Is there anyway to reconcile Alien life and the Bible (or Belief in Jesus)? I used to be a Young Earth Creationist, then I became fascinated with Alien life. But I knew that as a YEC, Alien life was more unlikely but still not impossible, but with my literalistic reading, I saw the Bible as denying Alien life… so I became all obsessed with them and I became less Christian (if you would like to put it that way). After a while, I came “back”, in a way, to being a Christian. It’s somewhat confusing because I never left officially, so I never really came back. But either way, after I became more focused on my faith, I wanted to know about the age of the earth and Evolution because i want to be an astronomer when I get out of college. So I eventually found Biologos (Amazing website), and now that I am an Evolutionary Creationist, Is there anyway to reconcile Alien belief with the Bible? Are there even any verses in the bible that even hint slightly at the possibility of alien life?
It is sort of fun to speculate, but I really do not think the Bible or Christian belief addresses or is affected by the presence or absence of alien life, intelligent or not. My experience and thoughts are molded more by Madeleine L’Engle’s and C.S. Lewis’s science fiction/fantasy writings than reality.
Through them, I could see God working in other beings unknown to us, but if we find that the universe was necessary just to provide the conditions for our existence, that too would be marvelous.
Ya, I think the same too. One thing is what would Jesus’ death mean for Alien life. Would he have died multiple times, are the other world’s not fallen, or did Christ die on Earth for all of the Universe? It is fun to speculate. The Idea of Aliens to me seems so cool, I think it would show God’s creative nature.
John Polkinghorne talks about this very idea in his book Science in the Context of Theology.
Sometimes atheists like to claim that finding alien life would be devastating to Christian theology, but that isn’t true.
Thank you, I will read the book. I have heard that claim many times. I don’t believe it at all. But I sometimes have a hard time reconciling Alien life and the Bible because i was raised in an anti-Alien home even to the point where they probably believe aliens are demons. I don’t generally agree with this though.
I think that people have been asking “Are we alone?” for a very long time. And we are fascinated by the idea of alien life. And the science fiction books and films on alien life keep coming. I would be very happy if we discovered life on other planets!
Same with me. Star Trek got me interested in Alien life. When I watched it I thought that maybe we might find Alien life soon
C.S. Lewis explores this very idea in his Space Trilogy – Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GR0CK1Y). Lewis is brilliant at making spiritual concepts and ideas come to life through story. If you are into sci-fi and can handle reading a book written 60+ years ago than definitely give it a go.
Thank you. I had heard that. I have been meaning to read His books
The original Bible audience believed that the stars and planets were tiny twinkling lights that orbited the earth, not other places that might harbor life. Any strange creatures that were not of terrestrial origin would have been considered demons.
Seems like every new discovery Kepler/NASA make reminds us that stars and planets are not in short supply. It’s hard to imagine that our creator God doesn’t have just a we bit more going on than little ole’ us on Earth. In a way the Bible does hint at beings from another time/place. Angels. The Bible tells us they occupy heaven and regularly interact with earth/humanity. But it also alludes to a larger back story in a few places. Which makes me wonder from time to time whether they may have been beings on a rock somewhere in the universe long before us and have all since been promoted to angel duty now. Jesus actually likens our future marital condition to that of the angels when the Pharisees try to trap him with a extreme hypothetical question about which wife a 5 times remarried husband will be joined with in heaven. It’s definitely fun to ponder the deep mysteries of God!
Yeah, I was going to suggest this. I think Lewis even deals with the idea of the aliens needing a Savior, if I remember right. It is fun for the imagination. So is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time trilogy, which I just finished reading to my kids.
I like CS Lewis. His stories and his thinking. But for the topic here, he is a problem. He repackages the Adam and Eve story as science fiction, like this might happen like it did long ago. And i have to stop and say NO. Adam and Eve is a story, which differs slightly from the Pandora’s Box story with the obvious moral that we should be afraid of curiosity. Which i would call old world thinking. trust the wisdom of the past… And the story comes with an unforgiving god. Adam and Eve were not given a second chance. Their descendants FOREVER are cursed. "Death came into the world with Adam, "even after Jesus, we still have death.
Exciting theatre, lousy theology. what an insult to God, whose mercy endures forever. And how belittling of Jesus. With all his miracles, his passion and death, he could not reverse the curse god laid on Adam for eating an apple. we still have death, and pain in birthing. The literal interpretation of adam and Eve is unacceptable to anyone with compassion in their hearts. Any one with a tinge of mercy, feels God acted a little overly harsh. NO. it is a story borrowed from the neighbors, like babylonians, shared with Greeks, let into the bible to start the book off, not any real description of god. whose mercy endures forever.
Please read the bible for the recommendations it gives - Be kind to foreigners, the mercy you measure to your fellow man will be measured back to you by God. Forgive as you want to be forgiven. that is the gist of the bible.
