I can’t remember many times where I had a serious conversation with another Christian about aliens. The thought of extraterrestrial life seems to be quite an offensive premise to the faithful.
I remember listening to a Christian talk show growing up in which the host would take all sorts of questions from his listeners and then offer what he believed to be truth on the matter. One day the question of, “Could other life exist outside of our planet,” came up and the host dismissively jumped right in: “No. That’s a big deal. If God wanted us to know that, he would have written that down in our Bibles.”
Honestly, that’s an incredibly weak argument. As a fictional character once said, “God doesn’t owe us an exhaustive history of everything He’s done since the beginning of time.” If you’ve bought into this logic, I’d challenge you to put it into action. If your premise is that God would have informed us if he made aliens, try writing down how God would have explained aliens to ancient civilizations well before they had any astronomical or scientific or technological understanding. For an extra challenge, try to see if you can find a reason as to why God would even bring that up to an ancient culture in the first place.
Aliens are a special fascination of the present day, so what better person to address the topic than the Christian? After all, we already believe that there are beings that exist outside of our planet that are not humans; we call them angels and demons. We have stories all over our Bibles about these beings and testimonies of encounters with them all throughout history and into modern day. And if they’re not a metaphor, the book of Revelation also gives us descriptions of other strange spiritual beings around the throne of God:
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!” (Rev 4:6-8)
If it ever seemed like a Bible writer saw an alien and tried to explain it back to us, this is it! But my point is not that angels, demons and the creatures in Revelation are aliens, but rather that we already believe in beings that exist outside of our world. They weren’t all born here—they’re from somewhere else outside of our planet.
That’s the same kind of conversation we’re having when we talk about aliens. They weren’t born here—they’re from somewhere else outside of our planet. Sure, angels and demons and the creatures of Revelation are spiritual beings and aliens are physical beings, but they still share the common thread of intelligent existence outside of Earth. That being said, Christians should be primed to enter into the conversation of aliens more easily than most, as our supernatural minds already lend credence to the idea.
So what’s stopping us from engaging in the conversation? I’d say pride, and that’s a topic I need to spend an entire chapter on in my book, Alien Theology.
This is an adapted excerpt from my book, Alien Theology.
Quote from: Heiser, Michael S. The Façade. Acid Test Press, 2007. Kindle Edition, location 2115.