By Nick Brzozowski
Some Atheists claim that the existence of aliens would mean that Christianity would unravel. A discovery of aliens would be a greater challenge to Christianity than perhaps any other worldview. As the thinking goes, the existence of aliens would help prove evolution and dismantle any evidence that humans are the pinnacle of creation as Christianity tends to hold.
So, do Christians reject the existence of aliens? Some do. Others don't. The kind and share amount of discussion from Christians about aliens and what discovering them would mean for our faith may surprise you.
1. There must be lots of intelligent beings. — Alvin Plantinga (20th century philosopher)
Plantinga believed that God was so big and his creation was so vast that it only makes sense that there wouldn’t just be creatures in only one small corner of the universe.
You may be wondering why the Bible doesn’t have more to say, then, about God’s activities outside of the Earth. But, if you consider the approach of the Bible, it is consistent. The majority of the Bible is spent telling a story from the vantage point of one family -- Abraham's. But, nowhere does the Bible say that the nation of Israel (Abraham's family) is the only country or the only country that God cares about. The absence of alien life found in the Bible does not mean that the Bible necessarily rejects aliens.
2. “I firmly believe there are intelligent beings like us far away in space who worship God.” — Billy Graham (20th century evangelist)
He continues: “But we have nothing to fear from these people. Like us, they are God’s creation.”
3. “I am Agnostic when it comes to aliens.” — Mark Clark (Canadian pastor)
In a recent sermon, Clark offers reasons to believe in aliens and reasons to reject belief in aliens. For instance, scientists use the word fine-tuning to describe the outrageously minuscule odds that there would be a planet with all the conditions in place to allow for intelligent life. Because the odds are so small, even given a hundred billion galaxies with a hundred billion planets, it is still statistically unlikely for there to be intelligent life on a planet. However, if God can do it in one planet, he can do it in another.
Clark also comments on the two interpretations people will have when encountering the vastness of the universe. Some will see it and say “we are insignificant and life is meaningless.” Others will come to a different conclusion: “God is big and we must be significant, since we matter to God.” This is what David says in Psalm 8, when he writes: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
4. All this conjecture about aliens is really “godless chatter” and “foolish and stupid arguments.” — Got Questions
Writers in Got Questions (a popular Christian website) speculate that the prophecy about a powerful delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11) could involve an apparent alien abduction. They have another interesting theory that bacteria from the great flood could have made its way up to Mars and could be growing in some remote canyon.
But, they do land on the conclusion that aliens and the Bible do not mix. The existence of aliens would theoretically dismantle young-earth creationists who believe that God created the universe in six literal days, since it could possibly show that aliens could come about through evolutionary causes. They refer to Genesis 1, saying that since the earth was created before the sun, moon and stars, the earth and mankind must have a unique position.
Any experiences with the unknown and unexplainable (AKA UFO's or being abuducted) can be attributed to the spiritual realm. “If there is a discernible cause to these supposed events, it is likely to be spiritual, and more specifically, demonic, in origin.”
5. Humans could represent the one lost sheep. — C.S. Lewis (20th century author and philosopher)
If aliens do exist on other planets, does that mean that humans are not as special? One of the most common questions related to Christianity and the existence of aliens deals with the incarnation (Jesus becoming a human) and the atonement (Jesus giving his life for us). Did Jesus take on the nature of other species, not just humans, in order to pay for their sins, as well as ours?
Lewis offers an interesting take on this question. He points to the parable of the lost sheep that Jesus told. A shepherd had 100 sheep, but one went missing. So, he left the 99 to go in search for the one. According to Lewis, it is possible that other alien species could be represented by the 99 sheep who did not get lost. If that were the case, humans would still be unique before God. But the reason would be because we were the only ones who got lost!
He even wrote a book, Perelandra, to dramatize what it could look like from an alien’s point of view, who came to believe in Jesus, who became a human, in order to redeem the universe.
6. "If there are aliens, the Bible specifically does not say that they were created in his image." — Mark Conn (pastor of Noble Hill Baptist Church)
7. "Just as Jesus is human like you and I, you would find an alien-specific Jesus." — Ted Peters (Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary)
8. It's not likely. — Peter Ward, Donald Brownlee, and Dr. Hugh Ross (authors)
“Scientific evidence now points increasingly to the precision fine-tuning necessary for a planet to sustain life.” Consider earth’s design; a perfectly placed moon to control tides, climate and tilt; a giant shield (Jupiter) from the asteroids and meteorites that often strike other planets; a rare, heavy-element sun with a rarer elliptical orbit; a delicately balanced atmosphere including just enough carbon to enable rich biodiversity.
9. There is intelligent life on Mars — William Dembski and James Kushiner (authors)
Not only is there life on Mars, but throughout the whole universe. God is everywhere at the same time (Psalm 139).
10. According to the Bible, the answer is “No.” — Answers in Genesis
According to Genesis, “other celestial bodies were created for signs, seasons, days, and years.”
11. If aliens do exist, we should see them as neighbors — Luca J. Mix (Harvard astrobiologist and Episcopal priest)
He continues: “Astrobiology is part of this process of reaching out and understanding that even familiar life is more alien than we realize—and therefore alien life might be more familiar than we realize.”
12. “Life on other worlds may actually stir our Christian faith.” — Christianity Today
If the heavens declare the glory of God, then exoplanets (planets that could potentially contain intelligent life) would too.
So what do you think? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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