The question of extraterrestrial life has intrigued mankind for ages. More so in our day, however, as we have a better idea of the magnitude of the expanse of the universe. The common sentiment is that because the universe is so large, there simply must be other creatures, other civilizations, “out there.”But there is more to it than that. The presupposition that life exists outside the earth’s protective shell stems not only from our seeming “insignificance” as a drop in the cosmic ocean, but is fueled by the evolutionary dogma that, if life evolved on earth, it must have evolved elsewhere, too. So there is now a frantic race toward the ultimate goal--contact with whatever civilization may have sent us a signal, or whomever might respond to our feeble efforts to send messages. Those efforts range from the bizarre plaque attached to a Voyager space vessel, which had recordings of such things as whale sounds and a baby crying on it and is now drifting in interstellar space in hopes “someone” will find it, to the current project “SETI@home” where the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence can be aided by your own computer screen saver program, as it sifts through recordings of space noise to detect an artificial signal (after earth noise interference is accounted for and subtracted) while you are busy doing other things. The incentive is that your computer has a one in umpteen trillion chance of being the one that will find the elusive signal, and you will go down in history as a footnote to the greatest discovery of all time.
Pretty exciting stuff! Especially if you have no hope. Especially if you believe we return to the dust and there is no afterlife. Or if you believe that all the answers to our problems are “out there” somewhere. Or if you think someone out there knows the secret to eternal life. The fountain of youth lies somewhere near the Pleiades--maybe. The Savior will send us a signal one day, and we’ll live happily ever after.
Will we? Let’s think through the ramifications of actually making “contact.”
First of all, scientists themselves are highly doubtful that we will receive such a signal in our lifetimes. Our technological capabilities have not yet reached the level where we can make an extensive sky search, and isolate the faintest signal with the absolute certainty that it is not a man-made aberration. Even SETI scientists do not believe we will make contact any time soon.
Secondly, suppose we did discover a new civilization. Would they be friendly? What has typically been the lesson of our own history? When a new civilization was discovered, the explorers came as--pick one: Conquerors, or Friends. If we are realistic, it should be evident to us that, if an advanced civilization did discover us, we would soon be enslaved--maybe they’d even dissect us in Science class and the like!
Finally, what is really the likelihood that a civilization went through all the evolutionary stages just like our own, then surpassed us on the evolution ladder, and now is looking to contact us to give us all the answers to our basic questions? Are we attempting to find “lower” beings so we can help them reach our level of progress? What is the basis for our belief that any beings whatsoever will be found?
Those of us who believe the Bible is God’s infallible word must ask ourselves if the question of life elsewhere in the universe is in fact addressed there. Or, are we doomed to speculation, and will we find ourselves with egg on our faces, as the church did when the geocentric universe was disproved? The Bible does in fact address the issue--circumstantially. But, let’s take a look first at the above case of geocentrism, because it does, in fact, impact on the current discussion.
A rather emphatic case is made by modern science that, because we are no longer at the center of the universe, it has now been demonstrated that we are insignificant nothings. Our world does not matter; our position does not matter; people do not matter. We are, to paraphrase Stephen Jay Gould, a lucky accident. One wonders if these scientists ever asked themselves, “If the universe is insignificant, and our galaxy even more insignificant, and our solar system and planet even more insignificant, and earth’s inhabitants still less significant, and I am only one six-billionth of that, then why should anyone even care what I have to say?!”
But does where we are really determine who or what we are?? If you have a child, is that child only important when he is in the very center of your home, or are you concerned for him no matter where he is? If he goes to a friend’s house, does that change who he is? Does it change his relationship to you? Of course not! And neither does it matter where we are in the universe. The Bible says God created man in His image, and that mankind is very important to Him! He created us to love Him, worship Him, know Him, and be with Him. But our sin has separated us from him. We might as well be floating out in the middle of nowhere if we have no relationship with our Creator. But we do! If the sin that separates us from Him has been forgiven, we have a renewed relationship with Him. If not, we are, in fact, doomed to a purposeless existence.
So, no, our location in the universe really is not important in itself. Rather, our relationship with God is what is important. But what about ET? Yes, in fact there are extraterrestrial beings in the Bible. They are called angels and demons. And they have tremendous influence over our activities and world events. They are, however, beings--not flying saucers or any such apparition. When they appear in Scripture, it is always in the form of a created being--either a person or, in the case of demon possession, possibly an animal (like pigs, for example). It may be, however, that demonic activity is behind so-called sightings of UFO’s or abductions by aliens. Why? Because anything that draws us away from God and His truth, that entices us to hope in anything other than Jesus Christ, or that leads us to search for answers as to our origins and destiny elsewhere besides God’s word, is satanic.
Thus, as far as any humanoid beings inhabiting the universe, we would have to answer an unequivocal NO. The reasons? First, the Bible says God created the universe and all that is in it in six days. So, the universe did not evolve. Second, on the sixth day, God reached the pinnacle of His work--He created man and woman and said that we are in His image. How does that truth impact the question at hand? If we are in His image, the only “higher intelligence” in the universe could be God Himself. Is it not ironic that the first sin to enter the universe was Lucifer’s rebellious desire to usurp God’s authority, and the first sin Satan used to tempt man was that if man just simply would ignore God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit, man would “be like God?” We are not satisfied with being “just” humans. We want to be super humans--like gods. We want to hear from advanced civilizations, not just anyone.
The Bible clearly indicates that Earth was chosen--for reasons only God knows--to be a proving ground for His created beings. We were given freedom of choice. Had we obeyed God, the entire universe would have been opened up to us to discover and enjoy the rest of His creation. That’s why He created it all--for US! God did not need anything. He is self-sufficient. But true love must express itself, and God wanted to express His love by creating and then sharing that creation with other beings in His image who could enjoy it. By trying to steal God’s position as Father from Him, we lost our position as His children, and became instead children of rebellion. Our original position can only be restored through Jesus Christ. Why? Because, just as God made all the other rules that govern creation, He decreed that the penalty for sin had to be paid by one perfect man’s blood, and that was the God-man, Christ Jesus. God loved His creation so much that He himself was willing to pay the price to bring us back to Him.
If you are looking for answers from outer space, they are there for
the asking. God sent His living Word--Jesus, and His written word,
the Bible, from Heaven, so that we might one day be in Heaven with Him
by believing what He tells us--to trust Christ for our salvation.
Millions or even billions of dollars will be spent; countless hours of
work and research will be performed; hopes and dreams will be built and
shattered looking for evolutionary answers to life’s basic questions.
Even if Satan comes up with a trick so deceptive that many will be fooled
into believing we have made “contact” with an advanced civilization, don’t
be taken in. The savior is not “out there.” He is right beside
you, waiting for you to hear His voice. If you have already believed,
then you know the Savior is inside your heart and soul. Don’t you
be fooled either. Stand up for God’s word! Tell the world that
God created the cosmos in six days, and that He is great enough to have
done so! Tell them mankind is important and that they are not monkeys’
uncles who will return to cosmic dust--accidents of materialistic caprice.
Tell them about the hope that is within you, and that you found that hope
not by looking to the farthest depths of space, but rather by looking toward
your inmost being, and discovering the emptiness there that could only
be filled by the love of God.