How Should We Relate To Intelligent Aliens
We may or may not understand them, but as Christians we know they are fellow creatures. They might be friendly, indifferent, or violent toward us. But if they exist, they are creatures that God intended to create, just like life on Earth. As 20th century Christian leader Billy Graham said, I firmly believe there are intelligent beings like us far away in space who worship God. But we have nothing to fear from these people. Like us, they are Gods creation. . The God of the Bible is the God of all life in the cosmos, and thus we should treat that life with respect and care.
Sadly, most speculation about intelligent aliens leaves out God entirely. In science fiction, the major religions of Earth are rarely mentioned. Even more rare are stories in which the God of the Bible is also God of the alien species. If religion appears at all, it is often a mystical religion in a primitive alien culture, not something relevant for the human characters. A beautiful exception is The Sparrow, a novel by Mary Doria Russell in which a team of scientists and Jesuit priests travel to another planet to meet an intelligent species. Another is C.S. Lewis space trilogy, in which a human meets creatures on Mars and Venus who also know God.
Space Exploration Leads Directly To Religious And Philosophical Questions Carl Sagan
With few exceptions, most of the discussions about Seti tend to stay in the domain of the hard sciences. But the implications of Seti extend well beyond biology and physics, reaching to the humanities and philosophy and even theology. As Carl Sagan has pointed out in The Cosmic Question, space exploration leads directly to religious and philosophical questions. We would need to consider whether our faiths could accommodate these new beings or if it should shake our beliefs to the core.
Working out these questions might be called exotheology or astro-theology, terms defined by Ted Peters, Professor Emeritus in Theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, to refer to speculation on the theological significance of extraterrestrial life. As he notes, Peters isnt the first or only one to use the term, which dates back at least 300 years, to a 1714 publication titled Astro-theology, or a Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God From a Survey of the Heavens.
How unique are we?
So what issues might the discovery of intelligent aliens raise? Lets start with the question of our uniqueness an issue that has troubled both theologians and scientists. Guiding Seti are three principles, as Paul Davies explains in the book Are We Alone? First, theres the principle of natures uniformity, which claims that the physical processes seen on Earth can be found throughout the Universe. This means that the same processes that produce life here produce life everywhere.
Aliens From A Biblical Worldview
But alien theories simply dont make sense from a biblical perspective, Ham says. Lets start with the first chapter of Genesis to understand why. In the biblical Creation account, we see that God created the earth first. On Day Four, He made the sun and moon for the earth, and then He made the stars as well.
Genesis 1 implies that the earth is very special to God and that it takes center stage in His plan for Creation. Several other passages throughout the Old Testament indicate the same:
The heavens are the Lords heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man .
Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool .
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth .
These verses seem to imply that God considers the earth special and set apart when compared to the rest of the universe. It also seems to be the only place He created for life. And based on what scientists have discovered of the universe, this appears to be true.
There are certainly other theological problems with the idea that aliens exist. For instance, if there are intelligent beings on other planets, then do they have free will like humans? And if they have free will, have they fallen into sin? And if theyve fallen into sin, does God have a plan to redeem them?
Now, this line of reasoning doesnt apply to extraterrestrial animal or plant life, of course. But so far, scientific evidence for biological life on other planets is extremely slim at best.
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Does The Existence Of Aliens Negate The Truth Of Christianity
Existence of aliens would not negate the truth of Christianity. Jesus is the only way to salvation. We are made in the image of God. The Lord is the Creator of all. The Bible is God-breathed and useful to us. If for some reason God made aliens somewhere else, then that is up to His sovereignty. However, I believe that the lack of Scriptural support deems that theory highly unlikely.
Unidentified Flying Objects & Extra Terrestrials: What The Bible Says About Ufos
There has been a lot about UFOs in the news headlines in the past several decades. The tragic events stemming from the extra-terrestrial beliefs of members of the Heavens Gate Cult in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA, made headlines in March of 1997. Thirty-nine cult members committed suicide with the belief that a spaceship was following the Hale-Bopp Comet and they were to die so their spirits could rendezvous with the alien ship and be taken to a higher realm of life. As the background of this group was investigated, more and more astounding and bizarre revelations were exposed. The groups belief that they were catching a ride on a UFO hiding behind Comet Hale-Bopp plus the fact that eight of the male members of the group had been castrated were weird enough, but one of the most blasphemous things that we learned about the groups leader, a man called Do, was that he believed he was Jesus. Below, we quote from information posted on Heavens Gate website:
A member of the Kingdom of God the Evolutionary Level Above Human I, who am called Do, acknowledge that: I am about to return to my Fathers Kingdom. This return requires that I prepare to lay down my borrowed human body in order to take up, or reenter, my body belonging to the Kingdom of God .
