Extraterrestrial Life

I have come across some materials on the evidence for aliens, UFOs, etc., and I wonder if the Scripture says anything on the topic. Some Christians argue that because the Bible does not explicitly deny the existence of extraterrestrial life, we can at least regard it as a possibility. But how can this be reconciled with the Bible? Maybe it cannot be reconciled with the Fall of man in Eden, but is this a strong argument against the existence of UFOs?

As far as I can tell, the existence of extraterrestrial life does not contradict anything in Scripture, so there is nothing to reconcile, since there is no conflict and no contradiction. The existence of extraterrestrial life has no direct relevance to Eden and the Fall, so again, there is no contradiction, and nothing to reconcile.

Just because someone connects these things does not mean that they are in fact related. For example, I have read the argument that if there are creatures on other planets, then they would fall into sin just like man did in Eden, and God would have to send his Son to die for every group that has sinned. Since God would not make his Son endure such humiliation and agony over and over again, this must mean that there are no creatures on other planets. There are variations of this argument, but the line of reasoning is the same. In any case, it is absurd, since every premise is a groundless assertion, and every step involves a logical leap. Why would all life necessarily fall into sin? Why would God necessarily want to save any or all of them? Why would God necessarily refuse to allow the Son to endure repeated suffering?

We already know that there are other types of creatures besides man and other earthly creatures (animals, insects, etc.), since we know that there are angels and demons. We also know that God does not choose to save all kinds of creatures that fall into sin, since he has provided no salvation for fallen angels.

Then, Scripture does provide an indication that there might be other types of life besides angels, demons, man, and other earthly creatures. One possible example is in Revelation 4:6-8:

Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

If these creatures are not to be classed with angels, and if they are not symbolic, then they are altogether another class of creatures. But what we still cannot say for sure is if they ever visit earth or get involved in man’s affairs on earth. 

I have also come across those who allege that UFOs are transportation devices for angels (both elect and fallen), and that there are references to them in the Bible, such as the chariot that took away Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), or the “whirling wheels” in Ezekiel (10:13, also 1:16-17). However, the arguments are unconvincing. It seems that they are reading their conceptions of extraterrestrial technology into Scripture, and they also fail to answer sensible alternative interpretations. But again, even if these are references to UFOs, they do not upset any traditional Christian doctrine.

Therefore, at this time my position is that (1) We cannot be sure whether there is or is not life elsewhere besides earth (except angels and demons, etc.), and (2) Whether there is life elsewhere or not, it presents no problem for Christianity and no contradiction against the Bible, so that there is nothing for us to reconcile at all. I remain open to biblical arguments for or against extraterrestrial life, but those that I have examined so far are either inconclusive or clearly fallacious.

Although everything about God’s creation deserves some of our attention, this topic is comparatively insignificant. So what if God has created other creatures? And so what if he has not? It might be interesting to know, but it has no direct relevance to any central doctrine or ethical issue. We would believe and behave the same way as Christians either way.

The stakes are raised when we are dealing with UFO cults, that is, cults whose teachings are centered around the existence of extraterrestrial life, and mankind’s relationship with them. But the solution is not to attempt a refutation of the very existence of extraterrestrial life based on flimsy arguments. Empirical arguments are especially useless — we cannot refute what other people claim to have seen on the basis that we have not seen the same thing. Instead, the biblical solution is to proclaim the sovereignty and superiority of Christ, for whether or not there is extraterrestrial life, Christ is the creator and ruler of them all. Therefore, the existence of extraterrestrial life would not validate the teachings of UFO cults, since whether or not there is extraterrestrial life, all Christian doctrines remain intact, including God’s demand for faith and repentance, so that man may receive salvation through Jesus Christ.