The search for life in outer space is not just the stuff of science fiction. Scientists continue to look for evidence of life out there. Will they find it?
Do we share the universe with other life-forms? Is there anyone out in the vastness of space?
Many in the scientific community believe the answer is yes. According to astronomers, there are 70 sextillion (7 followed by 22 zeros!) stars in the cosmos. Deeply rooted in evolutionary theory, many scientists believe there is a great probability that life has evolved on other planets with conditions favorable for life.
Recently NASA has reported the discovery of an additional 65 exoplanets (planets that orbit a star outside our solar system) in our Milky Way galaxy, raising the total to more than 5,000. Yet despite these amazing discoveries in the field of astronomy, the search for life on other planets still eludes searchers.
Reporting on this, Marina Koren wrote in The Atlantic: “But no one has yet discovered evidence of life in another planet’s atmosphere, nor detected radio transmissions wafting from the direction of a distant world. Astronomers can predict how many planets are out there, but they can’t say how many we’d have to find to discover another Earth or a sign of extraterrestrial life. Even with more than 5,000 other worlds in the books, it’s still just us. In fact, scientists could find 5,000 more exoplanets and we might be exactly as alone as we are now” (March 22, 2022).
Others, such as Dr. Seth Shostak, a leading scientist at SETI Institute (in Mountain View, California), believe scientists will find intelligent life in space within the next few decades. SETI stands for Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, a research group with the stated mission “to understand the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the universe.”
The Goldilocks zone
Just finding exoplanets is not enough. They also must be in the habitable zone, which NASA explains “is the distance from a star at which liquid water could exist on orbiting planets’ surfaces. Habitable zones are also known as Goldilocks’ zones, where conditions might be just right—neither too hot nor too cold—for life.”
And on any planets in the Goldilocks zone, scientists seek to find any evidence of life, and especially intelligent life.
Can science discover the answer to whether there are aliens out there? And does the Bible reveal the answer?
The missing dimension in the search for life
Science is limited to the scientific method of observation, research, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation and conclusion. Though the scientific method is effective in tackling purely physical questions, it is deficient because it is based on the idea that understanding can only come through physical observation. It rejects the idea of revealed knowledge from a source outside the physical realm.
By contrast, in addition to physical knowledge, the Bible also contains revealed knowledge—a type of knowledge that cannot be discovered solely by physical observation. So what does the Bible reveal?
You may be surprised to learn that the Bible does reveal the existence of other life-forms. But definitely not like the aliens we see in science fiction. The Bible reveals there is another world that exists—the spirit world. This realm lies outside the bounds of time and space and is inhabited by many life-forms composed of spirit. To learn more about spirit, read “What Is Spirit?”
The most powerful being in the spirit world is God, who is Himself Spirit (John 4:24). He is the source of all other spirit and physical life (Genesis 1; Colossians 1:15-16). In fact, His existence explains the mysterious origins of the universe. The Bible tells us “the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
This spirit world is beyond detection by our five senses and by the scientific method. Contrary to evolutionary thought, which postulates that all physical things evolved from nothing (a hypothesis that would violate the first law of thermodynamics), the physical universe was designed by a Creator of supreme intelligence and power (Jeremiah 10:12).
The purpose of the physical creation
Consider the purpose of plant and animal life. When God created human beings, He put the physical creation under their dominion (Genesis 1:26, 29-30). Plant and animal life were essentially created to serve the needs of human beings.
Science thinks of human beings as the product of a long process of evolution that resulted in mammals of greater brain power dominating the earth. But, thankfully, there is much more purpose to human life than that. Humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Many have heard those words, but what do they actually mean?
The universe demonstrates God’s glory because it shows His awesome power. The more we learn how big it actually is, the more we understand how grand and awesome the God who created it is.Animals and plants reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1:11-12, 24-25). Horses reproduce horses; flowers reproduce flowers. It is a law that cannot be broken. Human beings were made in the image of the God kind. In other words, God is reproducing Himself through human beings. The Bible describes us as being in the general shape and form of God (Exodus 33:20-23; Revelation 1:13-16), and He gave us a small portion of His thinking, reasoning and creative abilities.
But what about the 70 sextillion stars in the universe? The universe is too big to fathom, and it’s hard to imagine it could all be void of physical life. The Bible shows that the universe was also created for a purpose. The universe demonstrates God’s glory because it shows His awesome power. The more we learn how big it actually is, the more we understand how grand and awesome the God who created it is (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 55:8-9).
Our physical world is now in a state of decay, but it will be renewed in the future by God’s family (Romans 8:19-22; Acts 3:21). God created the universe for mankind to inherit and take care of (Psalm 8:5-6).
Ultimately, the Bible describes a “new heaven and a new earth”—even more beautiful than today (Revelation 21:1).
Invasion from outer space?
Many science fiction movies are based around the idea of aliens invading earth. Some common themes of these stories usually are:
Aliens are technologically superior to mankind.
Aliens are aggressive and intend to take over the planet and exterminate, supplant or enslave humans.
The earth joins together in an unprecedented worldwide effort to fight the alien invasion.
Mankind incurs great losses and damages.
Mankind endures and is triumphant against the alien invasion.
The Bible does reveal a coming invasion, but nothing like the type depicted in the movies. Jesus Christ, our Creator, will return to earth to save us from destroying ourselves (Matthew 24:22). He will take over all human governments and establish His rule on this earth (Daniel 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jude 1:14; Zechariah 14:9).
Unfortunately, a deceived mankind will counterattack and try to fight Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:2-3; Revelation 16:13-14). Thankfully, this counterattack will be put down quickly. Jesus Christ will establish His government, leading to peace and prosperity throughout the earth (Micah 4:1-5).
The mysteries of the universe are not found in science or aliens. Yes, there is life beyond the earth. But it’s not the kind of life that science is searching for.
To understand more about the spirit world and about our wonderful future, read these articles: