Life in Outer Space

THE old idea of millions of children that there is a “man in the moon” has been revised and made a reality by placing men on the moon—not to live there permanently but to remain at least for a few hours as explorers of its surface. Thus far all who made these excursions to the moon returned safely to earth, although some had narrow escapes.

When these journeys to the moon were being planned it was sincerely believed by many earnest students of the Bible that God would not allow them to be successful. They believed that God had created man to live on the earth, and would not permit him to travel outside of its atmosphere. This view was supported largely by a statement in Paul’s sermon on Mars’ hill, where he said that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”—Acts 17:26

However, a closer study of this text indicates Paul is not referring to the “bounds of their habitation” in relationship to other planets, but to the division of nations upon the earth. Paul seems to be referring to a statement made by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:8, which reads, “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.”

The Bible is very definite concerning the fact that man was created to live on the earth, that the earth is his eternal home. But so far as we know the Bible says nothing to indicate that it would be displeasing to God for members of the human race to make exploratory excursions into outer space. There is a vast difference between visiting the moon for a few hours, protected against certain death by space suits and oxygen, and attempting to live permanently under lunar conditions,

The earth is the only planet within the influence of our sun to be just close enough so that its inhabitants, under the protective blanket of earth’s atmosphere, do not freeze, and just far enough away to prevent them from dying almost instantly from the heat. Man was created to live under these earthly conditions which are favorable to his anatomy, but so far as is known he could not survive permanently anywhere else in the Creator’s vast universe.

We know from object lessons familiar to us that it is possible for God to create beings which can live in environments in which the human species would perish. We only have to look upon the fish to be aware of this. Fish cannot live out of the water, and man cannot live in the water. Man is perfectly at home here on earth, but would die on the moon, or on Mars, or on any of the other planets of which we have any definite knowledge.

Lower than the Angels

The Bible reveals that there are higher orders of life than the human in God’s great universe. Just how and where they live the Bible does not reveal. The Prophet David wrote, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.”—Ps. 8:3-5

In the Old Testament there are a number of accounts of one or more of these created angels visiting servants of God, either to warn them or instruct them. In the New Testament, when Jesus was being arrested he said that he could call upon his Heavenly Father, and he would send him twelve legions of angels to protect him. In the first chapter of Hebrews, in which the apostle reveals the high position of the resurrected Jesus in the plan of God, he says that he was made so much better than the angels.—vs. 4

Jesus, according to the Bible, was the original creation of Jehovah, the “beginning of the creation of God,” and also “the firstborn of every creature.” (Rev. 3:14; Col. 1:15) The apostle also tells us that Jesus was the active agent in all the creative work. He says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him.”—Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; John 1:3; Eph. 3:9

Jesus was born into this world of humans as a man, and sacrificed his human life for the sins of Adam and his race. When this sacrifice was complete he was raised from the dead, and highly exalted above “all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet.”—Eph. 1:21,22

The expressions, ‘principality’, ‘power’, ‘might’, and ‘dominion’, suggest planes or spheres of life higher than the human, even as Jesus in his prehuman condition and the angels were and are on higher planes of existence. The Bible does not mention where these beings dwell, but even if it had given this detailed information we could not, with our limited, finite minds, have grasped the truth concerning these higher forms of existence in God’s great universe.

Shortly before his crucifixion Jesus said to his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2,3) These “many mansions” are undoubtedly planes, or spheres, of life which existed in the universe from the time of God’s original creation. Jesus did not promise one of these to the disciples but said that he was going to prepare a place for them, and that he would come again and receive them unto himself.

This particular text has been misused in an attempt to prove that it is God’s purpose to transfer the world of mankind to a heavenly abode, at least all who are not incorrigible sinners. But the promise applies only to Jesus’ faithful followers, those who sacrifice their lives in following in Jesus’ footsteps. These are promised that if they are faithful unto death they will live and reign with Christ for the blessing of the world of mankind with human life on the earth.

Fallen Angels

The Bible speaks of angels who left their own estate. We quote, “The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6) Peter speaks of these angels and indicates that the time of their sin was just prior to the Flood. He speaks of them as “spirits in prison.”—I Pet. 3:19,20

The Bible was not written to reveal details concerning the nature of angels, how they function, and whether or not they operate from some special location in the universe. The Bible was written to reveal God’s plan concerning the creation of man, his fall into sin and death, and his ultimate recovery from the result of his transgression of divine law. Angels and others of God’s intelligent creatures which are higher in nature than man are mentioned in the Bible only incidentally as, by divine decree or otherwise, they become involved in the affairs of men, especially in the affairs of God’s human servants in working out some of the details of his plan of salvation.

Activities of Angels

Some of the activities of the angels are mentioned in the Bible. When the Prophet Daniel was cast into a den of lions to be destroyed, he announced to Darius the king, who visited him the next morning, that an angel had closed the mouths of the lions, and that thus his life had been spared.—Dan. 6:22

In the twelfth chapter of Acts we are told of Peter’s being incarcerated in a Roman prison, with the intention of later executing him. But an angel liberated him, leading him to the outer door of the prison—an iron gate which, the account says, opened of its own accord. The opening of that iron gate was no problem for the angel.

