Are there intelligent alien races in the universe?

Most people who ask about alien life are not talking about microbes, bugs, flowers or animals. Most people are talking about intelligent alien life. What if a space ship landed on earth and a Cygnutian stepped out wanting to meet with earth’s leaders? How does the Bible teach us to think about such a possibility? While I am willing to grant the unlikely possibility of non-sentient life in outer space, intelligent life is an entirely different matter. A Biblical worldview would seem to strongly suggest that humanity is the only intelligent race in the universe (not including angelic creatures, which are not material beings and not properly of this universe).

The most compelling reason intelligent life is impossible has to do with morality, sin and redemption. Intelligent creatures must also be moral creatures. The capacity to think involves the capacity to understand right from wrong. In my estimation this is part of what it means that man was created in the image of God- God gave man the ability to reason and the ability to chose between right and wrong. As mentioned in a previous article, all creation has been cursed by man’s sin. Not only are inanimate objects and non-sentient life froms affected by the church, all moral creatures in the universe must also be under the curse of sin. They would suffer death and sorrow because of man ‘s sin. Cursed, moral beings of a race other than humanity have no possibility of redemption. For example, Satan and the angels that rebelled with him cannot be redeemed because Christ did not die in their place. When Jesus died on the cross He took on Himself the nature of humanity and took mankind’s place in punishment. Jesus’ is the Savior of men because Jesus took upon Himself humanity and bore the penalty of sin in His own human flesh.

Why couldn’t Jesus take upon Himself the essence of alien beings and suffer their punishment? This possibility is removed by the singular nature of Jesus’ death. Hebrews declares most emphatically that Jesus died only once for the redemption of all men and all creation. “For Christ was once offered to bear the sins of man.” His single sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of all mankind. Because of His sacrifice, He will redeem a people to Himself and will restore creation to it’s original perfected order. The Bible makes much of the fact that Jesus died once for all sin. His death was only for the redemption of humanity. If there were any alien races they are not redeemed by the death of Jesus.

If there were moral, sentient beings elsewhere in the universe they would suffer under the curse of sin with no hope of redemption. Such a fate is in direct opposition to the mercy and grace of God so plainly revealed in the Bible. This has nothing to do with an arrogant anthropocentrism that imagines man to be the center of the universe. Rather, it has everything to do with the Biblical statements of God’s special creation of mankind, the effect of man’s sin on the entire universe and the results of Jesus’ redemption.

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