I know that this is an enormous topic which we may never reach a solid conclusion because of cultural desire alone with Star Wars, all the Marvel and D.C. comics and movies with characters in them from space, as well as Star Trek and all the others not mentioned, but it is interesting to discuss.
I think the question of space aliens arises because of the vast amount of space in our universe. Hubble reveals an estimated 100 billion galaxies (With our own Milky Way Galaxy being but only one of those), and that is just what can be seen with amplified sight from our planet. The probability just seems to be immeasurable that there is life on other planets because of the enormity of outer space.
My first exposure to the idea of aliens happened when I came home from a county fair and my sister and her high school boyfriend were watching the movie, Aliens. So, I asked them what was going on. I kid you not, from that moment on, I had an extreme fear of aliens until their big eyed, green faces became a fad in our part of the country. I remember having night terrors as a tween because of a book cover I once saw. I was terrified at the concept of them, which I believe caused me to consider them quite frequently.
That said, I suppose it would be prudent to define what a space alien is. I will define a space alien as any form of life—preferably, but not necessarily, intelligent life—anywhere in the universe.
From a biblical perspective, the existence of life on other planets must be at the mercies of several measures:
Would aliens be created? Or would they always exist?
John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made. Without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
The “Word” (λόγος) is the Living Word, which is Jesus Christ. This tells us that nothing in this entire physical universe was created without Jesus… including aliens. This passage alone shows that aliens could not have always existed, but there are several more. Colossians 1:16 for example, says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” “Heaven” can be understood as everything observed by the eyes and beyond, because this is where God resides (See Matt. 5:34, 45 and 48; Mark 13:27). If aliens always existed, they would then have to be transcendent beings, meaning that they would have to exist outside of the physical universe, because we know beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe had an ultimate, absolute beginning. Nothing in the physical universe, except through miracles, could exist from outside the universe. Therefore, their appearances to humans would have to be considered miracles (a supernatural event) if aliens were never created.
There is a problem with this however, because a being that exists uncaused would be a necessary being. A necessary being does not have a cause for its existence. A necessary being is the cause for beings that are contingent. I am a contingent being, for instance. My existence is contingent ultimately on a necessary being. We cannot have infinite regress of contingent beings, because nothing physical can be actually infinite. Space and time has its limitations, according to the beginning of the universe (This is a huge subject as well, and I do not want to get off topic). The point here is that there can only be one necessary being. There must be an uncaused cause, which, that uncaused cause itself must not be caused, based on the principle of causality. There is, therefore, only one being that is necessary and uncaused. “If there were two unlimited beings, how could you tell them apart?” Therefore, aliens cannot be self-caused, nor could they have always existed. So if aliens do exist, they are, according to the Bible, created through Jesus and for Jesus.
If aliens do exist, then Jesus keeps them alive.
Colossians 1:17 continues, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
He is the sustainer of all things, just as Hebrews 1:3 reveals as well: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power...” Think of it like Him working in order to keep His creation alive. As soon as He withdrawals His hand, life ceases to exist. Aliens would not be out of this category. They too, would die at the withdrawal of the power of Christ.
With all of this being said, it seems that there are some questions which should be raised. For instance, if there are no aliens, would it make God less powerful in any respect? We get the idea that God would be more powerful because there would be intelligence out there somewhere and it would give us reason to revere God more than we do now. But the reality is, God created all of everything we see ex nihilo (out of nothing). What could be possibly more awesome than that? If aliens do exist, they would be physical beings, which means that they would have been created, much like humans or ants.
I am writing these things because I do not see any evidence for their existence, but of course, it is definitely possible. I do not intend to be the destroyer of fantasies and dreams, but just because there is intelligent life on this planet does not mean that there is life on other planets. It would be logically fallacious to conclude that life exists out there because life exists in here.
How much more would it show us how much God loves us if we knew that God created all of this, just for us? If God created all of this, the billions of galaxies, just for us, for our eyes to see the wonder of God’s creative beauty, wouldn’t this different facet seem to reveal His deep love and desire for us?
The outstanding work of Starry Night, by the Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh, seems to point to the idea that the night sky with all of its lights and curiosities is a thing of objective beauty. My friend, Tim Stratton, of Free Thinking Ministries argues for Objective Beauty. I will let him explain the bulk of objective beauty, but I do want to give an example of objective beauty, which is the night sky. I’m not talking about a person living under the smog of Los Angeles looking up and seeing the sky at night, I’m saying a clear, early summer night in say, Montana, the Big Sky country. Unblemished by pollution of smog, fire or light. Even through the lenses of the space telescopes, I would think it would be next to impossible for someone to truthfully say that it is not beautiful. A person looking up at Aurora Borealis could not in any real or serious manner say that it was ugly. Why do colorblind people receiving EnChroma glasses burst into tears or start shaking after putting them on? Ultimately, because God exists.
I am offering a reasonable explanation for the vast size of the universe which does not necessarily require aliens. In other words, maybe the universe is so big, just so our eyes can soak up the objective beauty that God created just for us.
"The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world."
Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus