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Is otherworldly science fiction biblical?

Published: 3 October 2020 (GMT+10)

W.M. wrote:

spaceship

I was saved some 40 years ago and have been developing my relationship with Christ ever since. Even though I went to public schools in rural Kansas, my physics teacher refused to teach any piece of Earth age. He detested evolution and laughed at the Big Bang, but never went into why. This probably started me on a course of questioning mainstream science.

I’ve grown into a fundamental Bible believer wherein I take the Bible as the inerrant word of God, who let us know what we needed and has preserved His word through the ages. I stand firm on; Jesus’ promises, that Genesis is true, is history and directly spells out a young Earth through the chronology of Adam through Noah and beyond.

Throughout life, there have been preachers who state sci-fi is evil, or Satanic. My father just told me not to worry, Star Wars and such is all in good fun. I enjoy movies with a critical eye and know when the writers are putting in a political or anti-biblical agenda.

I honestly don’t see why there can’t be Christian science fiction. I’m unsure as to why your team have the view that aliens or extra-dimensional beings would be a result of an evolutionary act. There are Christians, here in Oklahoma who believe any of that sort of stuff is actually angels/the fallen ones…I’m not so sure about all that!

As an author, I myself have penned several novels dealing with space and interdimensional travel. God created - period. I don’t believe it is anti-biblical to imagine Him doing the same elsewhere. In fact, in one of my stories, the scouts who look for planets in the Goldilocks Zones for colonization, come across Elm trees and similar flora and fauna which effectively ends the debate of evolution on Earth. Slipping into another dimension and meeting other civilizations, those beings know of the Trinity and have religions based on God.

What say you?

Gary Bates, CEO of CMI-US, responds:

Hi Eric,

Your question has been forwarded to me as I am the ministry’s ‘alien’ guy.

Any sort of fiction, including science fiction, is a subjective thing. One might say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Your question is one I have been asked many times over the years.

As Christians we tend to be dogmatic about views we form, but on a lot of occasions there is not a one size fits all answer. I encourage you to read my book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the evolution connection as there is a whole chapter about the history and application of science fiction.

I personally love science fiction and not all science fiction is bad. However, there is no question that modern sci fi with its ideas of technologically advanced ETs has its roots in evolutionism and big bang. See ET needed evolution.

A search of our site would reveal many articles on this. See Evolution and the science of fiction and also Science fiction: a biblical perspective. And as someone who has been involved in UFO research for many years, I can definitely say that multidimensional views are very much part of evolutionary theory and are the main views held by modern secular UFOlogists today. You state you are unaware of this so I caution about writing and venturing into this area until one can fully appreciate that it may lead some astray. Particularly as it appears that you are not even all that well informed about the UFO phenomenon. The evidence of modern UFO sightings is that they are now coming from another dimension. This fits our biblical view but one has to be an informed Christian to discern or interpret it correctly. Modern UFOlogy has invoked extradimensional realms to fit the evidence and nature of sightings and experiences and now claims that ETs are visiting us from those locations. I’m sure you can appreciate that this then leads people to believe that they are advanced ETs instead of deceptive spiritual beings. Possibly millions of people have been traumatized by these evil angels, I have personally seen the damage it causes and in particular how resistant to the Gospel they become. This is because they think that we have some old archaic notions that seek to explain a highly evolved and technologically advanced race of ETs. As such, because of their experiences, they think they are the enlightened ones.

Most people are not informed biblically over this issue. And having a real experience with something they believe to be extraterrestrial transcends any knowledge or information that might contradict it. I have numerous articles on this site regarding this subject and the aforementioned book and our movie Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a deception also explains in depth how secular researchers are interpreting this phenomenon as extradimensional.

