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What if extra-terrestrial life exists?

Believers can become confused when they imagine extra-terrestrial life. Most people do not realize that earth each day exists in an enormous universe. Confronted with scientific data about the estimated number of stars and the potential number of planets it seems logical to conclude that extra-terrestrial life must exist. Fact is however that the Bible doesn’t seem to mention it. This can be seen as problematic. The Bible seems to limit life to the earth. But is that really so?

By Marco van Putten
Klik hier om het artikel in het Nederlands te lezen!

Extra-terrestrial life is physical life outside of earth. The expectation of its existence came from discoveries in astronomy (scientific research of the universe [1]) and space travel (human activities in space). Especially when man stayed in space during long periods, like during the long lunar space expeditions and in the ISS (International Space Station). Nowadays, the search for extra-terrestrial life has even become the reason to engage in space exploration. However, this exploration has also become the means to attack believers in their faith for the benefit of secular theories about life, like the Evolution theory.

Theory on the origin of the universe
The universe seems immeasurable. This seems to confirm the Evolution theory. This theory has to [2] imagine that the age of the universe is ‘stretched’ into numbers that go way beyond what humans can comprehend. According to the commonly assumed ‘big-bang theory’ (universe originated from an explosion of one enormously heavy nucleus of matter), which supposedly occurred billions of years ago, the universe continuously expands from the place of explosion into all directions. Based on this assumption the universe is already immensely large, and it continues to expand with enormous speed into an ‘empty’ void. Science however conveniently ignores this ‘empty’ void. The scope of science about extra-terrestrial life is limited to what is within the universe.

The universe
Earth exists within a sphere, together with other heavenly bodies, and is circling around the sun; the solar system [3]. Each body follows its own trajectory and has a fixed distance from the sun. Viewed from the position of the sun, the earth is the third celestial body [4] rotating in a trajectory at approximately 150 million kilometers around it. The earth, the solar system and what is beyond that together form the universe. In the universe all physical matter, like gases and rocks, are pulled together to fixed spots and forced into orbits by enormous gravitational forces. These heaps of matter are called star systems or nebulas. Our sun should be in one ‘arm’ of a nebula which has a spiral form. This spiral nebula is called the ‘Milky Way’ and can be seen from earth as a spine or a band of stars on the night sky. Almost [5] each ‘star’ visible through the sky is supposed to be a sun or another star system. From earth only a tiny fraction of the entire number of stars of the Milky Way is visible. These suns of the Milky Way potentially have many celestial bodies in an orbit around them.

According to a theory, star systems, like the Milky Way, are supposed to be grouped together in clusters of several star systems. Bound together by gravity. Despite that they are light years [6] apart from each other. These clusters are supposedly also part of larger network structures of clusters balanced out by gravity. This enormous network fills the universe.
This theory seems to suggest that the universe is very full, but actually the opposite is true. The universe seems [7] largely empty. Since suns are at gigantic distances from each other the temperature in the universe is close to the absolute zero at around -280 degrees Celsius. That explains why it can become so cold in winter on earth and it also explains the two poles (the northern and southern pole) on many planets. Without the sun, earth would be an ice planet.
Also, there is no oxygen in the universe, but it is almost completely a vacuum [8]. Movies often show something else, but there can be no sound in space. Sound needs something physical, like oxygen, to transport its sound waves through. In this total emptiness of the universe no physical life is possible, unless it is protected. For example by a space suite or a layer of ice.

The expected size is of the universe is at a scale that is beyond comprehension. The logical question therefore is why this so? Life seems to be limited to the earth, which is, compared with the visible universe smaller than an atom [9]. That explains why many logically think that the universe has to teem with life, since the opposite, that there is no life out there other then on the earth, would mean on enormous waste of space, energy and matter.

What if extra-terrestrial life exists?
Thinking about extra-terrestrial life has some positive consequences. Even if that life doesn’t exist. For example:
It’s possible that life did not only start on the earth or that it is also possible elsewhere
The word ‘earth’ mentioned in the Bible can thus be more generally understood as a suited place for physical life. If Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are read like that, then God can have created life in the universe in places without number.
Enlarging human responsibility
If man is commanded to rule the ‘earth’, then that command applies also to the whole universe.
Upgrade of all kinds of things
God takes care of Creation. That it will remain intact. God’s care reaches the farthest corners of the universe and does not only take care of the earth. He puts angels on the task. They have to constantly bridge gigantic distances and take care of situations without number, like the birth and the decay of suns. Realizing this gives a much larger understanding of God’s reality and that of the universe, the angels and God’s Almightiness.

What will be discovered?
The big question is which extra-terrestrial life is out there. Most people think that it is different from life on earth. For many that is a frightening idea. Some think that it is possible that extra-terrestrial life is more developed then ours and that they already are able to come to us. That is even more frightening. That encounter with extra-terrestrial life is however mostly imagined negatively; earth will be colonized by them or it is taken from us for its raw materials or life on earth will be destroyed by them. Others think that when they come they will do so to help us. Only a few think that extra-terrestrial life will be discovered by accident. They think that it will not necessarily be a higher life-form. But still, this discovery can end up positively or negatively. For example, it could be an extra-terrestrial bacteria or virus. But what if the extra-terrestrial life is a known specie? For example a plant or an animal life-form which is similar but not necessarily exactly the same as plant or animal life on earth. Taking the Big-bang theory for example, then the chance of discovering a known life-form is most probable, since all life then originates from one source. Taking the Creation theory, then it is more probable that extra-terrestrial life is unique and thus incomparable with life on earth.

Extra-terrestrial humans
The main question is whether the extra-terrestrial life is human or even a ‘higher’ life form. It is written in the Bible that man is a fundamentally different physical life form than any other. Man is created to the Image and Character of God with a goal to rule over Creation on behalf of God (Gn 1:27-28). As a creature he is closer to God then the other physical creatures. When extra-terrestrial life will be discovered it can only be life according to the Bible. A life form higher than man seems not mentioned in the Bible.

But even the existence of extra-terrestrial humans has to be doubted, since:
The Lord Jesus came specifically to the earth, to Israel and unto the central place of worship in Jerusalem as
example for all mankind (Is 2:3)
It would be useless if extra-terrestrial humans remain centuries long without any contact with humans on
earth
The return of the Lord Jesus will then have to be postponed for centuries. Extra-terrestrial humans will
have to be informed about the initial incarnation of the Lord Jesus. In order to do so contact must be made with them.

Some people think that the Lord Jesus spoke about those extra-terrestrial humans (Jh 10:16). But the central and unique status of the Jewish nation Israel in the Bible makes that rather problematic. It seems more logical that He spoke about humans on earth that were not members of the Jewish people.

It thus seems evident that extra-terrestrial life, if it even exists, only will be in the form of plants and maybe also animals. The existence of extra-terrestrial humans would be rather problematic, but not impossible. What the purpose of such extra-terrestrial life would be, of which it seems very unlikely we will ever come in contact with it, remains a mystery. If it does exist, then it seems ‘prove’ that God has given man the possibility to find a way to come in contact with it and bring it to or in contact with the earth [10]. All life has to have a purpose for Creation and humans from earth will have to find it. Perhaps this will happen only after the Kingdom of God is established on earth.

Other extra-terrestrial life
In the Bible is actually referred to other extra-terrestrial ‘life’. First of all non-physical, but spiritual extra-terrestrial life. These are the innumerable angels, but also satan. Although God banished satan and its demons to the earth (Lc 10:18). Then there is, according to some, yet other life which can be classified as unearthly; the Nefiliem and the Giboriem (Gn 6:2, 4). However, in the Bible there are quite some clues that these seem to have been earthly creatures (Nm 13:33; Jsh 8:3; Jh 10:34).
Then there is other Life mentioned in the Bible which could also be called extra-terrestrial. God represents that, but also the Lord Jesus. Despite the fact God made Him become Human. The Holy Spirit and the Sjechinah, de temporal Representatives of God on earth can also be seen as extra-terrestrial.

What in the Bible is described as extra-terrestrial is partly within Creation, but also partly outside of it. This extra-terrestrial life exists on behalf of the physical Creation and the physical Creation exists on behalf of God. The heavens, where God abides, seem to exist ‘outside’ the universe, but still within the whole of Creation. Angels can move in a flash from the earth to the heavens and vice versa. Incomprehensible for the human mind. Angels seem to be rulers of suns (stars) (Rev 19:17), like they are also rulers of other forces of Creation (Rev 7:1). This reveals that God is of another, higher dimension then that of Creation. So, in the Bible there are quite some details about extra-terrestrial ‘life’.