And when you resort to the bible to counter a scientific theory, what foolishness, that was not the intent of the writers, or Jesus. Feel important that the eye of God sees the sparrow and we are even more important.
the 300 years wasted fighting over heliocentric … . . you know, round earth, goes around the sun, gravity of the moon causes tides, this is not a matter to be settled by reading the bible. and when you go there claiming to know the natural world from the bible, you bring disrespect to the bible. So that is my discontent. claiming that the bible can decide science, brings disrespect , has brought disrespect to the bible. needs to stop.
evolution is about the mechanics of how we come to walk upright, breath air, have hernias. not matters for the bible.
that is my realization of CS Lewis stories. that it suggests that it might be like adam and eve, the earth shaken by one small mistake on perelandra. I see other stories like that and i want to stop it. God gives second chances, does not curse children for the sins of their fathers. such vengence is not worthy of humans, much less god.
Accept the bible with compassion and forgiveness. that is God’s advice.
Scientific theories record the handiwork of god: inertia, gravity, evolution, etc. these do not threaten the call for compassion and forgiveness.
Providentially my old friend and professional church historian Penman (who used to post a bit here) recently sent me a bunch of Christian references to ET life from the 17th century on. I’ve worked these into an article on The Hump which may help defuse the “aliens must be demons” line and be of interest.
Preach it!! yes, i totally agree with you! Many Young Earth Creationists claim the Bible is a science book and I see error in that. I have become less likely to talk to them on somethings because I have been accused of not having faith in Jesus or believe in the same God. It is foolish to use the Bible as a Science book. The Bible, in my opinion is a theological book. It was meant to give the history of God’s intervention with Mankind as well as a manual on how to follow Jesus as well as teach us how Jesus offers salvation for free (who doesn’t love free, right?) So Thank you for replying. I have been studying the Bible for about 6 months now and I’m only in 9th Grade. Most other kids think I’m a nerd or something which is somewhat true but whatever
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And i have to stop and say NO. Adam and Eve is a story, which differs slightly from the Pandora’s Box story with the obvious moral that we should be afraid of curiosity. Which i would call old world thinking. trust the wisdom of the past… And the story comes with an unforgiving god. Adam and Eve were not given a second chance. Their descendants FOREVER are cursed. "Death came into the world with Adam, "even after Jesus, we still have death. Exciting theatre, lousy theology. what an insult to God, whose mercy endures forever.
AMEN, AMEN, Mike! I thought I was the only BioLogos fan who would like to replace Original Sin with Original Blessing and thus make sense of worshiping a merciful God. In terms of how to reconcile our Christian theology with the possibility of other intelligent alien life, I think we should consider the real possibility that any other life forms that evolve in the Universe probably evolve by a mechanism similar to what we refer to as Darwinian evolution; i.e. it has components of both cooperation and selfishness. If so, then alien intelligent life should also have to battle with instinctive selfishness, aka, Sin, the way we on earth do. And Christ is the universal Messiah that God the Father “begot before all ages” just for that eventuality. It is pure speculation (but interesting) to imagine an alien intelligent life that had less difficulty overcoming instinctive selfishness, and the person of Christ there did not have to undergo crucifixion to successfully lead them to become imago Dei.
that makes a lot of sense. thanks
Thanks, Jon, for leading me to the efforts of past theologians dealing with possible roles that Christ would play if there is, indeed, intelligent alien life on other planets. I was especially impressed by the quote from Andrew Fuller who reached a viewpoint much like my own but from a Baptist perspective.
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The Bible , i do not trust for Astronomy, but it is clear that aliens should not be molested. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Jesus all traveled in foreign lands, experiencing how people treat aliens. So it is in the Bible " do not molest aliens" multiple times. They meant Moabites, Samaritans, the low class aliens and Romans and Egyptians, high class aliens.
The Bible also says the measure that you measure with will be measured back to you. So we should expect aliens to treat us, they way we treat the aliens in our midst. Our public, historic position is pretty bad.
So i think less about space aliens and more about the aliens in our midst. What if i had to flee to anoher country, what could i hope for as an american alien? The politics and guilt surrounding this issue put it on the level of abortion. maybe we should move on.
There are other historical points. When the spanish found Indigenous, they, with the catholic church debated baptising them. They do not appear to be children of Adam. But since they had been baptising Jews and Moors, the Aztecs, Nuatils were not much stranger. It did not prevent stealing gold, enslaving the people, but it left a marker that aliens are eligible for baptism.
The other side of the alien question is who can get into heaven? I guess Elija and Moses made it, so you don’t HAVE to be baptised. Enoc made it. Did Noah? How about Neadrathals? what do you imagine is the dividing line? dogs? flat out speculation it is. Best left in god’s hands. While i can be nice to my Neandrathal friends, i am not much fond of dogs.
Know the f orce.
but keep your head down, they out number us.
Even if you are right they can still take offense.
but be true , seek without arrogance, share insights where there is a chance they will take.
you want true friends, speak the truth, accept good critizsm and blow off the fools.
We have to keep trying. success is a sporadic gift from god, friends will come in the oddest shape.