The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.
“It is impossible to conceive of Eternal Being not existing because that immediately would involve Nothing, which is impossible to conceive as existing.”
John Gerstner: The Rational Biblical Theology of Jonathan Edwards
For years astronomers have been desperately searching for signs of life other than ours somewhere far out in the universe. Some folks are equally curious about that possibility, despite God’s statement cited above from Psalm 115. We caught our first up-close view of Mar’s cold, barren, rocky surface in 1965, when Mariner 4 flew by and photographed a planetary facade that appeared to be as dead as the moon’s; the surface of that inert satellite which astronauts have seen up-close and personal through numerous landings. At a distance, Mars looks as if it lacked either water or active geology, two prerequisites for life; water and heat. However, not willing to give up the costly pursuit, later missions were launched from earth; the price of which was amounting to billions of U.S. dollars. In 1997, hoping to get a closer look, the rover Pathfinder landed to further search for life or at least better signs of previous life on the Red Planet. In 2004 two more Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on opposite sides of the planet. Their explorations were planned to last a mere 90 days, however Spirit died after sending its final message to earth 6 years later, on March 22, 2010, and Opportunity was still sending messages back in 2015. The bottom line after all of that time, energy and expense was, “they found evidence for past wet conditions that could have supported life.” Hardly anything in this long experiment met the strict qualifications known to scientists as the fundamental “scientific method.” The speculation about previous life on Mars remains, after 60 years of costly experiments, nothing more than a theory. Not giving up however, the third rover, Curiosity, now wanders the surface of Mars hoping to find more evidence to support this desperate theory.
Astronomers have also joined in and trained powerful radio telescopes on the vast reaches of the solar system listening for radio waves that may be coming to earth from extra-terrestrial aliens. The first such radio-antenna, aimed into outer space, though primitive by today’s standards, was developed by Karl Jansky working at Bell Laboratories in the early 1930s. He originally heard “static noise” coming from somewhere in the center of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Knowing the construct of the electro-magnetic spectrum, that should not have surprised him. There are billions of stars in each of the billions of galaxies in the entire universe sending out multiple energy signals as they go through the natural processes of entropy; undergoing nuclear degradation and releasing energy packed photons and neutrinos. While optical telescopes limit the astronomer’s vision into space to seeing things that give off visible light, and due to the fact that many cosmic objects emit radiation more strongly at longer wavelengths than those of visible-light (I.e. the longer being radio waves and microwaves), radio-telescopes can provide the astronomer with information about the universe that optical telescopes cannot discern. In 1990 NASA launched the Hubble telescope, the largest one ever propelled into space up to that time. Since its deployment from the spacecraft Discovery it has failed to live up to its name; ironically its “discovery” of the alleged extraterrestrial life has thus far been null and void.
Belief in extra-terrestrials is not all that uncommon and for years there have been many alleged “sightings” of disc shaped “space craft” hurling though the night skies. Some people have even said to have seen them land, while others report the experience of having been actually taken aboard the alien space ships. The solid fact from a proven scientific point of view however remains this; aside from us, the universe has never been shown to be inhabited by any intelligent, physical and thus visible beings, either through optical telescopes, the Hubble telescope or those auditory telescopes listening for radio or micro-waves coming from outer space.
In fact, an online article dated June 26, 2018 reported that research scientists at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute in England have determined that alleged extra-terrestrial, alien populations don’t exist and human beings are likely “flying solo in outer space.” They came to that conclusion while examining the so-called “Fermi Paradox” — which ponders why scientists believe in extraterrestrials despite having zero proof. Named for physicist Enrico Fermi, the paradox posits the question, “With billions of galaxies containing billions of stars and planets like ours, where is everybody?” The reason for that paradoxical belief in life beyond earth, despite the lack of any thread of objective evidence, lies in their inner beings, which have the notion that something or someone of an intelligent nature exists out there besides us, and that frustration comes from the fact that life produces more questions than our minds have the ability to answer.
That frustration likewise coincides with the words penned by Solomon over 1000 years ago: I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11.
If you and I and all other “children of man” want to admit that we are not alone in the cosmos because God is there, and then in all humility about our ignorance “find out what God has done,” then we should be “busy with” looking to the revelation that God has provided about all of that. We are definitely not alone in the universe and God has clearly told us so. The sheer beauty, design and complexity combined, that is evident throughout all creation shouts loudly that all of this is not the result of some huge cosmic accident. In borrowing Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s title to one of his most profound works of apologetic Christian literature, He is There and He is Not Silent.