1. Well, you brought up a lot of the responses I have when people bring up objections to aliens, so thanks :p. Some of the issues with aliens in shows can also be the same as your objections to depicting certain aspects of magic and paganism(that it can lead people astray) Avoiding depictions of things can lead people astray too, though, and that goes doubly for aliens since there is a decent chance that they exist. And since it’s also kind of a myth that the Bible negates alien life, we really shouldn’t be taking that hit (of having people roll their eyes at Christians for making aliens partly taboo) We really should be accepting aliens as a possibility and negating that stereotype of Christians, because there’s people out there that think finding aliens would actually disprove God.

    I don’t see why we would have to be on earth for end times events to happen, though the idea of humanity being chased back to earth for end tines is pretty interesting. But I don’t know why we would automatically avoid writing Christian space exploration stories either. Even if God would chase us back to earth for the apocalypse, that doesn’t mean we can’t write AU stories where it’s different.

    In my space and fantasy universes, there’s a lot of ways I handle things you mentioned in your post. I think I’ll come back later today and say some more about aliens :p

    • Travis Perry says:

      If I could reply to just one aspect of your comment for now, I think my approach to aliens and magic is very similar. True, I’m more cautious about magic because magic in the real world is directly prohibited in the Bible in a way aliens are not. But with aliens and magic alike I’m seeking how to make use of a genre expectation with a distinctive Christian approach. The idea that I’ve somehow recommended prohibiting magic in stories, if that notion is floating around out there somewhere, would be untrue.

      Likewise my comments on responsibility were not intended to be absolute prohibitions on anything. I just recommended a measure of caution.

      • Eh, yeah, I know you’re not trying to prohibit people. It’s probably good to clarify what you mean since it’s easy for people to misinterpret things(some might potentially think you’re not as hard on aliens simply because you like them/are biased), but with that post and a lot of the other ones I make, I’m mainly just saying my thoughts on the subject in general, so it’s not that I disagreed or was trying to argue with you in this case.

        Due to the way I was raised, I’m more biased toward a futurist take on Revelation, but I am open to the other interpretations as well. I think it’s dangerous to assume we know for sure which way it is. Regardless, even with verses like that, the matter of perspective still comes in. The Bible was written to guide people on earth, so maybe it’s just describing the apocalypse events for earth dwellers. I kind of always thought ‘earth’ in the apocalypse situation could also apply to whatever physical worlds humans happened to be living in. In a poetic sense, ‘earth’ can just refer to dirt or the ground beneath our feet or whatever, so there’s multiple ways to look at it. So I guess that’s part of what I’d say if someone brought that argument to me.

    • Travis Perry says:

      To reply to another aspect of your comment, the futurist view of Revelation portrays the Earth from the point of view of heaven. It talks about just one world, or seems to. Nothing anything close to another world is mentioned. So the perspective of the whole human race on Planet Earth seems to match the context of a futurist interpretation of Revelation.

      Of course people who don’t interpret Revelation as future have nothing to be concerned about with the descriptions of the heavens looking down at the single Earth. But the futurist view would seem to exclude any future space colonies.

      That’s why I made the case it only “seems to” exclude future space exploration, but really doesn’t.

  2. Jes Drew says:

    I have nothing against reading aliens in books. But I still think the Bible, with its depiction of man being the crowing glory of creation and given dominion over the earth, whose falk affected all of physical creation, and who was redeemed by a Kinsman redeemer of God become man, Who died once for all, doesn’t leave a lot of room for physical aliens. Aliens from the spiritual realm in the form of demons deceiving, tormenting, and stealing the worship of humans, that seems more likely.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Jes, I rather agree with you about what is more likely, even though I think the position of the Bible concerning aliens is there’s no evidence either way whether they exist or not.

      I think one reason to write about aliens has everything to do with people raised up in an evolutionary worldview accustomed to reading about aliens–I think it’s good for look for ways to get that set of people thinking about God through exploring the universe through fictional alien eyes–eyes that challenge their presumptions about what the universe is fundamentally like.

      • Jes Drew says:

        I agree. Just like I don’t have any problem with most fantasy elements even though I know they aren’t real but are used to show truths in a different light, I like sci-fi stories that do the same. I don’t particularly believe that there is a multiverse (other than the two known dimensions of physical and spiritual), but I find the concept interesting to explore and see how the truth of the gospel will shine in it, and pondering how it might work theoretically opens up ways for non-Christians who adamantly believe in these not-necessarily-untrue things to see real truth through and despite them.

