Welcome to 2020: the year of the Wuhan Bat Virus, nationwide shutdowns, race riots that somehow involve tearing down statues of abolitionists, murder hornets, Hunter Biden media blackouts, confusing election outcomes that may be thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, and a host of things that seem to just keep getting crazier. This week, a former Israeli general said space aliens exist, that President Donald Trump knows it, and that the “galactic federation” somehow prevented Trump from going public.
And there are still more than 20 days left in this insane year.
That said, if aliens do exist, what does that mean for Christianity? Would the existence of aliens disprove the Bible?
Short answer: No.
While Genesis claims God created the universe and zeroes in on His creation of life on Earth, the Bible does not explicitly claim that there is no life outside this planet.
The Bible is a collection of texts inspired by God and written by human beings addressing specific people in history. The Bible does not address aliens because the ancient Hebrews, Israelites, and early Christians did not ask about them. Aliens are, quite frankly, entirely irrelevant to the story that God tells in the Bible.
The existence of aliens — or lack thereof — does not impact God’s creation of the universe, His making human beings in His image, the fall of Adam and the sinfulness of humanity, or Jesus Christ’s miraculous bridging of the gap between a perfect God and fallen humanity.
The truth of Christianity depends on many historical events, but it hinges on one in particular: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The weight of the evidence supports Jesus’ Resurrection, however implausible it may at first seem (Read more here). Jesus’ Resurrection provides key proof of His divinity and the truth of His words.
The core doctrines of Christianity survive intact even if there is a massive extraterrestrial galactic federation somehow capable of convincing Donald Trump not to tweet about them (which may be the least believable aspect of the story).
In fact, Christians have written convincing fiction about the existence of aliens. C.S. Lewis, for example, presented an account of aliens on Mars and on Venus in his novels Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. Those novels give a powerful inkling of what sentient alien life might be like from a Christian perspective.
In Out of the Silent Planet, the main character journeys to Mars, and there he finds a broad array of sentient and unfallen species. The creatures have a negative view of Earth, which is ruled by Lucifer. They have heard a rumor that God Himself invaded Earth and has done great works there.
In Perelandra, the main character journeys to Venus, where he meets a new Eve, made in God’s image and given the same fatal choice that Eve was given on Earth. Thanks in part to the main character’s heroic exploits, the Eve of Venus does not sin, thus enabling that near-human race to develop without sin.
The existence of aliens does not challenge Jesus’ Resurrection and therefore it does not challenge the Christian faith. Beyond that, much will depend on the nature of the aliens, their history, and their interactions with God if they have interacted with Him.
All that said, it remains extremely unlikely that any extraterrestrials exist. Life on Earth, the availability of that life to reproduce and change, and the high level of complexity that enables human life are already extremely unlikely from the standpoint of probability in the laws of nature.
While some single-celled extremophiles live on the moon and could possibly survive on Mars, these simple life forms almost certainly came from Earth and do not represent another flowering of life outside of our planet.
Fun as it is to speculate about aliens, they are likely irrelevant for Christianity and they are likely a figment of our imagination.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.