Posts Tagged ‘Aliens’

xnscifiOver 4 years ago, I wrote an essay that caused me to seriously think about writing something like Johnny Came Home.

At the time, I was writing Øtherworld, a sci-fi tale with fantasy overtones. I was having a hard time finishing it, so I wrote this essay to sharpen my focus a bit. The idea was to define my over-all aim as what fellow author JC Lamont terms a “literary apologist.” I managed to do that, but the essay is more noteworthy for the brainstorming session it contains. This updated version of Faith-Based Sci-Fi As Exploratory Apologetic continues in that tradition.

Enjoy!

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Now by all accounts science fiction is a bit of a hard sell for the Christian book market. The reason for this is bound up in our eschatology, our beliefs about the End of All Things. End Times views within Christendom come a few clearly defined and argued categories. Most folks are familiar with the Darbyist view [pretribulational dispensationalist Rapturists] on which Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind series was based. If Christendom has an established sci-fi market, it is predominantly for this specific flavor of End Times fiction. And who can blame us? It’s exciting stuff. A small, desperate, but resolute band of believers beleaguered by the all-powerful AntiChrist, a megalomaniacal dictator in control of a fascist New World Order. The story has a powerful opening hook: the sudden disappearance of every Bible-believing Christian on the planet and climaxes in the bona fide War to End All Wars, the Armageddon, and the Triumphant Return of Christ. The setting and the Bible’s mention of martyrs and divine judgments make any half-decent effort a gripping read.

I digress.

If the selective mass market offerings of Christian book chains are any indication, this is the only sort of exploratory apologetic we have. I remember browsing the local Christian bookstores, just bored out of my mind. With few exceptions, I was looking an endless sea of romance novels, marketed at women. I’m a guy, so I’m into science fiction, fantasy and action thrillers. I remember thinking, “Why should I be forced to get the stuff I actually enjoy reading from secular bookstores in novels written from a non- or even anti-Christian worldview?”

What about the stuff of traditional sci-fi? What about alien worlds? Aliens? Space travel? Artificial Intelligence? Where was the Christian exploration of these subjects? In essence, why couldn’t I read “Do Android Prayers Reach the Ears of God?” [in the tradition of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner]?

Let me tell you some specific things I’d like to see addressed: (more…)

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The concept cover for the book I’m writing, Johnny Came Home, has a silver screen flying saucer on it. The saucer has just crash landed and skidded to a stop at the front steps of the local church, Soul’s Harbor. That’ll preach, I guarantee you.

It got me thinking about extraterrestrials. Aliens. Little green [or grey] men. Are we really alone? Or might there be intelligent life somewhere across the universe?

I should mention right up front that I’m a Biblical Creationist. I believe God’s revealed Word when it says God took 6 days to created everything from nothing, that He created the flying creatures and sea creatures on Day 5 and told them to be fruitful and multiply after the kind, that he created land animals on Day 6 and likewise told them to be fruitful and multiply after their kind and that He made man [and woman] by special acts of creation in His own image. Furthermore, I believe the Bible’s sure record when it relates that death, suffering and thorns entered the world by Adam’s sin at the Fall and that the entire world was covered in a great Flood in the days of Noah. 

I’m also a science fiction author. 

This being the case, it would be pure cowardice not to address the question and explore the implications of little green men on traditional Christian doctrine.

Did you realize that the Star Wars universe, the Strar Trek universe and similar fictional worlds where the ether simply teems with alien civilations is based on an evolutionary worldview? There’s the feeling that life is somehow inevitable and that chemicals simply and magically [dare I say spontaneously?] produce life which then evolves into more and more complex forms until it achieves sufficient mental complexity to be called intelligent. This is based on two things: an unBiblical misconception as to how long the universe has been around and the vastness of the universe. Put simply, evolutionists feel that there’s been ample time for alien abiogenesis and evolution to occur a ridiculous number of times and given the vastness of space, we’re probably just tripping over one another on a relative scale.

