Exoplanets Extraterrestrial life Privileged planet

Implications of the Privileged Planet Hypothesis

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Over on the other thread we’ve had a brief discussion of the recent initiative to find extraterrestrial intelligence. In response to a couple of the comments I thought it might be instructive to look at the logic behind the privileged planet hypothesis, as it relates to the search for life beyond Earth. To that end, I pose the following:

What is the implication of the Earth being a Privileged Planet, assuming we subscribe to that view?

Does it mean:

(a) that Earth (with all of its various characteristics) is unlikely to have come about by purely natural means; and/or

(b) that Earth is unique (or nearly unique) in the galaxy or the cosmos?

—–

The reason I pose the question is this:

Some supporters of intelligent design seem to be slightly confused about the implications of the privileged planet hypothesis.

If we take (a) above as true, then we are — by definition — asserting that we are not just dealing with purely natural causes. There was a mind, a plan, a purpose, an intelligence, a guiding force — something beyond just the natural and the material.

That is all well enough and everyone seems to be on board up to that point.

But if we then go on to assert that (b) is true, that Earth is unique, what is the basis for such a claim? Well our basis is that it is exceedingly unlikely that something like Earth would arise on its own through purely natural processes. True enough.

Yet in our prior breath we had just asserted that there is in existence something beyond the purely natural and material, something powerful, something purposeful, something capable of producing a planet like the Earth. Ergo, when considering whether another planet like Earth might exist we are not limited to purely natural and material processes. Indeed, the whole point of the privileged planet hypothesis is that something else — something capable of building a habitable world — is in play.

—–

Looking for another habitable world is no different from looking for any other item that came about at least partly by design.

Consider:

If we were to discover a beautiful temple ruin in the Amazon jungle we would rightly conclude that it could not have been produced by natural processes and that it had been built by some intelligent being or beings. In other words, the temple was built by temple builders.

Would we then pack up our bags and go home, arguing that there are no more temples to discover, because we had already discovered one that was designed and that we therefore think it is “unique”? Of course not. That would be absurd.

Indeed, we would do precisely the opposite. We would expect to find other temples and similar structures elsewhere in the jungle as we continue to search, precisely because we would now know that we are dealing with temple builders, and not purely natural processes.

The same holds true for planets. If we accept that the privileged planet hypothesis teaches us that Earth is here due, at least in part, to a planet builder, then our subsequent search for other planets (and other life) should be informed by the fact that we are not only dealing with purely natural processes, but with a planet builder.

—–

This is pretty straight forward logically, but some individuals (all present company excluded, no doubt) seem hesitant to consider the possibility of other intelligent life beyond Earth due to religious or philosophical motivations.

22 Replies to “Implications of the Privileged Planet Hypothesis

  1. 1
    mahuna says:

    Competent astrogeologists agree that Earth, or more correctly the Earth-Moon system, is EXCEEDINGLY improbable. The tolerances for the system are prohibitively small, and missing even one of the tolerances in either direction would produced failure.

    One of the more recent conclusions is that the collision that formed Earth from proto-Earth managed to simultaneously transfer the entire iron core of the collider to Earth’s core (giving Earth an unusually strong magnetic field) and transfer perhaps HALF of proto-Earth’s rocky crust to the Moon.

    The significance of blowing off half of Earth’s original crust cannot be overestimated. Continental Drift does not occur on Venus because Venus has a much thicker rocky crust, which is apparently the standard for rocky planets. Any number of details about Earth’s weather and climate require a planet that is tectonically active. No planet with a crust of standard thickness can be tectonically active.

    So, VERY shortly after the star Sol lit off it’s nuclear furnace, preparations must have been already underway for the eventual collision of proto-Moon with proto-Earth. Sure sounds like a carefully planned construction process to me.

  2. 2
    beau says:

    Nasa is revealing their “new Earth” discovery tomorrow.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    The geological and fossil records show undeniable signs that planet Earth has been “terraformed” in successive waves of gigantic biological experiments over hundreds of millions of years.

    There is no question that the earth was designed for subsequent habitation by conscious intelligent beings. The signs are unmistakable. I was a labor of love by an advanced and wise civilization with an overwhelming sense of beauty. It’s a blessed planet, a paradise, and it was specifically designed for us, humans.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The overturning of the Copernican Principle and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as the correct solution for the ‘theory of everything’:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/17u0srH9x3kUiei43aOHoKolLsRERhPpUfI9WNhxyLrE/edit

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Agree, Mapou. And how about the incredible self-centeredness of those who believe in Oops. Incredible.

