First of all, let me say that I have only the greatest respect for Answers in Genesis. I disagree with them about their Hell Preaching, but if I couldn’t respect a Hell Preacher, I couldn’t respect most of my Christian brethren. I think that Answers in Genesis is doing a wonderful thing upholding the Bible against the claims of skeptics.
That said, they have taken a silly and dangerous position on intelligent extraterrestrial life. They claim that it does not exist, and they do so on allegedly Biblical grounds. It would be quite humiliating for Biblical Creation as a whole, and for Answers in Genesis in particular, if intelligent life was discovered elsewhere in the universe, as they have essentially hung the Bible’s reliability on the issue by claiming Scripture proves such beings cannot exist.
Truth be told, the Old and New Testaments have little or nothing to say either for or against space aliens, and neither their existence nor their nonexistence has much bearing on the reliability of the Bible and the truth of the Christian message.
Today, I plan only to address the arguments against intelligent alien life. The others are indirect arguments from the statement that “the heavens are the Lord’s”. I don’t know about you, but I hardly think the heavens would cease to be the Lord’s if He populated one more planet. The claim is the following: If intelligent life exists elsewhere, it cannot be redeemed. I will sum up the argument as follows(the full argument can be found here):
1. Christ’s sacrifice as a man only pays for the sins of His blood relatives(¿Scripture?)
2. Christ was sacrificed once for all, and thus cannot be sacrificed again to pay for the sins of aliens.( 1 Pet 3:18, Heb 9:27-28, 10:10)
3. Thus, ET’s cannot be redeemed if they have sinned.
“Well,” you say, “maybe ET’s haven’t sinned.” But AIG has an answer for that as well. They claim that ET’s suffer the effects of sin(sin nature, death, etc.) whether or not they sinned.(Rom 8:20-22). Thus, they need a Redeemer anyway.
I would like to address these arguments in reverse order. To the second claim I have just one thing to say: Angels. Exactly the same argument can be applied to angels that applies to ETs. By the same chain of reasoning, angels, as part of “the creation”, must need a Redeemer and cannot have one. Thus all angels will go to “Hell”? Perhaps the “whole creation groans” on our behalf. In any case, it is clear that non-human intelligent beings are not necessarily damned on our account.
That said, let us assume that they have, in fact, sinned. In that case, Answers in Genesis has provided no Scriptural support for the idea that a sinner must be redeemed by a blood relative. However, I can afford to be generous one more time and assume that a sinner must be redeemed by a blood relative. Here comes the good part.
They provide three Scripture verses to support the idea that Christ cannot go and die again for some other race. Here they are:
1 Pet 3:18:18because also Christ once for sin did suffer — righteous for unrighteous — that he might lead us to God, having been put to death indeed, in the flesh, and having been made alive in the spirit,
27and as it is laid up to men once to die, and after this — judgment,
28so also the Christ, once having been offered to bear the sins of many, a second time, apart from a sin-offering, shall appear, to those waiting for him — to salvation!
10in the which will we are having been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once,
I will take them in the original order this time.
1 Pet 3:18 says “Christ once for sin did suffer”. It would appear that this precludes further suffering on His part for sin. But look in context. “Righteous for unrighteous” is parenthetical and does not change the relationship of the surrounding clauses. Thus, “Christ once for sin did suffer that he might lead us to God.” If the next verse said, “and then Christ suffered once again for sin that he might lead the people of the Galaxar Quadrant to God,” we would not view it as a contradiction, yet AIG’s view demands that we should view such a statement as a contradiction.
Heb 9:27-28: The “once” really means “after” or “since” here, as in “Once I’ve done the dishes, I’m going to the movies.” Let us not suppose that I have only done dishes once!
Or, alternatively, it could mean “at one time”, as “there was once a war between Britain and Germany.” Again, this does not preclude that there might later have been another such war, or another such sacrifice.
This verse is, prima facie, the strongest verse in favor of AIG’s view, but there is one simple logical problem with their interpretation of it. I will provide it in the form of a question. Christ died once for all. Does the “all” include aliens?
If they say yes, then Christ died for aliens, and they can be redeemed.
If they say no, then as the “all” does not include ETs, neither does the “once”. In other words, if we clarified the verse by saying “Christ died once for all humans,” then it would become clear that He is perfectly capable of dying again for, say, “all Martians“.
It is only on the ambiguity of “all” that this argument survives. Press for a definition, and the anti-alien position falls apart.
A few disclaimers:
1. I am not saying there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe(Well, God and angels, but otherwise, not necessarily.). I am merely pointing out that such life is not incompatible with Scripture.
2. As I said at the start, I hold AIG in the highest esteem. I am not attacking them, but correcting them to save both them and our common cause some embarrassment if extraterrestrial life does in fact exist.