The “Alien Work” of God Part I

Blog | | Wednesday, November 9, 2011
No, I’m not talking about this kind of alien work of God. Instead, I want to talk about how it seems that I’ve always had aliens on the brain. I mentioned two weeks ago that my earliest forays into writing […]
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No, I’m not talking about this kind of alien work of God. Instead, I want to talk about how it seems that I’ve always had aliens on the brain.

I mentioned two weeks ago that my earliest forays into writing revolved around aliens. Most of my earliest work had to do with aliens in some way, shape, or form. As a matter of fact, those lousy speculative fiction books I mentioned usually included a story about aliens and how said aliens might fit into God’s salvation plan. Just a decade ago, I was working on a sci-fi trilogy about aliens, but more on that in future posts.

And I know I’m not the only one with aliens on the brain. Recently the White House released a statement that said that the United States government has never been contacted by aliens, nor did the government have any UFOs tucked away in hidden hangers. What prompted this revelation? Someone submitted a survey asking for whatever information the President had and tens of thousands of people signed it.

Not only that, but I recently spotted a news article about how some researchers have come up with a new method for looking for intelligent alien life: look for the light pollution of their major cities. And they’ve got lots of places to look. It seems like every month scientists announce that they’ve found more and more planets orbiting far-flung stars, including a few in their star’s Goldilocks zone.

So I guess the question is this: is it possible that we’re not alone? Could there be aliens out there, potentially even sentient aliens? And if there are, what would that mean for the Christian?

Just to be clear, I’m not really interested in the current spate of alien abduction stories that circulate out there. Far too often, those stories are revealed to be hoaxes or someone’s imagination running away with them (although Jeff Gerke, writing as Jefferson Scott, once presented an interesting “white paper” on the subject of alien abductions that I found very thought-provoking). Truth be told, I find it hard to believe that if an alien society developed interstellar travel, they’d spend all their time abducting people in remote parts of the world and probing them. Just saying.

That still leaves the question: could there be alien life out there? The universe is a vast place, and we’ve already seen on Earth that life can show up in the strangest of places and the strangest of forms.

But rather than just dive into the topic right now, how about this: what’s your opinion? I’ll share mine in the coming weeks, but right now, I’d like to know: do you think it’s possible? Why or why not? And if it is possible, what does that mean?

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John W. Otte leads a double life. By day, he’s a Lutheran minister. By night, he writes weird stories. He lives in South St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife and two sons. His first published novel, Failstate, a superhero fantasy for young-adult readers, debuted in April 2012 from Marcher Lord Press. Keep up with his own website at The Least Read Blog on the Web.

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36 responses

  1. Truth be told, I find it hard to believe that if an alien society developed interstellar travel, they’d spend all their time abducting people in remote parts of the world and probing them. Just saying.

    You and me both! Superior resources, technology, and understanding of the world (and in many of those stories, they’re supposedly the ‘higher life forms’) and when they run out of resources their best option is to run around the cosmos conquering and destroying and/or enslaving  people so they can steal their resources for themselves.  That’s been standard M. O. for  bully nations for a few millennia; it is not a sign of ‘higher intelligence’ but rather standard, base human nature. 
     

    So I guess the question is this: is it possible that we’re not alone? Could there be aliens out there, potentially even sentient aliens… could there be alien life out there?

    I think it’s possible, strictly because we haven’t explored the entire cosmos yet. Do I think the odds of running into them are that great? As of now, not really.  That’s really a matter of the technology necessary and the ability to sustain a group of people trapped in a tuna can for an indefinite amount of time.  

    And if there are, what would that mean for the Christian? And if it is possible, what does that mean?

    I kinda think it means you can’t have your theology in jeopardy just because an alien shows up. It’s kinda like when the church freaked out over the solar system revolving around the sun instead of the earth: God’s word didn’t change. God wasn’t wrong. He didn’t  lie. But their interpretation of particular passages had generated a theological fallacy which, it turns out, was at odds with the way God put the cosmos together.
     
    Miscellaneous aside: And I really don’t think they look like squids or bugs, if they do exist. :P
     
    Gotta go.

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    • I kinda think it means you can’t have your theology in jeopardy just because an alien shows up. It’s kinda like when the church freaked out over the solar system revolving around the sun instead of the earth: God’s word didn’t change. God wasn’t wrong. He didn’t  lie. But their interpretation of particular passages had generated a theological fallacy which, it turns out, was at odds with the way God put the cosmos together.

      I think this is a valid point and worth highlighting. Actually, I’m not the only one. C. S. Lewis once wrote an essay on aliens (which I’ll be bringing up in a future article) and he makes a very similar point. His example was evolution, which wouldn’t sit well with most Christians, but there you go.