  6. 6
    Virgil Cain says:

    I vote for (a) that Earth (with all of its various characteristics) is unlikely to have come about by purely natural means; and/or. And the earth would still be unique as it is not typical/ unusual, in the sense that such planets are by far the minority, ie very, very rare.

    To find a habitable planet for technological life we need to look for the same factors that we have. A match would confirm the design inference.

  7. 7
    Eric Anderson says:

    Virgil @6:

    To find a habitable planet for technological life we need to look for the same factors that we have. A match would confirm the design inference.

    Thanks for your comment. I hope you don’t mind some friendly questioning, but I just want to press on this point a bit to make sure we are looking at this issue clearly.

    Are you saying that a planet builder could not design a planet that is meaningfully different than ours that still supports technological life? I’m not sure why that would be.

    The design inference in the case of a newly-discovered planet does not depend on a match with Earth. Earth itself is not the specification criterion of the design inference. Arguably, the “hospitable for large, intelligent beings” criterion is the specification, though, I’m not yet convinced that the privileged planet hypothesis contains a clear specification criterion, at least in the sense that we talk about specifications for drawing a design inference in biological systems.*

    Think of it this way:

    I discover one biological creature, creature A, and, using the principles outlined by Behe and Dembski, I infer that the creature was designed. The next day I find a completely different creature, creature B, that bears no resemblance to the first. I still get to infer design (if it so merits the inference), independent of what the first creature was like.

    In other words, the design inference depends on analyzing each newly-discovered creature in the context of the overall probability analysis and a related specification (whether cashed out in terms of function, purpose, meaning, information). That is how we determine whether the creature was designed.

    Put yet another way, I have no basis for expecting that the next designed creature I find will be anything like the first designed creature I found.

    The same holds true for planets. Or any other designed object, for that matter.

    —–

    * To the extent the privileged planet hypothesis contains a specification criterion, it is markedly weaker than the specification criterion we can put forward for many biological systems, replete as they are with encoded, symbolic information. Earth’s characteristics have no such analog, so we are left to look at a much softer and more subjective set of characteristics to see if we can come up with a specification. To be sure, the privileged planet hypothesis is intriguing and, at some level, even compelling. But in my estimation it does not bear the same weight that the design inference does in biology.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    I think the Privileged Planet Hypothesis has more to do with humans and their penchant for discovery than just the planet itself.

    It’s not just the planet, it’s the time, the place, the nature, all which would otherwise be completely unremarkable, were it not that man is here.

    I think that view avoids the questions raised by the OP.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    EA

    That’a an insightful critique – thanks.
    The concern I have is here:

    … there is in existence something beyond the purely natural and material, something powerful, something purposeful, something capable of producing a planet like the Earth.

    As you point out, at this point we’ve left the world of scientific inquiry. There is something more to reality.

    However, when asking your question about whether the earth is unique or not, you seem to return to the material-only worldview. If we have concluded that there is a designer, and have recognized that the designer must be powerful, beyond nature’s laws and purposeful, we are required at that point to investigate theological evidence. We can’t merely say that “science is the only tool we can use for understanding the universe”. If an immaterial designer exists, there are several questions to follow — most importantly, “did the designer communicate to human beings through means other than material nature”?

    This is pretty straight forward logically, but some individuals (all present company excluded, no doubt) seem hesitant to consider the possibility of other intelligent life beyond Earth due to religious or philosophical motivations.

    As above, religious considerations are especially important when trying to discover the nature and scope of activity of an immaterial designer. This, of course, is not an ID question. ID stops at evidence for intelligent design.

  10. 10
    Virgil Cain says:

    Eric Anderson:

    Are you saying that a planet builder could not design a planet that is meaningfully different than ours that still supports technological life? I’m not sure why that would be.

    It’s all in the book, “The Privileged Planet”. Big brains require O2. Living organisms require carbon. Carbon is the only known atom that is versatile enough to life.

    It’s all Goldilocks and it is all in the book. See also “Rare Earth”.

    If we were to find something that is completely different and allowed for technological life it would refute TPP’s hypotheses. TPP predicts what I posted in #6.

