CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Alien Invasion, or the Meaning of Christmas

Dec 23, 2007

We in the West live in an overwhelmingly secular culture that says materialism is the only reality. There is no supernatural, only the natural. There is no metaphysical reality, only the physical. Matter alone matters. Or as Carl Sagan once put it, “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be”.

It is interesting that some holding to the materialist worldview – be they evolutionists or atheists – are quite keen about the search for life elsewhere in the universe, perhaps on other planets from far-away galaxies. Why this interest? For some, it is almost a bit of a crusade. You see, they dislike the Biblical account which says there is a creator, and that in this created order, there is something special – mankind, the apex of God’s creation. Human beings are special, in the Biblical understanding, and are set apart from the rest of creation. We are not mere animals, but individuals made in the image of God, with eternal destinies.

The atheists and secular humanists of course strongly reject such an idea. Thus their obsession to find life elsewhere, to somehow disprove the Biblical account. They want to undermine and disprove the uniqueness of human life, and they think that by finding it elsewhere, they will be able to throw out the Judeo-Christian worldview and the high place it gives to humanity.

If this extraterrestrial life cannot be found, then the materialists have a hard time denying that life on earth seems to be pretty special, as if it were designed that way. But design (and a designer) are both anathema to the materialists.

Now I do not necessarily think that if we did discover life elsewhere, it would be a major blow to the Biblical worldview. But leaving that aside, it does seem that SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and other such projects certainly are important to the materialist worldview.

But of course it is not just the atheist or Darwinian or materialist who is eager to discover life in other parts of our universe. Plenty of other people may even have religious or spiritual reasons for such a search. Thus new-agers and others are often keen on such searches.

But whether this search is part of an effort to disprove God and attack the Biblical account of creation, or just a genuine fascination with the possibility of life elsewhere, the thing all those involved in such a search are missing is this: there is in fact life beyond this planet. Indeed, we are not alone in the universe. Even more amazing, this alien life form has actually made contact with us.

The Bible is in fact the record of this alien invasion, if you will. Throughout the Old Testament God manifested himself in various ways to his people. But the supreme manifestation of God of course comes in the form of the Incarnation. God became one of us. The Gospel of John begins by clearly setting this out for us.

“In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only – who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-14)

And this of course is why we celebrate Christmas. God became man, dwelt among us, showed us what God was like, died a horrible death on a cross to suffer for our sins – all so that we might be reconciled to God and live forever with him.

That in a nutshell is what Christmas is all about. It is about intelligent life from beyond this planet making contact with us, and telling us about what this extra-terrestrial life is all about. So we can stop the search. God has already taken the initiative. He has spoken, he has revealed himself. So we no longer need to try to figure out God (which is what religion is all about). Christianity is about God taking the first and last steps. He has done it all on our behalf. Ours is merely to respond to the great Christmas gift: God’s son, saviour and redeemer.

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10 Responses to Alien Invasion, or the Meaning of Christmas

  • Thanks Bill, this is so true.

    Man can never find or know the one true God in and of himself. It is only in God’s revelation of Himself through Jesus Christ that we can ever know Him. I thank God that He truly is a loving and merciful God and that He sent His only Son so that we can be made righteous and be reconciled to Him.

    I hope you have a blessed Christmas, with lots of Dr. Pepper and doughnuts! God bless.

    David Clay, Melbourne

  • Congratulations Bill – you have hit the nail on the head.
    May the Joy and Peace of Christmas be with you always.
    Madge Fahy

  • Bill, really enjoyed this post. Greatly appreciated and valued your writing gift in 2007. So thank you! Warm wishes to you and your family this Christmas.
    Jamie Bowman

  • If ever there was a pseudo-science, it is “exobiology”. For a study to be a science it has to have data, but there’s the rub: it has no data at all. Seizing on amino acids as “the building-blocks of life” is one several evolutionary mantras (which the media then run with), but is merely wishful thinking. But as you say, Bill, the materialist needs this scenario of wishful thinking to insulate himself from God.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Bill, May you and your family have a happy, holy and peaceful Christmas. If people stopped to think about who made the universe, the vast distances almost too large to fathom, talking about distances in light years, how small is each individual. Yet it was for each individual that Jesus, whose birth we celebrate tomorrow, was born, lived and died on the cross but most imprtant, rose from the dead to prove God’s dominance over death and sin. Our God created us and the universe. Even if life in some form exists on another planet, that does not explain who put life there (or here). But we know we are here and it is the belief in the Almighty God and all merciful God that explains how all of this has come to pass. Neither science nor other religious belief has any explanation for this creation. It is our belief that provides the answers. That is why faith provides the basis for peace of mind. Without faith, we are nothing. We should on this Christmas thank Jesus for our faith and pray for ways we can spread it to bring peace to a confused world.
    David Grace

  • Creation Ministries and I bring to all our best Christmas wishes: see Christmas and Genesis: How does creation relate to this season? Because the babe in Bethlehem was the Creator of the Universe!
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks for the reminder, Bill. It really is nice when we can take the time to remember our Savior coming to Earth. Scientists look more for *physical* life elsewhere in the universe, but your words do serve as a helpful reminder that we are not completely alone.

    To respond to MurrayA: As we tirelessly search for biological life on other planets (which obviously is something not fulfilled by Christ coming to Earth) in an effort to disprove God’s design, often we don’t stop and think about the real implications that life would have if it were discovered to have arisen on multiple planets. I’m not one to say that God did or didn’t make physical life outside of Earth’s biosphere, but it would carry heavy implications in favor of the Intelligent Design movement. It’s already absurdly unlikely that life could originate on Earth, left to its own devices. Just try to imagine if the universe had won that “astronomical” lottery several times, one for each planet harboring its own example of active biology!

    I think it’s really sad that Christians become immediately suspicious of and even angry towards anyone who suggests life may indeed exist on other planets. Do they not realize that this would make the atheists scramble to look for an explanation as to how life arose (and thus overcame devastating odds) more than once? Sure, atheists would find some way to twist the existence of alien life into a “proof” against God, but they’ve done that with even the most compelling evidences that there really is a Designer of the universe, so aliens would, in that sense, just be a drop in the proverbial bucket.

    Again, I don’t say there are physical life forms elsewhere in the cosmos, but I’m not going to quickly dismiss the possibility, either. In fact, as an avid science fiction fan, I’d love for there to be other living things, other ecosystems, and even other civilizations. Let’s just wait and see for now.

    God bless and Merry Christmas, everyone!

    J. K. Patterson

  • Merry Christmas Bill,

    May you continue to spread the message of Christ’s love and hope through your website and may God continually inspire your thoughts and words.

    Teresa Binder

  • It seems highly unlikely life exists elsewhere in the universe. See the CMI article Did God create life on other planets?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Other than God’s natural creation the earth is man’s work, and it is good to question what is outside our world and to ponder this mystery. One thing is certain and that is man’s time is not the same as time away form the earth and we need to contemplate the enormity of God’s infuence and what he might be doing with it in the universe(S) Happy New Year to all.
    Peter Rice

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