Alien Life a Decade Away from Discovery?

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The media has once again been buzzing with the claims of secular astronomers that alien life is just a few years away from sure discovery. Reportedly, NASA’s chief scientist Ellen Stofan predicted that, “We're going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we're going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” She went on to say, “We know where to look. We know how to look . . . In most cases we have the technology, and we're on a path to implementing it. And so I think we're definitely on the road.”

Apparently the “where to look” and the “how to look” includes a visit by the “Mars rover . . . in 2020, [that] will search for signs of past life and cache samples.” Allegedly NASA wants to put “astronauts on Mars in the 2030s” to look for previous life because “[fossils] are hard to find. So I [Stofan] have a bias that it's eventually going to take humans on . . . Mars . . . looking for that good evidence of life.” Next is a “mission to Europa, . . . [in] 2022 . . . to shed light on the icy moon's potential habitability . . . [and] signs of alien life.” This persistent search for extraterrestrial life will reportedly go beyond our own solar system when the “James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), . . . in 2018, will scope out the atmospheres of nearby ‘super-Earth’ alien planets, looking for gases that may have been produced by life.”

The article further reported that “recent discoveries suggest that the solar system and broader Milky Way galaxy teem with environments that could support life as we know it” (emphasis added). These environments include recent discoveries that we’ve already addressed here on our website. Firstly, there is supposed subterranean water on Mars or on Jupiter’s moons (and also possibly one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus) with “carbon-containing organic molecules and ‘fixed’ nitrogen, basic ingredients necessary for Earth-like life, on the Martian surface.” The article also mentions that “nearly every star in the sky hosts planets—and many of these worlds may be habitable.” Lastly, there’s supposed “water in the interstellar clouds from which planetary systems and stellar systems form.” Of course, water and other molecules do not mean life! Life is very complex and has never—not even once—been observed to come from non-life. Life is also built on a language system and information, and matter by itself can never produce a language or information.

Evolutionists are convinced they’ll find life in outer space because if naturalistic evolution occurred here on Earth, then it must have occurred somewhere else. According to secularists, Earth is not special. In their view, it’s just one of many places where, over the supposed billions of years of the universe’s history, life managed to come from non-life and begin the process of evolution. Despite a lack of evidence, scientists are becoming increasingly convinced that life will be found soon. Last summer I wrote a blog that quickly went viral in response to the claim that we’d find a new Earth within 20 years. You can read that blog here.

But from a biblical perspective we shouldn’t expect to find life in outer space. Now, we are not told in Scripture if there is no life on other planets or moons. But it certainly seems like there is not. Life did not evolve on Earth or anywhere else but was specially created by our Creator as Genesis clearly tells us. Isaiah tells us that Earth was formed to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18) and Earth is clearly the focus of God’s attention. It is to Earth that God Himself came down in the person of Jesus Christ to dwell among men and die and rise again for our salvation. Christ did not come and die for Martians or other extraterrestrials—He came as the “God-man” to die for mankind, descendants of Adam and Eve. So we have good reason to say that there isn’t intelligent extraterrestrial life, and it’s doubtful that there is even microbial life in outer space, though Scripture doesn’t completely rule out the possibility.

One writer, Mark Strauss, wrote a lengthy article commenting on this ongoing search for extraterrestrial life. In his article he asks, “If the Earth is at the theological center of the universe, why is it physically located in the boondocks of the Milky Way galaxy? And why would God create so many planets just to leave them barren of life?” According to secularists there is no center of the universe, so Earth isn’t in any kind of special place. It’s simply a rocky chunk that was in just the right place in our solar system for life to evolve. But the biblical perspective is much different. We might not be the physical center of the universe, but we are the theological center of the universe. It is Earth—not the sun, moon, stars, or other planets—that was created first by God on Day One of Creation Week. In fact, after God created the heavens and the Earth, He focused for three days on Earth before He turned again on Day Four to the heavens. These heavens were created, at least in part, to give God glory and to show His handiwork to the world (Psalm 19:1). It is Earth—not Mars, Jupiter, or some exoplanet in another solar system—that is God’s footstool (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:49). And it was to this little planet that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ.

Our all-wise Creator certainly had good reasons for placing Earth where He put it in our solar system, galaxy, and universe. Of all the purported goldilocks planets found so far, Earth alone has all the right conditions necessary for life to thrive. You can learn more about the privileged location of our planet here and here.

In his article, Strauss also makes a curious and highly inconsistent statement: “Perhaps the most revealing statement made by creationists is their disdain for ‘simple life.’ Yes, compared with us, a bacterium is simple life. But there is nothing simple about life itself.” This is a very surprising thing for an evolutionist to say. Creationists have been pointing out for years that even a single cell is incredibly complex. Even the “simplest” bacterium is an incredibly complex form of life. But evolutionists have long said that abiogenesis (life from non-life) is possible because a single cell is simple, so it’s relatively easy for it to come spontaneously from non-living chemicals.1 And, according to evolutionists, once life got going, it slowly progressed from simple to complex. And, yet, here is an evolutionist admitting that bacteria aren’t simple and really “there is nothing simple about life itself.” This is completely inconsistent with an evolutionary view of origins, but is completely consistent with a biblical worldview, and it is what we observe! Cells and bacteria are clearly complex. Life did not come from non-life and evolve into complex forms on this planet or on any other planet!

Many people hope that discovering extraterrestrials will help us answer the deepest questions of life like “where did we come from?,” “where are we going?,” and “what is the meaning of life?” But these questions won’t be answered by hypothetical extraterrestrials! They are only answered in God’s Word. Scripture alone provides the answers to the deep questions that we ask. Instead of putting our faith in the supposed existence of extraterrestrials and our hope in finding these beings, we need to put our faith and hope in Christ and what He did for us through His death and Resurrection.

At my debate with Bill Nye “The Science Guy” last year and in response to a question about where matter came from, I answered: “There is a book” (God’s Word). That Book explains where matter came from, the origin of the universe and life, what our human problem is (sin), and the solution to that problem: Jesus Christ.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

Footnotes

  1. “From Prokaryotes to Eukaryotes,” Understanding Evolution, accessed May 1, 2015, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/_0/endosymbiosis_03.

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