    In other words, the design inference depends on analyzing each newly-discovered creature in the context of the overall probability analysis and a related specification (whether cashed out in terms of function, purpose, meaning, information). That is how we determine whether the creature was designed.

    Exactly what TPP offers. We analyze each new planet and a technological planet will have the factors requires too improbable for mother nature and father time to produce. Just like ours.

  11. 11
    Eric Anderson says:

    Silver Asiatic @9:

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Taking them in turn:

    As you point out, at this point we’ve left the world of scientific inquiry. There is something more to reality.

    No. We haven’t left the world of scientific inquiry. We have just left the worldview that says there is nothing beyond the purely physical and the material. This is essentially the same path we have to cross when we make the design inference in biology. Of course if one takes the unsupportable view that to be “scientific” all explanations must be purely material, then, yes, any explanation that points to a mind or a designer would be outside of that approach.

    However, when asking your question about whether the earth is unique or not, you seem to return to the material-only worldview.

    I’m not returning to it. I’m pointing out that if someone claims the earth is unique, they are typically doing so based on a material-only probability analysis. Which is inconsistent with the view they just adopted in (a).

    If we have concluded that there is a designer, and have recognized that the designer must be powerful, beyond nature’s laws and purposeful, we are required at that point to investigate theological evidence. We can’t merely say that “science is the only tool we can use for understanding the universe”. If an immaterial designer exists, there are several questions to follow — most importantly, “did the designer communicate to human beings through means other than material nature”?

    I’m not sure religion has anything to do with it.* The question of whether there is a designer of the Earth or the cosmos is a wholly scientific one that can be answered without reference to any religious philosophy.

    Having said that, if one adopts a religious viewpoint then I think the follow-up questions you ask are important. I particularly like the last one: might there be some other communication going on?

    This [religious considerations], of course, is not an ID question. ID stops at evidence for intelligent design.

    Quite correct.

    My point with the paragraph of mine you quoted relates specifically to the question of whether there are other inhabited planets out there and other intelligent forms of life. In any other field of inquiry if we find a designer acting we expect that we might see the designer acting again. But some people, based on religious or philosophical aversion to the idea of other intelligent life in the universe, seem rather closed to the possibility of finding life elsewhere. They grasp onto the “Earth is unique” idea and act as though the designer is somehow prohibited from acting elsewhere. Those who also follow ID tend to refer to the privileged planet hypothesis as some kind of support for that view. Yet the privileged planet hypothesis does not support the idea that we, as intelligent beings on our fair planet, are the lone intelligent beings in the universe.

    —–

    * Also, we have to be very careful with terminology suggesting that the designer is “beyond nature’s laws” or something like that. If what we mean is simply that a designer can do something that we would not expect to see occur through purely material processes, then sure. If what we mean is that a designer, in the process or results of the design, is not bound by nature’s laws, then that is a much more controversial — and unnecessary, as well as perhaps unsupportable — claim.

    An aerospace engineer can design something that would never arise through purely natural processes. She can even design something that at least to the ancients would seem to “defy” the laws of gravity — lifting into the air and carrying passengers and cargo. Yet she has not acted outside of nature’s laws or beyond nature’s laws. She has acted wholly within them. Indeed, has taken them into account in making her design.

    Intelligent design can determine whether there was a designer. It does not make any statement about whether the designer is “beyond nature’s laws,” or supernatural, or otherwise.

  12. 12
    Eric Anderson says:

    Virgil @10:

    It’s all in the book, “The Privileged Planet”. Big brains require O2. Living organisms require carbon. Carbon is the only known atom that is versatile enough to life.

    Yes, I’m familiar with the arguments. All of which have nothing to do with whether Earth is alone or we are alone or whether there are other intelligent beings or habitable planets out there. Indeed, my point holds that if we are dealing with a designer then we might well expect to see the designer acting more than once.

    Furthermore, taking it to the next step, the fact that big brains require O2 and that living organisms require carbon does not tell us anything about whether other intelligent beings will resemble us in any other respect. After all, there are plenty of creatures right here at home who require huge amounts of O2 and are made with carbon and who look nothing like us.

    We analyze each new planet and a technological planet will have the factors requires too improbable for mother nature and father time to produce. Just like ours.

    Agreed. Which means we analyze the factors of the newly-discovered planet in its own right and on its own merits. It meets the design criterion if it (a) has some kind of identifiable specification, and (b) is complex to the point of being improbable under natural factors. Not because it matches with some other designed object we have already seen (i.e., Earth).

    This is a somewhat technical distinction, but an important one.

  13. 13
    leodp says:

    The announcement today by the Kepler Telescope team of the discovery of an “Earth Twin” planet illustrates the problem. To the public (and to budding university students; and even not-so-budding profs) it sounds as though an earth-like planet and life elsewhere in the universe is so probable as to be almost certain. Yet the Kepler team was apparently only considering two or three factors in calling Kepler-186f an “Earth Twin”… size of the planet, distance from its star, and the possibility of liquid water. The number of indispensable conditions are much, much greater, and the probability of each much, much less than size and distance. It’s as though they’ve never heard of “Rare Earth” or the “Privileged Planet” or even read the list of necessary factors.

    https://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Eric Anderson,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Here’s my view again … once the conclusion is reached that there is evidence of intelligent design, the next step is to get some understanding about the designer.

    As you said, we can observe some things in nature that would tell us that the designer must be powerful and have great intelligence. However, we cannot do any scientific research to support that.

    Science, as it is commonly understood, has to take empirically observed phenomenon, measure and test it and arrive at a conclusion. We can certainly use observations to conclude that there is intelligent design, and therefore, non-material (immaterial) essences exist.

    What method, however, can be used to measure and analyze immaterial essences? Science, as it is commonly understood, cannot do this. If you’re saying that there is some kind of science that can analyze immaterial essences like the mind, or the soul, or angels or God, I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but I’d like to see some example of this. Most ID thinkers, for example, accept that science observes only material/physical aspects of the universe. What ID studies is the material effects of immaterial intelligence – not the immaterial intelligence itself.

    The mind is immaterial. We can observe Stonehenge and have scientific evidence that it was built by immaterial mind (evidence of purposeful, complex arrangement of matter). However, even if the designers were alive today, we couldn’t scientifically analyze their immaterial minds and find physical evidence of plans for Stonehenge in their brain.

    So, ID gives evidence of design based on observed evidence. ID can give some evidence about the designing agency (as you said, powerful, very intelligent, non-material), but ID cannot even conclude that “there is a designer”. Notice how I phrased that … “is a designer”. There are two things that ID cannot show in that one phrase:
    1. There was only one designer
    2. That designer still exists today

    Other philosophical and theological evidence is required to answer those questions.

    So, once the Design conclusion (there is evidence of design) is reached, something more than physical science is needed.

    I’m not sure religion has anything to do with it.* The question of whether there is a designer of the Earth or the cosmos is a wholly scientific one that can be answered without reference to any religious philosophy.

    As above, that’s where I disagree. ID stops at evidence for Design – not for “a designer”. There could be many designers. However, since we’re talking about the origin of matter, we can know that the designer is necessarily immaterial.

    At the same time, we’d have to include the origin of natural laws as part of what was designed.

    I particularly like the last one: might there be some other communication going on?

    Yes, that’s why religion is essential. We have abundant evidence of communication of immaterial agencies to humanity within the realm of theology. Once we know that there is immaterial agency in the design of the universe, there’s no basis to exclude a study of religious source material.

    In any other field of inquiry if we find a designer acting we expect that we might see the designer acting again.

    Yes, that is a reasonable conclusion. My only point is, however, that we are not limited to parallels with what other human designers do, once we know there is at least one immaterial designer. That’s why religion is important because if a person is convinced that a trustworthy religious revelation indicates that the earth is unique, then that conclusion has value (based on the quality of the revelation). That’s why people respond with religious ideas on this.

    But some people, based on religious or philosophical aversion to the idea of other intelligent life in the universe, seem rather closed to the possibility of finding life elsewhere.

    True, but I think that’s a debate about God — who would have to be a very prime candidate for who the designer is.

    Yet the privileged planet hypothesis does not support the idea that we, as intelligent beings on our fair planet, are the lone intelligent beings in the universe.

    That’s true and I don’t think the Privileged Planet view explicitly states that kind of thing – only that the earth exists (and we can observe the universe) due to some very unlikely coincidences.