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      • Way to make me put my money where my mouth is (btw, isn’t that kinda unsanitary, putting money in your mouth?),  John, me being the staunch 7-day creationist. 0=)   But you’re right; even the anti-evolution stance has to be held a bit loosely in-hand.  (And we can stop there, as I don’t want to detract from your post, and we can tackle it when you get to the Lewis article.)

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  2. After reading Case for a Creator, I find the odds against life on other plants too low for exterrestial existance, but I do like reading about it.

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  3. I think this articles questions raise even more questions.
    What I always wonder about aliens is as follows:
    If they do exist, will they have souls and be capable of sin?  
    If so, does Jesus’ death and resurrection cover them?
    Or, do they need Jesus to come for them as well?

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  4. There’s a book called Alien Abduction by Chuck Missler, and I think he canvases the whole “aliens are demons here to deceive us” angle quite convincingly.
     
    But if there are aliens, there’s those two troubling questions we have to ask:
     
    1. Is it sinless?
    2. Did Jesus die for it?
     
    I know there’s lots of Bible verses that people have extrapolated to imply aliens (like Jesus saying he has sheep not of this fold), but they also have perfectly terrestrial interpretations, too (Jesus meant Gentiles).
     
    I saw a comment on io9 that somewhat freaked me out, because I think the guy was totally right. He said something like, “Maybe we’ve never found alien life because all aliens are made of antimatter, and we’re the only life forms made of matter.”
     
    Apart from that, I love reading about aliens in science fiction and exploring the ins and outs of those two questions. The Halo novels by Eric Nylund, with the Covenant coming to destroy the human race, are excellent. In the Halo universe, the Covenant are several alien races that are banded together and led by religious nutjobs in their quest for immortality. It makes them very, very frightening indeed.

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  5. So strange, John, that you choose to address this again. Just the other day my wife and I were talking about this. Coincidence? Of course, I might have seen that your post was queued for today, and mentioned what was coming up on SF; I don’t recall …

    Our conclusion: God has a right to create whatever He wants. But has He? The Genesis account doesn’t mention His creating other planets. Those are tossed into a summary. The account is very Earth-centric, as if the reader/viewer is floating in space above the miraculously generated planet, whose universe then fills up around it. I love Gen. 1:16:

    And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.

    Oh yeah. And the stars, too. Translation: innumerable space and galaxies and planets. And they serve as a mere footnote in the creation account. Clearly, then, any plant life, even creatures, on those planets would also fit in the Biblical footnote.

    However, I’d suggest that given God’s revelation about humanity’s special place in His plan — for His glory, not like we’re so important! — that rules out sentient alien life.

    At least in reality. In fiction, it’s different. I think a novel story-world in which sentient space creatures exist, humanlike or otherwise, is perfectly acceptable. A Christian can, in a story, imagine certain different details about how sin, redemption, the Gospel all work out exactly, so long as the basics of the original Story and above all the character of God are not altered. It’s a principle I’m still assembling …

    So how does this apply to us, first, as Christian people? I’m with Kaci:

    I kinda think it means you can’t have your theology in jeopardy just because an alien shows up. It’s kinda like when the church freaked out over the solar system revolving around the sun instead of the earth: God’s word didn’t change. God wasn’t wrong. He didn’t  lie. But their interpretation of particular passages had generated a theological fallacy which, it turns out, was at odds with the way God put the cosmos together.

    Application: Christians shouldn’t go too far with God’s special place for man and Earth. That seems to prove, more directly, that salvation is centered on humankind. It doesn’t mean God never made any plant life, or even nonsentient creatures, on another planet.

    So if astronauts to Mars picked up traces of organic slime, it shouldn’t wreck our worldviews. Scripture never ruled that out. Let’s not say what the Word never said.

    However, it would seem that Scripture rules out redemption for aliens that corresponds to Christ’s redemption of people. Adam’s sin affected the world, but humans in particular. Jesus, the last Adam, died for humans. Vulcans aren’t part of that plan. If they were, they’d have their own fall, their own parallel situation. Dubious.

    Rephrasing that in response to Andy‘s excellent question breakdown above:

    If [aliens] do exist, will they have souls and be capable of sin?  

    I highly doubt it. Such a crucial detail would be something God should mention in Scripture. You’re not the only beings with souls. Instead He inspired the Word to say that man is a unique creature, with unique will and responsibility. Humans, even fallen ones, display the image of God, the imago Dei. We “image” (verb) God. Others don’t.

