Here’s some questions for Christians with the discovery of seven new planets.
NASA has rocked the world yet again with its recent news that the space agency in conjunction with partners around the world has discovered seven planets that could potentially support and harbor alien life forms. These planets are said to be similar to Earth and that they are orbiting a star 40 light-years away.
The lead author of the Nature paper, Michael Gillon, remarked, “It’s the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around a same star. The seven planets … could have some liquid water and maybe life on the surface.”
Three of the planets are within the star's habitable zone, and this could be an indicator that water is likely to exist on the surface of the planets. One of the planets is said to have a mass, and this strongly suggests a water-rich composition. It is possible that the other four could have liquid water too, depending on the composition of their atmospheres, astronomers reported.
The newly discovered planets orbit a star in the constellation Aquarius that goes by the name Trappist-1. Its solar system is very different from our own. It has been known that Trappist-1 is home to exoplanets, three of them were observed in 2015. Uncovering the rest of the family was a team effort involving data from globally spread telescopes, from Chile to Morocco to Hawaii to the Canary Islands and South Africa. NASA Spitzer Space Telescope was not left behind as it observed the system continuously for 20 days straight.
The question on Christian minds is, “where does the possibility of alien life leave traditional Bible teachings and Christian beliefs? ” Some of the questions lingering on their minds are:
The book of Revelation speaks of the city of Jerusalem descending from Heaven coming from God. The descending could be interpreted to mean that Heaven transcends boundaries of time and space. If aliens exist, then they can certainly go to Heaven as Heaven has no restrictive geographical limits. They are not exempted from Hell either according to the teaching.
Moral ethics are elements of intelligent life, and therefore an alien would certainly know how to sin and also be in need of forgiveness and redemption.
It is a possibility, but this would have consequences for the doctrines of the Trinity. Hymn writer Frederick William Faber suggests that there is a likelihood of creation beyond our experiences and imaginations in the hymn, There’s a wideness in God’s mercy.
Christians tend to believe that humans are the only focus of God’s attention but this does an injustice to many. Matthew 10 teaches that not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without God knowing about it. It is, therefore, safe to assume that God will also care about every alien just as he cares about every sparrow on earth.
According to the teachings of Leviticus, we cannot eat anything with cloven feet. Animals live by the code eat or be eaten. Depending on how an alien is defined by those who discovered it: human, or animal or something else then Thomas Szasz theory, eat or be eaten, will apply.
If aliens were found to exist, then they would certainly explain a lot about creation. Opinions remain divided with some arguing that the search for alien life is driven by man’s rebellion against God while others say that not believing in aliens is putting limits on the creativity of God.
The Bible neither mentions nor rules out the possibility of alien life forms.
And, if we ever met one, could we share communion and could aliens truly be “in the image of God”? These are just but some of the questions that the Christian faithful continue to harbor in their minds.
— Zoe Theron (@ZoeTheronGOP) February 22, 2017