Why Should we Believe the Hype this Time?
The media has been buzzing over the last week or so over the latest claims of microfossils found in meteorites.1
Claims that “we’re not alone” have spread like wildfire, and there has been a firestorm of controversy. They originate from a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology by Richard Hoover, a NASA microscopist, which claimed that filamentous structures on rare carbonaceous chondritic meteorites were actually extraterrestrial microfossils.2
Reports have ranged from supportive to scathing, though the general tendency since the announcement has been towards skepticism.1 So what are we to make of all this?
Extraterrestrial life and the Bible: possibilities and constraints
Firstly, it’s important to understand the effects of finding ET life would have on the biblical worldview before we investigate Hoover’s claims, because it’s easy to get caught up in the hype or offer simplistic answers.
One of God’s major purposes for creation is inescapably tied to the Fall and the glorification of the redeemed descendants of Adam (Romans 5:12–21, 8:18–30). Their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:4, Revelation 13:8, 17:8). Moreover, Christ died for sins once, never to die again (Romans 6:9–10), therefore Christ, the “last Adam”, purchased for himself only one Bride: the redeemed sons of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21–22)—relatives of the “Kinsman-Redeemer” (Isaiah 59:2, Luke 3). He would not be a polygamist with a Vulcan bride or a Klingon bride, for example. Therefore, the most natural expectation from the Scriptures is that we wouldn’t find any life anywhere else in the universe other than on Earth. We may find remnants of earth-based life elsewhere in the solar system, e.g. on comets, from ejecta from the earth that happened during the Flood, but such life still had a terrestrial origin. For more on this please see Did God create life on other planets?
There is also solid evidence mounting that suggests that microbial life acts as a ‘substrate’ on which to support larger life, providing a buffer between the abiotic world and multicellular life.3 For example, the whole biosphere of life on Earth seems to be interconnected and interdependent. If this is the case, why would God create even ET microbes? There is no recognizable purpose to it.
Nevertheless, this really puts theological constraints only on the existence of intelligent, moral life like or superior to us. Such beings would have been unjustly affected by the Fall, which was cosmic in scope (Romans 8:18–23).4 God doesn’t submit sinless creatures of the intelligence and will of humans and angels to a Curse because it would be unjust.5 Therefore, God did not create sentient ETs because it would go against his character against the backdrop of biblical history.6….
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