    Related: references in the Bible to others out there somewhere — such as Jesus’ “I have other sheep that are not of this fold” in John 10:16 — refer to Gentiles. His reminders are directed to Jews who thought they were the only people in the universe whom God had intended to save, when in fact God had said early on that His salvation of Israel was meant not only for Israel’s good, but for them to bless other nations (cf. Gen. 22:18).

    If so, does Jesus’ death and resurrection cover them?

    It couldn’t. His death was for sinful humans alone. He had incarnated as a human.

    Or, do they need Jesus to come for them as well?

    Moreover, He remained that way after His ascension and was seen later in visions (example: Acts 7:56). Presumably He is still the God-Man to this day, and will keep His resurrected Body forever. That would make it hard to switch to an alien-creature incarnation to repeat the story. Christ was always God, but now He is also Man, forever.

    I also ask: why would He simply repeat the same Gospel account on other worlds? God seems more creative than that. My guess is that He’s saving the more-amazing and -original “fantasy” stories for the New Earth. There, would He make new creatures?

    Finally, what about alien-abduction stories, etc.? People are craving to worship a Something Else Outside themselves. But God is boring (and tends to require too much).

    Ergo …

    Screenwriting Pigeon 2 (Tom): (Long pause before the pitch)

    Screenwriting Pigeon 1 (Blake): “Waiiit for ittt …”

    Pigeon 2: (Still pausing, then) “Aliens.”

    Pigeon 1: “Oh snap!”

    Bolt: “Aliens?”

    Pigeon 2: “Audiences love aliens.”

    Pigeon 1: “Holla back!”

    Pigeon 2: “It’ll be huge, man. Huuuge.”

    Pigeon 1: “You can’t touch us!”

    from Bolt (Disney, 2009)

    Also: demons. They tend to like any religion that pulls humans away from God. And those who have rejected Him and gotten into occult stuff — mysticism, challenging, etc. — are giving Satan’s spiritual ilk engraved invitations into their minds and hearts.

    Further reading: Jeff Gerke’s white paper, which John mentioned, and also the book Alien Intrusion by Gary Bates. Highly Biblical, the latter resource, but also mindful of sci-fi’s fun and doesn’t — as some Christian apologetics types are wont to do — blast all of that as evil imaginations. He also deals with abduction anecdotes, and throws a few surprises in about how sincerely calling on Christ’s Name will actually (according to some) throw a spiritual wrench into the body-freezing tractor beam “generator.”

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  6. I think the existence of intelligent alien life elsewhere in the universe and alien visitations here on Earth are two different questions, and the first seems much more likely than the second, given the number of Earthlike planets we’re discovering and the vast distances between Earth and the nearest candidate worlds. I lean more toward spiritual or psychological explanations for the “close encounter” stories.

    It may be that it takes an entire universe to set the conditions for supporting life on our single world. Some scientists have proposed this. That’s an awful lot of space and an awful lot of perfectly good planets sitting idle, though. In the design of life on Earth, I don’t see God wasting space or resources, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to me that He would do so elsewhere in the universe.

    The Bible doesn’t talk about alien life, and I wouldn’t expect it to because its focus is God’s dealings with mankind. Anything beyond that, as Aslan said to Lucy, is “somebody else’s story,” one God may share with us later. Can we speculate about it in the meantime? Yes, I think so.

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    • Fred,

      You said: “That’s an awful lot of space and an awful lot of perfectly good planets sitting idle, though. In the design of life on Earth, I don’t see God wasting space or resources, and it doesn’t seem reasonable to me that He would do so elsewhere in the universe.”

      Do we really know they’re sitting idle? That they’re a waste of resources within wasted space? Do we know how things all work together? You mentioned those scientists who say that this universe set the perfect conditions for earth (and man). This makes sense, and shows the importance of God’s creation Man, and His redemption of us. We must be pretty important.

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      • “Do we really know they’re sitting idle? That they’re a waste of resources within wasted space? Do we know how things all work together?”

        No, and I’m perfectly content to keep my personal jury in deliberation on this issue. It’s a really big universe, though, and finding there was somebody else out there wouldn’t make me feel any less important to God. 

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        • I understand what you’re saying, Fred, however it just doesn’t seem rational or Biblical to believe that Earth isn’t the center of Creation. I believe it is, just as Israel/Jerusalem are the center of the Earth.

          It’s not that finding sentient life elsewhere would make me feel less important to God. But this other life out there view makes me feel that we feel that what happens/HAPPENED/is going to happen here on Earth is less important than what God’s Word states or implies.
            

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      • We must be pretty important.

