Faith in God protecting us and Dark Forest Theory

So I’m starting to see more and more people mention the dark forest theory. I think next year with the release of the Netflix series “ three body challenge “ it will also become a growing discussion among people. I think it’s also connected to ethics.

To begin the dark forest theory is that space is like a dark forest. Earth is like a child wondering where are the other kids and so we’ve sent out signals and other things hoping to see if extraterrestrial life sees it and responds. But the other kids will all be silent because if they have the technology to receive and send out a response then they will also be smart enough to know there are probably other civilizations out there that are more life wolves, bears and mountain lions. They are more advanced civilizations.

So the thought goes like this. If another intelligent species that can travel space, caught our signal and decided to trace it back to us and come to us then that means we will be at their mercy. They are more advanced. But if they are more advanced, they will also know other equally and greater advanced civilizations are also out there. So if they know that, and are still brave enough to respond and follow it back to us, that means they are also confident that they are weaponized enough to stand against the others that are potentially following the signal.

So it leads to this conclusion that anyone other species in space that intercepts the signal, and back trace it to where we live and come to us will mean most likely it’s a highly evolved weaponized civilization that are confident they can fight off others like them in order to come to us which means we would be at a severe disadvantage and completely at their mercy.

So since I think this will become a pop speculative subject in the next few years among typical people, including Christians, I was wondering if within our faith that touches up on will god protect us from this cosmic terror? Or maybe there is a better opposing “theory” such as perhaps a cosmic Christ that has helped guide beings we can’t even imagine towards love. I’ve heard some believe that the cosmos is geared towards love. That in the same way we see beauty in evolution we can also see beauty in this potential encounter.


Interesting question.
What does experience show us?

I feel like experience shows us no personally. Always seems to have been very bloody wars and the wars are won and lost off of who had the best technological advancement at the time , the most people and germs. But there has never been something like a global threat where we could potentially all be wiped completely out. God says we are important to him, and there has always been a remnant but to me it’s still an interesting to wonder if God’s plans long term, is not even about us. What if his grand scheme is actually about species from a whole different galaxy. Like what if there are far less habitable planets out there then we imagine, and God’s plan was for us to evolve to where we are, send out a signal, an alien civilization that left there planet in running out of time in a ship, and they capture this signal, and their salvation is their fleet conquering earth and setting up here as their own promise land.

I don’t actually have this particular fear, but it’s something I find interesting. Would God still be our God if part of his plan was human extinction at the hands of another species. Like how the downfall of the dinosaurs was the uplifting of mammals which benefitted us.


This is a great thought experiment and I don’t want to appear like I am dismissing or handwaving it away. I’m not.

That said, I am yet to see any compelling evidence that extraterrestrial life functionally exists. What I mean by that is any plausible evidence that:

  1. advanced life exists in our area/galaxy (we could be first… or even the last)
  2. that said life has the technology to travel civilisation-ending distances to reach us (Alpha Centauri is ~4.3 light-years (993,000,000 miles) away)
  3. That said life forms have the will to travel those distances

Therefore, extraterrestrial life doesn’t figure much in my faith because it would appear we are functionally alone in the universe. If they’re out there they either can’t reach us or don’t want to. So for me, it is sort of like asking, “How do you integrate unicorns and manticores into your Christian beliefs?”

That said, I’ll have a think about what you’ve said, Mi, and share anything that comes to mind. Thanks for posing an interesting idea.


A clarification here for those who might be interested.

Even if the aliens’ standard propulsion systems were significantly more advanced than ours we’re still looking at around several thousand years from Alpha Centauri to the Solar System. Not to mention the fuel, food, water, and maintenance they’d need along the way.

If travelling to our planet at close to light speed it would require eye-watering levels of energy for a single craft to make the trip, let alone an invasion force. Hence why all Sci-Fi FTL engines are powered by handwavium.

So either way, we’re looking at civilisation-ending levels of time and energy just to prove to a bunch of naked apes that their dad can beat up our dad.


