Do We Have Something Better to Do With Our Time Than Worrying About the Aliens?

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I receive an email letter each week from a prominent Christian ministry with whom I generally agree. (I say generally even though, to date, I can’t think of a specific stance of theirs I disagreed with—though I have not read every issue assiduously so there may have been other points with which I would have differed.) Within each email, there is a question—ostensibly sent in by a reader—and then an answer provided by the ministry.

The question last week was, “Did Jesus die for aliens, too?”

Let me print the first paragraph of the ministry’s two-paragraph response: “An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam. Do an Internet search and you will find many examples over the years of both Christians and non-Christians who have made comments similar to this. In essence we are saying that Bible-believing Christians would have a problem with a belief in aliens because Jesus died for the human race, and thus only humans in this universe can be saved. Thus Bible-believing Christians don’t (or can’t) accept the belief there are aliens on other planets.”

Now, as someone who has read the Bible from cover to cover several times I take issue with this conclusion in that I don’t think the Bible says a single word—for or against—the idea of life on other planets. Not one. (For instance, I believe the angels mentioned are really angels and not “visitors from another planet”.)

I do agree that salvation comes through Jesus and Jesus alone. I’m going to surprise some people here and put in a “however”.

Salvation comes through Jesus and Jesus alone, however, what if there’s a planet out there with people on it who never sinned? Who (a la CS Lewis’s “Paralandra”) when Satan tried to tempt their Adam and Eve, stood up to him and trusted in God? If they never fell, they would have no need for Christ’s redemption. In fact, they would be walking with God in their garden still.

If they never sinned, were never cursed with death, what would they be like? Assuming (as I do) that God created all of the universe at the same time, then from the beginning of the universe until now—using fully-functional brains that were not stunted by sin and led by scientists who didn’t die and continued to work on their own ideas—they would be so far ahead of us technologically that, even if they came to earth, we would probably appear to them as something just above a hamster in the intelligence department.

Of course, without sin, maybe they wouldn’t have even seen the need to leave their garden in the first place. Let’s say they did, though. What if God did put life on other planets but he only put one life-bearing planet in each galaxy? What are the odds that we would ever find each other? Our galaxy’s pretty big, and we’re on a planet in the western spiral arm, so what if the nearest planet with life is in another arm? Even with incredibly advanced technology, would they ever find us? Even if we find each other—through radio waves or something—how long ‘til we can actually make contact?

Louis L’Amour (yes, the western author) once wrote that he couldn’t understand the people who want us to be visited by aliens. Because, he wrote, we would need to hope they were nothing like us as our history is one of conquering or destroying any society we deem inferior to our own.

What if, though, there are aliens out there, aliens who never fell into sin, and they come here one day. I think of the people who want aliens to come and teach us the “mysteries of the universe” mainly in the hope they’ll prove to us that there is no God. I’m chuckling as I picture those people’s reactions if the aliens were to show up and start talking about Yahweh God!

But what if, on another planet somewhere, the inhabitants fell into sin just as we did? Then I trust in God to provide them with salvation. Would Jesus have to die for them, too? It seems clear from Scripture that he only had to die once. So, I go back to my earlier thought that, if there are aliens on other planets, a] they were put there by God and 2] they are sin-free and, thus, do not need to be saved.

Let me return to one of the things I said earlier, though: I find no warrant in Scripture for either the existence or non-existence of life on other planets. I just don’t think the Bible addresses the subject in any way, shape or form. Now, when I get to heaven, if God tells me there were people on other planets (and introduces some of them to me) I won’t be surprised. If I get there and he tells me that Earth was the only planet where he ever put sentient life, I will only be a little surprised (because the universe is such a big place so why not put life on some of the other planets?).

Still, aside from this blog and a novel I will probably never get around to writing, I don’t see a lot of sense in spending much time pondering the matter when there’s so much to be done on the one planet we are convinced contains intelligent life.

{I have great respect for the organization, but in the interest of not being accused of plagiarism, I have to tell you that the above quoted paragraph is from "Answers in Genesis".}