        Thanks much for your encouragement above, Maria! Yet I do feel I hope I didn’t confuse Earth’s centrality in God’s plan for some kind of special value intrinsic in man. We are at the center of the Gospel Story for His own good purpose and pleasure, not ’cause we’re special. Still, we do bear the imago Dei, but that still revolves around the issue of how God chooses best to glorify Himself.

        It’s no loss to us, of course. In losing notions of our own awesomeness, we get Him, the only truly Awesome God (hey, sounds like a song). And we’re far more happy.

        But, all that may be based on nothing you were meaning to imply anyway. :-D

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  7. If aliens exist, would they have the same commandments as us — or an added one: Thou shalt not abduct.

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  8. Alien life does not pose any more threat to Christianity than the world being round (not flat) does. God never told us we were the center of His universe. God rarely tells us anymore than what we need to know when we need to know it. Our Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to Earthlings, and His history with the human race.

    If we assume the creation story includes all of creation, then there would be no life anywhere other than this planet we live on. But I see no reason to make that assumption. I see no reason why Narnia couldn’t exist- another world with its own creation story, its own interactions and histories with the One God of all. From what I know of God though, if there is life on other planets, God created it there on purpose.

    I also know God is eternal. No beginning and no end. In the God sized scheme of things Earth hasn’t been around very long. I’m thinking He might have done a lot of creating before He spoke forth this masterpiece. Being an inhabitant of this world may make me biased, but the creation of Earth- even after the curse is upon it- is quite amazing.

    I have wondered if angels might be aliens. Survivors, or the resurrected beings, of an earlier creation on another planet? Angel isn’t a species- it’s a title designating a messenger of God. We get descriptions of many different forms of “angels” in the Bible. We know they are not human and not included in the Earth creation story. There is even indication that they, at one time, had free will but no longer do. What happened? What is their creation story and history with God?

    So, I believe it is possible. What it would mean is that God is bigger than anyone can imagine… but I already knew that. Now, before you send the men in the white coats to haul me off in a straight-jacket, I must say- I don’t currently believe there is life on other planets, I just have a very active imagination.

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    • Patrick, you make the case for created life on other worlds this way, by reminding us of God’s omnipotence, that he is so great, infinitely great in every way, that He may have done this. His omnipotence is strong grounding for an argument. But may have done isn’t good enough. We must examine the Scriptures, our only revelation of what is, and what has occurred. 

      Your defined the Bible as “God’s revelation of Himself to Earthlings, and His history with the human race.” This argument doesn’t seem as strong as the one from His omnipotence, because the Bible is better defined as “God’s revelation of Himself, His Creation, the historyt of His dealings with His Creation, including Man.”

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      • You can believe your definition is better or stronger, but that is your opinion.
         
        Even if there is no other life on other planets your definition would still not be completely true because the creation story would have to encompass all of creation which it does not (angels are created beings that are not accounted for in the creation narrative) therefore, we already know that not all of Creation is revealed. But since angels are mentioned elsewhere in scripture maybe I can over look that flaw in your argument.

        But what if there is life on other planets? Then do you throw out the Bible as a lie because the way you’ve interpreted it turns out to be false? The Creation story in our Bible is told from the perspective of Earth, and the rest of it is told through the lives of Earthlings. My definition is just as true as your own for all we know. God did not write the Bible from his own omnipotent perspective, but instead inspired men to write it from theirs.

        It is quite a different thing to believe all the Bible is true, than to believe the Bible documents all truth that has ever existed. Your argument is not from God’s omnipotence, but from assumptions about things that are not stated in scripture. Assuming the Bible contains every fact of the universe and details all of creation is not wise. That is not what that story is there to tell. Limiting God to what is contained in the Bible does not illustrate His omnipotence, but quite the opposite stuffs Him into a convenient package that you believe you understand.

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        • Patrick, hi!

          What I meant to do is to try to define things Biblically from my own limited knowledge. You made your points well above. It’s a lot to think about. I’m trying to discern things Biblically the best I can. God bless you as you work to do this too!

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          • Maria, hello :)
            I understand, and hope I didn’t come across too defensively. If there is no life on other planets, then we are both correct in our definitions. Although I believe that is most likely the case, I would not want to put any limits on what God may or may not have done without informing humans about it. He is not accountable to us. We are only accountable to him.

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  9. “If they do exist, will they have souls and be capable of sin?
    If so, does Jesus’ death and resurrection cover them?
    Or, do they need Jesus to come for them as well?”

    There is something intrinsically horrible to me about the idea of Christ having to suffer and die again. Maybe that’s because the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus is at once the most terrible and beautiful of events ever to occur. The idea of a repeat is a bit gut-wrenching.

