A Theistic Explanation for Why We Can’t Find Any Extraterrestrials
The very serious problems of abiogenesis and technological intelligence and the mathematical odds against finding intelligent extraterrestrials explain why we’ve never been able to detect extraterrestrial intelligences—and probably never will. We can all sleep soundly at night without worrying that aliens are going to come down from the sky to destroy or invade us.
This then brings us to what is usually ignored in science: God.
Since I am a Christian, this article is limited to the Christian worldview, which is centered on Jesus Christ. (Note: This section does not imply the biblical text is necessarily “true,” only that this is what it is teaching. We have the freedom to accept its teaching or not, but it does provide an internally consistent cosmology that explains why we’ve never detected extraterrestrials.)
According to the New Testament:
1. God had his Son, Jesus, create the universe:
John 1:3 He created the universe—nothing exists that wasn’t created by him.
1 Corinthians 8:6 To us, there’s only one God, the Father, the originator of the universe and for whom we live; and there’s one Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe and creator of mankind.
Colossians 1:13-17 He has rescued us from the subjugation of darkness and resettled us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have been redeemed and had our sins forgiven. 15 He is the image of the God who’s never been seen and existed before the universe was created. 16 He created the universe. Everything in heaven and earth, everything we see and cannot see, including thrones, powers, rulers, or authorities; he created them all, and they are for him. 17 He existed before the universe and causes it to hold together.
2. This being who created the universe was born on this earth as a human, whom we know to be Jesus:
John 1:10,14 He went and lived on earth and even though he created it, the earth’s inhabitants didn’t know who he was. . . 14 The Word became flesh and lived among us. We have seen his glory—the glory of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Philippians 2:5-8 Be as humble as Jesus Christ: 6 Despite having the same nature of God, he didn’t think to forcefully cling to his equality with the Father, 7 but emptied himself of it, and took upon himself the nature of a slave and became human. 8 As a mortal man, he humbled himself and was so obedient to the Father’s will that he stooped to die the utterly degrading death on the cross.
Romans 8:3 God did what the Law of Moses was incapable of doing due to the weakness of flesh: God condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son to become flesh.
Hebrews 2:14-18 Since God’s children are humans with flesh and blood, he too shared in that same nature so that by his death, he may annul the devil, who holds the power of death, 15 And liberate those who were in slavery and terrified of death. 16 He did not come to help the angels; he came to help Abraham’s descendants. 17 This is why he needed to fully have the same human nature as his siblings, so that he may be a merciful and empathetic high priest before God, and offer an authentic sacrifice for the sins of mankind. 18 Because he knows what it’s like to suffer when tempted; he is able to help those who are being tempted.
3. God gave Jesus the universe for an inheritance:
John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has given him the universe.
Hebrews 1:2 And now, God has spoken to us through his Son in these last days. God has given the universe to him as an inheritance, and created it through him.
Hebrews 2:10 It was appropriate that he who inherited the universe and created it, and who brings many children to glory as the source of their salvation, would become perfect through his suffering.
4. Jesus will have dominion over the entire universe beneath the authority of his Father:
1 Corinthians 15:25-28 He must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy he will annul is death. 27 For he has dominion over all things. However, when it says, “All things,” it is obvious that that excludes God, who gave Jesus dominion over the universe. 28 After all things are put under the Son’s authority, he then is put under the Father’s authority, so that God may have dominion over all.
Ephesians 1:9-10,20-23 God has now revealed to us the mystery of his will concerning Jesus and why it gives him such pleasure. 10 For this is the plan: That at the appointed time, God may gather all things in the heavens and earth under the dominion of Christ... 20 Which he brought about in Christ, having raised him from the dead, and had him sit at his right-hand side in the heavenly realms. 21 Jesus is far above every government, authority, power, and leader, as well as every name that can be named, not just in this world, but in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under his feet and given him the entire universe on behalf of the church 23 (which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things).
The New Testament clearly and repeatedly states that the person we know as “Jesus Christ” is the same being who created this universe—this massive cosmos of a septillion stars in trillions of galaxies. His Father, “God,” gave it to him for an inheritance, and he will have dominion over it beneath the authority of his Father.
It is such a huge claim that it is hard to take it seriously, were it not for the fact that atheism’s view of the creation of the universe arising out of “quantum fluctuation” or multiverse assumes a characteristic of this universe’s space-time that miraculously traverses the infinite singularity or else something externally triggered the big bang.
In other words, they’re just guessing. It could just as well be leprechauns.
The Ultimate Fate of the True Followers of Jesus Christ
The second part of the New Testament worldview is about what happens to us and specifically, those who are Jesus Christ’s true followers:
1. True Christians receive the gift of divine adoption, where God himself adopts us:
Romans 8:15,22-23 You’ve received a Spirit that does not enslave you and make you afraid once more. You’ve received a Spirit of divine adoption as sons and daughters. We can now call him “Abba! Father!” . . . 22 We know that all of creation has been continually groaning as if it’s experiencing the pain of childbirth. 23 Not just creation—despite the fact that we’ve received the first portions of the Spirit; we are also groaning while we eagerly wait for our adoption as sons and daughters, and the redemption of our bodies.
