence to their worldviews. Perhaps they understand that sentient alien life would cause serious problems with creationism and the Christian faith. The idea that humanity is unique in the universe is a key aspect of a biblical and Christian worldview. I am surprised by how many Christians are unaware of how important it is that God has made us unique.
While it may be entertaining to enjoy movies and media that introduce alien life as a story element, these ideas should not be taken any more seriously than the existence of Hobbits or Wookies. They are products of the vast, creative human imagination — not God's ultimate truth.
For more information about aliens and the Bible, please read the following GotQuestions.org articles:
- If aliens were proved to exist, how would that discovery impact the Christian faith?
- Are there such things as aliens or UFOs?
- Could an alien deception be part of the end times?
Image Credit: Donnie Nunley; "Aldebaran Night"; Creative Commons
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