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Other Kinds of Life

One of the questions that has intrigued man almost as long as we have known that other worlds exist is whether or not there is “anyone out there”. Much science fiction has to do with this question. Today, with the confirmed discovery of nearly two thousand planets orbiting other stars, the discussion has ramped up to even higher levels. At the time of this article, no true Earthlike candidates have been confirmed, although statistically it is almost inevitable that not only will one be found, but many will.

A couple of things to note, however. First, “Earthlike candidate” simply refers to a planet of the right size orbiting its star at the right distance. It does not necessarily mean that the planet will be truly Earthlike. So even when astronomers find appropriate worlds, there is no guarantee that they will be able to support life, and certainly no guarantee that they will have life. With our current technology, they are simply too far away to tell.

The second thing I want to point out is this: Are we actually considering all of the possibilities? If you read the topical page on The World Around Us, you will note a brief discussion on the possible nature of what scientists call “dark matter”. It actually composes nearly five-sixths of the total matter in the Universe, so it is certainly significant. As I point out, there is really no reason to assume it is merely some simple kind of unusual particle with no other interesting characteristics. Dark matter could actually be very complex, made up of a whole family—or whole families—of particles, interacting and creating structures analogous to the structures made up by ordinary matter.

And that's where it gets interesting.

The laws that govern the ordinary matter that we are made from combine and interact to produce an incredible variety of structures and phenomena that we observe around us. Stars, planets, solar systems (visit the page on The Cosmos) and much more. Here on Earth—the only inhabited planet that we know for sure exists—gravity, fluid dynamics, heat of evaporation and other laws allow for weather, landscapes, bodies of water and much, much more that make this world such a wonderful place to live. And as for life… Even today we are still discovering new species of plants and animals, all built up from simple elements into amazingly complex structures that live and reproduce. And on top of all that, scientific discoveries have permitted us to develop technologies that would have been considered magic in earlier eras. Radios. Computers. Space probes. And so forth and so on…

All of this is essentially built up from 6 “flavors” of quarks (making up neutrons, protons and related particles), electrons, and the forces that they interact with, based upon their intrinsic nature. A number of other related particles have been discovered, but they mostly serve as mediators for interactions, or are transient or excited states. The variety from this relatively small number of basic building blocks is incredible.

As I stated above, there is no reason to believe that dark matter is not at least just as complex as the family of particles that make up the world that we are familiar with. And if that is the case—if there exist complex structures composed of totally different families of particles—then what about the possibility of life forms composed of other types of “matter”?

Science fiction often speculates about advanced beings that have left material bodies behind. While most of the ideas (beings of “pure energy”, for example) are actually quite unlikely, due to the lack of ability to store information without some kind of structure, the basic idea of life that is not made of our familiar matter is nevertheless quite popular. Structured dark matter may indeed provide a realistic basis for the existence of such life. (Whether such beings “evolved” from creatures originally composed of matter, or whether they were composed of dark matter from their beginning, is another question.)

Yes, this is speculation, since at this point none of these possibilities can be observed or demonstrated scientifically. But given what we have discovered about the Universe, we have to admit that the possibility exists.

“Aliens” in the Bible

Having just read the title to this section, you may be wondering if my brain has slipped off its tracks a bit. Aliens in the Bible? On the other hand, you may also remember—or at least have heard of —a book called Chariots of the Gods, along with all the speculation about “ancient astronauts” that was popular only a few decades ago. The truth is that in this modern era a lot of people have tried to make connections between beings found in Scripture and hypothetical aliens. I would like to take a look at it from a somewhat different angle.

Although the main focus of the Bible is God and man, anyone who has read the book will realize that these are not the only intelligent beings mentioned in its pages. The most common non-human beings mentioned, of course, are angels. And in visions various prophets saw other types of beings, such as strange creatures with wings described as “full of eyes”, for example. In the New Testament, unseen beings called “devils”, or “demons” in more modern translations, afflict a number of people.

It is common to think of these beings as being “spirit”, with the implication that the are ghost-like without any kind of structure. But I refer you to the previous section, and again to the page on The World Around Us, where I encourage you to read the section entitled How Ghostly is the Spiritual?. The fact is, any kind of living being, whatever its nature, contains an immense amount of detailed information, and this information requires structure. It may not be the type of structure that we are familiar with, but some form of ordered arrangement of information has to exist.

By definition, an alien is a being from outside a given culture or nation or society. All of these beings described in the Scripture text are definitely not a part of human society. Therefore, in a very real sense they can be considered to be “aliens”—but not what we traditionally think of as aliens.

For that matter, if we take it a step further, it is possible that these beings may have their own world or worlds up in the heavens. They are described as being “from Heaven”. The modern distinction between “the heavens” and “Heaven” may turn out to be less clear than we imagine.