Facts
The distances in the universe are, according to scientific calculations, enormous. Take for example the distance of more than 4 milliard kilometers from the earth to the ‘edge’ of our solar system. The nearest star is located more than 4 light years away from earth. Searching for extra-terrestrial life outside our solar system seems impossible at least in the next 200 years but probable much longer. Also, for quite some time now scientist have been ‘looking’ and ‘listening’ to detect signs of extra-terrestrial life. But so far they have not found anything. This is in itself not very surprising since it has become common knowledge that the vast majority of suns in our Milky way are way too cold or too hot to make life possible on planets that might circle around them. Most suns that are identified seem not to have their own solar system of bodies around them. If this finding applies to all suns in the universe then the prospect could be that the universe exists mostly out of suns and not so much out of celestial bodies, like planets. That would points to an important characteristic of the universe mentioned in the Bible (Gn 1:15); providing light to the earth. But then it can be stated with growing certainty that the chance of the existence of extra-terrestrial life in our Milky way is very low but also in the whole universe. If it exists, then it seems to be a needle in a haystack. This emphasis the uniqueness of life on earth.

[1] Also called space or cosmos.
[2] A fundamental principle of the theory of Evolution is that logic rules the universe.
[3] It is called solar system since the sun determines it. Without the sun the system would fall apart.
[4] There exist all kinds of celestial bodies. Some are rough stones and ‘balls’ of gas or matter (planets (Greek planetes) (wanderer))).
[5] Some are not stars but celestial bodies, like Venus or Jupiter.
[6] Light year is the unit of measure in the universe. It represents the time light can span in 1 year. This is almost 10 billion kilometers. To span 1 light year a spaceship needs to travel 1 year with the speed of light. The current propulsion of spaceships only reaches a fraction of that.
[7] Latest theories state the universe consist mostly of dark (invisible) (anti-)matter/energy.
[8] Total emptiness (without any matter).
[9] One of the tiniest particles of something physical.
[10] For example through rocks from outer space falling down on earth.

Reageren


M. van Putten

25-05-2018 06:39
Dear Jan,

This is an section in English. Not in Dutch. Could you keep that in mind please, so to help other interested readers? Thanks.

Jan

18-05-2018 11:08
M. van Putten. Het al dan niet bestaan van buitenaards leven is voor het Christelijk geloof niet ter zake doende. De kapitalen om dat te onderzoeken worden over de balk gesmeten om de menselijke nieuwsgierigheid/zo u wilt het wetenschappelijk onderzoek/ te bevredigen. Nergens kom ik een opdracht of zelfs een hint daartoe in de Bijbel tegen. Als zorg voor de aarde, bestrijden van armoede, honger en ziekte niet met naastenliefde en de opdracht de aarde te beheren te maken heeft, dan weet ik het niet meer. Theologische praatjes om ons daarvan te weerhouden dienen om de eigen gierigheid te sanctioneren. Of uw centen de ruimte in te schieten. De aangehaalde tekst over Judas heeft geen betrekking op besteden van uw welvaart, maar op het eer geven aan Hem die ere toekomt op dat moment dat dat speelde.

M. van Putten

17-05-2018 11:53
Dear Jan,

You regard this question of faith as of no interest, but do you also realize that quite some believers get disturbed by this question and not few fall away from their faith due to the lack of addressing it by many (church) leaders? The unbelievers use it also as a weapon against the faithful.

You also point out that spending money and time on this issue is a giant waste compared with the enormous problems of poverty, starvation and other needs in the world, but was that not exactly the point the Judas, the traitor, was making? Can you remember the response of the Lord Jezus? So, let's not bother about how to take away the problems of the world that doesn't need God. Let's focus on what is important to build up Gods people.

Jan

13-05-2018 01:20
so what?
Als dat leven bestaat heeft God dat ook geschapen. Wanneer, waar, hoe, met welke bestemming en bedoeling, het is ons niet ter kennis gegeven.
Bespottelijk vind ik wel dat zichzelf serieus achtende wetenschappers hieraan tijd van leven besteden EN dat de gemeenschap dit soort werk/projecten gedwongen wordt te financieren. Waarom moet ik hieraan mee betalen, terwijl er op aarde, waar onze opdracht ligt, zoveel nood is en werk gedaan moet worden?

Jan

13-05-2018 01:20
so what?
Als dat leven bestaat heeft God dat ook geschapen. Wanneer, waar, hoe, met welke bestemming en bedoeling, het is ons niet ter kennis gegeven.
Bespottelijk vind ik wel dat zichzelf serieus achtende wetenschappers hieraan tijd van leven besteden EN dat de gemeenschap dit soort werk/projecten gedwongen wordt te financieren. Waarom moet ik hieraan mee betalen, terwijl er op aarde, waar onze opdracht ligt, zoveel nood is en werk gedaan moet worden?

Zebulon

10-05-2018 12:54
Zebulon

10-05-2018 12:52 And if there's life on other planets
Then I'm sure that He must know
And He's been there once already
And has died to save their souls

"UFO" Larry Norman (lp: In Another Land)