“…I, the Lord am the first; And with the last I am He.” (Isaiah 41:4)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, ….. the First and the Last.” (Rev 22:13)
A week ago, NASA scientists announced the discovery of seven earth-sized planets, orbiting an ultra-cool red dwarf star called Trappist-1. What made them so excited? Well for a start, three of these exoplanets actually sit in the “habitable zone” where it is not too hot, and not too cold, and where water is likely to be found. And water means life as we know it. Another key feature about them: they are all rocky planets, not gaseous ones like Jupiter or Saturn, further enhancing the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. No other star discovered to date, has such a large number of planets in the habitable zone. Our solar system has only two! Earth and Mars. Hence the excitement!
While by interstellar standards, the star is really quite close to us (a mere 39.4 light years away) it is actually not reachable by present technology. It will take 11,250 years at present rocket speed to get there! But further studies by giant high-resolution new telescopes in the next few years will go further in answering the question modern man has long asked. Are we alone? Most scientists believe we are not, for in the 100-200 billion galaxies each with billions of stars, the mathematical chance of intelligent life is a distinct possibility. Even if they are proved right, does that re-shape our belief in God?
I think it will make little difference. Firstly, the Bible is silent on extraterrestrial life. God is the creator of the universe. If so, then He too, is God of other intelligent life if it exists. Only that we don’t know, if He has revealed Himself to them in the same way, or if they need salvation, or if an interplanetary gospel missions is necessary! Secondly, God cannot be proven not to exist, even if alien life is found; His existence is not premised on their non-existence! Thirdly, finding out that we are not alone after all, actually leads us to an overwhelming awe of the God, who is able to create more than we could ever have imagined. It makes us worship Him even more. Not less!
Ps Dr Philip Lyn