The Sons of Rebellion

Given the title of this page, you have probably already figured out just exactly which “alien being” is the main subject here. The preceding sections were mainly intended to demonstrate a potential rational connection between the non-human beings mentioned in Scripture and the observed realities of our Universe. Many people refuse to believe in angels or demons or any other similar type of being because they “cannot be observed”. The fact is that the universe actually contains much potential material of other types that cannot be directly observed, but nevertheless gives convincing evidence of its reality through gravitational effects, which are the result of mass. So laying aside arguments from the Bible, as a purely theoretical scientific hypothesis, such beings could definitely exist.

The Devil, or Satan

The Bible is not clear on the origin of Satan. There are passages which can be interpreted as speaking of higher order beings such as angels or other similar creatures, describing acts of rebellion leading to downfall. The most well known is the account of Lucifer. In fact, Lucifer and Satan are usually considered to be the same being. However, this is not absolutely certain; they could in fact be separate entities. In Revelation, Satan is described as the principal leader of the inhabitants of the heavens that rebelled against God.

If we accept the Biblical account of the nature of God, then it is clear that He does not deliberately create evil. On the other hand, it is clear—albeit somewhat indirectly—that He does create beings with the capacity for rebellion and evil. Wherever there is free choice, there exists the possibility of making the wrong choice, that of disobedience. Therefore, it logically follows that Satan was not originally evil whenever it was that he was created. That he is a created being and not an “anti-God”, coexisting with God from eternity past like an “evil twin”, is fairly evident from Scripture. Beyond that, the Bible does not give any account of when or where Satan was created—or how long he has existed.

Continuing the same logical train of thought, it is therefore clear that at some point—again, Scripture gives no clear hint as to when or where—the being who is now called Satan chose disobedience and rebellion. He is who he is today by his own choice. And Scripture also makes it clear, in the second chapter of Peter's second letter, that there was no pardon or forgiveness available to him or his followers. Once they made their choice to rebel, they were locked forever on that road.

The True Face of Evil

I do not believe that most people truly understand the degree of evil and hate that Satan is capable of. One must take into consideration certain factors, beginning with the fact that he is a being of much greater power than humans. As such, his capacity for emotion and force of will are no doubt equally proportionally greater. Being a vastly superior being, simple pride would dictate that he would view humans as being far beneath him, much as we might view a bacterium as being far beneath us.

Another factor to consider is the fact that he was offered no chance for repentance and restoration. When he rebelled, his fate was sealed. Scripture describes Hell as being “prepared for the devil and his angels.” He is going to spend eternity there, and he knows it. (In chapter 2 of his letter, James makes it clear that the devil does know that God is real and has the ultimate power.) On the other hand, God did everything in His power to offer forgiveness and restoration to human beings. It does not take much imagination to visualize the kind of hate and rage toward us that this would produce in a being condemned to Hell without any chance of ever receiving the same benefit himself.

Kill, Steal and Destroy

Jesus said that “the thief [referring to the devil] comes to kill, steal and destroy.” In chapter 8 of John's account of the life of Christ, Jesus stated that the devil is the “father of lies” and that he was a “murderer from the beginning.” And in the fifth chapter of his first letter, Peter said that the devil goes about as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Contrary to the old saying, the Prince of Darkness is not a gentleman. He does not love those who follow him, and will do everything in his power to destroy them and see them go to Hell forever. He will use whatever deception is necessary. He does not keep his word. He does not play fair. “Do unto others, then laugh,” might be a good way to describe his philosophy toward human beings. And he will not appear with barbed tail and pitchfork; rather, he will smooth his tongue and sound oh-so-reasonable, pretending to be an angel of light (Paul warned the Corinthians of this in his second letter to them, chapter 11).

Satan is more intelligent and far more powerful than any human being. Only the power of God can hold him back, otherwise he would have destroyed the entire human race a long time ago. From reading Scripture, I have come to the conclusion that God basically holds him in check—except for his tongue. He is free to whisper whatever lies he chooses into our ears. And since God gave man dominion over the Earth, we do have the authority to open the door for the devil to do further harm, if he deceives us into doing so. Fortunately, this voluntary opening appears to be limited. Unfortunately, the results of even this limited satanic power unleashed in human lives is bad enough.

Does This Make Sense?

I have no way of knowing what you, the reader, are thinking as you read these words. It is entirely possible that you simply judge them to be nonsense, along with everything else on this site about God and man's place in the scheme of things. You may not even accept that the devil exists. One of his favorite deceptions is to convince people that he is not real. If you do not believe in a particular enemy, are you going to fight or resist him? Probably not; why fight what you believe to be imaginary?

God can and will open your eyes to the truth if you are willing to ask Him to. So here is a challenge: If you do not believe what you are reading here, try asking God to convince you about what is true. Tell Him something like, “God, if there really is a devil and he is lying to me and keeping me from seeing the truth, please open my eyes.” Even if you still doubt, what have you got to lose? If you are right and this is just nonsense, then nothing will change. But if you are wrong, you stand to gain an understanding of some of the most important concepts known to mankind.

Don't let the devil—who hates you with every fiber of his being—win.

Copyright © 2005-2023 William R. Penning. All rights reserved.