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Should We Travel the Stars?

by Stephen Williamson  
5/27/2015 / World Affairs


As a technologically and philosophically advancing culture, we have, almost within sight, the day when we will discover for ourselves whether we are truly alone in the universe. This will be quite the achievement if we are not truly alone, but what are the moral implications? Is this really a good thing? From a Christian perspective, we have two main considerations. The first is questions it may raise about the accuracy of Bible; the second is a warning from the Bible.

If we are not alone in the universe, that would raise questions about our own origins that perhaps the Bible may not be able to answer. Of course, there might well be answers, but the nominal Christian would be easily persuaded that Christians do not know what they thought they knew. The result may actually be healthy for the religion, though, as only true seekers would seriously ask the hard questions, rather than be blown around by the winds of disappointment and rumor. Having only fertile soil left in the church, we might even develop our beliefs to the point that we could be a witness to the alien life for Jesus, and if they are curious enough about us, they will listen and ask questions. So, the immediate effect of discovering intelligent life would be that everyone would take a harder look at religion, some concluding that religion is foolish, and others hoping that it is real. This would all be healthy, since it would build a stronger foundation for the church, the church being filled with seekers and emptied of those with weak faith.

This first consideration assumes that aliens will be somewhat like us; the second one does not. Remember, we have two competing theories in the minds of Christian scientists to explain how we got here. One is evolution or other involvement thereof. The other is literal six-day creation, as described in the Bible. If we were intelligently created, and did not randomly evolve, then there is no need to assume that alien life will be mortal like us. Mortality and disease are not required for the continued existence of intelligently created beings, but rather are a consequence of sin (Romans 5:12). In fact, reference to life in the heavens is alluded to in the Bible. Genesis 6:2,4 tells us that the sons of God at one time visited us and had children with us, the presumption being here and elsewhere in the Bible that back then it was still possible for different species to have children with one another, perhaps with heavenly consent, and that we may in fact have people on earth with some otherworldly blood.

However, we were also warned about it; Genesis 3:17 says that even the ground was cursed because of our fall, the implication being that it will follow us wherever we go and affect other creatures that we come into contact with, such as our world's animals. If this second implication is true, we must not seek out intelligent life, otherwise we may bring destruction to it, if they have not yet been affected by our curse of death.

Our popular idea of interstellar exploration, permeating science fiction, has its own unconsidered consequences. There would be two considerations for the sensible Christian: it would either be very important for us or very bad for them, depending on how we got here.

By an ordinary writer who wants people to know the truth.

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