Breaking through the atmosphere
The recent discovery of TRAPPIST-1 has everyone talking about life on other planets. Others may be asking if we could inhabit other Earth-like planets. While the prospect of discovering life in outer space is exciting/thrilling/terrifying, Christians should be grounded in this pursuit. Take the world, give me Jesus, as they say. So let’s discover what TRAPPIST-1 is, if there is life outside of Earth and what would it look like if mankind colonized the galaxy.
Don’t worry, I’m a professional TRAPPIST
TRAPPIST-1 is the name of 7 planet exosystem discovered 40 light years away in the Aquarius system. Scientists have been able to measure the planets’ density and they believe the planets to be pretty rocky. TRAPPIST-1 is actually an acronym for the telescope that found it, who is located in Chile (Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope).
Three of the seven planets are firmly located in the habitable zone. This is the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. Scientists say you could actually see the other planets in the sky if you were to visit any one of the planets. In 2018 NASA’s James Webb Telescope will launch into space to determine the chemical fingerprints of these planets. This will give us a clearer picture of what the atmosphere is like on these planets and if they are inhabitable.
And if these planets are inhabitable, surely this could mean aliens right may exist there, right? Or maybe we could start a new Earth there?
The concept of extra terrestrial life isn’t supported in the Bible. Now, I’ll go ahead and say if God wanted to make some funny looking creates in a far off planet or in another dimension, God has every right, power and whim to do so. But if we Christians believe the Bible is the word of God, we need to, look at TRAPPIST-1 through the lens of the Bible.
Dear Universe, sorry about that forbidden fruit thing…
Genesis 1:1 tells us Earth was created on the first day. God didn’t even make the Sun, Moon and stars until the fourth day (Genes 1:14-19). For God’s purpose, Earth is unique to the rest of the universe. Here’s where we can go ahead and apologize to the rest of the universe – 2 Peter 3:9-10 says every other planet and star in the universe is forever linked to God’s timetable for mankind and Earth. Christ will return to Earth and complete the final act of man’s redemption. And one part of this finale entails a colossal reset of the universe. God will eradicate the planets and stars and create a new heaven and a new Earth (2 Peter 3:7,10; Revelations 21:1).
This is a hard pill to swallow if there were extra terrestrials in the universe. Their demise would rest squarely on our shoulders for what happened in the Garden of Eden. And since Christ was sent to die for our sins (mankind’s sin) they would, technically, be excluded from that. Some argue that, if this were true, there may be aliens that have never sinned at all and don’t need Christ’s death to justify them. I’ll have to flat out disagree with this, since Christ is the only being who lived a sinless life.
Another point of view is that aliens are in the same situation and Christ is spending all his time dying over and over on many planets to share the gift of redemption with them, as well. I too have to disagree with this notion. God sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins, here on Earth.
Let’s hypothetically ask this though: what if you did meet an alien? You would have two kinds of aliens if one were ever discovered. One being the kind that would have the thought and communication abilities as any animal/mammal on planet Earth. Or, the other kind, the self-aware, conscious aliens. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, they would not be covered by the blood of Jesus.
In the galactic pursuit of happiness
Even without the debate of, if conscious aliens are considered apart of mankind, the Bible says that Earth is unique. It stands alone. There is no life or foot traffic out there in outer space. Sci-fi films, novels, comic books and games excel in fleshing out an inter-galactic world of what could be. But when the credits roll we’re reminded they are just fantasies.
Why would one want to find aliens you may ask? One reason may be that it would certainly help confirm evolutionist theories, that life has and will always find a way to progress(ultimately denying a Biblical end). The discovery of aliens would also be contrary to what the Bible says or does not say. Another reason could be the sharing of technology. This perhaps is an offshoot of our sinful nature reaching out to grasp at any claim to power for ourselves instead of being humbled before the cross.
Just as much as we Christians put stock into Christ saving us, there are those who put just as much stock into technology in saving them. Man has a love affair with extending life and putting off the inevitable – our eventual demise. But really, who wants to live forever? Every one of those vampires seems to be so moody and drab after a century or two. I playfully digress…
God is way better at landscapes than Bob Ross
Why would God create the universe outside of Earth? In my opinion it’s a cosmic way of saying look at what masterpieces I can accomplish. Every year we’re discovering new sectors of the universe that have God’s fingerprint all over them. And to think they were made and are still in the process of being made anew as we speak. Stars die, black holes swallow things, massive objects orbit and travel unknown lengths in the vacuum of space.
Hello, is this thing on?
So, where are all the aliens? Since there are quite possibly multiple billions of planets in our galaxy, some of these planets must contain life… And if some of these worlds are billions of years older than ours, then at least some of them would have evolved intelligent life eons ago. You could only assume we would’ve met with some technology or some galactic footprint of other life by now. However, we find no evidence of these civilizations. Where is everybody?
Well, what about all those UFO sightings? I’m prepared to accept any one of those sightings if they can be proven by science. We observe and witness many things in the empirical world that we cannot understand (like why people are still watching The Big Bang Theory). UFO sightings can be any number of things actually happening before our very eyes, prototype military air crafts, Venus, satellites, meteors, weather balloons, gas, birds, lightning, etc…
There are those who want desperately to believe that their imaginations will see what is not really there. I’m by no means a UFO expert, but I will buy that sometimes we see things we don’t understand. That doesn’t make what we saw aliens in saucers though. Furthermore, it’s far too easy to doctor any footage these days, and even further back in recent history. Some want to believe so badly that the truth is out there. And the Truth is out there, in Heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father.
Just what the universe needed, more man
What if we are alone in this gigantic universe? At least we’re finding planets that we can inhabit if we ever choke the life out of the current one we’re on. God didn’t make us or the Earth to last forever. The way we treat our current planet, I don’t see any hope for any other planet we should inhabit. Imagine when we develop technology that can really send us quickly in light years around the universe. Will we bring our bad habits with us (greed, pollution, excess consumption, partisan politics, imperialism) or will we bring our better virtues (love, compassion, justice, wisdom, loyalty)?
Speak the truth in love
These discussions will always have more than one belief or point of view. It’s important to speak the truth in love to both believers and non-believers alike. Before one can debate if aliens can be saved or not, one has to meet at the Jesus platform. You may find a productive debate with a non-Christian difficult, because they don’t believe in Christ, or the Bible being the word of God. Remember, God’s word never returns void. I think Christians need to participate in debates more, not only to share the gospel, but to embolden their own beliefs.
Whatever the future holds, know that God is in control. We, as Christians, can rest assured that we are on our way to Heaven, a place authored by the same Creator who made the universe we so admire and adore.
So what do you believe? The truth is out there.