Other Inhabited Planets
Other inhabited planets? Isn't that just science fiction with no place in the Bible? Well you might be surprised. There are hints and, actually, pretty good reasoning in scripture that there are other worlds. (This page is part 3 of a 4-part series looking at the identity of the sons of God in Revelation 4 and 5.) Let's look at some of the evidence suggesting that there might be other inhabited planets:
"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" (Heb 1:2)
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Heb 11:3)
Some other versions will say "ages" instead of "worlds" and some say "universe" which of course, as we now know, includes other planets. After saying that "the worlds were formed by the word of God" the verse says that as a result of this, "things which are seen ..." Therefore it cannot be referring to ages or time since time cannot be seen.
When the something was made you could see it - you can't see ages or time. It was a physical something that was made.
There is no doubt that there are other worlds, the question is just are they inhabited planets? The Kepler telescope is identifying planets around stars within the habitable zones of those star systems. Of course, it cannot tell if any of those are inhabited planets.
This is done by detecting small decreases in the amount of light emitted by a star as an orbiting planet crosses or transits (thus the name transit method) between the star and the Kepler telescope which measures variations in light very accurately. When multiple transits have occurred, it can be established that a planet is the cause. From various measurements, the size of the planet and its distance from the star it is orbiting can be determined as well as whether or not the planet is in the "habitable zone." This zone is where water could be present in liquid form, a prerequisite for inhabited planets; indeed for any life.
Read a more detailed description of this process and the Kepler mission here.
From the small portion of the sky that is being studied in this way, scientists can extrapolate the numbers found to larger portions of the sky. The latest estimate I heard is that there could be 64 billion such planets in our galaxy alone.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," (Heb 12:1)
"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," (Heb 12:23)
Definitions for "general assembly" are:
"General Assembly" is the term used by the United Nations for a meeting of the representatives of every member nation on earth. Could the firstborn be the first or representative people of each world?
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," (Eph 3:8-10)
The word "men" is supplied just as it is in John 12:
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)
Notice that Paul is saying in Ephesians that his preaching will reveal something to people beyond this earth. Verse 15 also suggests a bigger family than we see on earth:
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named," (Eph 3:14-15)
"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:" (Eph 1:10)
God formed the earth to be lived on:
"For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else." (Isa 45:18)
Some might think this wording indicates that God created the earth to be inhabited and nothing else. However, the wording itself does not exclude the possibility that He created other inhabited planets. Heaven itself is inhabited:
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 18:10)
God created the earth to be inhabited rather than creating it in vain. While this reasoning is not proof, we could ask: Did God who created the heavens (everything else beyond earth) create them in vain?
During creation week, God formed the previously "without form and void (Gen 1:2)" earth, the sky and the sea into something habitable and then proceeded to fill them with life.
Consider this passage from the perspective of the universe:
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." (Luke 15:4-7)
Could an application of this teaching be that the lost sheep represents this one lost world and the whole universe will rejoice when it is reunited with the (much) bigger family? There is no one on earth who needs "no repentance;" however, beings on the other (unfallen) worlds are correctly described this way.
Some people take the view that God and religion are only connected to this earth and the rest of the vast universe is totally in the realm of science or even science fiction and God has nothing to do with it or even with other inhabited planets if there are any. My Bible says:
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." (Gen 1:16)
Or they think that perhaps people have sinned on other planets. While I believe that God has granted free will to all of His sentient creatures, the Bible says that sin started with Lucifer (Eze 28:15) and he was cast to this earth (Rev 12:9). Indeed, it seems that this earth has been quarantined from the rest of the universe and, I like to think that the vast universe (with, I am coming to believe, many inhabited planets) is eagerly awaiting to have this one lost sheep of a world reunited with them.
"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." (John 17:5)
"For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." (1 Cor 4:9)
In the NIV for "world" the "whole universe" is given. The margin of the KJV for spectacle gives "theatre." Think of the Shakespearean line "all the world's a stage" with the rest of the universe watching.
This earth has been quarantined because of sin but it is going to be reunited with the whole universe once it has been cleansed from sin.This page about the possibility of other inhabited planets is page 3 of a study that started by considering the identity of the 24 elders of Revelation chapter 4 and 5. Let's now go to part 4 and consider the timing of that scene..
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