I have been touched by aliens.
No, really! I have great admiration for Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and the bunch, Kal El, Goku, Optimus Prime, and even Spock (or, as I like to call him, the incarnation of my inner voice). I think Drax is hilarious, and am so impressed that English is the universal language (not just here) but throughout the Universe it seems! I’ve seen Men in Black at least 36 times (or at least as many times as it takes to make you a Will Smith fanboy for life). I love aliens. And I’m a Christian.
In all seriousness though, I was 24 when I came to the belief that God, the author of life, came in the flesh as Jesus Christ, enlightened many, enraged many more, taught, loved, lived, and died an atoning and miserable death to ransom for Himself a people, grateful and wholly undeserving of His blessings. And it wasn’t like I came to this understanding without genuinely wrestling with alternatives or even troublesome hypotheticals (like aliens really, truly existing).
So I grant that aliens are a possibility (and think it might actually be cool if they were somewhere beyond the horizon sucking oxygen—or whatever else aliens inhale). Yet I still believe Christianity is objectively true, and I trust I would even if Thor himself showed up on my doorstep.
Let me explain why.
So far as I can tell, the main argument that would be ever so gently placed in the Christian’s lap, should we find intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, is that their existence would indicate we are  not unique,  not the pinnacle of God’s creation, and  assuming they have lightsabers and starships and no notions of God, that they are more advanced, and thus more enlightened. And if they disbelieve in God (especially that conservative, “no fun,” evangelical, Triune, gracious and merciful God of the Bible), neither should we.
Or, if you dare to still assert that Christianity is true after finding out we’re not alone (assuming these creatures appear rational and moral), some might object because they assume God will judge all sentient creatures in the same way that He has chosen to judge men and angels—with Hell.
I can hear the scoffs now, rolling in from millennial Hiptopia as they valiantly hang their “safe space” phylacteries for fear of critical thought. “What a monster!”
At this point, I feel the need to interject in an organized and informative way [with my #reasons].
Reason 1. Humans are not alone intelligent
I’ll never forget the time when I witnessed (via the common grace that is the Discovery Channel) a pod of orcas hunting seal—watching them coordinate a maneuver where they all swam together towards a helpless pup trapped all alone on a small iceberg, and just before the iceberg all the orcas dove in unison which created a wave that washed the pup off the iceberg (and you can imagine the rest).
I recognize that it wasn’t flight or the “atom smasher,” but you can’t convince me that we alone are the only intelligent life forms in the Universe. The difference is merely a matter of degree. And I’ve met enough people in my thirty years on this great [yet fallen] planet to even come to the conclusion that some animals are far more intelligent than some humans.
I’d give you examples, but I don’t want to get political.
Reason 2. God has shown an affinity for exalting the unimpressive
Nothing I have read in Scripture gives me the idea that God is uncomfortable bestowing his greatest riches, the choicest of His bountiful blessings on rejects and common souls.
His economy is different than ours and He takes pleasure in raising up the lowly and bringing down what has been raised up. Should we find that an alien race of super-advanced beings are parading around the galaxy with volumes of impressive insights which make Plato sound like a three year old contemplating lunch, I still see no reason to think that the God who knows every star by name, who breaks no sweat and takes no time orchestrating and engineering a cosmos, would be moved by a creature (whose intellect He had formed) figuring out how to get from star to star.
God is more interested in humility than achievements; in devotion than learning for learnings sake.
Reason 3. Hell is for Angels and Men
We just don’t know what happens to those creatures at the Resurrection who are not either men or angels. Only Man was made in the image of God (to image God). Only man was placed in covenant with God and offered eternal life should he succeed at imitating God’s character in the world. And only men and angels were promised an eternal judgement in the Bible for failing at their duties.
There are three scenarios that I can see as possibilities beyond the grave for our superadvanced cosmic friends.
- Nothing—they are not raised and they are not re-created in the Resurrection. God is under no obligation to raise anyone or anything unless He has sworn by Himself that He would according to the terms of His own promise. Annihilationism for you Theology nerds.
- Re-creation—the same type of creature exists in the new creation (albeit unstained by sin), but there is no continuity of experience between those creatures who died before the Resurrection and those creatures who were created after the Resurrection.
- Resurrection—they are essentially re-created but with one difference, animation. That newly re-created alien being is animated by that which animated the old created being.
Of course, these scenarios would apply to all of God’s creatures, not just the “god-of-Thunder” and Thanos. So was Fido a meat machine or something more? And will I see him again? We don’t know now, but we will some day.
Reason 4. Demons exist, so beware
Satan and the other fallen angels have as their primary aim the continued deception of fallen humanity and the disruption of the saint’s fellowship with God and with each other, they can really possess people (and other creatures), and are said to appear as a messenger of light.
It’s not impossible that they would use aliens, or the concept of aliens to craft a believable narrative that runs contrary to what’s revealed in the Bible. It would be a red flag for me if these superadvanced beings started contradicting the Scripture. I guess I’m just one of “those” Christians… but whatever! Let God be true and every man [and alien] a liar.
Let’s wrap this up
So now that we’ve covered our bases, why would God make extra-terrestrials?
Why did God create the naked mole rat? Or the narwhal? Or the duck-billed platypus? Because He wanted to and they reveal His creativity. Why did God create donkeys and lions? So that they could carry kings and threaten saints! And if aliens exist also, I promise you they play a fantastic part in this grandiose and wonderfully Theocentric story that you and I inhabit.
Whether their role is closer to Babylon and locusts (think Independance Day) or man’s best friend (E.T.), or even Samson (Guardians of the Galaxy), God has a story and He’s going to tell it… and He just might use aliens.
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