“Mr. Duke, what do you think about the question of life on other planets?” More than one Russian student asked me this question in a Moscow university over thirty years ago. I had expected questions about God, and there were many. But I was surprised at the number of times they asked about extraterrestrials and other ideas like reincarnation and the theory that “God” was actually a traveler from another planet, a view popularized by the 1968 book Chariots of the Gods by Erik von Daniken. I later realized that what happened in Russia is what occurs in any culture where the knowledge of God and His Word are absent. In their very human search for answers as to who we are and where we came from, people try to fill this void with vain speculation and superstition.
Now America is going down the same path. There is a great ignorance of God and the Bible in our land, especially among young people. This lack of a biblical worldview leaves them open to believe whatever they read or hear. Recently I was talking with someone in this “Christian nation” right here in the buckle of the Bible belt. He is highly educated and was raised in a denomination which in terms of belief about God and the inspiration of the Bible would be considered very conservative. He now believes it is presumptuous for us to think we are the only intelligent beings God created in the universe. It appears that interest in this issue is growing. Also, according to one survey, belief in reincarnation or at least in the possibility of it is also on the rise. The distinct Judeo-Christian features of this country are giving rise to paganism and its endless speculations.
One of the problems with the idea of intelligent life on other planets is the matter of salvation from sin. If these beings exist, did Jesus also die for them? Did He also go to their planet or planets? The Bible gives no hint of God placing free will beings outside of the earth in this physical universe. He made “from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). God made the earth “to be inhabited” by mankind (Isa. 45:18). He created the sun, moon, and stars for our benefit and enjoyment (Gen. 1:14-19; Psalm 8:3-8; Psalm 19:1-4).
We have enough to contend with in this world without dabbling into other worlds. Because of the internet we not only know what people on the other side of the planet are doing, but we are also curious about what is happening beyond the stars.
The bigger question is why there is such a sudden interest tin his area. Who is putting these ideas into people’s minds and diverting their attention from the real issue—salvation from sin? There are men here and throughout the world who are working to confuse and distract people from reading the Bible. lt will take a strong, deliberate effort on our part to avoid chasing rabbits in our personal free time, in our families, and even in our churches. Our job is not to answer every question. It is to ask the most important questions and seek God’s answers in the Bible. We are in a spiritual battle!
Kerry Duke, West End church of Christ, Livingston, TN