Regarding Life Beyond Earth

I recently read this little article laying out the various reasons, from recent research, to think that there might be life elsewhere in the universe, or rather that the odds look better than they used to look.

Life beyond Earth: A universe of possibilities

As a Biblical Creationist, I want to clarify and emphasize the underlying philosophical assumptions behind the desperate search for extraterrestrial life and suitable habitats for it.

In the popular story of cosmic and biological evolution, it is assumed or believed that life can originate from non-life if the correct assortment of chemicals "happen" (chance to) come together under ideal environmental circumstances. Due to the complexity of life, it is recognized that this is extremely unlikely to happen — i.e., a very low probability. But low probability events happen when there are enough opportunities (i.e., enough rolls of the dice). So, if there are lots of places in the universe besides Earth where life MIGHT have formed, then it is bound to have happened somewhere else too. Consequently, modern "secular"[1] scientists get more and more excited every time they find (or infer) the existence of another planet that might have the ideal chemicals and temperatures to support life, as that makes the odds just a little better.

However, if we start with a Biblical Judeo-Christian perspective, we see that the chance of life originating from non-life is zero percent (0.0000....%) That is to say, it is impossible. This is because (1) according to the Biblical record (God's Word) life has never originated from non-life in any place ever, and (2) only God can create life.[2][3]

From this perspective, should we expect to find life on other planets, not including life transported there from Earth? The answer is either "categorically no" or "the possiblity can't be entire ruled out, but it would be strange if we did". If life did exist on other planets, it would need to have been created by God. But according to the Biblical record of the creation of the universe, only the Earth was designed to be inhabited, not Mars or any other planets. The purpose of the Sun, Moon, and stars (which would include the planets) created on Day 4 of the creation week, was not to be a habitation for life, but rather to give light to the earth, provide some time-keeping functions, and also to display God's glory (Genesis 1:14-19; Psalm 19). Of course, we believe other spiritual beings like angels were created by God, but as far as our material universe, there is no reason from the Biblical record to believe life exists elsewhere, and it would be rather strange of it did, in light of that record.

For Biblical Creationists, it is not a problem to believe that there might be a lot of planets in the universe that have water on them, since God originally formed the universe, in some way, out of a large mass of water. (Genesis 1:2, 6, 7; 2 Peter 3:5). There is also no reason not to believe that he might have filled a lot of them with interesting minerals or substances; that seems likely enough, since the heavens are an exhibition of God's craftmanship (Psalm 19:1). But, as far as we can tell from Scripture, it was only the Earth which was specially crafted as a dwelling for human, animal, and plant life.

End Notes

[1] I don't like the term "secular" because it can be taken to mean that some people approach scientific and other issues without any theological underpinnings. But this is not true. E.g., the person who believes in the evolution of the cosmos from a Big Bang, has to believe that there is some Force, Power, or Intelligence that starts the process and drives the self-organization of the universe. People who are more honest about it tend to accept some kind of pantheistic view in which the Universe itself is some kind of collective being or consciousness.

[2] Sometimes Christians use the argument that life forming by accident from non-life is so extremely unlikely, that it is *effectively* impossible. That is, some positive probability can be attached to the event, but that probability is so small that it certainly couldn't have happened. This is incorrect and unbiblical, and also it ignorantly supports the "secular" position.

[3] God can, of course, gift his creations with the ability to reproduce, i.e., to produce life from other life. God can also make dead things alive again, i.e., resurrection.

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