Ephesians 1:4-5 Just as God chose us to be within Jesus since before the world was created (for us to be holy, and blameless within “love” when we’re in front of God); 5 we were predestined to be divinely adopted as God’s children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and desire.
Galatians 3:26-4:7 You are the Sons and Daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 All of you who’ve been baptized into Christ have become enveloped by Christ. 28 There is no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, or male or female: You are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s descendants and heirs of the divine promise. 4:1 What I’m saying is that as long as the heir is still a child, it is as if he’s a slave despite he actually owns the estate. 2 He is still under the authority of his guardians and trustees until reaching the age his father set for him. 3 Similarly, while we were still children, we were enslaved under the control of the world’s principles, 4 but when the appointed time arrived, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those enslaved to the Law and adopt us as his Sons and Daughters. 6 Because you are Sons and Daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts so that we may be able to cry out loud: “Abba! Father!” 7 As a result, you are no longer a slave, but a Son or Daughter, and if so, then an heir of God.
2. These adoptees will be recognized as the “Children of God”:
1 John 2:29-3:3 If you know that he is righteous, you then know that all who do righteousness are his children. 3:1 See how much the Father loves us: We shall be called the “Children of God” and that is precisely what we are! Because of this, the world does not recognize us because it does not know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already the Children of God, but he has not yet revealed to us what exactly we will be, only that when Jesus appears, we will become like him, for we will see him as he truly is, 3 and all who have this hope within them, purifies themselves, even as Jesus is pure.
Revelation 21:7 They who overcome will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my son or daughter.
3. The Children of God become God’s heirs and fellow-heirs with Jesus Christ:
Romans 8:14-21 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the Children of God. 15 You’ve received a Spirit that does not enslave you and make you afraid once more. You’ve received a Spirit of divine adoption as sons and daughters. We can now call him “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are the Children of God. 17 If we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him, so that we may be glorified together. 18 I do not consider our current sufferings to be anywhere comparable to the coming glory that will be revealed to us. 19 All of creation eagerly awaits the unveiling of the Sons and Daughters of God! 20 Creation became corrupted, not through its own fault, but because God subjected it so that there may be hope, 21 that after creation is freed from corruption, it will share in the freedom and glory of the Children of God.
4. The Children of God will share in Jesus Christ’s rule over the entire universe:
2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we will reign together with him; if we deny him, he will deny us.
Hebrews 3:14 We have become entitled to share everything Christ has – if we keep our initial belief, by staying faithful until the end.
Revelation 3:21 I will give those who overcome, the right to sit with me on my throne—just as I overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Ephesians 2:5-7 Even while dead in sin, we came back to life together with Christ (you are saved by grace) 6 and rose up together, and are to be seated together in the heavenly realms in unity with Christ Jesus; 7 so that God may show all future ages how incalculably rich his grace is, because of his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
The ultimate fate of Jesus Christ’s true followers – the “Children of God” -- is so overwhelming given what we now know about the universe. It isn’t lounging in “heaven” for all eternity where one no longer needs to work or suffer (the ideal living of the average person before the emergence of the modern Western world), it is sharing in Jesus Christ’s rule over the universe while being physically immortal and glorified.
What’s the point of Jesus inheriting the universe if it is, and remains barren of life? Why would it be a reward for the Children of God to share in Jesus Christ’s rule over the universe if they were ruling over sterile galaxies?
The coming glory of the Children of God is to be the ultimate example for all time of how glorious God’s grace is toward those who genuinely follow him. Who then will be the witnesses to the glory of the Children of God? (Eph 2:7)
If the New Testament is true, we are why the universe exists. Extraterrestrial aliens will exist eventually but it will be because they will be created by those destined to rule over the universe.
Regardless of whether one believes the breathtaking biblical worldview is true or false, it does provide a coherent, rational explanation for why we cannot find technologically intelligent aliens no matter how hard we try.
Sure, the New Testament’s cosmology is so enormous, so overwhelming, and so “arrogant” that the mind recoils from taking it seriously, but it does not contradict what science can actually prove. It also has the added benefit of being able to provide empirical evidence that it is true.
The New Testament gives us hope that the universe will not stay silent forever! We can look forward to the time when life, in an infinite variety of forms and voices, fills the cosmos, where their presence gives glory to God and his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
This hope allows Christians of every branch and denomination to take comfort in the Bible’s core message or “Gospel”:
God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe who is “God” by nature – obeyed his Father’s will and became human flesh. He then suffered and died for mankind’s sins. He rose from the dead to destroy death itself and make all humans immortal physical beings. He conjoined the divine and human natures so that his grace allows some humans to be “adopted” by God, share ultimate glory, and participate in God’s very nature, mutual indwelling, and oneness.
All who come unto him, repent of their sins, are baptized in his name, strive to live his teachings whereby the Holy Spirit within them constantly refines and purifies them, and endure to the end will be rewarded with eternal bliss in his kingdom.
Note: This article is derived from this author’s upcoming book, Is Jesus “God”?