Skip to content

“We are not alone:” The Quest to Discover Life Out There

On May 2, CNN reported that for the first time, researchers have discovered three potentially habitable, earth-like worlds. The article came complete with an artist’s impression of these planets, with what looked like a stream of water flowing through the middle. Of course, since the planets in question are 40 light years away, and we can’t possibly know what they look like, this of course did not deter CNN. In fact, no actual discovery of water has been made. And furthermore, the use of language such as, “could have” and “could be” are also frequently used throughout the article.

My interest, at this moment, is not what is possible, but what gives rise to our fascination with this. But please don’t misunderstand me.

As a Christian and a Bible teacher, the question of whether life exists on other planets is not a Bible question, any more than the existence of black holes, the number of galaxies and so forth. Most of these are questions that scientific discoveries may or may not unearth.

Furthermore, stating that man is the crown of God’s creation, does not preclude other life forms in other places, nor even the possibility of intelligent life. As believers, we know that God has created the angelic realm. We know of the four living creatures before the throne described in Revelation 4. Realizing that God has made many forms of intelligent life has never taken away the uniqueness of our place in the creative work of God. Hence, I can see no reason why any thinking Christian should be threatened by this kind of discovery.

But I am still left with a sense of bemusement by what I see in the media. It seems as if the media almost salivates at the thought that there might be evidence for life on a planet 40 light years from us. Yet with so little evidence that anything of the kind has been observed by a phenomenon so very far away, why this kind of rank speculation?

I think the answer is two-fold.

The first is that there is a need for our culture to believe that life will spontaneously begin if only the conditions are right. And this most unlikely of all scenarios is used as an alternative to the biblical account that God created everything out of nothing. The idea seems firmly planted in the secular mind that if we find life somewhere, or even if we can argue for finding the potential of life, then we can finally and ultimately do away with the need for a creator.

The second answer for the present fascination comes from the repeated phrase that we all need to feel as if “we are not alone.” It seems strange that the sheer possibility of some life form existing 40 light years away (an impossible distance for us to reach) would give us comfort. But it seems to me that the secular mind is dreadfully alone. Having divorced itself from God, the sense of alienation is most profound indeed. And so, CNN and other news outlets continue to support the most rank and unscientific speculations, just so we can all relax. We are not alone.

As a Christian, I am reminded of David’s words in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are with me.”

Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld

Dr. John Neufeld is the national Bible teacher at Back to the Bible Canada. He has served as Senior Pastor, church planter, conference speaker and educator, and is known both nationally and internationally for his passion and excellence in expositional preaching and teaching.

Posted in


Scroll To Top