How would the discovery of alien life impact the Christian faith?

Recently, over two million people agreed to raid Area 51, the location in Nevada, USA, that is supposedly hiding evidence of alien life. I seriously doubt they would find anything even if they succeeded in breaking into the secretive military base. I also question the wisdom of announcing plans to invade a base that is supposedly hiding information. Wouldn’t that give them the opportunity to move the evidence to a different location? Whatever the case, all this interest in Area 51 raises an interesting question: How would the discovery of alien life impact the Christian faith?

Above all, let me say, I do not believe aliens exist. Let’s also differentiate between sentient aliens and non-sentient aliens. While I would not necessarily have a theological problem with the concept of non-sentient beings (fish, birds, dogs, etc.) existing on other planets, I do have a huge theological problem with the concept of other sentient beings existing elsewhere. Why? It just does not mesh with the teachings of the Bible. The Bible presents humanity as uniquely created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). The only other sentient beings the Bible mentions are angels (and demons). According to the Bible, we are unique, specifically created to have a personal relationship and connection with God the Creator.

Sentient life in other parts of the universe destroys, or at least weakens, this uniqueness. While there could be sentient life elsewhere in the universe that is not created in the image of God, this would still raise all kinds of questions. When did God create the aliens? Do the sentient aliens have an eternal soul? Did they fall into sin? Did God reveal Himself to them? Does their understanding of God match what the Bible says? Did God provide them with an alien Bible? Did God provide for and offer them redemption and salvation? If so, how? Did Jesus die for them too? How would that work with the once for all sacrifice of Jesus (Hebrews 10:10)? Will saved aliens be in heaven and unsaved aliens in hell? The list of questions goes on and on.

None of those questions are singularly a problem for me. Rather, it is the totality of all the questions. The Bible describes God’s will and plan in great detail. The existence of sentient alien life on another planet does not fit with the plan the Bible describes. Nothing in the Bible gives a purpose for such aliens. In contrast, I see numerous truths in the Bible that point to the uniqueness of our relationship with God and the uniqueness of the salvation He has provided through Jesus Christ. For God to replicate this relationship in other sentient alien civilizations is, well, alien to the Bible.

If aliens do not exist, what, then, is the explanation for all the supposed sightings, abductions, and evidence? I would not be at all surprised if Satan and his demons are impersonating aliens. Since the Bible gives absolutely no reason to believe that alien life exists, reported alien sightings are either lies, hallucinations, or demonic deceptions. I would not be shocked if some kind of alien deception is an aspect of the end times. Sadly, evidently, millions of people all already falling for these deceptions.

Some scientists propose “directed panspermia” aka “exogenesis,” which is the idea that life was planted on Earth by aliens. They propose this theory because they are forced to admit biological life is far too complex to have come into existence without guidance. Many atheists and evolutionary scientists hope for alien life because it would give credence to their worldviews; it gives them a creation account that does not involve God. In reality, all it does it push the origin of life back a step. If aliens planted life on Earth, how did those aliens come into existence?

Again, I do not believe aliens exist. God thoroughly informs us of the existence of angels and demons, the only other sentient beings that Bible says He created. It is my conviction, therefore, that God would have also informed us if sentient life existed elsewhere in the universe, especially if there is a possibility of us coming into contact with them.

All of the time being spent wondering about, searching for, and/or worrying over alien life is an unnecessary distraction. What we need is a lot less Area 51 and a lot more Psalm 51.

S. Michael Houdmann

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How would the discovery of alien life impact the Christian faith?