The truth is out there, but how will you know unless you look?
I was watching a documentary by Prof Brian Cox recently and some of his words jumped out at me, so I wrote them down. The documentary series is called, “Brian Cox’s Adventures in Space and Time”. The episode in question is called “Aliens: Are We Alone?”
Regarding the search for extra-terrestrial life, and intelligent extra-terrestrial life in particular, he says this:
‘Given the importance of the question, “Are we alone in the universe?” It is inconceivable to me that we would not continue to look as hard as we can for evidence of life beyond earth.’
We human beings seem to have a deep-seated desire to know that we are not alone. Where does this desire come from? C S Lewis wrote:
“Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” (Mere Christianity)
Are We Alone?
Some are looking to the stars to try and answer the question, “Are we alone…”, when all the time:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1–4 NIV)
The stars are indeed giving us the answer to this question, and yet their speech cannot be heard by minds limited by materialistic and reductionist thinking.
In clearer language still, the Bible tells us we are not alone; it tells us that aliens from another dimension have visited earth; it calls them angels. The Bible also tells us that the one who made the universe, who dwells in another dimension while simultaneously filling the material universe, invaded human history 2,000 years ago, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth.
So how can we know if this is true? Well as Brian Cox said in the same program:
“As a scientist, the only way you are going to know is to look.”
What is true of the material world is true of the spiritual world, “the only way you are going to know is to look.” Regarding this quest for truth, God says:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)
If Brian Cox sees answering the question about the existence of alien life as very important, then is not the question about the existence of a creator infinitely more important? It was the very possibility of having a relationship with the creator of all things that set me on the path to find out if God really existed or not. If we are truly able to have a relationship with the maker of all things, then surely that changes everything!
Some respond by saying, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The first question this raises for me is, “What evidence would you like?” Would a certified miracle of a blind person being able to see be enough? Would a person being raised from the dead be enough? I suspect that the answer would be no, because it certainly was in Jesus’ day. Even when Jesus was healing all kinds of physical and spiritual conditions, including raising people from the dead, it was not enough evidence for some, the religious leaders in particular. Many people believed in him because of his miracles, but many saw the miracles and yet did not believe:
“Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.” (John 12:37 NIV)
It is for this reason that I think few people have the intellectual rigor or integrity to truly and objectively come to a belief in God purely on the basis of “evidence” alone. One notable exception is Antony Flew, see his book, “There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”.
Our thinking is usually coloured by moral issues such as, “Do I want there to be a creator, to whom I may be accountable?” Jesus’ own verdict on the power of “evidence” was:
“If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:31 NIV)
In fact, as with many things Jesus turned the issue on its head. In the kingdom of God, it is not our knowing the truth that leads to our obedience, but rather it is our obedience that leads to our knowing the truth:
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31,32 NIV)
Perhaps it comes down to understanding, or at least sensing, the true value of things. Jesus told us this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44 NIV)
The treasure Jesus speaks of is knowing God. If we only understood a tiny fraction of what that meant, we would gladly give all we had to attain it. As Jim Elliot, a missionary who died for his faith, once said:
“It is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”.
Why Don’t We See God?
One of the core messages of the Bible is that God does not want to compel our obedience. God wants the motivation for our obedience to be love! It would be easy for God to compel our obedience just by revealing a tiny fraction of his glory to us. But such obedience would be without real choice, it would rather be like the obedience of a slave, extracted from us by virtue of overwhelming power. Disobedience under those circumstances would be irrational, but any obedience would be dead in the sense of enabling the kind of relationship that our creator desires.
This is why God hides himself from us, so that we might be free to seek him, love him and obey him, or not to do those things. But the story of the Bible is also one of God seeking us, lovingly calling to us, revealing himself to us, giving us evidence of his existence, of his love for us and that he can be trusted. Indeed, the nature of the relationship he desires with us is this:
“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)
This is the reason that miracles and evidence will never be so overwhelming as to give us no choice but to believe and obey. But the evidence that God gives to us IS sufficient to enable us to have a rational basis for placing our trust in him, and yes, falling in love with the one who wants to rejoice over us with singing.
I suggested earlier that angels live in another dimension. I think it is a reasonable interpretation of the way the Bible describes the way heaven, or the “heavenly realms” interact with the material world. Since “dimensions” are a concept from modern physics it is not surprising that the Bible does not use the term, but I think it is a helpful way to think of the spiritual realities that the Bible refers to.
There are heavenly realms that God is concerned about:
“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 3:10 NIV)
Angels seem to be able to phase in and out of the material world, appearing for example to the shepherds at the birth of the Son of God. The spiritual dimension can impact the material world, and we in the material world can impact the spiritual dimension through our actions and prayers. Some prophets have been able to perceive the spiritual dimension:
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15–17 NIV)
There are even modern-day examples of this kind of interaction between the dimensions of heaven and earth. In his book “Angels”, Billy Graham relates the story told by Rev John Paton, a missionary in the South Pacific.
One night Paton and his wife were severely threatened by hostile natives, to the extent that they both were sure that the natives were going to kill them. Nevertheless they prayed through the night, and in the morning they were amazed to see that the natives had left.
About a year later, the chief of the same natives visited the Patons, having become a Christian. When they asked him about that terrible night, the chief said that he and his men were too fearful to attack them. They had seen an army of giant men in “shining garments with drawn swords in their hands” surrounding the mission grounds. Paton and the chief agreed that there was no explanation other than God had sent angels to protect them. (Ref: https://www.godsotherways.com/stories/2015/4/24/missionaries-protected-in-the-south-pacific)
What If We are the “Aliens”?
What if we are the ones who are invading and abusing the creator’s rare, and possibly unique, blue planet? In a way this is true, because the Bible describes us as being alienated from God:
“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.” (Colossians 1:21 NIV)
God entered our material dimension 2,000 years ago in the form of Jesus Christ for a specific purpose. He came to remove our alienation and to make us citizens of the kingdom of God. Without Christ we are aliens, because we are not as we were created to be, in harmony with God and his creation. With Christ we are in the process of being restored to the image of God. Does that sound like something worth looking into?
By all means, continue searching for ET, but will you also search for Eternal Truth? How will you know if Eternal Truth exists unless you look? The best way to look is to diligently search the Bible to see if what I am saying is true. Reading John’s Gospel is a great way to look into the claims of Jesus Christ and the life he lived. If you want to reconcile science with the search for Eternal Truth, then I would recommend reading, “GOD’S UNDERTAKER: Has Science Buried God?” by Prof John Lennox.
May your looking result in knowing.
Guest Author | David Knott
Originally published on: Medium