Young-Earth creationist Ken Ham has said plenty of dumb things when it comes to evolution on our planet, but in a new post on his website, Around the World with Ken Ham, he’s extended his lunacy to studies of the solar system and Universe. The U.S. space program, says Ham, is fruitless, for it has as its aim the discovery of terrestrial life, and the Bible has simply ruled that out!:
Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions! The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!
A UK news site recently reported, “Aliens are out there. We’ll find a new earth within 20 years.” Recent technologies have developed new space telescopes that will be used to study exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) with the hope of discovering habitable, earth-like worlds that might contain life—at least that is what they hope for!
You see, according to the secular, evolutionary worldview there must be other habited worlds out there. As the head of NASA, Charles Borden, puts it, “It’s highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone.” Secularists cannot allow earth to be special or unique—that’s a biblical idea (Isaiah 45:18). If life evolved here, it simply must have evolved elsewhere they believe.
The Bible, in sharp contrast to the secular worldview, teaches that earth was specially created, that it is unique and the focus of God’s attention (Isaiah 66:1 and Psalm 115:16). Life did not evolve but was specially created by God, as Genesis clearly teaches. Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe. (There are other theological problems with intelligent alien life that you can read about here).
Well, the Bible said it, Ham believes it, and that settles it.
But in his diatribe Ham conflates “life” with “intelligent life.” If life didn’t evolve, but was created by God on Earth alone, then we shouldn’t even find microbes on other planets, much less brainy creatures capable of apprehending and worshiping God.
The thing is, the vast bulk of money in the U.S. space program is not spent looking for extraterrestrial life, but simply exploring outer space and seeing what it’s like on other planets or in other galaxies, as well as unravelling the history of the Universe. Yes, Rovers have features that enable us to look for life, and people get excited about the possibility of life on Mars or even the moons of Saturn. But that wasn’t why the space program was created, or even its main goal. It’s very unlikely we’ll find life in our solar system.
It gets worse, even by Ham-ian standards. There can’t be aliens—at least smart ones—because they’d be damned to Hell!
Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.
And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. [JAC: does the Bible actually say this? If so, where? Ham doesn’t quote a verse from scripture, which makes me suspect he’s dissimulating about the universality of Adam’s sin.] This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.
I thought sin came from being one of Adam’s descendants, who received the sin as if it were genetic. How do aliens, which couldn’t be related to the fictitious Adam, get afflicted by sin? Perhaps a reader can help me here.
Ham goes on, producing a hilarious passage:
Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.
. . . An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.
This is bordering on lunacy—the sheer waste of a human mind speculating about meaningless questions. But it puts Ham in a difficult spot, for if we do find life elsewhere in the universe, what will Ham say? Will he admit that the Bible is wrong?
Although garden-variety theologians might say that life elsewhere was just part of God’s plan to be “creative” and “artistic” (yes, they have said stuff like that about God), they’d still face the question of “Why did God create any life at all if it couldn’t be saved by God? What would be the point?” And that question also goes for all the products of evolution that are of no use to humans, like obscure bacteria under the Antarctic ice cap. If we’re the object of God’s creation, and God created everything, and no species besides us can be saved (i.e.,no d*gs in heaven), why the vast superfluity of life?
Michael Ruse, the atheist philosopher who likes to tell religious people how to preserve their faith in the face of science, has written at length about how alien life could be saved. I mocked his answer when I reviewed his book Can a Darwinian be a Christian? in the Times Literary Supplement:
[Ruse] has to muster all his rhetorical and intellectual skills to herd every stray Christian belief into the Darwinian fold. Indeed, the book is a splendid example of how a trained academic can extract himself from a philosophical thicket through the relentless chopping of logic. For example, in a chapter on ‘Extraterrestrials’, Ruse wrestles with the implications for Christianity of life having evolved elsewhere in the Universe. Would this life be human-like and blighted with original sin? If so, who would save the fallen aliens? Ruse floats the possibility of an ‘X-Christ’, who could redeem sinners throughout the Universe – an intergalactic Jesus shuttling between planets and suffering successive crucifixions. ‘One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that,’ George Orwell wrote (in a quite different context). ‘No ordinary man could be such a fool.’
I would love to see Ruse debate Ham on this issue! For, indeed, Ruse often acts—as he did in the book I reviewed—as a theologian. Here we have two theologians manqué giving different answers to the same question.
Further, to those who say there is no conflict between science and religion, how do you respond to Ham’s claim that there can be no extraterrestrial life because scripture rules it out a priori? (Of course, the mere existence of religious creationism disproves that NOMA position from the outset, but Gould, in a breathtakingly evasive move, didn’t regard creationist religions as “proper” religions.)
Finally, Ham claims that salvation through Jesus answers all of life’s questions, apparently including my science questions:
The answers to life’s questions will not be found in imaginary aliens but in the revelation of the Creator through the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die on a Cross to redeem mankind from sin and death that our ancestor, Adam, introduced.
And the footnote to his piece says this:
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s [Answers in Genesis’s] research team.
What “research,” I wonder? Finding the relevant Biblical verses?
h/t: Barry, Thaddeus