The New York Times article with the above title begins with this: "Would the discovery of life on Mars be a blow to the idea of biblical creation?"
In an article Monday, the New York Times reports, "Scientists have for the first time confirmed liquid water flowing on the surface of present-day Mars, a finding that will add to speculation that life, if ever arose there, could persist now."
Does the notion of life on Mars, or other planets, conflict with biblical teaching on Creation?
Monday's article by the NYT quotes James L. Green, director of NASA's planetary science division--"We haven't been able to answer the question 'Does life exist beyond Earth?' But following the water is a critical element of that."
"We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to investigate that," he said.
The Times story points out how NASA's "tone" has changed regarding their announcement that water likely exists on Mars.
While the scientists are "following the water," others are asking the question the New York Times was asking nearly 20 years ago, back in 1996: "Does the Bible Allow for Martians?"
In the article, they quote Ronald Numbers, a professor of the history of science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the author of the book, "The Creationists," a history of this movement.
Numbers, whom they say was "raised in a fundamentalist Seventh Day Adventist community," tells them "belief in life on Mars was 'no big deal'."
Professor Numbers says according to the Adventist's teaching of the Bible, "Satan and his cohorts were thrown out of heaven, so the question arises: where did they go?"
Numbers says his high school teacher in rural Tennessee, also an Adventist, taught that Satan was hurled to Mars. "The famous Martian canals were cited as evidence of this habitation," he says.
He notes that Ellen G. White, "the great prophet of Seventh Day Adventism," recounted in her teaching, "The tale of Satan's conflict with God."
Numbers says that White's teaching and beliefs make it necessary to believe in extraterrestrial life.
Numbers forsook the teaching of his church and became an advocate of secular evolution.
The Times article is extensive.
They quote George McCready Price, founder of "creation science," saying, "Genesis referred only to life on Earth." They quoted Henry Morris, who founded the Institute for Creation Science in San Diego, as saying the "sons of God who saw that daughters of men were fair; and took them as wives" in Genesis 6:2, "were evil angels from outer space, coming down to violate earthly women."
The Times transitions to quotes from a physicist, a minister, a Catholic, a Muslim and various others, including some scientists who embrace so-called "biblical evolution."
They conclude that "mainstream theologians would not see Martian life as satanic. Nor are they adverse to the possibility that it could evolve."
They also conclude, as Father Coyne notes, that "discovery [of life on Mars] would provide a beautiful opening in which to reconsider the rich theological tradition of God as goodness."
The narrative has not changed over the past 20 years. It is not so much about life on Mars, as it is about who God is. And the authenticity of the Bible.
Many people, including some Christians, struggle with the notion that the earth is the only inhabited planet in this enormous universe.
Those who believe life evolved on earth usually see it as virtual "fact" that life has evolved on many other planets. Discovering life on other planets would then confirm their belief in evolution.
Gary Bates, CEO of Creation Ministries International, has written an excellent article on the subject "Did God Create Life On Other Planets?"
I would strongly recommend you read it. It is well documented with Scripture. It also reflects my own views on the matter.
This is a portion of his article:
The Bible indicates that the whole creation groans and travails under the weight of sin (Romans 8:18–22). The effect of the Curse following Adam’s Fall was universal.2 Otherwise what would be the point of God destroying this whole creation to make way for a new heavens and Earth—2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1 ff? Therefore, any ETs living elsewhere would have been (unjustly) affected by the Adamic Curse through no fault of their own—they would not have inherited Adam’s sin nature.
When Christ (God) appeared in the flesh, He came to Earth not only to redeem mankind but eventually the whole creation back to Himself (Romans 8:21, Colossians 1:20). However, Christ’s atoning death at Calvary cannot save these hypothetical ETs, because one needs to be a physical descendant of Adam for Christ to be our ‘kinsman-redeemer’ (Isaiah 59:20). Jesus was called ‘the last Adam’ because there was a real first man, Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22,45)—not a first Vulcan, Klingon etc. This is so a sinless human Substitute takes on the punishment all humans deserve for sin (Isaiah 53:6,10; Matthew 20:28; 1 John 2:2, 4:10), with no need to atone for any (non-existent) sin of his own (Hebrews 7:27).
Since this would mean that any ETs would be lost for eternity when this present creation is destroyed in a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10, 12), some have wondered whether Christ’s sacrifice might be repeated elsewhere for other beings. However, Christ died once for all (Romans 6:10, 1 Peter 3:18) on the earth. He is not going to be crucified and resurrected again on other planets (Hebrews 9:26). This is confirmed by the fact that the redeemed (earthly) church is known as Christ’s bride (Ephesians 5:22–33; Revelation 19:7–9) in a marriage that will last for eternity.3 Christ is not going to be a polygamist with many other brides from other planets.
The Bible makes no provision for God to redeem any other species, any more than to redeem fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16).
Dr. Ben Carson, in a speech on Creationism vs Evolution defined the most important aspect of this whole matter.
He said these controversies go back a long way, because it is part of "Satan's plan to get rid of God..."
"We were made in the image of God," he said. "Now this whole creation/evolution controversy has been raging on, really, since the beginning because, what is Satan's plan? To get rid of God. To disparage God. To mischaracterize God."
"And what is creation?" he asked. "Creation is God's signature, that He created the world and He created us."
A couple of things to take away from all this.
1. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament shows His handiwork" (Ps. 19:1).
2. "Oh Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the Earth, who have set your glory above the heavens!...When I consider Your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which You have ordained...What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You would visit him...How excellent is Your name in all the earth" (Ps 8:1-9).
God so loved mankind, whom He created on earth, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believed on Him would be saved and have eternal life.