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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, December 28 2023

Extraterrestrial life: what does the Bible say?

Interest in contact with aliens is a passion for many devoted to the search for other life forms. Although new possibilities and questions continue to arise as quickly as old ones are rejected, one simple fact remains: There is no scientific evidence of alien life on other planets, but the Bible reveals there is extraterrestrial intelligent life.

It does not speak of aliens who live on other planets, but of a Spirit Being who "inhabits eternity" (Isaiah 57:15) and who has appeared and spoken directly to humans (Genesis 3:9-10; 4:9). The Bible also records the existence of many millions of angelic beings (Revelation 5:11) who are "ministering spirits" to mankind in fulfillment of God's purpose (Hebrews 1:13-14).

The first verse of the Bible introduces us to this ultimate Spirit Being: God. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). It presents two pieces of revealed knowledge beyond the realm of science. The first is the existence of God. The second is found in the word created, a translation of the Hebrew word bara."This verb is of profound theological significance… Only God can 'create' in the sense implied by bara. The verb expresses creation out of nothing, an idea seen clearly in passages having to do with creation on a cosmic scale..." (Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, "Create").

The concept of bringing the universe into existence from nothing is outside the parameters of scientific observation and experimentation. Science has a great deal to say about matter that already exists, but can only theorize about possible explanations for how everything we see around us came to exist from nothing. Some have tried to blend revealed knowledge with scientific theory in what is known as theistic evolution, a belief God made matter and then allowed evolution to shape life, but there are simply too many conflicts. The Bible reveals God formed Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7), not by evolutionary happenstance.

The Apostle Paul said this beautiful planet, with its intricate array of life-forms, is testimony to God's existence. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:20-22). Through the pages of the Bible, we learn not only about extraterrestrial intelligent life (God and the angelic realm), but how this planet and we humans came to be, and what God has in store as our ultimate destiny.

The late Carl Sagan was one of this century's greatest scientists, with his many credentials including his tenure as the David Duncan professor of astronomy and space sciences and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He wrote 30 books and served as an adviser to NASA on the Mariner, Voyager and Viking unmanned space missions. Before dying from a rare disease in December 1996, he wrote: "Death will claim me as he does each of us. It's only a question of when….I would love to believe that when I die I will live again….But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking" (Billions & Billions, Random House, New York, 1997, p. 214).

Mankind is searching for meaning and purpose. We have a need to know we are not alone in the universe, and that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. King Solomon wrote that God has “put eternity in [man’s] hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)—meaning we feel there is something more to life than what we see. While the Bible is silent about extraterrestrial life, as it is popularly conceived, most of the world is ignorant of the extraterrestrial life to which the pages of the Bible so abundantly testify. We are assured human life is not a cosmic accident, but the unique, intentional creation of a loving God who is reaching out to communicate and form a relationship with mankind.

As mentioned God is, Himself, an extraordinary extraterrestrial life form of supreme intelligence, and that He has made deliberate contact with mankind in numerous ways. Jesus, “the Word” who existed eternally with God the Father, and through whom all things were made,“became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-3,14). The Bible is a revelation of knowledge from God, and the New Testament is the irrefutable eyewitness testimony of Christ’s life, death and resurrection.