The biggest issue we deal with on this subject from other Christians, not unbelievers, is they are trying to find a way to squeeze ETs into the Bible (otherwise why would God have made the universe so big?) and to allow for life on other planets etc. Clearly we have been influenced by popular culture in this regard rather than a Bible first approach. Your view of any sort of life on other planets or other realms (apart from the angelic spiritual realm) would violate the Gospel of Christ. This is not an argument from silence but from logical deductions we can make from Scripture and the purposes of Creation. Please see our article Did God create life on other planets? for more on this as there is a lot that could be said about your ideas of flora and fauna on other worlds.

Also we have numerous articles on multiverse theory, string theory and so on which only serves to highlight that such extradimensional views are very much part of the evolutionary paradigm. I have concern when you said you have a discerning eye yet you obviously did not see the antibiblical agenda in Star Wars, you mention. In my book I have a quote from George Lucas who wrote:

“I put the Force into the movie in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality in young people … I think there is a God. No question. What that God is or what we know about God, I’m not sure.”

And are you now aware that we have a flourishing new Jedi religion and a practicing church? See this article I wrote on our website.

Writing fiction stories about such realms may lead on the uninformed to greater spiritual danger. It’s a trap for young players, and may I say with courteous respect, but a firm admonition, that it is clear from your comments that you are not as well versed in this area as you might think. So I have linked many articles and mentioned some recommended resources. As such, I encourage further study to become fully informed on this subject first. For example, I would only allow my own children to watch science fiction with its notions of life on other worlds once they were old enough to discern and communicate to me the ideologies behind it. Again, keep in mind, most people, including Christians, who watch sci fi are not that well-informed and we need be mindful of the weaker brethren principles of 1 Corinthians 8.

You asked for our opinion and advice and although this may be a challenge to you, I do hope you will take it on board. It is a very serious issue with the souls of human beings potentially at stake due to the great deception in this area.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Lassi P.
While I have no disagreement with Gary on what he says (and has said for decades now), I do feel like I wanted to give some comfort to W.M. for it is never easy to have ones litterary work critiqued. Yet I am happy to note, that Gary, while firmly correcting the errors of W.M., does understand this. It is easy to miss it, as allways when getting such critique, but it is there. And thats what I love with CMI. You guys show compassion even when rebuking someone. Yet I know it is hard to hear, your writings have major issues with the Gospel. I think we may all learn to write more godly, even when writing scifi. It's a great journey.
Gary Bates
Lassi, not a single article appears on this website or any CMI publication that has not been peer reviewed by others first. We are used to, and are rather immune from, the critiquing process which is the norm in academic circles. Our desire is to ensure that we only put out quality information. But your email is a reminder that people not used to this environment can be easily offended, and often are. The 'aliens in scifi' though is a particularly insidious and dangerous path to tread.
Clive T.
Thanks Gary.

To all - very interesting comments.
Cowboy Bob S.
Howdy! First, I've used the same image that you used at the top. Brilliant, don't you think?

There are people who try to make money writing Christian science fiction (some of which is "adult" themed and the author could not read excerpts on the radio!), so at the risk of using the appeal to motive fallacy, I am a mite suspicious of their arguments. In fact, one evangelist who is a creationist abandoned his work to focus on why CMI arguments about ETs are wrong. People neglect their callings to focus on alien life, saying Hell is not real, and so on.

Originally, I was a proponent of the "other sheep are ETs" concept, but realized that I was doing eisegesis and also arguing from ignorance. Wishful thinking, even. After all, space is so big, there *must* be other life... Not hardly!

Science Fiction was a big part of my life in early years, and I still like the "Stargate" TV shows. Also, I used "Star Trek" as inspirations for articles, showing how evolutionary thinking is often illogical, and in "Engineered Nanobot Evolution", "evolution" was conflated with intelligent design and engineering. In my online ministry and articles, I refer people to articles here and to "Alien Intrusion". (In fact, I am going to use that book as a reference point in another planned article.) Science fiction can be entertaining and useful, but its best for people to have a strong foundation in both creation and theology so they are not fooled by it.
Gary T.
Christians of various denominations write science fiction and fantasy (SF/F). Tim Powers, Gene Wolfe, Christopher Stasheff, Katherine Kurtz, and J.R.R. Tolkien are all Catholic. James P. Blaylock is Protestant, I believe, as is C.S. Lewis and Stephen Lawhead. I'm not sure of Holly Lisle's persuasion, but she was a missionary kid. Many of these, in fact, are also award-winning writers. (James Scott Bell and Steven James—Protestants—write thrillers. Bell wrote a novel dealing with Darwin! Fascinating novel.)

Cordwainer Smith (a pen-name for Dr. Paul Linebarger), a Protestant and the godson of Sun Yat-sen, wrote SF. He also wrote the nonfiction book Psychological Warfare, which is still regarded as the authoritative book in its field. Frederik Pohl edited Smith's first fiction and encouraged him. Scanners Live in Vain is his most famous story.

Of other religious persuasions are Orson Scott Card and Brandon Sanderson, famous Mormons in SF/F. I've read gnostic fantasy (though I don't recall the author's name).

But, yes, *most* SF/F stories are godless and present views contrary to Scripture and not just re: evolution/aliens.

I enjoy reading/writing SF/F. My concern in my stories is with the larger message, or what some call its theme. Does it promote Christian values while at the same time telling the truth about man and his sinful condition?

Some non-Christians argue that, broad and generally speaking, stories with happy endings have a Christian basis. There are valid criticisms of that view, but if you assume that stories should be edifying, then that argument does have some merit.

Good Christian fiction will have some Christians in it. The point is not to be obvious but the biblical idea of a remnant and that non-Christian fiction frequently fails on that count.
John F.
Biblical and scientifically it is clear that there is no life ' out there ' , that said if a Christian wants to write about sci to or about fantasy they can.
There is one rule they must follow.
Everything, all life, all woman god's etc are clearly and visibly subject to Jesus.

May I refer you to C S Lewes sci to books, where the martians worshipped God. Or to his fantasy story Prince Caspian where the river God pleaded with Aslam to be freed from his chains.

Our task as Christians is to Glorify God and that includes the stories we tell.
Gary Bates
For potential aliens to be subject to Jesus, it would mean they would have to have been created by Him. Sorry, but this is a theological problem. Please read this article.
Geoff C. W.
@Norman P... Nice to see a quote from a magnificent old (but timeless) hymn. Thanks.
Clive T.
I followed the link to Romans 8:22 and had an interesting thought: Recent studies of Mars suggest that it once had surface water and a thicker atmosphere. It is now a desert world with hardly any atmosphere. Could that transition from an earth-like world have been part of the universal change that occurred with the fall of Man? Could Mars have appeared as a brilliant blue star to Adam and Eve before the fall? I am not alluding however to the possibility of past life on Mars.
Gary Bates
Some think that any possible liquid water may have dissipated due to meteoric bombardment at the time of Noah's Flood. Many planets including our moon show evidence of such impacts. Of course, views like this are not indicated from Scripture, so it is speculation. This short article explains why water cannot currently exist on the martian surface.
Doug L.
To WM (aka Eric?) not to beat a dead horse but Gary's research and books/DVD's answer the question. If you're not a student of them already then you should make it a point to consider what he's done. He absolutely hits the nail on the head, 10 out of 10. And really, in this day and age of sci-fi, every Christian needs to read what he has written. Gary, you're a Godsend on this topic as well the other topics related to biblical creation. I used to be very perplexed by the UFO information out there because I was sure that at least a portion of it could not be false. But I couldn't see the explanation of it until I read your stuff. And then the pieces all fell together. So I'm indebted to you. Bravo Zulu!

I'd like to add my own perspective on two points WM. First, people talk about "other dimensions". Say what? They don't even know what the heck they're talking about. The only other "dimension" that exists could be called the spiritual one, as Gary has pointed out. And as a matter of fact we have that dimension as an integral part of ourselves. All of our thoughts and feelings belong outside of the physical dimensions of time, matter, and space. Now what about string theorist's extra dimensions? They aren't some other worldly thing where Buckaroo Banzai can jump into or fight aliens from! If they do exist they are already a part of us but are too small to be observed. So ... no alien universes there!

