Every so often the topic of life on other planets comes to the forefront of public thought and conversation. Back in the early seventies Erich Von Daniken created quite a stir with his Chariots of the Gods, in which he sought to introduce mysteries which he asserted could not be explained any other way except through alien civilizations influencing the Earth.
Then there have been the ever-popular Star Trek and Star Wars, along with numerous science fiction stories and movies which have captivated the imaginations of many. All of these were the products of fantasy. Audiences appreciate and enjoy such works, but we know they are not real. Despite ingenious techniques to make each adventure seem plausible, we can distinguish between the factual and the fictional.
The one thing that has always been lacking in the various fanciful scenarios composed by science fiction writers or those attempting to get the general population to take UFOs seriously is evidence. Even though we wonder about Roswell, New Mexico, and other unexplained phenomena, nothing tangible has presented itself. Some have come forward with interesting and often convincing testimonies, but nothing has been presented of an objective nature.
But what about this latest bit of "evidence"? It is already being hailed as "the greatest scientific discovery of all time." [No matter what they say, it can't beat having air conditioning in Texas.] The "evidence" of life on Mars consists of "tiny orange blobs," "made of carbon-based chemicals that may have been deposited by primitive life forms billions of years ago before being transported to Earth," NASA researchers said (The Dallas Morning News, August 18, 1996, 1J). The key word in the above sentence is may. To date scientists are divided as to precisely what has been discovered and how it got to be where it is.
According to Dr. Paul Davies, who wrote the book, Are We Alone?, "There is little doubt that even the discovery of a single extraterrestrial microbe, if it could be shown to have evolved independently of life on Earth, would drastically alter our world view and change our society as profoundly as the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions" (10 J). Really? Somehow it's difficult to see how such a discovery will affect how many people are killed in Bosnia this year. Will it turn married couples into better husbands and wives? Will the national debt be reduced or the IRS be disbanded? Will it cause politicians to tell the truth? Will droughts, famines, and hurricanes no longer plague mankind? Perhaps this discovery will bring about a cure for the common cold.
Again, the key word in Davies' statement is if. Nothing has been proven yet. The recent discovery is still subject to interpretation. The only real truth concerning this matter is that mankind seems to crave the existence of other worlds. Why do we have this need to believe in extra-terrestrials?
First of all, it would tend to validate evolution. The Bible does not speak of inhabitants of other planets (although some have imagined angels were such-occasionally even suggesting that they pilot flying saucers). The absence of references to civilizations on other planets indicates that none exist. So, if life evolved somewhere else in the universe, it would tend credibility to claims for evolution on this planet.
Could God have created life elsewhere and not told us about it? Why would He do so? If those inhabitants, like us, were beings with a free will, then Jesus would need to die for them, also. And if they were purely animalistic, we probably would not want to meet them. But in any case, if life does exist on other planets (and there is no reason to think that it does), then it was placed there by God; it still did not evolve.
A second reason for the enthusiasm engendered in some for life on other planets is that we would not be alone. It would be fascinating to learn how others had evolved. Would they have human traits? Would they be rational beings? Would they have done away with war or always exercised some other option? What would we be able to learn from them? Have they discovered the secret to peace and contentment? What many fail to realize is that God has given us "the great secrets of the universe" in the Holy Scriptures. Jesus talked about happiness (Matt. 5:3-12); He also offered peace (John 14:27). Mankind, it seems, is always searching for answers that have already been given to us. Having rejected Truth, we keep seeking for solutions in places that they cannot exist. We are like the person working a puzzle that has no solution. Even though it has been proven insoluble, we dedicate our time and energies to it anyway. When Truth is cast aside, there is no answer to life's origins, no basis for values, and no hope for a better future.
For years now we have had expensive equipment operating around the clock in an attempt to pick up any kind of radio signals from elsewhere in the universe. So far? Nothing. The only voice that exists from beyond our galaxy (as well as in it) has already spoken to us. Have we listened to it? Have we obeyed it? Do we rely upon that hope?
*Send comments or questions concerning this article to Gary Summers. Please refer to this article as: "LATEST FAD-LIFE ON MARS (9/15/96)."