What Does the Bible Say About Aliens?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, January 20, 2018 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

I am still a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, and many other sci-fi related storylines. Yes, I can quote specific lines, moments, and character references, as well as pick out the “nods” to series prequels, historical canon, etc. All that to say, when it comes to wondering about aliens and life on other planets, I started asking what the Bible had to say about that when I was a teenager. It was one of the questions that often caused me to doubt God’s existence and the point of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

As a teenager I discussed this at length with the pastor of the church I started attending. He asked me, “What difference would it make if there was life on other planets? What would it change about God’s relationship to you?” It was a great question in that it focused me on why I wanted to know and what assumptions I was making. Part of asking that question was expressing a doubt about God’s existence and the validity of the Bible. Then he took me to Genesis 1, and asked me, “What did God make?” My answer, of course, was “everything.” And he said, “So, whether there is or isn’t life elsewhere isn’t really the question. The question is who made it and who is in charge. If it’s God, then we need to take His Word and apply it in our relationship with Him and let Him reveal what we need to know as we need to know it.”

That was a great start to answering the question, by refocusing on what’s important. As I grew in my relationship with God, I discovered Psalm 8, Hebrews 2, and most significantly Colossians 1. Now, just to be clear, I am not lifting these from their context, but I am drawing conclusions from what these passages do teach in their context. The Bible never speaks of life on other planets directly, but these passages do clearly make statements that should inform our understanding of life in the universe. Another point of clarity for those who do word searches of the Bible is that you will find the word “alien” in the Bible, but it is always referring to people on earth from other nations.

Psalm 8 explains how God created humanity and where we fit in the realm of all creation, and Hebrews 2 takes that understanding and relates it to Jesus. Both explain that we are God’s creation, given honor and glory, and although our form is a little lower than the angels, God has put us in authority over creation. That is an important affirmation. We tend to overlook our God-given place and authority in creation and seek alien life forms when we don’t believe that God created ALL of this universe for us. We seek out alien life when we struggle with the idea of being ‘alone’ in the universe, again because somehow 6+ billion people and God himself are not enough to satisfy our loneliness, sense of belonging, or purpose. We seem to enjoy the idea of other cultures, other humanoid inhabited worlds, and other intelligent species typically for two reasons: because it is entertaining fantasy, or because it gratified some longing that ‘there must be more.’

Colossians 1:15-20 puts a rather clear and precisely focused point on the entire issue. Read the passage and reflect on it. Look at how specific the language is:

  • ALL things are made through Christ, and for Christ. 
  • In Him all things hold together. 
  • JESUS IS the image of the invisible God. 
  • He is before all things.
  • In Him all things on earth and in Heaven are reconciled through Him.

So, if He is THE image of God, and we are made in the image of God, and all things are made through Him and for Him, then it stands to reason that any sentient life anywhere in the universe would be humanoid and share the same attributes as us. And if there are other worlds inhabited by humans, and ALL things in Heaven (meaning the heavens/universe) and earth are reconciled through Him, then that means they have the same story as us - fallen by choosing sin and separation from God, and needing rescued, redeemed, and reconciled to God through Jesus. This also means Jesus then would have been born, walked among them, died for their sin, and resurrected to reconcile them to God forever.

Did Jesus die on multiple planets over and over again in their history? Romans 6:10 quenches this idea by stating that Jesus died “once for all” - meaning “once for everybody at all times.” So, is it possible that he lived simultaneously on multiple planets, and was sacrificed and resurrected at simultaneous moments on all planets? I find that unlikely and not genuine to the understanding the Jesus was fully present and fully involved in His earthly ministry and His sacrifice on our behalf. It wouldn’t be an atoning sacrifice if Jesus wasn’t really present in the flesh and didn’t really die.

So, what does the Bible say about space aliens or life on other planets? Directly, nothing. Indirectly, a couple of things:

  • Seeking life on other planets is a reflection of our pride, insecurity, or denial of the evidence of the universe and earth as a created and intentional place for human existence.
  • Seeking life on other planets is a denial of Jesus’ significance and our significance to God.
  • There is no dynamic of the universe or life that is separate from God, and all of it holds together and exists because of Him.
  • Humanity is God’s treasured creation, and He did ALL of this to express His love for us, His creativity toward us, and the lengths He would go to in making a place for us to live to the fullest of the potential He gave us.

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