I personally am of even sure if I believe in aliens or not. I guess I think it’s possible that they exist. This is more of a pop question than a dilemma I think will happen. But it is a fun one to me. So I don’t feel offended by it being dismissed or anything. I probably mostly enjoy it because it taps into my love of cosmic horror. But I also think with Cixin Liu’s book series coming to a potentially big budgeted Netflix series that is supposed to be their “game of thrones “ hit I imagine that the whole dark forest theory will become a common trope in sci fi horror and populate discussions for a while next year. Especially if it does turn into a multiple season long series.


I think it was the Jodie Foster film Contact that promoted the thought that if there was nothing else in the Universe it was an awful waste of space. Having said that the chances of being able to transverse it just to contact another race is also mind bogglingly large. Star Trek’s theory of a benevolent, if slightly suspicious first contact (Vulcans) is probably optimistic. But, unless there would be any benefit to them, aggression would be self defeating. On the other hand, if you think about the conquering of the Americas, it would take little imagination to transpose that to worlds instead of continents. The quaint notion that Christ has already visited and died for any race or culture is compelling if not realistic. But, if God is God of the Universe and not just Earth He would already have some sort of relationship with other races and cultures. (Hmm, does that apply to this world?)

Would God protect Earth? I do not see why He should. History would not confirm such a notion.

Would aliens upset our view of God and His relationship with humanity? Almost certainly. We go from being the centre of the Universe to a small fish in a very big ocean.

The OP would seem to suggest that it is the natural order to expect aggression (weaponry) so it is just a matter of making sure that you are covered. If we manage to leave our solar system, chances are our technological advances will not just be in propulsion and survival… But, would an aggressive stance automatically promote an aggressive response (See Babylon 5)

Too many questions and limited availability for answers.


It’s funny when I was a teenager I used to get mocked for believing that aliens existed, 20 years later I find I got mocked for suggesting that the don’t (or at least not in any way that might impact us).

Oh for sure. Personally, from a perspective of Christianity, the existence of aliens doesn’t pose any problems for general theology. The Bible is already broadly anthropocentric, it is not hard to extend this to being Earth-centric in its outlook. Where the rubber hits the road of course is the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Currently, the Bible teaches us that the Second Person of the Trinity is both fully God and fully human. That would suggest that he relates to humanity in a way that he doesn’t relate to the little green men of Petracor IV.

Once we start arguing that the Son has or will incarnate in other galactic species, I would humbly suggest we’ve firmly left Christianity behind in any meaningful way.

He might. Perhaps the reason why we’ve not encountered such a terror is because he already is.

Can you pull in [a Cosmic Horror] with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
~ Job 41:1-4 (NIV2011-ish)


That was the core of a thought I had this Sunday while listening to the pastor read Psalm 2, I was thinking about the Fermi paradox and figured the odds may be slightly in favor of humanity being the first rationally conscious life form in the universe. Wouldn’t that be an ironic twist on the earth being at the center of the universe?


True but part of the argument is that if they can locate us, then eventually we will be able to locate them. Which is why in the DFT that how far behind we are at the moment, eventually we will potentially catch up and if we do, what is the probability that we will either attack them, or send their location out into space.

I also guess part of the discussion now would be is it problematic to believe that in the same way God accommodated civilizations with their worldview in scripture, Jesus could also be an accommodation for us as humans and there still be incarnations we will never know of until resurrection. No particular reason for me to think the Holy Spirit cannot incarnate in several forms. I mean a trinity is no less magical than a 4,5 or even 100 beings that all are God.

You should have seen the conversations on the Biblical forum that has now closed down. They quite enjoyed the idea of God being a herd of buffalo. It seems that three is enough and there can be no more… As if we actually could define God that accurately! Or limit what He can or cannot be.


1 Like

We do have the species in Narnia (not exactly Earthly), Malacandra and Perelandra though.

