Many today ask the question “Are We Alone” and we look toward the sky. Hollywood has even given us some perspective as to what that question would entail if answered in the affirmative. Will the response be more of an “Independence Day” type of situation or a more “Men in Black” reality. Whatever the outcome, whether they be peaceful or not, Christians already have all the answers as to what will happen (or rather, how we’ll respond) when undeniable extraterrestrial contact is made.
The Non-Christian Perspective
Those who believe that humanity appeared on earth without any guidance, point to the immense odds of life developing on earth. Someone had said that a 747 had a better chance of crashing into millions of pieces and rearranging itself back together in midair than the chance of life developing randomly on earth. If we look at the “fine-tuning” argument, which states that our planet is ‘tuned’ in such a way as to promote the development of life, we have to then consider the immense number of stars in existence that fit into this criteria. We can be liberal and take a more generous route and say that life doesn’t have to even be organic. If we then identify a trillion planets that fit into the condition to support any type of life, will that be enough? No. We must then drill down and look at how many of these trillion planets can pull off the miracle of spontaneously generated life. If macroevolution is true and one planet can pull it off, then many parts of Christianity would immediately come into question. However, Christians can easily write this off by explaining that the Bible describes life not for every planet, but for Our planet. There would still be debate as to if humanity evolved from other life forms. If the life was intelligent enough to communicate then it stands to reason that they could not even attest to how they originated.
For independently evolved life to reach the “Independence Day” level stage, many things would have to happen. Besides the above, this life would have to manage to acquire philosophy (which is needed in order to develop mathematics and reasoning to develop technology in the first place), develop technology, and develop the will to pull of long-term space exploration. The will to do this is important for any species willing to travel out of their solar system. Humans still haven’t traveled to another planet, not because of technology or finances, but because of will . (We feel better sending robots to do that kind of thing). Also, this life would have to develop some kind of military. (So we can keep this like “Independence Day”).
The odds of life reaching that stage are as close to zero as you can get. Because evolution hasn’t been demonstrated to occur without some purpose driving it, the odds simply become too great. Combined with the sheer lack of planets that can even support life, and the distances those planets are from one another, the chances of an apoloptyptic type event with an independently evolved intelligent life form are nil.
But what would happen if that life didn’t evolved, but was purposed?
The Christian View
A peculiar problem for Christians
Many of the world’s other religions will adjust easily to a realization of other intelligent civilizations. Islam could teach that other prophets such as Muhammad were sent in a similar fashion to other planets. Hinduism could teach that there are other deities to watch over other civilizations.
But Christianity has a particular problem…
Colossians 1:13-18 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.
God Himself has arrived on earth to save the human race (us). This deliverance will be later shown to be a unique event. This of course assumed that other civilizations are like us….sinners.
Christians are OK with Extraterrestrial Life
Extraterrestrial life isn’t an unknown entity in Christianity. Christians have proclaimed for centuries that this planet have been visited numerously by beings from outer space.
KJV Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
God lives outside of this Earth, as a matter of fact it was created by Him. But this isn’t the only time where the Bible records beings from space visiting Earth.
Genesis 11:5-7 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
The Ancient world was visited by Extraterrestrial creatures, and they have influenced human history. Most of these beings have been messengers from God sent to earth not for destruction, but to transmit information or comfort.
Job 1:6-7 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
The Bible tells a story of a group of beings stationing themselves in array before Yahweh. Imagine the scene: thousands upon thousands are gathered in a structure for a presentation. The sight might resemble the Parade of Nations from the Olympics. The difference here is that instead of nations presenting themselves before the world, its worlds presenting themselves before the universe. The sight is amazing.
But then something interesting happens. Satan (the accuser) walks down the parade/presentation line. The one who caused war in Heaven is now in the presence of God representing Earth. Notice how the LORD does not challenge the claim of Satan, for the Earth was the authority of Satan. This can be seen from the answer that Satan gives “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” (Verse 7)
Satan clearly thought that the world was his. Even though God owns everything in the universe, He did not contest the fact with Satan.
If we do have a parade of nations, or in this case a parade of worlds situation that does indeed occur, then this would require the existence of other civilizations. These would have to represent unfallen worlds. These worlds could not have been fallen, or in the same situation of sin as Earth is in for a number of reasons:
- Satan doesn’t respond by saying he is from both Earth and Planet X. If the existence of Planet X was true, then it is certain that Satan would have mentioned that planet also.
- Satan doesn’t mention any other planet that he has control over. From Genesis thru Revelation, no other type of civilization is mentioned that Satan also controls.
- If the existence of another fallen world existed, then that would present numerous problems with how salvation is applied to these worlds.
a. Hebrews 9:25-28 25 nor was it that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.
The writer of Hebrews makes the assertion that Christ is better than the blood of Lambs and Rams in part because unlike them, Christ was only sacrificed once. His blood can be applied often and continuously, unlike the animals.
It also says that once at the consummation of the ages that He gave himself. Hebrews doesn’t hint at any other possible way of paying the penalty for sin except through the single sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
If another fallen world existed, it would be without God’s grace. Would such a world be better off destroyed? If it was not destroyed, and God allowed that world to come into contact with the one humanity is on, then what would that signify?
There would be a couple of lessons learned.
- A prime example of what sin would look like unchecked, without the possibility of redemption. To have a world like that in existence would serve as a warning to those on earth.
- Their contact with us would represent one of two plans:
- They want to destroy God’s people by force.
- They want to transform the earth into a place like theirs, free of the influence of God. This may be the most likely of the two plans.
So, what happens when they arrive?
There are three reactions on this that we can tackle. First, is the view that these space creatures are holy Angels. People who hold this view tend to because they will replace all instances of God in the Scriptures and replace them with these space creatures. They might even go on to worship these creatures. Worship of these beings would be expressly prohibited by Scripture.
Revelation 22:8-9 8 And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”
Worship is an action that belongs only to God. It does not belong to anyone else. If these people who worship these aliens interpret these beings to be God, then it raises serious questions as how they relate to these verses.
Demons are simply fallen angels. Many in the Christian community will automatically arrive at this conclusion. Such passages of Scripture as the one below may help them in their cause.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 3 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds.
It is entirely possible that Satan will make himself known to the people of earth in public. When this occurs, many will declare him an Alien, others will declare him to be an Angel, and others will say he is some type of messiah. This could happen and the view is supported by the above scripture. It will be an illusion, but it is one that will work on some people.
Neither Angels nor Demons
This would be the most perplexing situation…if it were possible. God’s sovereign rule over the entire universe necessitates knowledge of Him in every civilization. (Philippians 2:10,11) Any other fallen world would therefore be under the control of Satan. Therefore, it is not possible that there could be a “secular” alien civilization.
An “independence day movie style” type event is prohibited by Christianity. It is prohibited because there isn’t a civilization that is “secular” in any sense of the word. The book of Job presents a clear view of not only the existence of other intelligent civilizations, but it shows that they have meetings in which they discuss matters of intergalactic importance. The current evidence reveals that out of these many intelligent civilizations that exist, only ours have pledged allegiance to Satan. The cross was the decisive moment in the battle for the universe in which God did what no other human could have done. It is apparent that these civilizations are barred from direct communication with humanity, so any contact with non-human intelligence would have to be those directly responsible in the process of salvation for humanity. When Satan is permitted by God to show himself to the world, it will most likely not be as the liar he truly is. He will come as an impostor.
Therefore it is important for Christians to realize how important it is to learn about these things. Yes, it may be classified as a theology of the edges…for now. Understanding that alien intelligences aren’t neutral in this battle between good and evil will give Christians the advantage when they arrive.
If a super-intelligent species was discovered, how would you respond? Respond in the comment section below.