Headlines from Space.com:
“Alien-Planet Mappers Tackle ‘Ninja’ Worlds, Other Challenges”
“New Survey Will Hunt for Nearby Alien Planets on the Cheap”
“Heat-Seeking, Alien-Hunting Telescope Could Be Ready in 5 Years.”
“We might find aliens through the heat their civilizations give off, astronomers say, but it will take a mega-telescope to do the job. Such a telescope, in fact, is planned. The telescope — called Colossus — would be a massive 250-foot (77 meters) telescope, which is more than double the aperture of any telescope yet constructed.”
I belonged to an experimental school in grade five. As part of my self-designed curriculum, my teacher let me have a small room to build my own cardboard flying saucer. Not only was the tinfoil awesome, but the Christmas lights made me a school legend. I was the vice president of a two man UFO club; a heavy responsibility, no doubt. My imagination was on fire. My convictions were deep.
From the age of 10 to 17, no one on the planet wanted to see an alien space craft more than me. No one wanted to go on an alien adventure more than me. No one was convinced aliens existed more than me, not even Erich von Däniken!
What do I think now?
I don’t believe in alien civilizations… anymore. Especially the kind that are more advanced than we mere earthlings. In fact, I’ll guarantee S.E.T.I. (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) will never hear an intelligent communication, mathematical or otherwise, from another planet in our galaxy. We will never discover another planet with intelligent life-forms…with a higher consciousness like our own…neither the Spock kind nor the romantic, poem-writing, French-kissing kind…which would certainly make alien beings more interesting. And here is why:
Man is the highest creation among all of God’s works. We are created in his image; we are God-like in our bearing. If there are other life-forms and creatures in the universe—which I am open to – they are not greater than man. Impossible.
Consider this: Jesus did not take on a human nature simply because we had a human nature. Rather, we have a human nature because Jesus would take on a human nature. Think about that…it staggers. The central feature of man’s redemption and glorification is attained through the human nature of Christ. Christ has taken a glorified human nature into heaven as his own. This is God’s eternal purpose. The human nature of man, created in God’s image, makes it possible for God to become a man. Human nature is specifically designed for our union with our Creator and for our personal and eternal glorification.
I know mankind is a total mess, and steeped in sin. But sin is not what makes us human. Sin is sub-human. A man created in the image of God has the potential for fellowship with the eternal Godhead and union with Christ as his bride. Such is the stuff of man.
Before God, man is small. Before creation, man is large. In other words, as goes man, so goes the created order. Consider the greatness of man: When man sins, the entire cosmos is affected! When man is redeemed and glorified, the cosmos is redeemed and glorified along with him:
Romans 8. 19 ‘For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies…
The cosmos is inextricably bound to the spiritual destiny of man. My point being: the cosmos belongs to man; man does not belong to the cosmos. If there are other alien creatures, they are inferior to man, not greater than man.
Scripture states, In the beginning God created the heavens (plural) and the earth (singular) — as if to totally heighten the singular importance of this planet in the cosmos and God’s eternal purpose. Our earth is the stage for God’s eternal drama. It is an arena, a war theatre. God’s attention and focus is on what happens here: We are the visited planet. All the real action is taking place right here. On this planet alone did the Son of God live and die. On this planet alone is God’s bride being prepared, rescued, called and formed.
Jesus has died for no other race than the human race ( including angels, we might add). He does not need to. God accomplishes his eternal drama right here. Tremble.
Now, I can hear the objections and charge of my arrogance. How can I possibly know? After all, there are bazillions and bazillions of stars and planets. Surely we can’t be alone! Surely the universe would be a waste of space if only for us! Surely life is easily reproduced on other planets, just as it was easily produced on earth in the first place! (Think of a frog becoming a prince….except over billions of years of evolution.)
ARROGANCE is not denying other alien races; arrogance is looking at the mind-crushing size of the universe and saying, ‘our sun is not special’ ‘our earth is not special’ ‘life is not special’ ‘God is not special’, when there is not one shred of proof other alien beings exist—not from S.E.T.I or any other credible source. Rather than being utterly humbled, utterly broken by the enormous, exponential leap in understanding of how large the cosmos is, especially in the last 90 years – Go, Hubble!—it is unregenerate man who becomes arrogant. Wanna know what an infinite God is capable of? Look to the stars. Wanna know the kind of God you will stand before on judgement day? Look to the stars.
S.E.T.I. Okay…for argument’s sake, let’s assume half the intelligent life-forms ‘out there’ are more advanced than us and the other half, less advanced. Look at our rapid technological advances just in the last hundred years! Imagine what we could do in say another 2-300 years? Now imagine an alien race with a million years head start on us, or even just ten thousand years. Would not our planet be awash in wave forms, mathematical patterns and digital signals from other advanced civilizations? Yes, it would…but so far? Stone cold silence.
THE DRAKE EQUATION. “The Drake equation is a probabilistic argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.” – Wikipedia
In 1961, some smart guy named Drake came up with an equation guessing how many planets in the cosmos might be able to sustain life and therefore, evolve into intelligent life. His number: in the billions. My answer: that’s neither science nor even a scientific theory—that’s wishful thinking. Until you have discovered at least one other intelligent species as a test sample the numbers are meaningless.
Don’t get me wrong. God can do whatever he wants, but the simple reading of Scripture, especially a book like Genesis or Revelation, make it clear that God’s one eternal drama is being fully realized among those men and women created in the image of God: on this stage, with all the starry flood-lights as His witness.
If God has populated other planets with living organisms, way cool! I do believe, based on this planet alone and the account of Adam — God loves living creatures — there will be countless zillions of different life forms in heaven. Trillions of angels. Billions of infant souls. And all of the redeemed. So, the more life forms the better!
I conclude with this: We are very, very, very incredibly, fantastically, fearfully special. The entire cosmos was created for our benefit! Every time I hear someone like Stephen Hawking say we are a backwater planet orbiting a third rate star, I want to stick a pencil in my eye. ‘Are they insane?’ I have to ask. Third rate compared to what? To who? Take a minute to look around—what is ordinary at all about our life-giving, life-protecting sun and our small world teaming with cities, music, art, scientific achievement, love and living things? What’s so ordinary about a planet that the Creator himself walked on, died on? What other planet is so privileged? And why would God need another one?