Searching in the Dark

A year ago, National Geographic magazine ran the title We are not Alone: Scientists say there must be other life in the universe. Here’s how they are searching for it. There followed an interesting article detailing how physicists and astronomers are dedicating their lives to the search for alien life.

Large satellite dishes are seeking radio waves and signals from fellow civilisations, the stuff of classic science fiction literature and cinema. Technologically advanced instruments are currently in space trying to detect communication from other lifeforms. For example, the Sony satellite searches for countless small planets orbiting bright stars which could be ‘good candidates for habitation’. The planned James Webb space telescope will be looking out at distant stars using infrared cameras and spectrographs.

Here on the earth terrestrial instruments also peer beyond our solar system seeking alien lifeforms. The Subaru telescope, for example, which from 2014 has been carefully removing starlight to allow astronomers to better look at the planets orbiting them. From 2024, an instrument called ELT (which stands for Extremely Large Telescope) will capture infrared spectrum images 16 times as sharp as those of the Hubble Space Telescope.

It would appear that some governments and people are spending a great deal of time and money in the quest to find non-human life. As a Christian, I believe that other life forms (apart from vegetation, microbes and animals) do exist in the cosmos. By this I refer to angelic beings- not fat, cherub-like children with dainty wings, but incredible and beautiful creatures also made by our Creator. The people who are building and paying for these impressive sounding telescopes probably do not believe in angels and demons, which is one of the great ironies of our time.

By discovering a new alien civilisation, our species can approach it as peers and equals, fellow inhabitants and citizens of the Galaxy. However the Bible makes it clear that we are not equal to angelic beings; we are made a little lower than them. They are far superior in terms of beauty, intelligence and power, and they remain hidden, for the most part, unperceived by expensive astronomical kit. They may look with interest upon the sons and daughters of Adam, while those who fell into corruption seek our harm and darkness. Yet the theologian knows more about them than the scientist, for they are not composed of matter and molecule.

The real reason for seeking alien civilisations is our pride. We want to know that we’re not alone in the universe, but we lack the humility and wisdom to acknowledge God, nor that His other created beings are not our equal.

They did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:21-22

The God of heaven, knowing our need of Him, but also our inability to find Him in the darkness, entered our world, that we might know the truth. He said “I am the light of the cosmos”.


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay