I read a rather silly article today, which discusses the question, “Suppose we find life on other planets. Did Jesus die for them too?”
This really falls into the category of “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.” However, since the underlying implication seems to be that the existence of alien life is somehow inconsistent with Scripture, I figured I’d respond.
Why does God save men and not angels? Both races were created by God. Both races participated in rebellion against God. It’s slightly different for men than angels in that the entire human race is rebellious, while only some of the angels are. Nevertheless, God has never revealed any effort made to save the fallen angels. In fact, the chief fallen angel, Lucifer, and all who follow him are doomed to an eternity of damnation.
So the question remains. Why does God save men and not angels. Of all the created beings in the universe, men share a unique attribute: we were created in God’s image. We were given our very breath of life directly from him.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ … the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…”
If you think about this for a second, it has profound implications for the purpose of salvation. Salvation is not about granting a priveledged status to one race among others. In fact it has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with God and his glory. It’s about reclaiming the glory and image of God. This is why Christ was said to be the second Adam. The glory of Christ is summed up in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God.” Jesus Christ reclaims the glory of God by being what Adam should have been. Moreover, by his substitutionary death, he has freed all men who believe in him from their bondage to sin so they can begin living that image out in their own lives, to the praise of His glory.
So what does this mean for aliens?
If there is alien life out there, we must ask two questions.
- Did they descend from Adam? If so, they are under the same curse and are offered the same salvation.
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous
A thousand years ago we could have asked the question a different way. “Suppose we find life on a continent a few thousand miles west of Europe. Did Jesus die for them, too.” Well as it turns out those people descended from Adam and are therefore under the same curse and are offered the same salvation.
- Are they made in the image of God? If they do not descend from Adam and have rebelled against God, then we must ask if they were made in his image. If they were not, then they fall into the category like the angels. If, however, they were made in the image of God, then they must be redeemed for God is jealous of the glory of his image.
Bottom line, whatever happens, I trust that God is Sovereign. He made the universe and all that is in it. If there is a race on another world, then it is no surprise to him, and the nature of his relationship to them will be completely just, holy, righteous, merciful, caring and gracious to the extent that he has willed in his perfect goodness. Finding extraterrestrial life brings me no worry whatsoever that it might compromise the truth of the Word of God. “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”
Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Snide Remarks?