So what do we do, as Christ followers and believers in the Bible, with the discovery of seven new planets announced by NASA on February 22? These planets, it is believed, are only a scant 40 light years away from Earth and in an orbit around a weak sun. However, it is also believed that some of them have an atmosphere that may sustain life.
First, let’s affirm what we know. Whatever exists is there because God created it. This planetary discovery did not “surprise” the God who spoke the heavens and earth and all that exists in the universe… discovered by us and not… into existence. Whatever is, is there because God wanted it there.
Life may exist in some microscopic forms on some of these planets. We may have visions of lurking aliens and space creatures waiting to devour our puny, human race, but we are not talking about such aliens with this discovery. Simply that there may be an atmosphere that could in some limited circumstances sustain life. In other words, ET will not be phoning home from these planets.
Does that mean this life could “evolve” into something more complex? Those who affirm evolution as the theory of how we arrived here certainly hope it does. I believe they will be sorely disappointed. The adherents of this view want it to be proven that we are a random species that arrived on Earth by accident through a random combination of chemical reactions and that the same “accident” could happen on other planets as it did on Earth.
Still others see the possibility that life lies outside of earth as a hopeful future for humanity as we reach for the stars. Could we live on such a planet if our resources are exhausted here? Some think so. There is a belief that life lies beyond this planet, and this the Bible affirms. It is a place called Heaven, and it is more real than any star, solar system, or planet we can see with a telescope.
So again, what do we do with this news?
- We affirm the truth that all truth belongs to God. Whatever we see, wherever we go, God has already been there. No discovery surprises God. We do not need to “fear” scientific discoveries as something that may somehow threaten our belief system.
- If there is life, it will never attain to the complex level of human beings who are made “in the image of God.” Only man in all of creation was made with “the breath of God” breathed into him from the beginning. Man was made as the crown of God’s creation, given dominion over it all, and was redeemed from the Fall to rule with God one day.
- God has especially chosen planet earth as the location for the incarnation and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He will not go through the drama of redemption on other planets. He died for sinners “once for all.”
- We glory in God for His creation. The fact that we have discovered another facet of the diamond of God’s creation does not negate anything we know, but enriches our ability to glorify God for all He has made. “The heavens declare the glory of God…” the Psalmist wrote. I could imagine David being inspired to write those words in Psalms lying on his back on a still, Galilean night with stars twinkling overhead as far as he could see. The fact that we can see those countless stars and planets more closely and with greater detail does not lessen the glory of God… it enhances it!
So does our solar system house other forms of life? Is there life on other planets? Will we one day go and live there if earth is somehow exhausted of resources? I believe the answer is an unequivocal no. I am not waiting on the appearance of a spaceship from Planet 9. (Sorry: old sci-fi reference). I am waiting for a much more exciting appearance… when our Lord Jesus Christ returns in all His glory.
And that day, I assure you, will be coming soon!