The other thing I see is on the question of the universe's size. Gary's point on this is quite good and I can only add that it seems to me to be a quite appropriately sized playground for what God intended as immortal beings, sons of God. I believe it was intended to be a blank canvas on which Man could be creative in eternity. JMO.
Gary Bates
Thank you for your kind words Doug, they are much appreciated. I can tell from your comments that you are indeed informed about the subject.
Gina V.
I'm a writer myself, and I don't believe it's a sin to write or enjoy fiction where things that are impossible in real life (aliens, alternate universes) happen. That's what fiction is for. There's always a chance whatever you write that it could affect some people the wrong way--a realistic crime story might inspire copycat criminals, or a romance story might give people illusions about what relationships are really like & how much work they are. A G-rated fairy tale like Cinderella could inspire interest in magic. Soon, you have no stories you can tell at all if you always fear someone will take it or apply it the wrong way. I don't want all my stories to have to take place in this world, so I've made some up. That doesn't mean I believe in them or am trying to get others to believe in them. You place too much of a guilt burden on fiction writers, Gary. At the very least, I would consider writing a disclaimer with one's stories saying this is just fiction and doesn't represent reality, but not stop writing them altogether.
Gary Bates
Respectfully Gina you should probably reread the article as to not mis-characterise what I wrote. The analogy of copycat criminals is not an apt one. One deals with known potential sinfulness of human nature, which we all understand reflects reality. The other a fantasy realm which invokes aliens has serious Gospel implications. Clearly you have not bothered to read Did God Create Life on Other Planets? (linked in the article and mentioned several times in the comments. I was cautioning the writer for incorporating unbiblical concepts into his writing such as big bang, multiverse both (which again I took the time to set out and explain in the article) are foundational concepts to the belief in life on other planets. and that is the point, unbiblical concepts! And on this topic specifically, I also took the time to point out that this concept of life on other planets has led many Christians down the wrong path of compromising on Scriptures. As a visitor to this site you should be aware that big bang and multiverse are evolutionary concepts (if not, please read the links in the articles), and why? And Gina, I speak from experience here of being involved in this subject over 20 years (something else I pointed out!), having met tens of thousands of people I have a pretty good grasp of what people think and believe about this subject. Moreover, I have personally met hundreds of people who claim experiences with ETs. Where do you think they got those ideas from? Why do you think they do not believe it might be spiritual or demonic in nature? I have authored 8 books, including an Amazon top-50 best seller, so I think I am also qualified to challenge your comment on the alleged burden of guilt on other authors that you accuse me of. Finally I made it very clear right at the beginning of the article that I enjoy science fiction, so your accusation was somewhat misguided. So what is the problem? Well, write fiction; and write science fiction, but to include concepts that lead people astray and make them prone to spiritual deception, is irresponsible.
Grahame G.
A big problem I see with what WM writes is conflating fiction and reality. Of course there can be Christian scifi. The problem with most scifi today is that it either tries to bridge the gap between fiction and reality, or people aren't being discerning, and under all that, as you say, it has an evolutionary basis.

It is a pity that discernment is not taught more. All scifi is not demonic, but scifi can be demonic (and much of it is). We need to be more careful in how we explain things. It is very wrong to condemn all scifi as demonic, but also wrong to uncritically accept it as harmless fun. But even more dangerous to think that aliens (sentient beings from other planets) could exist as it harms the gospel - as you so clearly point out.