    On that, though, the earth may be positioned in exactly the right place in the universe to be what it is, and no other planet could share some very powerful features in support of intelligent life and rational thought.

    But there could be other life-bearing planets even in less optimal situations.

    If what we mean is that a designer, in the process or results of the design, is not bound by nature’s laws, then that is a much more controversial — and unnecessary, as well as perhaps unsupportable — claim.

    As above, nature’s laws are, themselves, evidence of intelligent design. They came from somewhere. They are indicators of order and regularity, enabling the universe to exist and ultimately to support life. If we’re willing to conclude that the designer(s) created the natural laws, then the designer(s) are not bound by those laws.

    Yet she has not acted outside of nature’s laws or beyond nature’s laws. She has acted wholly within them. Indeed, has taken them into account in making her design.

    The act of intelligent design, however, is outside of what we could consider ‘nature’ because nature cannot produce intelligent design.

    Intelligent design can determine whether there was a designer. It does not make any statement about whether the designer is “beyond nature’s laws,” or supernatural, or otherwise.

    I think Intelligent design determines that there is evidence of intelligent design in nature. If the designer created matter and the natural laws, then the designer is immaterial and is transcendent, not bound by, nature.

  15. 15
    Virgil Cain says:

    Eric Anderson:

    All of which have nothing to do with whether Earth is alone or we are alone or whether there are other intelligent beings or habitable planets out there.

    In an intelligently designed universe they expect other technological life- from the book, Chapter 16 offers a “Skeptical Rejoinder”:

    14) You haven’t shown that ETs don’t exist.

    “This is true, but we did not intend to. In fact, ironically, design might even improve the possibility of ETs.”

    Eric:

    Furthermore, taking it to the next step, the fact that big brains require O2 and that living organisms require carbon does not tell us anything about whether other intelligent beings will resemble us in any other respect. After all, there are plenty of creatures right here at home who require huge amounts of O2 and are made with carbon and who look nothing like us.

    That is why their focus was on technologically capable life. It is a specific class of life.

    Which means we analyze the factors of the newly-discovered planet in its own right and on its own merits.

    And the prediction is it will have the same factors as we do- same type of Sun, similar mass, water, large moon, etc. And it will also be a great platform to make scientific discoveries.

    It meets the design criterion if it (a) has some kind of identifiable specification, and (b) is complex to the point of being improbable under natural factors. Not because it matches with some other designed object we have already seen (i.e., Earth).

    That is what their equation elucidates- the specification and irreducible complexity of the system required to support technologically capable life.

  16. 16
    mahuna says:

    Well, gee, I had never considered the question of whether The Designer might CHOOSE to arrange the creation of Earth II.

    OF COURSE the Intelligence that created Earth could also cause the creation of as many similar planets as the Intelligence chooses. One per galaxy perhaps? Although there is this problem that 1st Generation galaxies don’t have enough heavy elements to produce an Earth. And 4th Generation or so galaxies have TOO MANY heavy elements to produce Earth. But that may have also been a Choice by the Intelligence.

    But in a purely mechanical galaxy, Earth-Moon is so prohibitively improbable that we are UNDOUBTEDLY the only inhabited planet in Milky Way, assuming no Intelligent interference.

  17. 17
    Axel says:

    I was inclined to believe that the earth was uniquely created for us, the only inhabited planet, as early as the mid-sixties, simply because I suspected that the requisite ‘orneriness’ was part of God’s divine DNA; laughing at the certainty that the atheists would ‘reason’,’Heck, there’s got to be other earths, with a universe this size.’

    His little game of ‘scattering the proud in the imagination of their hearts,’ but also expressing the unimaginable depth of his love for each one of us. ‘

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Haha Axel. God does enjoy a good joke doesn’t He!

  19. 19
    Mapou says:

    In my opinion, planet Earth is unique throughout the universe. I say this because I believe that Earth is just a gigantic testing lab for humans and was created, not by a single, all-powerful and all-knowing deity, but by an entire united civilization (hosts) of deities. Billions upon billions of them. Unity is a big thing to them and they act as ONE. I hypothesise that they are conducting a grand experiment on Earth and in the process fell in love with humans even though we failed the test. They could just as easily have created billions of Earth-like planets in the Milky Way alone. Not that I think the creation of Earth and living organisms is easy. By the way, I see many different styles of art in nature which I interpret as evidence of multiple entities cooperating on different creation projects.

