We planted a “nerd church” a few years back to reach a comic-con type of crowd. Being a nerd myself, I’ve tried to stay open to nerdy theological questions that people might ask.
At one point along the way, I spent a lot of time trying to answer the question, “Would God make aliens?” With estimates of two trillion galaxies existing in our universe, my answer eventually became, “Why not? What else is all that space for?” But this led to another question: “If he did make aliens, why did he do so?” This then caused me to question humanity’s existence as well: “Why are we even here?”
I think biblical scholars have the best answer to this question: Humans are made in the image of God so that they might image God to the world. As we do this, we cultivate our planet to look like Heaven until God one day brings about the fullness of the heaven/earth hybrid at the eschaton. I then applied this thinking to the wider cosmos: If God wants our pale blue dot of a planet to look just like his heavenly space, then perhaps he wants the same for other planets, too.
Of course, to do this, God would have to place imagers on these other planets. This feels blasphemous to some because we only know of humanity being made in God’s image, but this theory could work out well since Michael Heiser makes a firm biblical case for angels also being made in God’s image. If we receive this teaching, then we already know of two kinds of images of God already in existence: one spiritual (angels) and one physical (humans). So perhaps God might create different kinds of imagers on other planets to cultivate their small sects of the universe into Heaven as well, until the whole modern cosmos (not just the earth) eventually represents God through the heavenly cultivation of imagers.
This, of course, is all speculation, but we don’t need to stretch theology that much to get there. Indeed, I think the scholarly perspective of the Bible leaves more space for such imaginings than standard evangelicalism does.