        But if aliens in literature aren’t done in a certain Star Wars like dynamic, I kind of default view them as demons, and that gives the stories a whole new layer of creepiness.

  3. I actually give a presentation entitled, Aliens and Evolution: The Connection. The beginning of your articles summarizes the core arguments I present. One of the points I make in that presentation for an argument AGAINST the existence of other intelligent life made by God is Romans 8.

    “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

    22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

    An argument can be made that all of creation – that means the entire universe – was effected by Adam’s sin. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (things winding down, losing energy, etc) began when Adam sinned. So, if there were aliens on other worlds, they would have been going about their business and suddenly entropy kicks in because of the sin of a being on a planet they may know nothing about.

    There’s another verse in Genesis 1: 14-18 that says, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.” Notice verse 16 is almost an afterthought. “He also made the stars.”

    Are these solid proofs that there are no aliens out there who are created by God? No, but it does seem that the Bible indicates that the Earth IS special, and that the rest of the universe was created for us as a demonstration of his majesty.

    As a spec-fic writer, I think it’s easier to do aliens in a completely different universe, realm, dimension, etc. (I do this in my Master Symphony Trilogy). But I try to shy away from writing Earth-based sci-fi with aliens. I think it does muddy the water a little theologically. But that’s my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing yours, Travis. I appreciate your insight.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Thanks for your comment, Keith.

      Please note that I think Christian writers who have taken on the role of writing speculative fiction ought to try to be distinctively Christian in their approach to the spec fiction genres. What exactly that looks like is not for me to say–I believe there are many possible approaches, so the “opportunities” I listed were suggestive, based on my own imagination and were not meant to be all-inclusive. There are many possible approaches, but each of us as Christian creators are responsible before God for what we do and don’t do.

      So if you feel you should not write aliens in our regular space time, don’t!

      But I do write them, at least on occasion. Though I’m always looking for ways to do so that are original, imaginative, and distinctly Christian.

  4. notleia says:

    Ah yes, scriptural quote-mining to get some kind of answer for things that were never in the purview of the Bible. Bless their hearts, it reminds me of the Church of Christers explaining why they don’t allow instrumental music. They explain it as mining a quote of Psalms about praising the Lord with trumpets and cymbals and then backhanding that with the New Testament release from Old Testament laws.
    The REAL reason is from their Dissenter (more specifically Campbellite) roots criticizing the vanity and ostentation of high-church culture with its prayer books and organ music, but that takes waaaay too long to explain with so much history and context needed. It’s gonna go zipping straight over the heads of the small children, so they pulled this feat of pretzel logic right out of their butts. I’d prefer it if they’d explain that it was just their preferred tradition, but I guess that doesn’t sound Jesus-y enough.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Well, I myself am a believer in the Protestant distinction of “Sola Scriptura,” that the Bible is the only authoritative guide on spiritual matters for Christians. I think searching Scriptures looking for answers is only natural. Yet, it simply is true that there are some issues the Bible never directly addresses.

      How to tackle things the Bible doesn’t talk about directly requires some patience and dedication in my opinion. But anyway, my opinions on Bible interpretation most likely don’t interest you all that much…

    • People genuinely make the objections he listed in the article. A lot of those people are going to be interested in scripture based arguments, so it’s kinda important to start discussions with those people based on scripture, quite simply because it will be one of the most effective ways to address them. But that doesn’t mean that anyone who uses scripture in an argument is automatically doing what you’re saying.

      • notleia says:

        No, I know that. I’m not doubting their intentions, but what they’re doing is less hermeneutics and more superstitious thinking — waving the Bible at potentially scary ideas like waving a crucifix at a vampire.

        It’s still bad logic and they should go sit in the Shame Corner. And why they’re there, contemplate on why they insist on using that tactic to deal with their cognitive dissonance.

        • Some of these conversations are honestly just for fun, too, though. Like, we can’t solve all of this, but we can have fun coming up with ideas and thinking about what ifs and seeing what each other thinks.

          • notleia says:

            I’m talking about the kind of people you’d have to coax into having fun because they’re afraid of fun being sacrilegious. It’s moot to this discussion whether aliens exist or whether they’re more complicated than bacteria, but they’re over here making mountains out of molehills.

        • Travis Perry says:

          Notleia, no, Christian people who use the Bible in an attempt to understand the world should not sit in “the Shame Corner.” Their desire to find answers in the word of God is legitimate–I in fact seek answers in the Bible as well.

          The issue I have with some of the conclusions people draw from the Bible is they leave no or little room for the fact there could be unknown factors that affect how the Bible should be read. They are in effect too dogmatic about the deductive reasoning they draw from Scripture.

          You on the other hand, tend to be dogmatic even though you don’t use the Bible to draw your conclusions…AHEM (Go sit in the shame corner, Notleia! 🙂 )

          • notleia says:

            You hold to genre distinctions, right? Why would the Bible, a series of documents about the relationship between God and man, spend time on star formation or multiverses, which Iron Age shepherds neither know nor care about?

            • BREAKING NEWS

              Bible skeptic derisively refers to residents of B.C.-era Middle East as “Bronze Age”/”Iron Age” when it’s just so obvious that only residents of the Silicon Age know all there is to know about life, the universe, and everything. Film at 11.

              • notleia says:

                CS Lewis wrote some bit about how Euro people pre-Columbus knew that the earth was round but the peasants didn’t give a single crap because their worries were more about getting enough to eat and not freezing to death.

                Same principle. They had an origin story with symbolism and bling, but its purpose was cultural, which is different from the purpose that the modern incarnation of science serves (ie, function).

              • Travis Perry says:

                The difference for someone who believes the Bible is divinely inspired is that we hold that it is possible, even though God was focusing on a certain culture, for him to reveal information that culture could never know about or understand. Therefore the Bible can be seen as a guide to the mind of God–a key to all truth.

                Note I don’t think this idea is totally in error–ON THE CONTRARY, we learn a great deal about God and his purposes and the nature of the human race from the Bible. Yet there have already been clear cases of subjects the Bible didn’t directly address matters that we know about today–therefore we ought to be cautious about reading too much into what the Bible seems to say about unknown things.

                Note that what I just said is a LONG way from your point of view, that the Bible was only for a particular culture of the past…

  5. When looking at whether or not earth would be special if there were infinite life bearing planets, I kind of look at it in the sense of seeing how each human being is special in spite of there being so many of us. Earth is the only thing that exists with its exact combination of traits and history. It’s filled with beings that have ambitions and philosophies and convictions. Maybe earth isn’t startlingly unique in every way, but, again. It’s the only thing with its exact combination of traits, purpose and is filled with beings that desire meaning and significance.

    When I think of humans being made in God’s own image, I think of it more in the sense that God’s a spiritual being, and when he made us in his image he did that by giving us a spirit of our own. So ‘in his image’ might not literally be a matter of looking physically like him. Or, maybe it means that we reason, seek companionship and purpose, etc at a far higher level than animals.

    And while aliens could very well be bizarrely different from earth life in terms of appearance, we as authors might be putting a little too much on the idea of unique creature designs. Like, yes, that’s a good thing to do, and aliens would probably be a lot more varied than the Star Trek ones. But a lot of not very closely related animals in real life have a lot of the same basic design elements, depending on their lifestyles and such. And some animals can look almost the same and still be two different species. There are a lot of details and internal elements to an animal that make them truly different from each other regardless of appearance.

    That’s one thing that can make classifying animals hard, actually. But, applying it to writing scifi…sometimes it would actually make sense for an alien to look like something on earth, but whether or not it ‘works’ depends on the author’s reasons for the similarities.

    There’s a fun documentary called Alien Planet that basically discusses a virtual exploration of an alien planet and its life. I was a little skeptical of one of the creature designs, though. Like, there was an alien that had its front legs fused together, and its back legs fused together.

    Maybe something like that could exist, but the animal would probably end up with some big disadvantages, like having a harder time catching itself if it was knocked over, and having less ability to fight back. There’s a reason many animals built in that manner(of having it’s front limbs and hinds limbs on the ground at all times) have four separate limbs. Even a lot of bipedal creatures still have either wings or arms to balance themselves with and use as tools for flying, climbing, etc. Of course bugs and stuff have a different build, but they have different lifestyles to counter that.

    So sometimes in our quest to make new designs, even experts can make something that doesn’t entirely make sense or work as well.