Psalm 34:7 reads that “the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” The Apostle Paul, speaking of the angels, says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”—Heb. 1:14

Jesus said of the angels who serve his people that they do “always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 18:10) This would seem to indicate that, while the angels frequently serve the cause of their Creator here on earth, they are not necessarily confined to the earthly habitat. But when it comes to the location of the angels, or how they or any other of God’s creatures who are superior in nature to man operate, the Bible gives us no information.

However, the fact that we cannot see angels, or comprehend how they function in carrying out their assigned work in the universe, is no argument against their existence. Horses can be taught to count, but they are quite ignorant of what they are doing, nor could they become acquainted with higher mathematics, but this does not prove the nonexistence of higher mathematics. A dog, they say, is man’s best friend, but how limited is the dog in understanding the superior thoughts of his master, especially if his master is a scientist.

It took months and years of preparation, and billions of dollars, to place a man on the moon, but in all probability the holy angels, and other spirit creatures, can move about in outer space with ease without any special preparation. About all we know of them is that, like God and all other spirit beings, they are invisible and powerful, and are ready to do the Creator’s bidding at any time.

God’s Home

We are accustomed to thinking of heaven as God’s home, and Jesus speaks of him as “our Father, which art in heaven.” But where heaven is, and what it is like there, we do not know because the Bible does not furnish this information. Jesus also taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) This indicates that the place which the Bible calls heaven is not located here on the earth; and what an earth it would be if such were the case! The Bible indicates that in heaven there is joy, and peace, and love and harmony, and life, with no sickness and death.

We can grasp these realities because the language used to reveal them is part and parcel of our own daily experiences. We may not always experience the spirit of love in our lives, or even within our families, but we know what the language means. We may not always have peace, but we know the meaning of peace; and how blessed it is to realize that in answer to Jesus’ inspired prayer these holy conditions of peace and joy and life will one day prevail here on earth among God’s human creation.

Just as we cannot understand the angelic nature, much more are we unable to understand the divine nature of the Creator, nor does the Bible try to explain his nature. The Prophet Isaiah wrote that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s thoughts higher than our thoughts, and his ways higher than our ways. (Isa. 55:9) The Bible does speak of God’s listening to the prayers of his people, and that his eyes are ever open to our ears. But here the idea of eyes and ears is used simply to convey to our limited minds the fact that God loves his people, and cares for them, not to suggest that God has ears and eyes as do humans. If God were to explain precisely how he does care for his people, the explanation would probably be far beyond our ability to understand.

The Earth, Man’s Home

The first chapter of Genesis contains the Bible’s account of the creation of the planet Earth, and the record of its preparation for human habitation. At the time the works described in verse two began, “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The accomplishing of the work described in this chapter is divided into six “days,” or epochs, and man was created in the sixth day. It is an interesting chapter which will be a blessing to all who read it

Beginning with Genesis 1:26 we read, “God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [Hebrew, ‘fill’] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”—vss. 26-28

Careful notice should be taken that there is nothing in this record of the creation of man to indicate that he was ever to occupy any place in God’s great universe other than on the earth. The earth was to be his eternal home, and he was to fill it with his offspring and subdue it; that is, bring it under control and productivity. The fact that man is now polluting the earth, and threatening thereby to destroy himself, does not change the original divine purpose concerning his eternal habitat.

There is nothing anywhere in the Bible to indicate that God changed his mind concerning the purpose for which he created the earth. Isaiah 45:18 reads, “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.”

The expression, “He created it not in vain,” might imply that a similar situation had arisen which raised a question as to whether or not the earth would be inhabited by man, and this in reality was the case. We read that “the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Concerning the trees in Eden the Lord said to Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”—Gen. 2:8,16,17

All who have a knowledge of the Bible are aware that Adam did disobey God in partaking of this forbidden tree, and that as a result he was sentenced to death. Eve shared in that sentence, and they both began to die. But that did not make vain the creation of the earth to be man’s eternal home, for in his love the Creator provided a way of escape from that death sentence, and that way was through Christ, his own beloved Son whom he gave to be man’s Redeemer. Through this loving arrangement of redemption man will, in God’s due time, be restored to life and have the privilege of living forever in the earthly home which the Creator provided for him, despite the temporary threat of extinction through death.

As in Adam

The Apostle Paul gives us a beautiful statement of God’s plan of redemption through Christ. We quote: “Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21,22) If we can imagine what the state of human life on earth would have been, had sin not entered the scene—no sickness, no pain, no death—then we can surmise what conditions will be like here on this planet when God’s great plan of redemption through Christ shall have been accomplished; for because of Jesus’ death as the Redeemer and Savior of the world we can be sure that that which would have been is yet to be.