1 Like

It seems the more that is discovered the more it is realized the rarity of the many conditions for advanced life (including heavy metals and other elements in ‘just right’ proportions) are only satisfied on the earth, variously referred to as the anthropic principle or the Goldilocks zone (both including fine-tuning parameters). Books have been written about it, and by non-Christians (Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe is one from a while back). Given what we know about why God created in the first place, it would not surprise me if we are it, at least with respect to sapient life. (I would not be devastated if we weren’t.)

The XKCD version:


I read a sci-fi book written by Christopher Paolini. It included a several pages long addendum explaining how the FTL worked. The explanation was based on physics and findings of physics that will be uncovered in the future. The power needed for FTL was generated using antimatter. Speculative fiction but I appreciate that the author had managed to write a technical description that looked convincing and logical. That it was invented speculation rather than reality is a minor issue.

Biblical scriptures do not tell about alien life on other planets, probably because that information is not relevant to our relationship with God or our daily life. It may be interpreted so that other planets in this part of the galaxy do not have intelligent life or that aliens are not going to affect our life during the near future.

We would be at their mercy, that is a logical conclusion when comparing our technology to that of a highly advanced space civilisation. I am not fully sure about the other parts of the Dark Forest Theory.

Why would a distant alien civilization visit us? There are several possibilities.
One is scientific curiosity. If we would learn about an alien culture on another planet and have the technology needed to visit that planet, humans would send a ship to that planet. Possibly without any humans, as it is easier to send an unmanned craft.

If planets suitable for life are extremely rare, aliens might want to find more about our planet and possibly invade it. I do not think that we have such resources that could not be easier to find from other planet systems. An advanced civilization could modify other planets towards their needs. Therefore I think that the possibility that a distant culture would spend much time and energy to invade our planet is extremely small, even if there would be advanced cultures somewhere in the galaxy. The only exception might be if the aliens would be refuges escaping from a natural disaster or enemy threat and would not have any other place to go.

Earth-type life is probably rare and might be valuable for someone collecting curiosities or experiences. Business is business, even if it would include trading Earth life. The problem would probly be that gaining something from this planet might be extremely expensive and difficult, especially if they would have to carry live specimens to other parts of the galaxy. I guess we are spared from potential galactic zoo trade simply because it would be too expensive and difficult.

If an alien culture would send a ship to Earth, it would probably be an unmanned exploration ship because that would be the cheapest and most safe option.

The probability that alien life on other planets would get our signals and come to explore is extremely small. Yet, I would not send messages to other civilizations. The probability that such an civilization would be hostile is too high, assuming there is intelligent life on other planets.

Interesting idea. Anti-matter does seem like a good fix for the infinite energy needs for FTL travel

Curious, how did he get around the problem of time dilation? Travelling at say 99.99% of the speed of light it might take the alien invaders three Earth weeks (give or take) to get from Alpha Centauri to Sol from their perspective. In the meantime, ~4 years will have passed for the rest of us.

Travelling much larger distances compounds the issue. An invasion force might leave to conquer Earth’s primitives, only to find us 100 years more advanced at the end of their year-and-a-half voyage.

From my laymen’s perspective, physics (as we currently understand it) seems to be set up to keep us in our gated communities.

The numbers for those who might be interested.


That and the other aspect is that if they are able to pick up our signals there is the chance we can pick up theirs and if we can pick up theirs, we could potentially determine there general whereabouts and then send that information out into space alerting others to their location.

But the main point is not dark forest theory as much as would God still be good and good if part of his plan was that we were just a stepping stone in his grander plan. Sort of how we see Canaanites as a stepping stone for Israel. One question that comes up is that what if humanity, was just here as a Canaanite awaiting for another civilization to benefit off of us.

This is a great question and an interesting thought to consider. I guess we could suppose that this situation was the apocalypse that Jesus’ return saves us from. However, I think ultimately, many would conclude in such a scenario that we were sorely (and naively) mistaken in our Christian beliefs.

What do you think, Mi?

1 Like