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The “Alien Work” Of God Part II

Two weeks ago, I stirred up a little bit of debate by asking all of you, our humble readers, what you thought about aliens. Is it possible that God has created life on some alien world? Possibly even sentient alien […]
| Nov 23, 2011 | No comments | Series:
C'mon, I can't be the only one who thought of it

Yes, I am lousy at photo editing.

Two weeks ago, I stirred up a little bit of debate by asking all of you, our humble readers, what you thought about aliens. Is it possible that God has created life on some alien world? Possibly even sentient alien life? You guys impressed me, putting together some very cogent arguments, some of which I agreed with, some which I didn’t. But one of the commenters named Andy summed up the dilemma like this:

If they do exist, will they have souls and be capable of sin?

If so, does Jesus’ death and resurrection cover them?

Or, do they need Jesus to come for them as well?

The other comments covered the subject pretty thoroughly, so much so that I hesitate to post my thoughts, partially because some of you said it better than I could, and also because I’m scared of getting trounced. But then, I’ve never been one to back down from a bad idea. Just ask my wife.

That being said, before we can tackle Andy’s excellent questions, I think we have to answer a bigger one: does the Bible allow for the existence of alien life, sentient or non-? As many of your rightly pointed out, the Bible is silent on this subject. There is no mention of aliens within the Bible (unless you take a very liberal and loose view of the events of Ezekiel 1, which I don’t). In some ways, we may be tempted to modify the old Sunday School song a little:

There’s no aliens, this I know,

‘Cuz the Bible doesn’t say so.

But here’s the thing: I don’t think that’s a valid argument. Yes, there is no mention of aliens in any of the creation accounts, but that doesn’t mean that God couldn’t have made them.

Let me show you what I mean. Grab your Bible and turn to Genesis 1. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now, answer me these two questions:

1) On what day did God create microscopic lifeforms?

2) On what day did God create the angels?

Two weeks ago, some of you brought up the question of angels and I thank you for it. We know that angelic beings exist, and yet nowhere in the Bible do we get a clear reference to when or how these beings were created. I’m not so sure I buy the whole “spirits of alien beings” that someone suggested, but for all I know, that could be it. It seems from later passages (Job 38:7) that the angels were present during the creative process, but other than that, the Bible is largely silent about their genesis. But angelology is not my forte and is beyond the scope of this series, so we’ll set that aside for now.

But what about those germs and viruses and everything else that you need a microscope to see. When did God create them? The Bible is silent on that subject. As a matter of fact, they’re never brought up at all. And yet we know that they exist. We know that God must have created them, since God created everything, even if they’re not mentioned in the Bible. I think a similar case can be made for the possibility of alien life. Just because the Bible doesn’t say anything about them doesn’t mean that God couldn’t have created them. The silence of Scripture just tells us that God didn’t feel it necessary to share that information with the ancient Israelites, the original readers of Genesis.

Now one might be tempted to argue that the existence of alien life is more theologically important than the existence of microscopic organisms. As Andy pointed out, if we do encounter intelligent alien life, we’ll be faced with the question of their souls and their status before God. It would have been nice if God had given us some guidance on that subject. But let’s face it, this isn’t the only time that we’ve been left with no direct guidance on a sticky theological problem.

Take cloning, for example. Are clones people? Do they have souls? The Bible doesn’t say one word about cloning, and yet, as science marches toward a future where the cloning of humans could become commonplace, those are questions we’ll need to answer. We’ll have to consult the whole of Scripture to try to discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect. I would suggest we’re facing a similar dilemma when it comes to aliens.

Now, as some of you have pointed out, the universe could be devoid of sentient, intelligent life (except for us, naturally, although there are days when I wonder if the exclusion is warranted). It could very well be that God needed a lot of space to get things “just right” for Earth and her inhabitants. If that’s the case, I won’t lose any sleep over it. But isn’t it a lot more fun to wonder and wander and speculate?

Next time, we’ll talk about that pesky question of if aliens would have souls. Until then, let me have it. I’ll break out my asbestos undies.

John W. Otte leads a double life. By day, he’s a Lutheran minister, husband, and father of two. He graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a theatre major, and then from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. By night, he writes unusual stories of geeky grace. He lives in Blue Springs, Missouri, with his wife and two boys. Keep up with him at JohnWOtte.com.

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Esther
Guest

As concerning microscopic life: I do believe the Bible covers that adequately. Just because something is too small to see with the naked eye doesn’t mean that it doesn’t fall into the categories of things created listed in Genesis. And just because science has failed to be able to categorize viruses doesn’t mean they don’t fall within those categories.
But I concede your point nevertheless. There ARE things the Bible doesn’t mention and for which we have no instruction. Which makes me believe that we won’t need to make decisions about alien life-forms and their eternal destiny.
On the other hand, I believe that there’s a reason our minds keep making this stuff about aliens up. Not sure what that reason is, and am content to let the answer be one of the mysteries which for Christians will one day be delightfully clarified. But there’s a reason we keep looking over our shoulder to see if anyone is watching…

Kessie Carroll
Member

I don’t think there’s aliens out there, and if they are out there, we humans will treat them like we’ve always treated “savages” and destroy them and their culture because they’re “less evolved”. Unless they’re stronger than us, in which case we’ll still do our best to destroy them and their culture, but they’ll do the same to us. So really, alien life had better stay the heck away from us, if it exists.
 