    Why are they conducting this experiment? In my opinion, they felt alone and needed a companion civilization (humans) to spend eternity with. Yeah, as with Adam, it is not good for God to be alone. It is for this reason that I don’t believe that they created any other world out there similar to Earth. That will happen later. As unlikely as it sounds, I believe this universe was created just for us, an unimaginably huge garden of Eden. Just imagine the next phase of the experiment: “Behold, the Heavens. Go forth and multiply.”

  20. 20
    anthropic says:

    Mapou 19

    “Go forth and multiply.”

    And, for some microorganisms, “Go forth and divide.”

  21. 21
    tjguy says:

    What is the implication of the Earth being a Privileged Planet, assuming we subscribe to that view?

    Does it mean:

    (a) that Earth (with all of its various characteristics) is unlikely to have come about by purely natural means; and/or

    (b) that Earth is unique (or nearly unique) in the galaxy or the cosmos?

    My answer would be that it is probably both and as opposed to either or.

    If we accept that the privileged planet hypothesis teaches us that Earth is here due, at least in part, to a planet builder, then our subsequent search for other planets (and other life) should be informed by the fact that we are not only dealing with purely natural processes, but with a planet builder.

    This is pretty straight forward logically, but some individuals (all present company excluded, no doubt) seem hesitant to consider the possibility of other intelligent life beyond Earth due to religious or philosophical motivations.

    Yes, my hesitation to consider the possibility of intelligent life beyond earth stems totally from my understanding of the Bible. Although the Bible does not actually completely exclude such a possibility, it seems to make it highly unlikely.

    For me, I am not comfortable answering this question without considering what He has told us. That is also why I have trouble with the ID premise of excluding what God has told us from the debate about origins, but I understand the reason for this approach = a desire to keep it in the scientific realm.

    But, if I were to ignore what God has to say about it and approach it completely from a secular position, I would have to agree with you. If some Mind created this world, then who is to say that same mind or even another Mind could not have created some other world in this vast universe? There is no logical way to exclude this possibility.

    In discussing this question though, we are way outside the realm of science and are simply giving opinions. So my opinion, based on what God tells us in His Word, would be that intelligent life beyond this planet does probably not exist, except for the spirit world – angels, demons, Satan, etc.

    Below is a brief explanation of why most creationists do not subscribe to the view that intelligent alien life is likely. It comes from creation.com

    The Bible and ETs

    It is often asked, ‘Just because the Bible teaches about God creating intelligent life only on Earth, why couldn’t He have done so elsewhere?’ After all, Scripture does not discuss everything, e.g. motorcars. However, the biblical objection to ET is not merely an argument from silence. Motor cars, for example, are not a salvation issue, but we believe that sentient,intelligent, moral-decision-capable beings is, because it would undermine the authority of Scripture. In short, understanding the big picture of the Bible/gospel message allows us to conclude clearly that the reason the Bible doesn’t mention extraterrestrials (ETs) is that there aren’t any.1 Surely, if the earth were to be favoured with a visitation by real extraterrestrials from a galaxy far, far away, then one would reasonably expect that the Bible, and God in His sovereignty and foreknowledge, to mention such a momentous occasion, because it would clearly redefine man’s place in the universe.

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

    3. 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.

    4. The Bible makes no provision for God to redeem any other species, any more than to redeem fallen angels (Hebrews 2:16).

    It is clear from Scripture that the earth is the focus of creation and it is the grand stage on which God’s grand plan of salvation is carried out. We can say conclusively that if there is life elsewhere, it did not evolve but was created by Jesus – unless it was carried out there from earth. Why? Because John 1:3 makes it clear that absolutely nothing exists that He did not create.

  22. 22
    Bilbo I says:

    Hi Eric,

    The authors of Rare Earth argued that planets that could evolve and sustain animal life were very rare, but assumed that microbial life was abundant in the universe. They had to make that assumption. If microbial life is also very rare, then the chances of microbial life appearing on a rare earth where it could evolve into animal life would be far too rare to occur in this universe.

    Thus, if the argument that mircoribial life is very unlikely stands, and the argument that planets where mircrobial life could evolve into animal life are very unlikely also stands, then the argument for design becomes very strong. And this is so, regardless of whether or not there is other animal/intelligent life in the universe.

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