new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Intelligent life out there?

A friend of mine was telling me about an item on the radio recently about life on Mars. Apparently scientists studying Mars are excited about the arrival of ‘Curiosity’, the rover for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, on Mars this summer.

It will search clays and sediments in the Gale Crater for indications of past environments that could have supported microbial life. The question they are wondering about is: Could a record of fossil be trapped in ancient lake mud on Mars?

As part of the interview the scientist spoke of how vast the universe is. He illustrated it by saying that if you took all the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, and let each one represent 100 stars, then you would have an approximation of the number of stars in the known universe. His argument was that given there are so many stars, and some of them may have other planets, it’s quite conceivable that there is evidence of life on other planets.

Of course, if you want to go down the route of statistical probability, the question then becomes how likely is it that, having run all those permutations, life will happen to be on the planet just next door to us? What are the odds of having lifeforms on adjacent planets in the one solar system, never mind in the one galaxy?

But biblically speaking, what is an appropriate response? If all we are doing is seeking to expand the horizons of our knowledge then this is a useful, if somewhat expensive, adventure. I’m all for pushing the boundaries of knowledge. However there often seems to be an unspoken motivation behind these queries and hypotheses about intelligent life, or even any sort of life out there—if only we could prove life exists elsewhere, then we could move slightly further away from there being a God who creates. Ideally and ultimately it seems that some would like to find intelligent life which has created us, or which at the very least, has evolved separately without any story of a creator. That way we could put one more nail in the coffin of a divine creator.

And so, in the absence of any signs of intelligent life, we find ourselves scratching in mud for fossils of bacteria or the such like.

In the pursuit of knowledge—fine; but in the pursuit of godless-ness—it is faulty logic at best and wilful blindness at worst. Why scratch around in the mud of another space rock looking for tiny clues of extra-terrestrial life when there exists on our own rock an abundance of historical, personal, and societal evidence for an intelligent being who exists outside the confines of this planet?

Rather than abstract philosophical arguments about the existence of God I would recommend that you make Easter the starting point for examining the historical evidence for Jesus and his resurrection.