Throughout history, people believed that life started somewhere other than on earth. Charles Darwin and others complicated things further by imagining that life, including the trillions of galaxies, self-created out of absolutely nothing. But that's not our topic today.
Where was I? Oh yes. Many people believe extraterrestrial life exists. But people also believed that at some point in time -- however you define time -- nothing existed: No animals, no people, no planets, no stars, no galaxies, no gods.
However, people instinctively knew that there was a higher mind, civilization, or power "out there" somewhere -- wherever "out there" is -- and they knew that someone or something created life on earth. This is verified by the fact that every human civilization has at least one creation story.
Many people had no conception of an eternal being or eternal life, but believed in a multitude of gods and wondered how they were made. Fantastic stories spawned in people's imagination about how the gods were created -- some supposedly created themselves -- what these gods looked like, and how these gods created everything else. Humanity assigned to these gods jealousy, anger, lust, vengeance, murder, and all other attributes that are found in humanity.
These gods supposedly lived on earth, in the atmosphere, or on other planets. As a kid, I was amazed to learn that the other planets in our solar system and some of their moons are named after these gods.
Today, some civilizations still believe in many gods -- Hinduism includes at least 300,000,000 gods and goddesses -- but other groups have dispensed with the spiritual aspect while holding on to the extraterrestrial concept of the origins of life. They believe visitors from other star systems may have planted or seeded life here and think that extraterrestrial beings visit us often.
With that rationale, Carl Sagan said, "When we know who they are, we'll know who we are." Well, maybe, but we would have to create an interstellar Ancestry.com to prove anything like that.
Let's look at some data. The diameter of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is over 100,000 light years in diameter. (That is more than 100,000 times approximately 5 trillion, 880 billion miles.) The closest planet to us that might possibly be suitable for life is about 22 light years away, which is approximately 129 trillion miles. The closest galaxy to the Milky Way is an irregular dwarf called Canis Major dwarf, and it is about 25,000 light years away.
Even if there were people living on that nearest possibly inhabitable planet, and if they had intergalactic vehicles that could (hypothetically) travel at 20 percent of the speed of light, it would take more than 220 years for them to make a round trip from their home to earth. (Right or wrong, people have reported seeing interstellar, or intergalactic, vehicles and extraterrestrial people.)
There is both an innate fear and a dynamic desire to meet someone from another world. While some folks say that humanity on earth is definitely the only human-type life in the entire cosmos, others say that there may be thousands or millions of planets containing intelligent life. Just look at "Star Wars," "Star Trek," "Battlestar Galactica" and many others. There are many books about it, also.
Some ideas are quite imaginative, such as dragonflies are a fantastic alien species living among us. Another is an assumption that mythological beings could possibly be people who came from one of the other sets of dimensions physicists say exist, and they want to help us develop the spiritual potential within us.
It's that last thought that grabbed my attention! Why? Because we have proof that it happened often throughout history. Don't laugh; it's true. The greatest history book in the world, the Bible, talks about it. It refers to angels and God who definitely exist in another dimension -- heaven. (Hell is also another dimension.)
The first proof is Genesis 2:16 where God gave Adam his first instruction. Genesis 3:8-19 is next where God stated consequences for Adam violating God's law. And God continues to help those who believe in and depend on Him.
We don't need to look into the deep recesses of the cosmos to discover extraterrestrial beings. God and angels often help us, direct us, console us. And it was Jesus Christ, the extraterrestrial creator of the universe (John 1:1-3, 14) who was born as a human, died for us, and rose from the dead that we may live eternally with Him in heaven.
S. Eugene Linzey is author, speaker, and mentor. Send comments and questions to [email protected]. Visit his web site at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.