    And there’s so many potential details. With one of the aliens I’m designing for a future story, they are intended to be creatures that are well adapted for both life on a hi tech spaceship AND living like a feral animal(though in both cases they are as intelligent as humans). One thing I’m trying to decide on them is what type of claws/nails they would have on their front digits or if they’ll even have claws in the first place. Another thing I wonder with their design is if individuals of this species will end up having joint problems in their front digits as they get older. That part would be completely fine, but if that would be a legitimate issue, it’d be a great detail/obstacle to give the alien chars in the story.

    With salvation and all that, I usually have it where a Christ figure died for the sake of all sentient beings regardless of planet. Either that, or I write an AU scenario where most beings can become saved by accepting God, his forgiveness, and living for him from then on. Whether or not there was a Christ figure in that scenario is a mystery in some regards, and would depend on which story verse is being discussed. But in a realistic universe, each planet would probably have varied levels of knowledge about God. So some might know to accept him and ask his forgiveness and live for him, but have no clue about a Christ figure or religious text or anything. I like exploring how that issue plays out in different worlds. Without going into too much detail, alien life in my space verse relies heavily on genetic engineering, so there’s a lot of possibilities that come out of that, especially in terms of what people should and shouldn’t do with science.

    I also don’t really have a problem with discussing evolutionary aspects in creature design. It’s important to think of what would actually work and survive and change, especially in a scifi world. It doesn’t negate God and can even elevate him, when we think about how genetic variety and tiny changes in a species are very practical and even necessary for life’s existence. From that standpoint, the fact that he made that process/allowed it to exist only elevates him.

    Also, there were a couple other fun documentaries detailing some ecosystems on made up planets, but unfortunately I don’t remember what they were called.

    • Travis Perry says:

      To reply to just one aspect of your interesting comment, one thing I have done with some of my stories that feature aliens is have them look like exact parallels of a creature that lives on Earth–which would raise the question in someone’s mind, well possibly anyway, why would it be that a creature in space would look exactly the same (or nearly so) as creatures on Earth?

      It’s a kind of subversive counter to evolution-producing-aliens as people commonly believe it that unfortunately suffers from the shortcoming that I could be accused of simply lacking sufficient imagination to create truly alien-looking aliens. But I’ve taken that risk at times anyway.

      Chief example is my 10 thousand word or so short story called “Unknown Biologic” that I released for sale on Amazon years ago (and which never sold very well–it’s hard for a short story at the minimum price of 99 cents to compete with novels for the same price). But anyway, if you might be interested in that story, here’s the link to it on Amazon:


  6. Richard Gaffin says:


    I was fascinated by this post. Atheist bloggers often deride religious belief as irrational, because faith, they charge, admits of no falsification. There is no evidence, they say, that can be brought against religious doctrine that believers would accept as refuting those doctrinal truth claims. While there is some truth to this, it is not entirely the case. Paul himself in 1 Cor. 15:19 notes that if the resurrection didn’t happen, Christianity is false. For me, the existence of aliens would be such evidence.

    I was therefore intrigued at the degree to which you’ve thought through the topic. Despite the momentous ramifications that the existence of aliens might have, I’ve seen very little discussion of them in theological terms, so I very much enjoyed this. You thought of numerous objections to aliens that hadn’t occurred to me. But as I see it, you missed the main objection. This was raised by Keith Robinson below in his comment on the post, but it seems to me your response to him didn’t really address the issue: Genesis 3:17 and Romans 8:18-22 make clear that all of creation was cursed as a result of Adam’s sin. We now know that that creation is a vast universe extending millions of light years into space. Any intelligent species we might encounter would be subject to the futility of creation brought about by the Fall. That presents a conundrum. The Westminster Confession says that all men “descended by ordinary generation” fell in Adam. An extraterrestrial species would not be descended by ordinary generation. If aliens are not tainted by Adam’s original sin, then why do they suffer the natural evil brought on by the Curse? If they are fallen, then how does that work, given they are not descended by ordinary generation? (You note the possibility that extraterrestrials might in fact be biologically related to us, but then in my view they would be humans and not really aliens.)

    In one sense, this is the type of question best avoided, because our answers can only be speculative. But it does have bearing on a current question, namely the historicity of Adam. If we insist that a single man, Adam, had to exist and be the father of us all for the doctrine of Original Sin to have cogency, then we would undercut that if we said that extraterrestrials somehow fell without that biological connection.

    Again, I enjoyed this very much. As to aliens in fiction, I see their use the same way I see Tolkien’s use of elves and dwarves. The Christian message would not be relevant in that fictional world, but its story can nonetheless be a powerful way of communicating Christian truth in this real world.