Paul confirms this. He wrote, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (I Tim. 2:3-6) The word ransom in this passage is translated from a Greek word meaning ‘a price to correspond’. Jesus was born into the world as a human, and when he went into sacrificial death it was as a corresponding price for Adam, who brought death upon himself and his progeny by his transgression of divine law. This redemption from condemnation has already been provided, and in God’s due time the happy result will be the restoration of the human race to health and life.


The Apostle Peter gives us assurance of this restoration of man, using the word restitution. The Apostles Peter and John had performed a miracle of healing a man who had been lame from the time of his birth. To the Israelites who had witnessed this miracle Peter explained that when Jesus returned there would be “times of restitution of all things,” and added that this glorious feature of the divine plan had been spoken by the mouth of all God’s holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21) In the beginning of the next chapter we are informed that “the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead.”

And how comprehensive is the statement that all God’s holy prophets had foretold the coming times of restitution. In the prophecy of Isaiah alone there are many wonderful assurances of this glorious time of future blessing for mankind. He wrote that God would “swallow up death in victory,” and that he would “wipe away tears from off all faces.” (Isa. 25:8) The Prophet Isaiah also wrote that “then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.”—Isa. 35:5,6

Describing the resurrection as a returning from death of those who had been ransomed by the Lord, Isaiah wrote, “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10) What a joyous time that will be for a world which now is sin-sick and dying, and plagued by war and a host of other evils!

New Heavens and New Earth

Turning again to Isaiah’s prophecy we quote, “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (Isa. 65:17,18) Here the new heavens and new earth of promise, and the new Jerusalem, are closely associated, indicating that they both have to do with the same great events in the plan of God.

In vision the Apostle John sees the fulfillment of this prophecy. We quote: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth. … And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:1,2) In verses nine and ten, this holy city, new Jerusalem, is identified as “the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” the marriage of the Lamb having been referred to in chapter nineteen, verse seven.

The Lamb, of course, is Christ, and the bride is made up of his faithful followers who will live and reign with him in his kingdom; that kingdom which is symbolized as a new heaven and a new earth, and a holy city. This is symbolic language. It has no reference to the creating of a new universe.

Many natural things of earth, as well as the heavens, are used in the Scriptures, to illustrate one or another feature of God’s plan, such as water, fire, rivers, trees, sheep, goats, and many others, including the sun, moon, and stars. The Apostle Peter informs us that a heaven and earth came to an end at the time of the Flood. He refers to it as “the world that then was.” (II Pet. 3:6) He informs us also that the symbolic heavens and earth which began there are “reserved … against the day of judgment” (II Pet. 3:7), and that they will be destroyed in a great time of trouble which he symbolizes by fire. To this he adds that “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”—vs. 13

This is the new heaven and earth foretold by Isaiah, and seen in vision by John on the Isle of Patmos. It appears after the marriage of the Lamb takes place, and the new holy city comes down from God out of heaven. Briefly, these are symbolic of Christ’s kingdom when his bride, exalted to heavenly glory, will reign with him.

How wonderful it will be in that new heavens and new earth, “wherein dwelleth righteousness!” After seeing in vision the holy city come down from God out of heaven, John continues, “I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” In ancient times God manifested his presence with his people in connection with a Tabernacle, and here he is using this as a symbol of the fact that again he will dwell with men and be their God.

And how wonderful will be the results—“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:3,4) In Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the new heavens and new earth which God will create, he says that then there shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days. When John sees this fulfilled in vision, this thought of longevity becomes expanded to the point where there is no more death at all, and no more sickness and pain.

Human Failure

Certainly the nations and people of earth today are showing no inclination to look to the Lord for a way out of their chaos and distress, nor is there genuine economic security throughout the earth. It is truly, as Daniel foretold, “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1) But how we should rejoice to realize that God has provided a solution, the kingdom solution, and that in his own due time the nations will accept God’s ways!

Then there will be economic security; then there will be no more war; then there will be no more sickness and death, for all the former evils which have plagued a dying world shall have passed away. Paul said that Christ would reign until all enemies are put under his feet, and that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. We rejoice in this glorious prospect of the future happiness of God’s human creatures.

These blessings will not be limited to those who will be living at that time, for as we have seen, God proposes to restore the dead to life, that they also might share in those kingdom blessings. Is this too difficult to believe? It should not be. If man in his fallen condition and with limited resources can travel to the moon, let us realize that God with his almighty power is able to accomplish anything which he has promised to do.

Besides, it will be no more difficult for God to restore the dead to life than it was for him to create life in the first place. The religion of the Bible is the only one in the world which holds out the hope of a resurrection of the dead, and there could be no true and lasting solution of the woes of the human race unless that solution provided for the resurrection of the dead.

So, let humans travel to the moon if they will, or to Mars, or anywhere else in outer space their fancy may dictate; but let us, by putting our trust in the God of all space, and of the universe, continue to rejoice in the provision he has made for the followers of Jesus to be exalted to spiritual glory to live and reign with him in his kingdom, and for humanity in general to be restored to life on the earth, the wonderful home which the Creator so lovingly prepared for them.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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