Are We Alone In The Universe: Some Thoughts From A Christian Perspective.
by Nick Bishop
When I stare into the night sky I am totally blown away by the stars and planets observable with the naked eye. If you happen to live in a brightly lit area your view of the cosmos, whether with the naked eye or a telescope will be much reduced. This was always the late Patrick Moore’s annoyance that man-made light hindered a proper observance of the universe. Of course, with electronic instruments used by scientists, whether on the ground or by the Hubble telescope in space, our view of God’s universe is more defined. If you are serious about getting a better view of the heavens, you need to go where man-made light is non-existent, and you will be blown away by the view. You will see millions of stars in our galaxy plus the planets observable in our solar system like Venus, Mars etc on the horizon.
Space exploration whether by humans or by probes has always fascinated me. I have seen the grainy images of Neil Armstrong when he first set foot on the moon, the international space station that whirls around our planet, and mobile probes on Mars traversing the surface. We have sent out probes to most of the inner planets and outer ones, and people like Elon Musk plan to have a Mars base by the 2020’s. There is still plenty of ambition to explore and conquer the stars.
Sci-fi movies like Star Wars, Star Trek, etc have always fascinated me with the possibility of future generations travelling to other worlds and meeting other beings. I am unashamedly a total space and sci-fi geek!
So what is the Christian response to the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” This question divides the Christian community as many other issues do, with opinions from ‘no absolutely not, as it undermines scripture,’ whereas others are more prepared to admit there could be life beyond this planet.
Our universe (whether other beings inhabit other worlds, or not) is a miracle on its own. Scientists say our universe is composed of 1 billion trillion stars alone, and now scientists have found other worlds revolving around other suns known as exo-planets.
The Vatican is one church organisation that does not confirm the possibility of alien life but does not deny it either. It seems that within their own observatory (with fathers also acting as astronomers) the Catholic church are open-minded about the topic, with Vatican astronomer and Jesuit Priest, Brother Guy Consolmago, believing that life outside of our planet could be theologically possible.
I will leave the final word to Billy Graham in an article he wrote in 1960 entitled ‘My Answer’.
“I am a student of the physical sciences. Some of my associates are inclined to believe that there is life on other planets. If there are people who inhabit these planets, what does that do to our faith in the Gospel? Can it be that God is primarily concerned about this planet?
From my studies of the scriptures, I can find nothing that would change our essential faith in the gospel if we did discover life on other planets. Our Bible is clearly designed for this particular planet with its particular problem of man’s sin. When we observe this fact we are on safe ground. It is not part of the Bible’s message to inform us of what God has done elsewhere. Its message is concerned with earth dwellers, their origin, the reason for their existence, the cause of their misery, and the plan of redemption for a fallen race. I am sure that if there are dwellers on other planets they are either not involved in the sin problem or God has made provision for them.
The God of the universe is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is entirely able to support the entire creation and is able to govern it in righteousness”.
God bless you x.
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