I find it interesting that they DON’T base their views on the inevitability and alleged scale of extraterrestrial life on actual probability studies. You see, abiogeneis [life springing from chemicals by natural processes] and molecules-to-man evolution are so statistically improbable as to rate impossibility. Multiplying zero by infinity doesn’t really add up to better odds. No, evolutionists are simply arguing from incredulity and from ignorance. “Now, doesn’t all that space seem wasteful?” and “If it happened here it must’ve happened by undirected processes because we won’t consider God at all – against the rules, you see. And if it happened here and it was completely impossible then maybe it’s not so impossible after all. Maybe it’s only apparently impossible, not actually impossible – after all, evolutionists would have us also believe that we may observe apparent design in nature, but not actual design! Now I tend to think that if they had the most improbable of chances for undirected processes to lead to complex intelligent life and they multiplied it by the alleged deep time and scale of the universe that they’d would’ve used up all of their odds on Earth alone. To put it a different way, even if it was extremely improbable and it happened anyway, the chances of it happening again become less likely not as likely or more likely.

Yet what if we did find life on other planets? Would the Bible then be invalid?

We have to ask ourselves, What kind of life?

We should have to first note that non-sapient life would constitute no Biblical challenge. At all. But let’s take this one step at a time.

What about specks of life on some Mars meteor or bacterial life within our own solar system? What explanation could the Creationist offer? The simplest explanation is that such is that said life hails originally from Earth and that it survived aboard ejecta launched out of our orbit from supervolcanoes or meteorite impacts, such as those we associate with the Noachian Flood. A meteorite hits the Earth. It divets out a chunk of Earth rock and flings it out of orbit and the amazingly resilient organisms survive the rigors of space and eventually land on other planets or moons in our very own solar system.

Yet what if it weren’t from Earth? What if it were methane-based instead of carbon-based? Would that discount the Biblical revelation of special Creation? Not really. Creationists could always point out that the Bible is God’s revealed Word, but that it focuses primarily on God’s relationship with this planet and the creature He created in His own image. Its silence regarding extraterrestrial lifeforms would not invalidate its inerrancy. We might simply note that extraterrestrial life was not really germaine to the discussion as it were.

It is unlikely that man will discover life from beyond our solar system, given the prohibitive nature of space travel. All science fiction writers employ black boxes to overcome this obstacle [warp engines, inertial dampeners, wormholes, hyperspace], but the physics and distance make the whole venture wholly impractical. Impossible really. If we discovered extraterrestrial life at all, it would likely be because said life came calling. I can’t imagine that being a good thing.

Yet what if we found extraterrestrials? It could happen, I suppoose. There were good preachers who warned that man would never reach the moon, basing their predictions on the fact that God prevented completion of the Tower of Babel. Yet we made it to the moon. God did not see fit to limit our horizons to keep our theology as simple as some would’ve prefered.  If it pleased God, He could populate the ether and its heavenly bodies with all sorts of life. So long as it was non-sapient, it would pose no historical or doctrinal challenges to Biblical revelation.

Non-sapient life could be as intellectually and socially complex as ants, bees, locusts, dolphins or even apes and still pose no challenge to doctrine. Despite their social complexity, bees are still animals. They do not require salvation. They are fallen with this world, but they have no souls to save! So the extraterrestrials could even be quite socially or intellectually complex, but still not be truly sapient.

Sapient aliens pose the only true doctrinal challenge to Christendom. Someone once pointed out that Superman is a bigger problem, doctrinally speaking, than Harry Potter! Where does his soul go when Kal-El dies? Superman seems to possess a defined sense of morality and also a flawed nature we theologically ascribe to original sin amongst the sons of Adam; does he require salvation? How would he get saved? Did a Christ figure die for Kryptonians on their planet? Did they have a system of law, a schoolteacher like Mosaic Law, until he should receive the fullness of the Gospel here on Earth? Would God be obligated to offer salvation at all [after all, do not angels long to look into these things?]?

See the sorts of questions sapient extraterrestrials engender! A science fiction writer answers the what-if questions. As Biblical Creationists we have an opportunity to use sci-fi as an exploratory apologetic to see how we might answer these scenarios based on the true revelation of God’s Word.