The Bible and Extraterrestrial Life

Since the Bible does not mention extraterrestrial life, isn't it possible that it "could" exist without contradicting the Bible?

This is a great question and I think it is incumbent upon Christians to be prepared to answer it.  Amidst the fascination with science fiction, our world is in desperate need of reality.  Millions of our tax dollars have been rocketed into outer space with the goal to find life "out there."  What should we think about this and how should we respond?  Of course, the best way to answer these questions is to ask the question: Does the Bible say anything about extraterrestrial life?  Even though the Bible does not say specifically that there is not life "out there" I contend that the Bible definitely implies that extraterrestrial life cannot exist.

Starting with the very first verse of the Bible God tells us that He created everything there is.  Professor of Systematic Theology Douglas Kelly writes: "'Heavens and earth' is a way of saying 'everything that exists,' whether galaxies, nebulae or solar systems; all things from the furthest reaches of outer space to smallest grain of sand or bacterial microbe on planet earth; absolutely everything was created by God."

Thus, if there were extraterrestrial life it would be created by God.  Genesis chapter one gives us a specific account of God's six-day creation with no mention of such life.  Of course, it does not specifically mention the creation of angels but we know they exist from their mention in the rest of the Bible.  However, the absence of mentioning extraterrestrial life is no reason to believe it could have also been created, especially in view of the purposes of God's creation.

God's purposes are centered here on earth.  Russell Griggs, in the September/November issue of Creation Ex Nihilo stated, "…factors such as the Fall, the Incarnation, the redemption of mankind through the once-only death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Coming of Christ to Earth, and the coming Judgment of all mankind, show Earth's unique importance among the billions of billions of stars in the universe."  Also, it is only here on earth that you will find the one and only bride of the Creator of the universe: the church.

In addition, all that was created was created for man.   Aureolus Paracelsus recognized this in 1541 when he said, "God did not create the planets, the stars with the intention that they should dominate man, but that they, like other creatures, should obey and serve him."  Everything on earth and beyond earth was created for God's chief image-bearer of the entire cosmos: mankind.  This teaching is antithetical to the thinking in our day.  The value of mankind is demeaned in our society.  It is fashionable to look at man as New Age teacher Deepak Chopra does: "a wiggle, a wave, a localized disturbance."

Some might argue that certain verses in the Bible imply extraterrestrial life.  For example, in Mark 13:27, "And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."  Also, in John 10:16, "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also…"  Other verses sometimes used are Deuteronomy 30:4, Nehemiah 9:6 and Isaiah 24:21.  These verses do not offer clear evidence of life beyond earth.  They all most reasonably refer to either angels or different people on earth.

This amazing, orderly, beautiful universe was created to reflect these same attributes of its Creator.  Earth is not a "rock floating about in outer space" but is the special homeplace for God's crown of creation.  "The heavens are the Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men."  (Psalm 115:16)  The uniqueness and special purpose of earth and mankind that are spelled out in the Bible leave no reason for the creation of extraterrestrial life.

So many today gaze at the stars with the reasoning, "Seems like an awful lot of empty space, so there must be life out there."  Science fiction continues to foster these thoughts.  Instead, as the psalmist gazes at the stars his thoughts are in amazement at the vastness of the power and variety of our creator: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork." (Psalm 19:1)

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©Tom Carpenter
Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen