AiG on the Bible vs. Life on Other Planets

"...the notion of alien life does not square well with Scripture. As previously discussed, the earth is unique. It is the earth that was designed for life (Isaiah 45:18), not the heavens." - AiG

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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(1) There is no logical link between evolution and the idea of life on other planets. (Just as creationists reject the idea that the life here evolved, they can reject the idea that life anywhere else evolved.)

(2) Positive statements about the purpose of something are not denials of the same purpose for something else. (So the Scriptures about what the earth is for are not statements against anything else being for the same/similar purposes)

(3) Biblical descriptions of what "the heavens" are for are not denials that planets within "the heavens" could have other purposes.

The theological difficulties with intelligent life on other planets are are more substantial. Though the statement that God made man in His image is, again, not a denial that He made something else in His somewhere else, the possibility of divine image-bearers on other worlds does raise all sorts of questions about their freedom, their fall, their redemption, etc. 

But they're only questions, not denials of possibility.

Personally, I'm agnostic about life on other worlds. Some days I think it's quite unlikely. Other days, less so. The truth is, we just don't know, and it's probably wise to leave it at that rather than try to wring a case against it out of Scripture.

dcbii's picture

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I also am not convinced by AiG's arguments on this topic.  An infinite God, with purposes far above ours that we do not (and can not) understand, could have created many things he did not tell us about that would in no way do damage to what he has revealed to us.  I have always been uncomfortable with arguments that start "God could not have..." and then try to loosely base the argument on scripture.  Our duty is to accept in faith what he has revealed to us, and realize and accept that there is much we do not understand or know about God.  Given that in the glorified state of believers in eternity, we still will not be God, there is probably plenty we will not know or understand then either.

Dave Barnhart

Aaron Blumer's picture

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It's one of the things we learn from Melchizedek. You're all those chapters into Genesis when suddenly there's a priest of Yahweh who's been active for years and has protocols and everything, and his own "order" with no connection to the later Levites.

It's a peek into a separate story line we know almost nothing about. 

dgszweda's picture

While there could be life on other planets, the idea that there is intelligent life becomes more problematic and then the concept that we would ever interact with that life become extremely problematic.  If we consider Scripture to be the complete special revelation of our Creator until He returns, it would be very problematic for us to interact with intelligent life on another planet, as the entire construct of that special revelation would not be sustainable in my mind.  I don't think there is anywhere in Scripture that would be problematic if there was life elsewhere in the universe, but it would be if we came into contact with a life form that shared our conscience and intelligence.

Bert Perry's picture

I think the argument for evolution and extraterrestrial life is simply that given a "ginormous" universe with a huge range of planets, some of them ought to be habitable, and if we're relying on physical laws and random chance to generate life here on Earth, we then ought to have almost a certain chance of the same having happened on one of the estimated ~30 billion planet-sized bodies in the universe.  Statistically speaking, if you've got a one in a gazillion planets being suitable for life with thirty gazillion planets out there, you'd be virtually assured of multiple planets with life.

Now granted, I don't believe that, outside of Hoyle, too many people have actually tried to calculate what a "gazillion" is in this case, let alone whether we ought to be able to determine whether we can see enough of those "gazillions" of planets to determine whether we find evidence of live on them, but the argument is, in effect, that it's gotta be out there, or else we need to question the hypothesis that life could have evolved.  It's one of many objections Darwin and those who came after him came up with regarding evolution which....evolutionists today tend to consign to the memory hole, IMO.

I remember being asked when i was a young believer, many moons ago, what the import would be if extraterrestrial life were discovered, and my answer then is about the same as it is now; for whatever reason, God chose not to tell us about such things in His Word, and therefore it would be very interesting to learn how this population of life did, or did not, relate to God.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

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@dgszweda ... yes, would be pretty complicated working out ethics -- unless these beings have revelation of their own. It wouldn't be a leap to conclude that our revelation is only for us. ... and then what if, ethically speaking, they were perfectly harmonious? They'd kind of have to be.

It's all wild speculation of course, but I can't see any necessarily insurmountable problems would require us to stake out a "there are no aliens" doctrine, as a dogmatic thing. 

Even less reason to say there couldn't be some moss on Titan or something. Making astronomical and biological claims beyond what's written seems like setting ourselves up for potentially embarrassing problems if some kind of living goo happens to be found somewhere. 

I don't really have any rational reason for thinking so, but my gut tells me there probably isn't anything very sophisticated alive out there.

Mitchell_Killian's picture

When these conversations come around, I always think about Lewis's Space Trilogy which, while not in any way exhaustive, still treated intelligent life on other planets from a Christian perspective, especially Perelandra (favorite sci-fi, and one of my favorite books in general) which works through Adam, Eve, Eden, and sin for another civilization.

Mitchell Killian
II Corinthians 12:9

Andrew R.'s picture

Creationist arguments against extraterrestrial life seem to fall into two categories: (1) arguments from silence ("Scripture doesn't mention it, so it can't exist"--which would rule out the existence of giraffes), and (2) arguments dealing with redemption (some variation on, "Christ would have had to redeem them but wouldn't have been able to"--which, besides other problems, would rule out the existence of both fallen and unfallen angels). I think the position is more of a knee-jerk reaction against the evolutionary framework that typically accompanies any discussion of extraterrestrial life.