Guest Post - Dr. Ryan Denison
Congress to hold UFO hearing today: What God may have intended with the question of alien life
NOTE: Thank you to Dr. Ryan Denison for writing today’s Daily Article. He is the Denison Forum Senior Editor for Theology and has written more than four hundred articles for Denison Forum.
A US House of Representatives subcommittee will meet today for the first open congressional hearing on UFOs since 1970. The hearing is in response to a report delivered to Congress last June by the intelligence community and the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force.
That Task Force has since been reconstituted as the Airborne Object Identification and Management Synchronization Group, which exists to “detect, identify and attribute objects of interest in Special Use Airspace and to assess and mitigate any associated threats to the safety of flight and national security.”
If you read all that and came away thinking that there are probably better ways our government could be spending their time and resources, well, you’re not alone.
Even the chairman of the House subcommittee holding the hearing, André Carson, confessed “I’ve gotten some chuckles” from others about the meeting. He went on to add, though, that “it’s something I’m passionate about and I think I can take the heat. This may be the very thing that brings Democrats and Republicans together, at least for an hour or two.”
He also argued, on a more serious note, that the hearing was necessary because “this is an area of high public interest” and “any undue secrecy can serve as an obstacle to solving the mystery, or it could prevent us from finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities.”
Regardless of what you may believe personally about aliens and UFOs, Rep. Carson is right that it’s an area of high public interest.
But if it’s not an area of personal interest to you, why should you still care?
What does the Bible say about alien life?
Let’s start with a basic, but necessary, point of clarification.
If your faith in God feels threatened or shaken by the prospect of life existing outside of our planet, then you should first consider wrestling with why that’s the case.
Nothing in the Bible expressly denies the existence of extraterrestrial life. Neither does anything in the Bible require us to believe it’s out there. Why? Because the Bible is far more concerned with your life and my life here on Earth—and, more specifically, how to live that life in relationship with God—than it is that speculative question.
Satan would love it if we became divided over or obsessed with an issue that, most likely, doesn’t matter instead of focusing on the things that do.
That said, I do think it’s telling that so many in our culture are fascinated by this subject.
A poll was taken last year around the time that the initial report was released found that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe that it’s more likely than not for intelligent life to exist on other planets. One of the most commonly cited reasons is that the universe is just so big that the odds of us being alone seemed improbably low.
And that conclusion makes sense, from a certain point of view.
After all, the part of the universe we can see is an estimated 93 billion light-years across and still expanding. Beyond its sheer size, the universe is also filled with countless stars, planets, galaxies, and other cosmological phenomena.
When you couple that information with the fact that there are really only two accepted theories for how life started on Earth—either it evolved naturally or was created—it becomes easy to see why people on either side of that divide would believe there’s simply too much out there for us to be alone.
But what if, rather than starting with what we can observe, we instead start with what God has revealed in the Bible?
Why did God create such an expansive universe?
If, as Genesis 1 describes, God created everything that exists by merely speaking it into existence, then the size of that existence really shouldn’t matter. Whether it was one planet or a million, one sun or a million, it’s not like it was a struggle for him. Nothing in Scripture indicates that he would feel compelled to create life on other planets simply because he created other planets. It’s not like they’re going to waste by just orbiting around in the universe unoccupied.
The argument that intelligent life exists on other planets because the universe is too big for us to be alone is predicated on a mindset that—if the Bible is correct—simply is not necessary to hold.
Rather, what if the reason God created an ever-expanding universe filled with stars, planets, and mysteries we still haven’t even begun to grasp is to point us back to him?
What if that sense we get of feeling like an infinitesimal speck when we look up at the night sky was meant to remind us of our need for the one who holds all that we can see and more in the palm of his hand (Isaiah 40:12)?
And what if our universe was a gift that God intended to remind us of just how much he loves us and how special we are to him?
People have looked to the stars and have been drawn to the divine in almost every culture across human history. That is not a coincidence.
So, as our national attention once again shifts to the expanse of space, ask God to help you use that focus to point people back to him and to remind them of his love.
After all, that’s why it’s there.