    Anyway, theologically I’m inclined to agree with Stephen that Christ now exists eternally as the Man-God. But this shouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that God is working elsewhere in His own way for His own purposes that we can’t understand. Just because we don’t see how it would be possible for Christ to come to an alien race in the same way he came to humanity doesn’t mean God can’t do it. I don’t understand how the Trinity is possible or how exactly it works, but that doesn’t change its truth. :)

    “I have wondered if angels might be aliens.”   

    This is an interesting idea I had never entertained. We definitely don’t get a lot of background on angels in Scripture, so I have often wondered what their story might be.   

    As a side-question, is it necessary that aliens would be a race other than human?  Could God have created humans on other planets besides Earth, or does Scripture require that the entire story of the human race is contained therein? Or is it just the story of humans on Earth?

    P.S. I fail at blockquoting.  

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    • Aslan, the Jesus to Narnia, died and resurrected in Narnia which would seem like a repeat of what God did on earth… except Aslan did this just for Edmond (whom he had technically already done this for on Earth), not for the creatures of Narnia. A world full of sentient creatures who have their own Judgement but are completely held accountable for themselves. God does what he does for reasons we don’t always understand- but there is always purpose and intentionality with God even when we don’t understand. How would His story play out with another people not covered by the blood of Jesus? Guess that would depend on their own creation, and whether or not it had an Eden type beginning or not, what direction God had given them… 

      I love that although there were humans at the creation of Narnia, they are not from that world. All the humans in that world are either visitors from this world, or descendants of Adam who came in through a portal. Aslan tells the children that he is in their world and they should seek him there. I’d guess that this IS the world made for humans, and Jesus died for all of us. But I think the curse may not infect the entire universe- only the planet of the ones who are cursed.

      Just as people are all different- I don’t think being created in His Image means we look like him. God is not human. It means that we are like him somehow- maybe in self-awareness? ability to choose or to love? who knows. But I think our uniqueness stated in the information we are given can easily be  said to be in relation to the other creatures native to this planet where our Genesis took place. I don’t see how sentient creatures other than humans can be ruled out.

      Has God created intelligent life on other planets? I don’t think He ever claimed to have created any intelligent life on any planet. Intelligence is relative and compared to God we all are quite ignorant.

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  10. Do I think it’s possible aliens really do exist? No, not really but I also don’t believe their existence would nullify Christ or his work on the cross. I also believe that playing the ‘What If? game is an important part of firing up the imagination to prepare it for storytelling. So I don’t believe there are aliens but I have no problem with sometimes reading about them and watching TV series/movies that concern them, even writing about them (although I haven’t written about aliens since high school).

    People here have already said much here, but I believe if there are aliens, then Christ’s sacrifice wouldn’t have to be take place on their planets as well because His work on the cross would put to death all past, present and future sins of all people, as well as bring new life to the inhabitants of every planet in the universe.

    I’m a strong believer that the cases in which people really encountered aliens, aren’t aliens at all but demonic spirits in the guise of aliens. Think back to early human history. Many nations worshiped pagan gods. It’s likely that these gods and goddesses were in the public conscious and that people were visited by demons in the guise of their pagan gods, all to reinforce their belief in their own inanimate idol creations. Sorry if it all sounds a bit Stargate SG-1 but that’s what I believe.

    Now that human reason seems to be stifling people’s natural desire for the spiritual and to feed their spiritual hunger, they turn to other things to satisfy. So you have people who turn to other religions because they’ve been abused or distrust or hate the Church (otherwise that may be a viable option). This hunger for truth manifests itself in different ways.

    Seeing that evolutionary thinking has the upper-hand in ‘truth’ at the moment and aliens are in the popular conscious and people are believing that aliens created the universe etc. – isn’t it possible that aliens are just demons in the guise of aliens? Their job is deceive people and draw them away from Christ. Their method works beautifully – it’s steeped in enough scientific reasoning as to appear ‘truthful’ but also seems to satisfy people’s need for the spiritual in their lives. They lie to people and tell them that they will evolve to a new spiritual plane, they tell people they’re chosen for a special mission and that they need to give them full control and then the probe them (torture – probably the same as being raped by demons), they denounce Christ as a fairytale or just another prophet. Satan is very cunning but his method then is rather unoriginal. He’d be doing the same thing to deceive people as he did in the past with pagan gods and goddesses, only now it’s aliens. If aliens were just another creation of God, would they be so ready to crush people’s understanding of Christ, so quick to dismiss it, or even pretend that Christ himself was a super-evolved alien? I think so.

