For false Christs and false prophets will arise,
and will show great signs and wonders,
so as to deceive, if it were possible, even the elect.
See, I have told you beforehand.
Most Christians are familiar with these words, and most of them are on the alert: for human false prophets arising out of the earth (Rev. 13:11f).
But in these turbulent last days, here’s a question well worth asking: Could some of those false prophets be evil spirits masquerading as highly evolved aliens coming down out of the heavens—not to blast us, but to “bless” us with redemptive “wisdom” from the starry deeps?
Well, if you know anything about the great dragon—that serpent of old called the devil and Satan and the prince of the power of the air—you wouldn’t put it past him (Rev. 12:4, 9).
And yet many Christians are double-minded on this subject. “Who’s to say,” they ask, “that extra-terrestrials don’t exist? Surely in a universe as big as ours, there must be other intelligent life forms somewhere out there! Isn’t it a bit arrogant to think that we, and we alone, are “the ones”?
Good questions, and questions that I myself have asked. But in devoting a couple of years to the study of biblical cosmology, I was stunned to learn something of great interest and, in credulous times like ours, something of great practical importance. I learned that, Yes, we really ARE the ones!
Very briefly, let me make the case.
What Shape is Your Cosmos?
Did you know that prior to the sixteenth century, no one in the Western world believed in aliens? In part, that’s because no one believed in cosmic evolution. But in even larger part, it’s because no one believed that space was infinite, or centerless, or curved, or shaped like a saddle, a hyper-cube, or a multi-dimensional toroid! (Not to worry if you can’t even imagine some of these hypotheses about cosmic structure; neither can the modern cosmologists who propose them).
Instead, the prevailing view was that God, in six literal days, created the cosmos as a finite sphere, rotating around a stationary earth, that was home to the apple of his eye: us! And where did folks get an outlandish idea like that? You guessed right: the Bible (with a little help from Aristotle, as well).
Ponder this carefully (for it’s well worth pondering): Aliens came in when biblical geocentrism went out; when Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and their followers demoted the earth from the central place given to it in the Scriptures. As far as I can tell, it was Kepler who first let the alien genie out of the bottle, speculating in his book Dream about the inhabitants of the moon. Four hundred years later, his followers at NASA and the SETI program are still at it!
If we want to understand the Bible on the question of extra-terrestrials, its teaching on the purpose and structure of the cosmos is the place to begin. And as unpalatable as that teaching may be to modern man, it is surprisingly clear and comforting: The earth really is at the center—at least of God’s affections, plans, and purposes, and likely of his whole creation as well.
I won’t try to argue that thesis here, but would simply point you to Genesis 1. As you read, please keep these few questions in mind: What did God create first: the Earth or the heavenly bodies? What, according to a cosmologically unbiased reading of the text, revolves around what: the earth around the sun, or the sun (and the rest of the luminaries) around the earth? And why exactly did God create the luminaries in the first place? Was it to supply a home for aliens, or was it simply to supply lights, times, seasons, and signs to the dear children made in his own image and likeness: the human inhabitants of the earth?
Now whatever your answers may be, this much should be agreeable to all: biblically, the Earth really is at the absolute center of God’s cosmic attention, so that when he hung the stars, he did it for us, and not for ET (Gen. 1:14-19). And because ET can do nothing to help us see at night, tell time, or glorify God for his heavenly handiwork, it is reasonable to conclude that ET does not exist.
Extra-terrestrials and the Justice of God
The biblical case against extra-terrestrials runs deeper still. That’s because the Scriptures also declare that in the beginning “the whole creation” was cursed; that it was “subjected to futility” (i.e., to decay and death) due to the sin of Adam (Rom. 8:18-23). Moreover, this terrible judgment portends a still worse judgment, for the cosmos itself will one day be destroyed—earth, stars, planets, and all—just prior to its eternal renewal at the hand of the returning and glorified Christ (Phil. 3:20-21, 2 Peter 3:10-13).
All this creates a serious problem for Christians entertaining the idea of alien life forms. For if extra-terrestrials exist, they and their world(s) must suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin, even though they themselves are not his offspring and stand in no spiritual relationship to him whatsoever (Rom. 5:12f).
This conclusion seems all the more inescapable when we remember that such extra-terrestrials would have no savior. For the Bible consistently represents the cosmic Redeemer as having taken to himself—for all eternity—“the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:5f, 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 2:14f, Rev. 1:9f). It is as a man—and not as an extra-terrestrial—that the Son of God became the High Priest of his people: dying for them, rising for them, and interceding for them in Heaven to this very day (Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25, 9:24).
So again, if extra-terrestrials exist, they have no connection with Adam and no connection with the Redeemer made in Adam’s likeness. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, they all must perish in the end time conﬂagration. But is God unrighteous to perform such a manifestly unjust act? May it never be (Deut. 32:4, Isaiah 30:18, 61:8, 2 Tim. 4:8, Rev. 15:3)! The conclusion, then, on biblical premises, is that extra-terrestrials do not exist.
What then of all the alleged sightings of UFO’s and contacts with aliens? Biblically, the options are few, simple, and sobering: Either they are scams, purely natural phenomena, or demonic deceptions, designed to rob the High King of Heaven of the worship rightly due to him (Luke 4:5-7, 2 Cor. 11:14, 2 Thess. 2:9-12, 1 Tim. 4:1).
For those who reckon the Bible to be a trustworthy revelation from God, this is useful information indeed. And it may be especially useful in the year ahead, when (as I am told) Hollywood jumps on the UFO band-wagon big time, giving us six thrillers about alien invasions from on high.
They may well materialize: the movies, the invasions, or both. In any case, wise Christians, understanding that they really are the (beloved) ones, will lift up their eyes and fix them steadfastly on the Bright Morning Star.
It is scheduled to rise soon, and will most assuredly appear in a theatre near to you (Luke 21:28, Heb. 12:2, Rev. 22:16).
For more, see The New Answers Book (Master Books, 2007), chapter 18. Also, visit the excellent blog of astronomer and mathematician, John Byl. Finally, you may wish to read Alien Intrusion, by Gary Bates (but definitely not before bed).