Thank you for this article, Gary, as you've explained the right approach to take not only to fiction but to the reality of whether there are aliens. And I pray that WM will take time to read all the articles on creation.com on this topic, and hopefully even purchase the book and movie that explain all these issues so clearly.
Pratha S.
The Bible is clear on this matter -- the only created beings that God has created is man and the angels.THAT'S IT!! There are no 'alien beings' out there!
Victor S.
Any intelligent life outside of human kind would certainly sin and need to be saved, but Jesus is a man and God so he cannot be an alien also.
Gary Bates
As I've indicated several times already, the concept of intelligent, sentient aliens is a Gospel issue. Please read this article.
John D.
What about the passage in John 10, where Jesus stated "...I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."
What sheep is he referring to? It obviously was not the Jewish people around him. Could it have been a reference to Gentiles? I've heard it could have been a reference to populations of other planets. My thoughts are for the Gentiles.
Gary Bates
Please read the links in the article. It is clearly referring to gentiles as shown in Did God Create Life on Other Planets?
Giancarlo B.
I'm of the position that Christians can write, virtually, whatever they want in regards to literature, perhaps with a goal to tell the reader of a moral of the story and how he may compel the reader to know more about Christ. However, I'm also of the position that a consistent Christian writer can do this successfully when his themes and plot are philosophically coherent with the biblical worldview and a major part of its history. You can write a sci-fi plot where God YHWH is active in His creation, but if your goal is to get readers to know the effectiveness of the biblical worldview, as a writer, you won't be successful if the worldview you attempt to sell is veiled and covered by these unbiblical elements that shroud what you see as your main driving theme. In other words, the ratio of biblical/unblical elements is very low as to be imperceptible. This isn't just towards sci-fi; if you want to write a plot where reincarnation is a thing but mix in biblical elements, that too won't be successful if your goal, as an evangelical, is to lead people to Christ. Now you may say you don't care and you just want to tell a good plot, that's fine, but for many of us Christians, we have a tendency, as a consequence of our renewal, to share the worldview because we have seen it is the only worldview that accounts for reality successfully, and if that doesn't reflect in your literary work, that will be a problem, no? So I suggest to W.M. he reconsiders his position and reflect on this more closely. I too have my fair share of literary creativities, but I always keep it at a high biblical/unbiblical themes ratio, about 2:1 or 3:1, somewhere around that.
Don D.
I have read sci-fi since I first found these books maybe age 9 or 10. I thoroughly enjoy this genre, but Gary is right on when he speaks of anti-Christian themes running through SF. But this is only to be expected as there are so many non-Christian authors who will promote their own particular point of view or worldview. Somehow I have been able to always note the anti bias found and so discount this. Similar to Science Fantasy or even just Fantasy, magic, varieties of creatures (orcs, dwarves, elves, leprechauns, etc.) are all non biblical. Not only that, but they lead to situations that defy logic and science. Time travel, shape shifting, transporter technology (from Star Trek) are all illogical and along with Warp Speed and wormholes...well they make for enjoyable fantasy, even if they are out of the realms of possibility. One commenter has mentioned CS Lewis and his trilogy as good SF. And there are others too! However, even experienced writers can fall into error or simply cause us to "suspend our disbelief" (like with Warp Drives, etc.) for the sake of the story. Truth can be taught in fiction...when done well. But we do need to be aware of competing philosophies and "thoughts of man" in all of this. But this is a constant issue for the believer. Do we discern, do we have spiritual discernment? That is the issue here. And, demonic deception (as per Gary's comments about the demonic in UFOlogy) is always a potential. I challenge myself to read more for edification and less for diversion. CMI is a great help in this regard. As an example, yesterday's article about high altitude adaptation caused me to wonder in awe at our brilliant Creator's fabulous design features! Glory be to God!
Bill P.
I do agree w/Norman P. from GB. Also came to faith In my LORD and SAVIOR when GOD had mercy on me 40 yrs. ago. Old T.V. shows and movies that use to make me laugh are no longer funny to me. When it came to movies back then w/a Biblical theme I enjoyed them also. After GOD had mercy on me I watched the reruns of these old movies and soon learned much of their writing for these movies was made up from their imagination. The recent ones like the movie about Noah and "The Flood" where the star was an actor from N.Z. I turned off after just a few minutes when I saw and heard what the writers of this movie did to this historical event. I would love to see a Biblically based movie that stays true to Scriptures 100%. Alas Hollywood refuses to do this. So I go back to "The Word of God" which is better than any movie ever made.
