Life on Venus?

Let me answer the click-bait question above immediately by saying that life has not been found on Venus. At least not yet. I highly recommend reading these two articles by Phil Plait and ArsTechnica about what was found. In brief, phosphine gas was detected which is indicative of life but is not direct evidence of life. There is still the significant possibility that the detected phosphine is produced by nonbiologic forces that we do not currently expect or know about on Venus. Until actual life is observed any claims of there being on Venus or any planet is premature. This is why you see scientists cautiously excited and why this is frankly not getting blown out of proportion, which is good.

That said with the discovery of phosphine this makes Venus, surprisingly, the best candidate for finding life outside of the Earth, leap frogging Mars and Europa. There is a very real possibility that life could be discovered there in the next decade. This naturally brings up the question, what is a Christian to do if it occurs? Does it undermine our faith?

The good news is that Christians have been thinking about the possibility of life on other worlds for centuries. It has been good fodder for theological speculation. However, all of this thinking is speculative. Scripture itself is silent on the topic of life outside of the Earth. We know from Scripture that life was created here on Earth and that Earth is central to the cosmos, but Scripture does not say that life is uniquely here. So the discovery of life on other worlds should cause the Christian no concern or crisis of faith. Instead it should cause reflection on what a wonderful and amazing creation the Lord has made (Psalm 19, 104, 148).

Now certainly if intelligent life were eventually discovered, which there is none of on Venus, Mars, or Europa, we would have many interesting questions regarding Original Sin, the meaning of the Incarnation and place of Humanity, Justification, etc. However that still would cause a Christian no problem, as we already know of intelligent created beings who are nonhuman, angels and demons. We just do not typically consider them aliens, though they are after a fashion.

Certainly I myself am of the opinion that we will not find life outside of Earth. As such I think that the phosphine on Venus is likely from nonbiologic processes. It’s also possible it could be in a microbe flung from Earth on an meteorite, after all we have found meteorites from Mars on Earth so we know that meteorites from Earth could end up on Venus. However if it were shown the phosphine was from life unique to Venus, then I am happy to shelve my opinion with no trouble to my faith.

This is because the central part of my faith is Jesus Christ and His unique work here on Earth. No matter what other living creature exists in the universe, I know that He came to Earth to die for our sins and was resurrected on the third day. He is ascended to Heaven and rules over all creation. That creation is just as much His whether it be the verdant pastures of Earth or the sulfuric inferno of Venus. So it is Him and His Word I will trust no matter if life is found or not, and I will rejoice in the wonderful world that the Lord has made.

6 thoughts on “Life on Venus?

  1. Even if, so what? There is life, and then there is Life. Our hope and trust is in the Incarnation “of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting”.

  2. That would certainly validate the evolutionary myth and bolster its secularist credentials wouldn’t it? Headline: “LIFE NO LONGER UNIQUE TO EARTH”. Discernment, discernment, discernment, O ye Christian. Who do ye pander to secularist ideology that wants nothing to do with ye?

  3. I appreciate and enjoy your articles, Dr. Edmon, all of them. The universe is fascinating! Another reference to to the Athanasian Creed, “our Lord Jesus Christ, the son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before THE WORLDS [the universe]; and man of the substance of His mother, born into THE WORLD [where there is life]”.

  4. I agree with Steve Drake, the discovery of intelligent life akin to our own would put serious doubt into Christianity. What then of the Fall? Does it only affect Earth, and thus the rest of the universe is still perfect? Did our Fall cause others to fall? To compare intelligent life on other planets to that of angels is not accurate as angels are not of the universe. Anyways to say that intelligent life on other planets has no effect on Christianity because of Christ, is akin to theologians of the 19th century saying that evolution and Christianity can be in harmony. However, both directly effect our faith in Christ. For then our sin was not so bad as to effect all of creation, and besides we would no longer be the center of creation. This would also question the reason why the Son became Man, for why not the E.T. as well. In short, “the interesting questions” would be damning, as an E.T. is not equivalent to an angel but rather as another race of unsaved “men.” I believe this speculation and discussion is healthy, yet the belittlement of the theological concerns is disturbing- as if Christology is not made mute by twisting original sin, creation, and justification.

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb here and state that life unique only to planet earth is a central Judeo-Christian doctrine. There is plenty of Scriptural support for this. Perhaps a blog post and discussion to open up dialog on this is called for.

    To ask the question about the possibility of life on other planets is to misunderstand Christ’s creative work in ‘this’ universe. It is to fundamentally misunderstand the Creation account recorded in Genesis 1-2 and the purposes of God in creating life here on earth and only here and no where else. It also shows an inability to discern other key doctrines of Scripture that hinge on this fact.

    The secularist myth is that there is no God, that life evolved here by blind, purposeless chance, and because the universe is so vast life therefore must have evolved elsewhere ‘out there’. In order to find evidence and bolster that myth, the secularist searches and searches for ET in a vain attempt to prove the lie. Why do we pander to this? We know better.

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