    • Travis Perry says:

      Richard, thank you for your comment.

      You are correct that I didn’t really address the issue of the entire universe being cursed by Adam’s sin. Perhaps I will delve into that more in a post in the future, but C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy in effect took the statements about the curse and limited them to the Planet Earth. He assumed the rest of the universe was sinless, yet still populated it with aliens. I touched on this idea under Objection 4, though I mentioned the sinless aspect rather than the curse aspect (though I think they are intertwined).

      The view C.S. Lewis took shows that what the curse includes and how much of the universe it includes is somewhat up for debate.

      But even if we take the entire universe to be involved (and I would agree that’s the best way to look at the word “creation”), let’s draw a bit of a parallel with Earth creatures. Was it fair that dolphins should be cursed or dogs or elephants or whichever species of Earth you’d like to pick, because of the sin of human beings?

      Or to answer more creatively, just as I imagined that perhaps the sacrifice of Jesus could happen at one time on many alien worlds, what if there were many alien Adams and they in effect sinned at the same time and the universe is cursed because of all the “Adams”–including the ones who are alien. Though we would naturally only hear about our Adam in the Bible.

      By the way, I do hold the entire human race is descended from Adam and Eve. Even though I’m not entirely convinced by Young Earth Creationism.

  7. Very interesting discussion, Travis, not only the original piece but the discussion that follow. There is a lot to think about. Here is another thought:

    We know biblically that a thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years, suggesting that God is beyond time; the fact that he can know the future and knows the past suggests that he can be many places and many times at the same time. The ability of angels to come and go in time and space as messengers of God suggest that God’s dominion over all creation is not limited or linear the way it is for us.

    God is a creator and the vastness of his creation suggests that he has not stopped being such. Its not too farfetched to me that he is every creating and every expanding his dominion. Because we are limited in a linearity of time and limited in our life by God’s purpose, it makes sense that the extent of our knowledge of the world might also be limited, and knowing anything beyond this earth and life is unnecessary for our spiritual formation and redemption. Certainly all the descriptions of heaven show that the authors were struggling to grasp and explain the nature of what they were seeing because of these limitations, and the vastness and extent of the creation beyond our limited experience is overwhelming.

    But what if God made a thousand earths, with a thousand cultures and languages – or a million? What if the inhabitants were basically the same design? The argument that they would have to be different is evolutionary in nature so what if he made them basically the same and put them on a thousand planets and on each on, the history is a bit different, but they are still human.

    John argues that if we tried to write down all the things Jesus did, the books would fill the earth. It may be a bit of hyperbole, but suppose there is a library planet out there that is nothing but a repository of books about all the things Jesus did. Suppose all those things took place on thousands of different planets? Would we argue that God is not capable of having Jesus do this? In I Pet 3 is says that Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed and did not listen to Noah’s preaching. How many other places could he have gone before or after his life. He’s been around since eternity so the breadth of his adventures is pretty difficult to comprehend.

    What if he did die for the sins of all mankind on a thousand different planets simultaneously? Would we argue that this is impossible for God? Doing it once, here on earth, for my sins is overwhelming enough and since I am confined here, worrying about the other thousands of scenarios would just be overwhelming and distracting if I cannot even reach out to my neighbors and friends.

    I prefer to let my infinite God be just that, and not try to restrict his power, creativity or ability to manage worlds far beyond my wildest imaginations.

    There are some things about God that would have to be the same. Love, compassion, consistency, righteousness, forgiveness, redemption, etc. and there would be some expectations of his creations that would also have to be a certain way: love, compassion, obedience to his plans, listening to his ordinances, the way we would treat others with grace, forgiveness, etc. but the way this is delivered to us, the history of how we would know these things, characters that form the envelope of our experiences and history and culture – how different could they be and still be true to God and his creation?

    Exploring these ideas in fiction is important for our struggle to understand God.

    • Another quick thought about all this: If there are a million planets out there in God’s vast creation that need saving, it possible that God does not want us taking our tainted and crippled brands of Christianity and salvation to them. We have enough trouble getting along with each other. Perhaps God sees us being saved in spite of ourselves, by his grace and mercy and perhaps there is a planet out there that is actually succeeding in their righteousness without us bringing our weirdness to it. Perhaps God wants each planet to work out its own salvation so every one of them is isolated from the others, to go through that salvation process by itself with it’s own failures and successes – just a thought ….

What do you think?