I like the work you folks at CMI do. We know man's days are number seeing everything taking place all over the world. Still many lost sheep everywhere and The Lord is still calling for them to hear HIS voice and answer HIM by opening their hearts to HIM. The days left to respond to HIS voice are few. The next few weeks will show us just how near HIS return is. May all the family in Christ Jesus be found doing HIS WILL as we wait for HIS return. Give honor and praise to HIM Who lives forever.
Vernon R.
Excellent response, getting away from scripture in any way is very dangerous as none of us are totally capable to thwart the wiles of the devil, he has been around longer than any of us. Straying away from the word in any way can take one on a dangerous journey away from the protection of the Lord.
Thank you Gary.
Rob M.
I read a great deal, including sci/fi and fantasy, and as a genre these books do tend to heavily push the evolution position in general (X-men for instance is totally based on evolution), and a large number are openly antagonistic to Christianity in particular. However, C.S. Lewis has written 3 science fiction novels (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength) He has also written 7 fantasy novels (the Narnia series) I enjoyed these books even as a non Christian who didn't want to hear about "that Christian stuff". To say Christian Sci/fi, and Fantasy CAN'T be done, well C.S. Lewis did it. Who feels up to arguing with him?
Gary Bates
Who says Christian sci fi can't be done? It is not what the article said. The article argues against Christians incorporating aliens into their worldview which is then reflected in their writings. If you read my book Alien Intrusion (links in the article), the whole of chapter 2 is dedicated to this subject and mentions early Christians who wrote science fiction even before it was called science fiction.
Daniel G.
Some notable Christian authors have employed aliens in sci fi. Stephen Lawhead and CS Lewis. They each present the gospel in creative ways, but the reader must remember that’s it’s scifi as an entertainment medium and not the Bible. Basically Christian scifi provides a godly alternative to secular scifi. The Left Behind series was scifi but without the aliens. Clearly the Christian reader must get biblical training and develop a Christian worldview within the context of the biblical Church. Scifi or any fiction should never form the basis for any Christian’s faith or worldview. Interesting to note that Scientology is a religion based on the scifi of L Ron Hubbard — obviously an extreme example and warning.
Tim L.
You mention the question of why God would have made the universe so big if humans are the only intelligent life in it. I've often thought that I think it's entirely reasonable to think that the universe is as big as it is because for some yet to be discovered reason, the existence of life on earth requires a universe of exactly this size. Additionally, it puts the lie to the idea that we could be living in a simulation and brings glory to God: if this were a simulation, why did the developers of the simulation spend so much computing resources to not only simulate the far reaches of the universe, but also to do so with detail at the quantum level? Only a being with infinite knowledge and power could create such a vast universe (diameter: ~10^26 m) with such extreme detail (smallest length: ~10^-35 m).
Gary Bates
The Bible indicates why God made the universe so big. Link supplied in article represents CMI's position statement. See Did God Create Life on Other Planets?
Lewis John G.
Might C.S. Lewis's Trilogy be a good example of 'Christian' science fiction?
Norman P.
Christ was wonderfully and redemptively involved in the Creation from before the foundation of the world (Colossians 1, Ephesians 2). The Creation included thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers: "all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist". Genesis 3:22-24 reads: "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." So we see there is an angelic realm operating in the Creation, 'subjected to vanity' (as Solomon, in all his studies, concluded) and as Romans 8 affirms and elucidates: 'subjected in hope', to await the revealing of the sons of God. On that day, in the twinkling of an eye, the purchased redemption will be changed, and restored in Christ, the last Adam, towards a TRUE new world order being established (Isaiah 11:1-9).
"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
We should not go beyond what God has revealed to us in his word, where Christ has prevailed for us through his blood, and has been given pre-eminence over all things. Though we travail and groan in these present earthen vessels, the Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are already seated with Christ. "Let angel minds enquire no more"!

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