Extraterrestrials—Finding the Answer
ON February 17, 1600, a man named Giordano Bruno was burned alive in a public square of Rome, Italy. Why? His writings had offended the church. Among other things, he taught that there were many inhabited worlds in the universe. Back in the 11th century, the church had declared that doctrine, the plurality of worlds, a heresy. To teach it was to die. Bruno died.
Until the 19th century, the debate over whether life exists on other worlds was carried on in the arena of religion. For centuries, religious leaders and scientists under their influence insisted that the earth was at the center of the universe; that the universe was created in 4004 B.C.E.; and so forth.
Small wonder, then, that many scientists and others have little respect for religion. In the process, though, many have lost their respect for the Bible as well, imagining that it was the source of all those misconceptions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Bible does not purport to be a science textbook. However, it is never inaccurate when it touches on the subject of the universe or on any scientific matter. For example, the Bible never says that the earth and man are the center of the universe. On the contrary, its inspired writers showed a clear sense of how insignificant man is compared to the vast cosmos.—Psalm 8:3, 4.*
So, then, according to the Bible, is anyone out there?
The Bible Answers
According to the Bible, extraterrestrial life not only exists but exists in abundance. It is more complex, more interesting, and more believable than anything that evolutionists, science-fiction writers, and moviemakers have dreamed up. After all, an extraterrestrial is simply a being who originates outside this earth and its atmosphere.
Scientists wonder if there might be life-forms beyond our ability to detect. The Bible assures us that such beings do indeed exist. But they are not the products of evolution. Like all life in the universe, in whatever form, they came from the Source of life, Jehovah God. He is a spirit Being, and he has created myriads of other spirit beings of different types: angels, cherubs, and seraphs. They perform different work and functions in his intricate heavenly organization.—Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 19:14.
What About Life on Other Planets?
Some influential religious figures have insisted that God would not create any world without purpose and that all habitable worlds must therefore be inhabited. Is that what the Bible says? No. The Bible indicates that it is very unlikely that God at this point has created intelligent physical creatures on any planets other than our own. How so?
If God did create such beings, he did so before he created Adam and Eve. Such beings either remained faithful to their Creator, or like Adam and Eve, they sinned and fell into imperfection.
But if they became imperfect, they needed a redeemer. As one essayist put it: “One has this dreadful thought that on Friday [the day Jesus Christ was executed], every Friday, somewhere in the universe Jesus is being hanged high for someone’s sins.” But that is not Scriptural. The Bible tells us that Jesus “died with reference to sin once for all time.”—Romans 6:10.
What if these beings had remained perfect? Well, when Adam and Eve sinned, they were, in effect, questioning God’s right to rule over a world of intelligent physical beings. If another planet existed at that time, a world full of intelligent physical beings who were living harmoniously and loyally under God’s rule, would they not have been called in as witnesses to testify that God’s rule does indeed work? This conclusion seems inescapable, since he has already used even imperfect humans as witnesses in his behalf on that very issue.—Isaiah 43:10.
Does that mean, then, that God created all those countless millions of suns (and planets if they exist) for no purpose? Not at all. While we know, considering the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, that the earth is the only inhabited planet in the universe right now, and while we know, too, that it will forever stand unique as the planet where the Creator vindicated the rightfulness of his rulership, what the future holds we do not know.
We Are Not Alone
Day after day, year in and year out, SETI astronomers continue to comb the skies for signals from intelligent life. They feel that their search may take another decade, or it may take a century. How ironic! They are spending their lives, their hopes, and huge amounts of money looking for a signal that mankind received centuries ago. For the Bible itself is a message from an extraterrestrial Intelligence, and it is superior in every way to the signals that even the most optimistic scientists envision.—See box on page 10.
How has mankind responded to the only genuine extraterrestrial message? How do humans, by and large, respond to the Bible? They ignore it. They deliberately misapply it to their own ends. They insult its Sender with an appalling array of baseless and superstitious teachings. They even call it a fraud and deny the very existence of its Sender. Needless to say, our Creator has been far from pleased with humanity’s response. Still, he has continued to communicate. By means of his Word, he is educating millions of people today in the ways of peace. These people represent Jehovah and carry his communications to the world. But only a tiny minority of mankind listens to them. The world in general turns a deaf ear.—Isaiah 2:2-4; Matthew 24:14.
Happily, though, each of us can communicate with the greatest Being in the universe, and this without expensive technology, without waiting ages for messages to cross the void of space. You can listen now by studying your Bible and proving for yourself whether it does indeed come from a superhuman Source. You can respond by prayer and by the way you live your life. We are not alone. Our Creator promises that “he is not far off from each one of us.”—Acts 17:27; see also 1 Chronicles 28:9.
He has not finished communicating with humanity either. He has promised to change drastically the course of world history, to end mankind’s headlong rush toward self-destruction by completely dismantling this unworkable system of things and replacing it with a government of his own making, one that will really work for the good of all. (Daniel 2:44; Isaiah 9:6, 7) Yes, the next communication from the greatest extraterrestrial Intelligence promises to come in the form of action, not words.—2 Thessalonians 1:6-9.
For evidence that the Bible is in harmony with proved science, please see the book The Bible—God’s Word or Man’s? published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
[Box on page 10]
The Messages Scientists Are The Message They Ignore
Are Hoping for in Their Search —God’s Word, the Bible:
for Extraterrestrial Intelligence:
*Might be false alarms, as these *Does come from a superhuman
are not uncommon; hoaxes extraterrestrial Intelligence.
*Might offer education and the *Does currently provide
benefits of millions of years of education for millions, with
experience. the benefits of wisdom older
than the universe.
*Might teach us to avoid nuclear *Does teach peace to millions
holocaust and all war. right now; its Author
promises to preserve the earth
forever and destroy those
destroying it.—Psalm 104:5;
*Might offer cures for diseases *Its Author has demonstrated
and even death; only death by his ability to cure all
accident would remain. diseases; he promises both to
end death and to undo its
effects, bringing about
everlasting life.—Luke 7:22;
*Might end mankind’s ‘cosmic *Right now the Bible’s Author
loneliness.’ is “not far off from each one
of us.”—Acts 17:27.
*Might be impossible to *Is readily accessible to the
translate; would take human family. We can read it
thousands—perhaps millions—of now and respond. Our messages
years to respond and are instantly received.
*All of the above are based *Our faith in the above is
on speculation and assumption. based on evidence and
[Picture on page 11]
We can communicate with the greatest Being in the universe