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Aliens In The Bible: What The Scriptures Say About Extraterrestrial Life
Are you a believer in extraterrestrial life? Many are, and there are plenty of scientific theories out there that support the idea of alien life.
But what does the Bible say about aliens? Surprisingly, there are quite a few references to them in Scripture!
In this post, we will explore what the Bible has to say about aliens and extraterrestrial life.
We will also discuss why they might be mentioned in the Bible and what it means for us as Christians. So read on to learn more about this fascinating topic!
What Does The Bible Say About Aliens
Every time that you see the actual word alien or alienated in Scripture, it is referring to foreigner or outcasts, not an extraterrestrial. The word alien appears in Isaiah 28:21, referring to a task. The word alienate or alienated shows up four times in Scripture.
Other than these references of the word alien, there is no mention of an actual alien in the entire Bible. As a believer, the Scriptures anchor me in every area and belief in life. Since God does not include information on aliens, it is hard to say that they exist. For example, one might argue that the Bible does not directly tell of dinosaurs, but we know they existed. Job 40:15-24 and Job 41 describe what can be interpreted as dinosaurs. This would make sense because the book of Job is actually after Genesis 12 in chronological order. Dinosaurs could have been destroyed in the flood.
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Comparing Science And The Bible
Missing in this discussion is information that has been disallowed by the scientific method, which discards any information that cannot be verified or disproved by observation or experimentation.
That missing information is found in the Bible. The scientific approach generally leads to rejection of biblical facts and statements about other intelligent life, because science cannot prove those statements. This isn’t necessarily the fault of science it simply is the way the scientific discipline was established and functions. Of course, we can rely on something science has proven. But, like most things, even science has its limitations.
When the Bible reveals something of a spiritual nature, such information is often beyond the level of science. Science is often incapable of proving or disproving what is stated. The Bible describes this kind of information as revealed knowledge, or knowledge we cannot discover through human effort alone.
Would Meeting Aliens Change Our Understanding Of The Incarnation
Central to Christianity is the incarnation of Jesus Christ as fully God and fully human. If God created intelligent species on other planets, would Christ have been incarnate in those species too? Or is the incarnation unique to Earth?
Some Christians see Christ as becoming incarnate in multiple races. C.S. Lewis uses this picture in his Narnia series. In The Last Battle, he portrays Aslan as parallel to Jesus on Earth, the same person incarnate in different species on different planets. Supporters of this view argue that the incarnation is an expression of Gods self-giving love for people he has made, and thus the incarnation is just as appropriate for aliens as it is for humans.
Other Christians see Christ as incarnate only in humans. Christianity emphasizes the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and describes his ascension and current heavenly reign in bodily form. Supporters of this view argue that the incarnation has cosmic implications and thus can only occur once. Moreover, a single person cannot become incarnate as multiple individuals without contradiction which nature would Christ have in heaven? God would still love other intelligent life, but would relate to aliens in ways different than he relates to humans. God could use other means to reveal himself and demonstrate his self-giving love.
While Christians disagree on this issue, both views uphold the incarnation of Jesus Christ on Earth and Gods character of self-giving love.
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Christian Theologians Prepare For Extraterrestrial Life
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Little green men might shock the secular public. But the Catholic Church would welcome them as brothers.
That’s what Vatican chief astronomer and papal science adviser Gabriel Funes explained in a recent article in L’Osservatore Romano, the newsletter of the Vatican Observatory . His conclusion might surprise nonbelievers. After all, isn’t this the same church that imprisoned Galileo for saying that the Earth revolves around the sun? Doesn’t the Bible say that God created man — not little green men — in his image?
Indeed, many observers assert that aliens would be bad for believers. Jill Tarter, director of the Center for SETI Research, once wrote that finding intelligent other-worldly life “will be inconsistent with the existence of God or at least organized religions.” But such predictions tend to come from outside Christianity. From within, theologians have debated the implications of alien contact for centuries. And if one already believes in angels, no great leap of faith is required to accept the possibility of other extraterrestrial intelligences.
Since God created the universe, theologians say, he would have created aliens, too. And far from being weakened by contact, Christianity would adapt. Its doctrines would be interpreted anew, the aliens greeted with open — and not necessarily Bible-bearing — arms.
We Can Celebrate All Life That God Chooses To Create
God is free to create however he likes. Just as we celebrate all life on Earth as Gods creation, so we can celebrate whatever alien life we might discover. We can be curious explorers, grounded in the knowledge of God as the loving Creator. Christians can encourage scientists in their study of the origin of life on Earth and the search for life on other worlds. We can encourage theologians to ponder the implications of such discoveries before they happen.
