06 March 2011

Evidense of Extraterrestrial Life found?

I do not have the expertise to determine the validity that a NASA scientist has found evidence of extraterrestrial life in a meteorite: see "NASA scientist finds evidence of alien life," in Yahoo News. However, Christian clergy need to be prepared for the day in which scientists undisputedly find such life.

Indeed, I once heard a particular minister on the radio (I do not remember his name) claim there is no biological life in the universe other than on earth. However, this is not supported in the Bible, and such statements lend fuel to those who think such a find will strike a blow against Christianity.

I think not. Rather, not only does the Bible NOT say there is no other biological life in the universe, other Christians have written about such a possibility. For example, C S Lewis wrote a fictional work, a trilogy in which other sentient biological lifeforms exist throughout the universe (see, The Space Trilogy).

From my perspective, God has indicated in several passages in the Bible that other life forms exist in the universe. The four living creatures in the book of Revelation is one example. The Bible also speaks of messengers from God, which we call angels. Therefore, it would not shake my faith to also find that He has created other biological life forms in the universe.

Indeed, because God is the God of the universe, I expect we will find other biological life forms throughout the universe. Whether or not these lifeforms are sentient, I have no idea (the NASA find concerns non-sentient bacteria). Still, whether sentient life exists outside earth or not, my faith in an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God helps me understand how such life can exist.

So, how will ministers handle such facts should they be indisputably verified? Denial? Claims of conspiracy? Passive indifference? Rejection of orthodox Christianity? I hope none of the above, but this is the range of possible reactions I expect from many: a denial of fact, passive indifference, or a loss of faith.

In contrast, to handle such a scientific fact, clergy must expand their conception of God beyond the confines of earth, and see Him as the God of the universe; the God of all existence (Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-3).

To paraphrase Shakespeare in Hamlet: there are greater things in heaven and earth than are contained in many clergy's theology.