Among the unexpected stories of 2023 was a renewed interest in all things extraterrestrial: from images of alien corpses, to retired high-ranking military officials claiming secret government programs launched to capture UFOs, to a strange encounter with Las Vegas police officers. The public interest in whether there's anything out there is as high as ever. But what would the existence of alien life mean for Christianity?
That's the question tackled in a new video, part of the What Would You Say? series, called "What Does the Bible Say About Aliens?"
Many people assume that if any evidence were to be discovered for extraterrestrial life, it would be devastating to the Christian worldview. However, according to my colleague, Shane Morris, that's not necessarily the case. In fact, according to Shane, "There's nothing in the Christian view of the world that excludes the possibility that God created life on other planets." In this video, Shane offers three things to keep in mind. First, that "despite the hype of science fiction and decades of searching, there is currently no evidence for life on other planets."
"[A]fter decades of looking and listening and exploring the heavens for that life, we've come up empty-handed. So much so, in fact, that physicists and astronomers have named the emptiness the Fermi Paradox, which refers to 'the discrepancy between the lack of conclusive evidence of advanced extraterrestrial life and the apparently high likelihood of its existence.' In other words, if life happens easily, 'Where is everybody?'
"[Peter] Ward and his co-author, Donald Brownlee, argue in 'Rare Earth' that life doesn't happen that easily, and assuming that it does is the real mistake. At least a dozen special conditions found on our planet are probably necessary for the existence of intelligent life, including a precise orbital distance from our star, heavy elements, liquid water, a moon, a magnetic field, not too much gravity, a nearby gas giant and having a star like our sun, which, as it turns out, is anything but 'ordinary.'"
Shane's second point is that "even if intelligent life were found elsewhere in the universe, it wouldn't necessarily present a problem for Christianity."
"Before 'Star Trek' or 'Star Wars' existed, C.S. Lewis wrote his 'Space Trilogy.' In it, he famously imagined alien races that never fell into sin. And in a few essays, Lewis wrestled with whether the existence of real-life extraterrestrials would threaten Christianity. According to Lewis, the Bible never says God created the vast cosmos only for humans. ...
"For Lewis, intelligent aliens created and loved by God posed no problem, nor would they contradict the Bible. In the same essay, he cautioned that the Bible was not intended to satisfy our curiosity about such things but as an instruction manual for salvation. But he also warned that humans are in no position to tell God what he can and cannot do with his vast universe."
And finally, Shane states that "the Bible teaches that there are other beings in the universe, but they're not what materialists expect, and they do not always come in peace."
"Some biblical scholars, like the late Dr. Michael Heiser, have suggested that some alleged alien encounters may be the result of demonic activity and possession. After all, in 2 Corinthians 11:14 Paul warned that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
"This means that Christians need not believe every story of alien abductions or close encounters, but we need not immediately dismiss them as jokes or conspiracy theories. Christianity teaches that we are not alone in the universe, that it is full of intelligent entities, both good and evil, and that all were created by and remain under the power of God.
"The existence of extraterrestrial life is still speculation, but the Christian worldview has more room for mysteries than our secular, materialist age does. It offers a bigger, more thorough and more satisfying explanation for the universe.
That was Shane Morris answering the question, "What does the Bible say about aliens?"
To see the whole video and to share it with others, go to whatwouldyousay.org. Or you can look up the What Would You Say? channel on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe to be notified each time a new video is released.
From Breakpoint, Jan. 18, 2024; reprinted by permission of the Colson Center, breakpoint.org.