[Originally published as part of UFOs and Extra-Terrestrial Life]
Extra-Terrestrial Life Forms?
There are some pretty compelling reasons to conclude that extra-terrestrial life forms native to other planets do not exist. But these reasons are worldview dependent. That is, whether we accept or reject such reasons depends greatly on our other beliefs about the world and its origin.
Those who believe in neo-Darwinian evolution tend to think that life is an accident of nature. Namely, evolutionists teach that life began when non-living chemicals happened to assemble in such a way as to produce a self-replicating cell. This cell then divided, and mutations produced slightly different versions. Those with traits less suitable to survival tended to be supplanted by those with advantageous traits, eventually resulting in the variety of life we see on earth today.
If life is just something that happens given enough time and the right chemistry, it stands to reason that it probably has happened elsewhere as well. After all, it is a big universe, with perhaps 100 billion times 100 billion planets. It seems nearly certain that a few of them would have the right chemistry. And if the universe really is 13.8 billion years old, then life has had plenty of time to evolve on some of those planets.
Extra-terrestrial life is virtually a certainty in the evolutionary worldview.
But the Bible gives us the actual recorded history of the universe, including its creation. It places the beginning a few thousand years ago and claims that the first forms of life were created supernaturally by God according to their kinds. On Day 3 of the creation week, God created plants — essentially self-replicating food for living creatures to eat. The Bible mentions the creation of life in earth’s oceans and skies on Day 5. The Bible mentions the creation of land animals and humans on Day 6.
But where are creatures that live on other planets mentioned?
Of course, just because something isn’t mentioned doesn’t prove it didn’t happen. But when we look at the creation week in Genesis 1, we see that the earth is very different from the other planets. Earth is made on the first day (Genesis 1:1–5), whereas all the other planets are made on Day 4 (Genesis 1:14–19. The Hebrew word “star” (kocab) would include planets as well [except earth] in the ancient system.).
God spent five of the six creation days working on earth, making it right for life. He takes only one day — Day 4 — to create all the other planets. Clearly, earth is very special and is different from the other worlds.
Moreover, when we look at Isaiah 45:18, we find that the Lord made the earth “to be inhabited.” And although the text does not add, “and He didn’t do that with any other planet,” that does seem to be the implication. Earth is uniquely designed for life. The celestial objects in earth’s sky were to be for signs, seasons, days, and years — to help us track the passage of time (Genesis 1:14–19). But apparently, they were not created to house life as the earth was.
This line of reasoning may not conclusively prove that no life exists beyond earth. But the uniqueness of earth according to Scripture cannot be denied.
Furthermore, there are some theological difficulties that arise if a person believes in intelligent life on other planets. Suppose we take the Star Trek position that there are civilizations on other worlds, like Vulcans or Klingons, that are rational beings like ourselves. How would such beings fit into God’s plan of salvation? Or would they fit at all?
Jesus, the Son of God, took on human nature (Philippians 2:6–8). He became one of us so that He could die in our place (Hebrews 2:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ can represent us on the cross because He is our blood relative, and His shed blood atones for our sins (Hebrews 9:22; 1 John 1:7). Thus, only a blood relative can redeem us from our slavery to sin (Leviticus 25:47–49). Moreover, since Jesus is God, His life has infinite worth. So, His death can pay for all the sins of His people. His resurrection then proved that He was and is God.
But what about the Vulcans and Klingons?
They have no divine blood relative to redeem them. After all, Jesus became a man, not a Vulcan or Klingon. Some might speculate, “Perhaps Jesus then went to the Klingon home world and became a Klingon to die for their sins.” But that contradicts Scripture; Jesus died once for all (1 Peter 3:18) and will never die again (Romans 6:9).
Some might speculate, “Perhaps the Klingons never sinned and therefore need no Savior.” But all creation suffers the effects of Adam’s sin (Romans 8:20–22). Biological life forms now die because through one man death entered the world (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21). Even animals die since Adam was given dominion over them (Genesis 1:26–28). But Adam was never given dominion over life on other planets, so how could his sin affect them? It cannot, and yet it must according to Romans 8:20–22.
So, this option leads to a contradiction and must therefore be false.
Such theological problems only arise if there are sentient, rational creatures on other worlds. Yet, the Bible mentions no such creatures and uniquely specifies the earth as designed to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18).
Could it be that theological problems only arise because we are taking an inherently secular concept and trying to work it into a Christian worldview?
The earth really is special. It is the planet where God placed the only creatures that are said to be made in His own image (Genesis 1:26–27). Of all the billions upon billions of planets in the universe, it is this pale blue dot where God Himself walked. It is earth alone where God became man and paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. And He offers salvation and forgiveness of sin for all who will trust in Him (Romans 10:9–10, 13).