This is almost too funny to be true.
Aliens. What do you think about them? I’ll give you my theory, which gels pretty well with physics, astrophysics, and biology.
The universe is a really big place. There are too many stars to actually count, but if you count an area and use it to estimate the total number it turns out there are about 10 to the 24th power or a septillion stars. That’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars – literally trillions of trillions: literally thousands of billions of thousands of billions of stars.
Now on Earth it only took about 2 billion years for life to emerge. The universe is about 14 billion years old.
If life on Earth came to be purely as the result of physical processes, it could happen somewhere else too; physics does not make exceptions for time or place.
Now with that many stars it is going to happen by chance that there will be solar systems with planets similar to Earth. And there is so much time and so much more time available that we can almost guarantee that somewhere else out there life either has or will come to be.
However, the emergence of life requires very exact circumstances – it’s a perfect storm kind of thing. Most planets don’t end up being Earth-like. So it will happen given enough time and trials that life will emerge, but it will be extremely infrequent.
Now of the septillion stars in the Universe only a small handful are close to us. We can’t travel very quickly through space, and nobody can travel through space faster than the speed of light. The observable universe is about 98 billion light years across (because of the Hubble effect we can see things further away than 14 billion light years).
To meet an alien, one has to be close enough to us that we can travel that distance reasonably, and they must exist at the same time as us. Either of those things could happen. But given how short our history is relative to the history of the universe, and the rate at which we’re depleting our resources, both of those things happening at the same time before humanity peters out is very very unlikely.
But it would be so cool if we found aliens. Almost everyone thinks so. If you’re interested, look up the Voyager Golden Record. When Voyager was launched, NASA put a record player on board with a golden record in case aliens found the thing. The record contained an introduction from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, greetings from the Nations of Earth, and selections of Earth’s greatest music (Johnny B Goode made it on, but EMI wouldn’t let NASA use any Beatles tunes). The B side was a map to Earth and a picture of hydrogen atoms. Now that should show you that we do, in our heart of hearts, think that aliens would be really cool. It isn’t easy to book the Secretary General of the UN after all.
But whoa! Genesis doesn’t talk about God making all the animals of the Earth, which he lets Adam name, and then God going on to make the aliens which he hides from Adam. Then there are other issues – does original sin apply to Aliens too, seeing as it applies to all creation? If so, does Jesus’ death save the aliens, or did they need their own alien Jesus? Because of these theological problems, some Creationists believe that aliens cannot possibly exist or it would say so in the Bible. Gary Bates is one such creationist. He is also a founding figure of Creation Ministries International.
Gary Bates is not a psychologist, astrophysicist, or a biologist. But he was very troubled by the prospect of aliens. A good many people were reporting either seeing aliens or being abducted by aliens, and this posed a problem to his world view in the same way that an evolutionary origin of human beings does. The Bible is inerrant, and aliens would put it in error in his mind. So he set out to research this issue.
This is actually too good to be true, Want to guess what he found out?
It’s the Devil. Aliens are the devil.
Satan actually comes and tricks people into thinking they’ve been abducted by aliens to torture the wicked. You can stop the abductions by accepting Jesus as your Savior. I kid you not, Bates insists that the supposed aliens are actually demons.
Now, scientists have actually studied this phenomenon and found convincing answers not by looking for aliens but by looking at the “abducted” individuals. Cognitive Psychologists posit an answer that involves sleep paralysis, a rare and actually very tragic form of night terror. Gary Bates doesn’t appear to be familiar with this, but if you are interested I encourage you to read up on it. I would also strongly discourage you from reading Bates’ book. The man has no insight or expertise in the area and his answer actually posits “Satan did it”. Excepting Paradise Lost, very few well written things have ended with “Satan did it”.
But this is actually very telling. The way Bates investigates UFOs is the same way creationists look at evolution. Bates knew the answer before he set out – it had to be the case that there were no aliens. He then went on a mission to find out why there were no aliens. What he came up with had no grounding in any reasonable science, it actually completely ignored the well grounded and tightly researched scientific theories, and it fits perfectly with his theology by use of very uncomfortable reasoning.