    Notice that demons hate Christians and Christ and that they don’t abduct Christians? Christ has great power over aliens and they seem to be out to deceive people away from God. I have no qualms in believing that aliens aren’t of God.
    If you’re interested in pursuing the subject further from a Christian and scientific perspective, I encourage you to read Gary Bates excellent book – Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection.

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  11. Timothy Stone says:

    I think in the grand scheme of things that you are probably right, Stephen, but I must disagree in one area. I do not think that the absence of any mention of aliens from Scripture rules them out. Just as I don’t think that the absence of mention of other dimensions rules them out. 

    Scripture only tells us what we NEED TO KNOW to glorify and serve God. Often, the Lord uses human filters to do so. If it isn’t necessary for us to know to do the work He has chosen for us to do, He will not tell us, and won’t even correct our incorrect premises on any given issue that doesn’t pertain to His plan for us. 

    This type of argument/debate about Scripture mentioning something or not arose in the travails of Galileo. When he suggested that the “sun standing still” from Joshua 10 was not to be taken literally. That sounds out right like the sun moves around the earth. It doesn’t. The Church has since had to admit that Galileo was correct, and that such language was either figurative, or the best knowledge of the person who wrote it. 

    To be clear now, Galileo believed that what Joshua recorded actually happened, he merely argued that the EARTH stood still, but the writer was either speaking figuratively, or (more likely) didn’t know the scientific truth, and thought the sun was standing still. He wrote thusly, and God didn’t choose to correct his scientific mistake.

    Now, the Bible makes clear that all of it is inspired and 100% accurate. So why did God not correct that issue? We didn’t need to know. The people did not understand such “modern” scientific ideas, so explaining them would have been unnecessary. God decided to let people develop scientifically on their own, and didn’t interfere in that non-theological area, except as it affected His plan (i.e., medicine, the Jewish dietary and ceremonial cleanliness laws).

    God could  have made us all instant geniuses knowing all of this natural scientific stuff, but he didn’t.

    My point, again, is not to disagree with you, but to simply suggest that the absence of a mention of something in the Scriptures does not discount it’s existence. Aliens may exist, but probably not. In Heaven, if we find out they did exist, it would not mean that the Scriptures were wrong, but simply that God decided we didn’t need to know. In other words, it’s not our business to know for sure. An idea that rankles man’s desire to know all, especially scientists’ desire to know all, but true to some extent.

    Great piece and comments brother. God bless. :)

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  12. I had a thought about this…and then I lost it. Ah! C.S. Lewis’s  Space Trilogy has the only semi-theological treatment of alien life that I’ve ever read…but it’s a good one.

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  13. Good thinking, Galadriel!

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  14. Patrick, everything is fine! I learned from your post!
    Bless you!
    Maria
     

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  15. Many people look at the vastness of space and assume that it must be packed with life. From a Christian perspective one might add Why would God waste all that space?

    The first statement, the statistical argument, breaks down in the light of science. In spite of the public cheerful faces of exobiologists, it is quite a depressed group because after decades of searching, nothing has been found. I doubt we will find intelligent life, and here’s why:

    The more we learn about the universe, the more “fine-tuning” we find. This simply means hundreds and hundreds of constants must be met just so we can exist right here on Earth. The chance of this happening by chance is effectively zero.  Using what we know even lower life needs —to say nothing of human-like beings — we can automatically eliminate millions and millions of star systems as homes for life.

    “Well this is depressing. We are alone.”

    Not if you were paying attention because this also answers the second question: Why would God  waste all of that space?

    The fact  is he didn’t.  

    The universe in its entirety has to exist as it does just for Earth and its life to exist.   

    This is a very powerful design evidence, one that even militant atheists have a hard time refuting. It has convinced some to abandon their atheism. It also shows the importance God places on humanity. Truely the crown of creation, not just another lifeform on a meaningless “pale blue dot.”

    From the  Christian perspective, Lee Strobel discusses this in The Case for the Creator, Fred Heeren in Show Me God and especially astronomer Hugh Ross in The Creator and the Cosmos and Why the Universe is the Way it Is.  From a secular perspective, see Rare Earth by Peter Ward.

       
       
        

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    • “The chance of this happening by chance is effectively zero.” -DD

      I agree. All Christians should agree for we do not believe life on Earth happened by chance either. As I said in my first comment, “if there is life on other planets, God created it there on purpose”.  It is only the evolutionist that can hope that “if we could just find a planet with the same conditions as Earth we may find new forms of evolving life”.  

      But I believe the God who set all those requirements for life to exist on earth and holds the universe in balance- He is capable of creating other worlds, and the argument that the whole universe is needed to make this life sustaining environment possible does not explain why it doesn’t also make it possible anywhere else in the universe. It doesn’t explain why these very things you’ve stated are not also maintaining condtions for another planet or planets.

      And IF The Creator created elsewhere- the maker of Earth and men and establisher of all natural “laws” – why would life elsewhere need to be as it is on earth? Only because that is the only life our minds can comprehend? I’m sure you are all getting tired of me mentioning angels, but what are they made of? Do they need food or oxygen? Did Adam need those things before the curse? Or is our dependence on that narrow margin of variables a result of the curse- that other worlds might not have imposed on them, or not in the same ways.

      Maybe they need Carbon-dioxide to breath and Oxygen is a waste product. That’s not too far fetched considering that Plants which are a creation of God breath this way.

      Why must we be the ultimate crown jewel of creation? Would God love us any less if there were more beings to love?  

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      • As I wrote below, those laws are so strict that they eliminate all those worlds as candidates for life. So strict in fact, that the chances for life existing at all is non-existent unless someone designed it that way.

        It’s not that God couldn’t create elsewhere, nor does he have to tell us everything he has done. The fact that he has revealed so much and never mentioned other peoples suggests that we are indeed the final part of this creation as Genesis indicates.

        Angels seem to exist and function not as physical life such as us, but beings from beyond our 4 dimensional existence. Depending on how you define “aliens” I suppose one could include angels.  Though if aliens are beings that exist by the same physical laws we do, I wouldn’t count angels.  The same laws wouldn’t mean they would have to be indentical, but one could argue the laws of optimized for us.

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        • “The fact that he has revealed so much and never mentioned other peoples suggests that we are indeed the final part of this creation as Genesis indicates.”- DD

          The fact that everything He has reveled to us is relevant to us, and life on other planets might be none of our business, suggests that you assume too much. It is very disturbing to me the huge jumps many people are taking based on what is not stated in scripture.

          The Bible no where states that humans are the “final part”, “pinacle”, “crown jewel” or any other lofty title “of creation”.  Genesis does not indicate this. Genesis tells us that we are animated dirt. From dirt we were made and to dirt we will return.

          I know enough about science to know there is no way that science can prove what you claim as “laws”. Theories are all they are because they can not be tested scientifically. But if you insist in talking “science” then please site your sources- so I can scientifically refrute them. 

          Why must aliens have the same physical laws as we do? God determines what is- not man. He makes the laws.

          “…the chances for life existing at all is non-existent unless someone designed it that way.”- DD

          That is the Only Way that life exists- it is all designed by Someone. Therefore the chances can not be based on the likelihood of a planet with identical conditions to Earth, because those statistics are rooted in evolution theory. The probability of life on other planets is 100% dependent on the will of God, and His power to create it. Does that make it any more likely? Only God knows ;)

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          • “Theories are all they are because they can not be tested scientifically.”

            That’s a very unique defintion of “theory.” In science a “theory” is something that can be proven or disproven. When the evidence compounds to an overwelming point it is called a “law.” For example, Newton’s Laws. Science continues to refine these laws in the details (i.e. general relativity), but the laws still remain. This is fundamental, basic science. 

            “because those statistics are rooted in evolution theory”

            Incorrect. Evolution operates on chance. Chance, by no stretch of the imagination, can produce such precision.  Evolutionists hate the idea of fine-tuning and go through great contortions to ignore it.

            ”  The Bible no where states that humans are the “final part”, “pinacle”, “crown jewel” or any other lofty title “of creation”.”

            So we weren’t made in his image? If we weren’t his final and most signifacant part of creation, why in his image? Why a savior then? Seems we have an immense, unfathomable  importance in God’s eyes. 

            ”  Why must aliens have the same physical laws as we do? God determines what is- not man. He makes the laws.”

            You miss the point . Physical laws are same throughout the universe. We can see as much. These laws could allow different life, but the laws are the same. Even something from beyond our 4-dimensional existence (angels) would still be subject by those laws God created, just a different part that usually don’t impact us.

               

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          • DD, you obviously were not a science major…

            True science never claims to “prove” anything to be true. Ideas can only be proven false. A theory is an idea that might explain a specific problem. And “evidence” is only gained through testing. If a test is repeated gaining the same result then that is a confirmation of the theory- the theory is not yet proven false. For a theory to become a law it first has to be testable (the reason why evolution will always only be a theory is that it is not testable), (the rationale for testing the theory is called a hypothesis) and then the test result has to consistently confirm the hypothesis. A law exists when every time the theory/hypothesis is tested it is confirmed. If it is ever dis-confirmed then it can not be a law.