So what speculative fiction has taught us? 🙂

Jenni Noordhoek
Guest

I’ve decided I really don’t care if aliens are real because they don’t have to be for me to enjoy speculative fiction. 😀 If they are real, then I’ll be pleasantly surprised. (Unless they’re attempting to dominate or destroy the universe. In which case it will not be so pleasant)

(It would be cool if timelords were real, though, of course…)  

Galadriel
Guest

I was going to agree…then I thought about what the Time Lords did the last time we saw them….yeah, not something I’d be thrilled to see.
Can we just have the Doctor and not the others?

Jenni Noordhoek
Guest

Good point. But by now they’d be gone and it’d be just the Doctor, so we’re safe. 😀 

(Besides, the Doctor has main character status so he’ll always keep the timelords out of trouble. XD)  

Bob
Guest
Bob

I woke up this morning and there were crop circles in my hair.

Kaci Hill
Member

I suppose it depends on whether or not you think microscopic organisms are intelligent beings in need of saving. Hey, they pull off some very complicated things… 😉
 
On clones: Honestly, I have to believe a clone would be a human being with a soul. I’m not sure what else you could call it.
 
On aliens: I still think there’s several ways to handle it. One, as other writers have done, the salvation of the ‘other’ is necessary but done separately from humans. Two, it’s quite possible for the Son of God to manifest in a million places in a million times in a million ways all in one universal moment. One sacrifice in a million ways, times, and places, simultaneously.  If it’s possible to be Three-in-One, it’s possible to do that; and if it’s possible to exist outside time and space it’s quite possible to do that.

Maria Tatham
Guest

I think the truth that God the Son became a man, the Incarnation, means that He limited Himself to become one of us. It doesn’t make sense for Him, when He forever joined His Divine Nature to human nature (forgive me if I’m not saying this in a Biblical way), to become something else also. His human and Divine natures are everlastingly one–can’t separate them.

Germs? Maybe on the day He created creeping things? Angels? As you’ve said, we don’t know. Unless someone here can show us from God’s Word.

Crop circles in your hair? Very very serious problem!  

 

Kaci Hill
Member

(You’re looking for Hebrews, in which the writer offers a lengthy, beautiful discussion on the relationship between us and Jesus. It is…. *runs to look* chapters 2-5. Lovely text that does say that we are brothers and co-heirs with Christ, a theme Paul writes about as well. And Hebrews 1 makes a thick line between angels, humans, and God.  Just affirming I do know where you’re getting that, even if I’m not sure ‘infuse’ is the word I’d use.)

Patrick J. Moore
Guest

I concur with all thee above… with exception to Maria’s proof of humans being the only creatures needing salvation due to God being eternally fused with man in the person of Jesus. I believe Kaci gives a strong rebuttal to that argument in her “On Aliens” statements.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Kaci Hill
Member

Well, the Son certainly did limit himself while on earth, yes., but that was restraint, not lack of ability.  He said himself he could call down twenty legions of angels if he wanted, and he said himself that the only person or thing keeping him from escaping custody or hopping off the cross was….himself.

Jesus was born around 5-4 BCE and died around 33 AD, but he was ‘crucified before the world began.” He was with God in the beginning; and he was God. Through him all things came into being, through him all things hold together; and nothing exists without him.  So the timeline gets a bit fuzzy when dealing with an eternal being who exists outside time and space. You know, I’ve had my storyboard up most of the day. I can see every single event from a bird’s eye view. I exist outside the time and space of this little universe I created.  I can enter any time, any place, and my divine powers ( 😉 ) only fall short at the ability to put myself in two scenes simultaneously. But that’s my limitation, not his.
 
So Jesus existed before the foundation of the world was laid, and he was born around 4/5 BCE.  He was crucified around 33 AD, but he was crucified before the world was even a thought.  He exerted self-restraint (not calling twenty legions of angels, not getting off the cross, not slapping Peter upside the head, not killing off Pharisees or chasing around demons with a sword) and self-imposed limitations (he got cold, tired, hungry, thirsty, sick, emotional, desperate, and injured); and he retained his inexhaustible strength (confidence, dealing with large crowds, dealing with solitude, betrayal, miracles, exorcisms, healings, going days without food, water, or rest).

The Spirit is a consuming fire, like the wind, unstoppable, inexhaustable, all-powerful. But he can be quenched, grieved, and spurned. The Father is Lord, King, Husband, Lover; he is the magnificent creator who does what pleases him…and yet he responds to humans.

There’s still that baptism scene where the Son gets dunked, the Father talks from heaven, and the Spirit takes the form of a dove and lands on the Son.
 
Anyway, I got severely carried away  – sorry. I was only trying to illustrate it’s entirely possible for him to both possess a limitation by his own will and still be infinitely limitless.

Bob Menees
Guest
Bob Menees

Now here’s something to be thankful for:

Ephesians 2

12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
 
P.S. I guess this proves there are aliens.