Gary Bates is the CEO of Creation Ministries International and the author of the best-selling book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection. It is perhaps no surprise that Bates does not believe aliens exist, especially intelligent aliens capable of moral decisions, because he feels the latter could potentially falsify Christianity.
During a lecture given on July 3, 2009 at the 1st Christian Symposium on Aliens, Bates said the following.
“Now let me just make a distinction here. If I saw a dolphin swimming in – or if we found a dolphin swimming in the seas of Europa, I don’t think that would falsify Scripture. You see, if I believe the Bible to be the truth, the very words of God, I should not be worried that it can be falsified on things that we demonstrably know are black and white and right in the Scriptures. So I know that some people have a genuine motivation and I’ve been asked, and they want to put ETs in the Bible somewhere because they’re concern is, you know, if one steps out – a real one. I’m not talking about a fallen angel or a demonic manifestation – if a real ET comes out, lands on the White House lawn, shakes the President’s hand, that would destroy my faith. And you know what? It would, but it’s not gonna happen because I know the Bible’s true.”
So he basically says that
A) There are no aliens
B) If real aliens (of the intelligent and moral variety) were confirmed to exist, their existence would falsify Christianity
The trouble is that the way he supports his dichotomous scenario (viz., either aliens exist or the Bible is false) is by virtue of the following test:
The Bible can only be falsified “on things that we demonstrably know are black and white and right in the Scriptures.”
However the Bible is silent on the existence or non-existence of extraterrestrial life. When Bates says he knows aliens don’t exist because he knows the Bible is true, he really means that he believes aliens don’t exist because of what he infers about them based on his understanding of what the Bible might say about them indirectly. There is no clear “black and white and right” revelation on extraterrestrials in the Bible so he is forced to take a position based on Biblical principles by which he supposes makes it plain that aliens are antithetical to the Big Picture of the Gospel.
But we have to askip ourselves: if aliens exist, is it more likely the Bible is falsified or that a particular anti-alien argument we arrived at by inference is falsified? The Bible is supernaturally authenticated by fulfilled prophecy. These inferred anthropocentric anti-alien arguments would go the way of geocentric arguments that were similarly supported with alleged Biblical proof texts once upon a time, but the Word of God would stand secure.
My fear is that such fear-mongering all-or-nothing anti-alien arguments will become a stumbling block to the faith and be used against us, much the same way our erroneous and needless support for geocentrism was. Especially since the anti-alien arguments are are as flimsy as they ate unnecessary.
Bottom line: If aliens landed on the White House lawn, it would not necessarily falsify Christianity. It would only falsify the ill-advised arguments of those who proposed dogmas where the Scripture is silent.
For more reasons why it’s really OK if Christians believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life, ta key a look at mmy newest book, Strangers & Aliens: A Christian Sci-fi Author Examines the Argument for Extraterrestrials.
10 Comments Add yours
I respectfully disagree Tony…see here as to why it’s impossible, biblically, for sentient ETs to exist… http://creation.com/did-god-create-life-on-other-planets
Hi, Shane. I’ve actually addressed those specific arguments in my book and also on this post: https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/why-et-probably-doesnt-need-to-be-saved-anyway/
Tony, your article that supposedly deals with my article ‘Did God create life on other planets?’ does nothing of the sort. You claim I lack the imagination to ponder aliens. Imagination? What happened to a presuppositional approach to apologetics? As such, you are the one invoking ideas that are not found in Scripture. So, by allowing the possibility for ET life you are actually arguing from silence. Yes, you certainly do have an imagination! I do not believe aliens can falsify the Bible because simply the Bible does not allow for them, which is the basis of the arguments in my article. I suspect what really underlines your view is why would God create a universe so big if it is just for us? But if you carefully reread the article the ‘size’ issue was also dealt with. Many people do this by trying to fit God into a box of their own understanding and by anthropomorphising Him. He does not exist in space and time so size is an irrelevant concept to God. It doesn’t take Him any longer to build a small or larger universe because time is a created entity that applies to us. E.g. it takes us time to travel anywhere but it takes God no time.
Moreover, try reading http://creation.com/whole-creation-fallen; http://creation.com/is-the-bible-falsifiable; http://creation.com/is-the-bible-falsifiable-and-would-a-real-live-et-do-it; and par.ticularly http://creation.com/no-alien-limiting-god. Moreover, unlike your individual considered opinion, the opinions espoused in these articles on creation.com are derived from a ‘multitude of counsellors’ including theologians and scientists with the aim of defending Genesis. Although that is the name of your site, you are ultimately reading into Genesis what is not there–no different to those who want to add millions of years and evolution to those early chapters. Lastly, I am disappointed with your misleading title–obviously designed to attract readers and gain traction to your site by trying to create controversy around a ministry leader. It reads as if I believe ETs exist and that I do not have a high view of Scripture, when it is the opposite. Rather disappointing to be honest. So many are worried about making stands on issues where they think we may be proved wrong in the future–trying to protect the Bible from being falsified. I took my stand on Scripture exactly because I know it cannot be falsified not because I think it can, like your misleading title implies. I request you change it to be more accurate rather than headline grabbing and inaccurate. Also please read the other articles I included for some more perspective on why Creation Ministries International came to this position.
Gary Bates, welcome to DefGen.org. I admit that I’m disappointed that you didn’t address any of the points in my article, but I’m not surprised. I’ve answered your remarks at the following post: https://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/in-which-gary-bates-responds-to-my-post-about-aliens-and-the-bible/
Actually, since the Bible says that Christ died once for ‘all’, it could conceivably be taken that ‘all’ to be for all that He has created, here and elsewhere. The Bible is not specific on the ‘all’ here. I am not a scientist, but that is my take on it. Any aliens from other planets would not change my faith in the least. Either God is God of all (since He created said ‘all’) or He isn’t. Whether we believe it to be so doesn’t negate that.