It must be laid down as a principle, that the use of the gifts of God is not erroneous, when it is directed to the same end for which the Creator himself hath created and appointed them for us; since he hath created them for our benefit, not for our injury.
Wherefore, no one will observe a more proper rule, than he who shall diligently regard this end.
Now, if we consider for what end he hath created the various kinds of food, we shall find, that he intended to provide not only for our necessity, but likewise for our pleasure and delight. …
Even the natural qualities of things demonstrate sufficiently to what end and extent we may enjoy them. Has the Lord clothed the flowers with the great beauty that greets our eyes, the sweetness of smell that is wafted upon our nostrils, and yet will it be unlawful for our eyes to be affected by that beauty, or our sense of smell by the sweetness of that odor? What? Did he not so distinguish colors as to make some more lovely than others? What? Did he not endow gold and silver, ivory and marble, with a loveliness that renders them more precious than other metals or stones? Did he not, in short, render many things attractive to us, apart from their necessary use?
Adapted from Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3:10.2.
This is the way of the man who goes out into the field at night and says, “I am going to commune with God in nature.” It is the man who says, “I worship God on Sunday afternoon in my golf cart.” Paul says that this is a dead end, because you cannot find God in nature. No man has ever found God in nature. You can find things about God in nature, but these condemn you.
Romans says that nature reveals two things about God. It reveals the “Godhead” of God, that is, his existence, and it reveals his “power,” because obviously something or someone of considerable power stands behind what we observe. That is all that can be known of God in nature. So if you think you are going to find God in nature, you are destined to emptiness in your search. You cannot worship an eternal power; you cannot worship a supreme being; you cannot worship a law of nature.
Moreover, says Paul, “You don’t even try!” Because when you say to yourself, “I’m going to worship God in nature,” what you are really doing is using nature as an excuse to avoid God. Actually you do not want to be with Christian people, nor do you wish to be under the preaching of the Word. You find it disturbing. What you are really trying to do is to escape from God into nature. If you worship anything at all, it is nature you worship; and the worship of nature is idolatry.
—James M. Boice
We must be very careful with our thoughts concerning intelligent extraterrestrial life. Extraterrestrial simply refers to something being outside the earth and its atmosphere.
There is an interesting fascination with the idea of alien life forms that posses super-human intelligence. But where would such a thing fit into the biblical account of reality?
Let’s think about this. Truly intelligent life is moral. We could safely surmise that any moral being belonging to a “higher-order” than man would certainly have a significant purpose in God’s creative-redemptive history of the universe. We could expect something of this significance to be identified in God’s revelation; namely the Bible.
We must first concede that we cannot say that higher order extraterrestrials do not exist because they are not mentioned in the creation account. Angels are not included in that record and yet are stoutly affirmed elsewhere in Scripture.
But we can confidently assert the following:
- All things were created by God and for God (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Rom 11:36).
- God has revealed in the Bible all things necessary for life and worship (Dt 29:29).
- Man is uniquely created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27).
- The condition and state of the entire created universe hinges on the condition and state of humanity (1 Cor 15:21-22; Rom 5:12, 14). By the moral choice of human life (image of God), the created universe was cursed. The curse will be removed and comprehensive restoration is promised, being secured through a life lived and work accomplished on this planet (Rom 8:19-22; Isa 11:6; Acts 3:20-21).
- The Incarnation of God was an incarnation into humanity, not another life form. Christ will forever be the God-man, the Incarnation resulting in a permanent union with humankind (Rev 1:13).
- Christ, the creator of the universe, died for humanity. All creation will follow the restoration purchased in Christ on behalf of mankind (Col 1:16-20).
- Angels are moral creatures and yet are excluded from Christ’s work of redemption. They long to look into these things (1 Pet 1:12). If there were any “higher” moral life forms, they would not be covered by the human substitution met in Christ, and would consequently belong to some other moral order; perhaps like that of angels. But there is no mention of any other moral life than angels. If there was, they too would long to look into these things of Christ and Him crucified.
The most biblically acceptable consideration is that if ever there is any perceptible evidence of non-human moral life outside of our planet, then it is most probable that it belongs to the angelic ranks of being.