All truth is Gods truth, wherever it may be found. Lets explore Gods creation with curiosity, with humility to learn, and with care and respect for any life beyond Earth that we may meet.
Notes & References
David Wilkinson, Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Oxford University Press, 2013
Olli-Pekka Vainio, Cosmology in Theological Perspective: Understanding our place in the universe, Baker Academic, 2018
Ted Peters, editor. Astrotheology: Science and theology meet extraterrestrial life, Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock, 2018
Mary Doria Russell,The Sparrow and Children of God, Ballantine, 1997
C.S. Lewis, The Space Trilogy, 1938-1945
Andy Walsh, Faith Across the Multiverse: Parables from Modern Science, Hendrickson Publishers, 2018
Guy Consolmagno and Paul Mueller, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? . . . and Other Questions from the Astronomers In-box at the Vatican Observatory, Image, 2014
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Nevada Man Who Survived Ufo Abduction Says Aliens Asked Him About Jesus Christ
HENDERSON, Nv. A Nevada man who claims he was abducted by aliens from outer space last month says his extraterrestrial kidnappers attempted to convert him to Christianity while he was aboard their spacecraft.
Nigel Harshaw of Suffolk, England, who is in the United States on a temporary work visa, told Channel 13 Action News that on the evening of January 28, he was in his backyard assembling a grill when the incident occurred. I just remember I was standing there with an Allen wrench in my hand and then in what felt like an instant, I was someplace else, he recalled.
That someplace else, according to Nigel, was the inside of an unidentified flying object. The thirty-seven year-old IT consultant, who claims he spent nine hours aboard the spacecraft, says he was able to communicate with his alien captors. Their language and speech patterns were unlike anything Ive ever heard, he said, adding, Yet, somehow I was able to understand and interact with them.
According to Harshaws account, the human-like beings did not appear hostile. They asked me if Id heard the good news. I told them, I dont know that I have. They said, God loves you and He wants you to know and love Him. He offers you peace and joy and a fulfilled life. Nigel, who is an atheist, said he was too frightened to say so at the time and instead did his best to appear open to their message.
What Does The Bible Say About Aliens And Ufos
Do you know where you will spend eternity after you die on earth? Will Jesus be your Lord and Savior or your eternal judge John 3:15-21, Romans 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:1? Jesus says He is the narrow gate to heaven where it is difficult to find and only a few will enter by it where many will enter the easy, wide and broad gate that leads to Hell and destruction Matthew 7:13-14. Will you experience the second eternal death Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 21:8? Do you know for sure that you are written in the eternal Lambs Book of Life Revelation 3:5, Revelation 20:12-15? The place called Hell is NOT a myth and is very real and an extremely scary place Watch this Video!
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Would Meeting Aliens Change Our Understanding Of The Cross
At the core of Christianity is the death of the incarnate Christ on a Roman cross, bringing redemption for humans. Is redemption unique to Earth? Again, Christians hold multiple views. As outlined in a good recent book Cosmology in Theological Perspective by Olli-Pekka Vainio , here are four options:
1. Aliens are not fallen, and thus have no need for redemption.
In C.S. Lewis space trilogy, the intelligent people on Mars and Venus know God but have not succumbed to sin. Perhaps other worlds have the situation we would have had on Earth if Adam and Eve had chosen to obey God. Or, perhaps life on other worlds is dramatically different from ours in ways that dont fit with our concepts of sin and redemption.
2. Aliens are fallen, and they have their own relationship with God that is different from ours.
This could be similar to the situation of angels in Scripture. Angels were created by God and some chose to fall into disobedience, yet we do not read of a redemption plan for them. Speculation about this goes back to the 1600s, when scholar Bernard de Fontenelle argued aliens are not not part of the human economy of salvation.
3. Aliens are fallen, but included in Christs redemptive work on Earth.
4. Aliens are fallen, but Christs incarnation and redemptive work are repeated on their own worlds.
Colossians : 16 & Deuteronomy : 19
Enter the Being that Stan Lee could never create:
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesall things were created through him and for him
This is perhaps the best verse in the Bible that addresses the extraterrestrial phenomenon. Why? Because it addresses the Source of life.
If you know the creator of something to be trustworthy, then that somethings existence should not cause us to doubt that the creator knows what hes doing. In other words, if Jesus actually created aliens, then trusting Jesus about it is the wise thing to do.
Whatever SETI discovers , Colossians 1:16 ought to govern the Church’s application of extraterrestrial relations.
Moses reminds us to maintain this focus, not turning from the Source of the stars :
Beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven .
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