            Newton’s laws are scientifically testable and are consistently confirmed. The things you are saying are not testable- if you can’t test it then it can never be law.

            YOU were speaking of “chance”. The CHANCE that such planets could exist and have life on them- as if the universe is based on random chance and we can predict probability based on the small sample that has been examined. Therefore your argument follows naturalistic or “evolutionary” ideas of how life came to be in the universe. I am correct about your argument. 

            The Bible does say we are created in His image. What does that mean DD? You speak down to me like you know everything and I’m ignorant even though I am likely more educated than you are- both in science and religion- So, tell me, does this mean that God looks like you? or me? Humans all look different, and I do not believe that God looks like any of us. It’s not about appearance. We are the final part of Earth’s creation mentioned in Genesis, but just because something is done last does not mean it is the greatest. When God rested on the seventh day did he go into retirement?

            Who’s to say if aliens exist that they were created after we were anyway? What if they were created before we were? We know some creation took place before the Genesis story because the angel creation and the story of their fall would have happened long before our creation for the tempter to be in the garden. 

            Who’s to say that IF there are beings on other planets they are not also created “In His Image” (whatever that means) and why does that signify that we are so elevated that nothing comparable to us could exist?

            Why a Savior? Because we are fallen and need to be saved. Needing a savior does not signify our greatness, but our brokenness. It says nothing about us being great, but says how great God’s love is for us. It doesn’t mean he can’t love others too- his love is infinite.

            Physical laws do seem to be the same throughout our universe as far as we have been able to study them- you are correct there (even though you don’t seem to know what are and what are not laws).  But what I was disputing was your “laws” (not laws) about life on other planets. 

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  16. …after decades of searching, nothing has been found.

    During which time we’ve examined only a tiny fraction of the space to be searched. Not satisfying for the folks trying to write papers, but not particularly surprising.

    The universe in its entirety has to exist as it does just for Earth and its life to exist.

    With respect, this is a hypothesis, not a fact, and remains to be proven. It’s an attractive idea, but I think we have to be careful not to jump to a desired conclusion before all the evidence is in.

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    • I would disagree that it this is only an hypothesis. If one takes just 300 parameters needed for life, the chance of one planet like ours in the universe would be 1 in 10^282.  That sounds a bit like a miracle that Earth is here or miracle of intentional design. Many who search for aliens do so out of a naturalistic worldview, so they ignore the contray evidences. It’s not that God couldn’t create life elsewhere (or simple life couldn’t end up elsewhere, the planets have shared material over time), but why would he if we are the pinacle of creation? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big sci-fi fan and the speculations of other life is fun, but I think it’s  one of those things we always been told must be true, but no one has really explained why it must be.

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  17. If one takes just 300 parameters needed for life, the chance of one planet like ours in the universe would be 1 in 10^282. 

    It’s important to remember a calculation like that relies on a set of assumptions about the parameters and their relationship to each other, and those assumptions must be tested and confirmed via experiment and observation. Until then, it can serve as a starting point for discussion and investigation, but it doesn’t prove anything…and the same goes for similar calculations purporting to show overwhelming statistical probability for the existence of alien life.

    Which is good, in a way. More speculation for us.

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  18. Patrick,

    If you must know, I was way beyond a “science major.”

     You are all over the map here. You basically repeat what I said on how a theory is proved, but at the same time write that theories can and cannot be proved. The theory of evolution can be proved or disproved, because it makes predictions and claims that can be proven or disproven by evidence found. Any well-constructed theory makes predictions that will verify or undermine it.

    The parameters I’m referring to, which are based on physical laws, are observable and testable. Take the rotational speed of Earth: Too fast, winds would be destructive; too slow, the surface would be like an oven during the day. Not only is this intuitive, it relies on known physics. Most importantly, however, we observe this on other planets. Physical confirmation.

    I should have made the distinction between statistical chance (parameters occurring) and the naturalist’s deity of chance (some unknown force responsible for everything that they defer to). In other words, some naturalist’s give “chance” so much power, far beyond anything any mathematician would, that it becomes it’s own being. I think it was R.C Sproul that wrote a great book on this years ago, Not a Chance! or something like that.

    “The Bible does say we are created in His image. What does that mean DD? You speak down to me like you know everything and I’m ignorant even though I am likely more educated than you are- both in science and religion-”

    Wow. So because I don’t automatically agree with you that means I am speaking down to you? You said we are “animated dirt,” get mad when I say no we are more than that (in his image) to agreeing we are made in God’s image. Then you made a point to state your assumed intellectual superiority and I’m talking down to you? Really?
    This has been informative. Time to move on.

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