What Can We Know about Extraterrestrial Life?

The Bible is clear that we are not alone in the universe. An all-powerful being, above and beyond us, both created and cares for us. The Bible also frequently refers to angels, heavenly servants who run errands for God on Earth and who perform feats that seem supernatural. It even mentions one angel by name: Gabriel (see Daniel 8:19 and Luke 1:19), whose name means “God is my strength.” But are there other beings, like us, who inhabit their own planets, living lives somewhat similar to ours?

The Bible doesn’t give a definitive answer, but it does give some substantial clues. The first and second chapter of Job strongly suggests that Earth may be only one of many worlds God has populated. Job 1 and 2 features two scenes in which, in some unspecified celestial realm, “the sons of God” (in Hebrew, “sons of Elohim”) come to “present themselves” before God. Job 38:7 describes the “sons of God” shouting for joy as God creates the world. In Luke 3:38, Adam, the first human, is described as “the son of God” (see also Gen. 6:2, 4).

Though the term “sons of God” in Job 1 and 2’s unearthly scene may refer to angels, its usage elsewhere to describe humans strongly suggests it may refer to other “intelligent life” that God has created. The ability of the “sons of God” to enter God’s presence tells us that, unlike Earthlings, they are unfallen beings. Their ability to travel the universe appears to be unhindered.

Scientists estimate that the universe contains 10,000 times as many stars as there are grains of sand on Earth, in perhaps 10 trillion galaxies (and likely many, many more). Though science may never discover life on other worlds (any more than it confirms the existence of angels witnessed by millions throughout history), the biblical evidence strongly suggests that other life, not from Earth, exists in the cosmos.