Hebrews 11:3 (KJV) 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.
Open question: Does Hebrews 11:3 indicate that there may be other life out in the greater universe that God has made?
Does the Bible support or refute life on other planets/universes?
Here are multiple sources from commentaries and websites with references
From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the
word of God
The celestial world, with its inhabitants, the angels; the starry and ethereal worlds, with all that is in them, the sun, moon, stars, and fowls of the air; the terrestrial world, with all upon it, men, beasts and the watery world, the sea, and all that is therein: perhaps some respect may be had to the distinction of worlds among the Jews; (See Gill on Hebrews 1:2), though the apostle can scarce be thought to have any regard to their extravagant notions of vast numbers of worlds being created: they often speak of three hundred and ten worlds, in all which, they say, there are heavens, earth, stars, planets F6; and sometimes of eighteen thousand F7; but these notions are rightly charged by Philo F8 with ignorance and folly. However, as many worlds as there are, they are made “by the Word of God”; by Christ, the essential Word of God, to whom the creation of all things is ascribed in ( John 1:1-3 ) . And this agrees with the sentiments of the Jews, who ascribe the creation of all things to the Word of God, as do the Targumists F9, and Philo the Jew F11. And these are “framed” by the Word, in a very beautiful and convenient order; the heavens before the earth; things less perfect, before those that were more so in the visible world, or terraqueous globe; and things for men, before men, for whom they were; and it is by divine revelation and faith that men form right notions of the creation, and of the author of it, and particularly of the origin of it, as follows:
so that things which are seen: as the heaven, earth, and sea, and in which the invisible things of God, the perfections of his nature, are discerned:
were not made of things which do appear;they were not made from pre-existent matter, but out of nothing, out of which the rude and undigested chaos was formed; and from that invisible mass, covered with darkness, were all visible things brought into a beautiful order; and all from secret and hidden ideas in the divine minds; and this also is the faith of the Jews, that the creation of all things is (Nyam) , “out of nothing” F12. There seems to be an allusion to the word (arb) , used for creation, which signifies to make appear a thing unseen; and is rendered in the Septuagint version by (deiknumi) , ( Numbers 16:30 ) and (katadeiknumi) , ( Isaiah 40:26 ) ( 41:20 ) to show, or make appear; and thus God created, or made to appear, the heavens and earth, which before were not in being, and unseen, ( Genesis 1:1 Genesis 1:2 ) and created to make, as in ( Genesis 2:3 ) that is, made them to appear, that he might put them into the form and order they now are.
Clay Stanton, Trying to follow Jesus
Answered Jul 25 2017 · Author has 1.1k answers and 408.9k answer views
Thanks for the A2A.
Like another answerer, I’m not exactly sure what is meant by “world.” I assume the question refers to other inhabited planets, but you could also interpret world to mean another realm or plane of existence. If it’s the latter, then yes, there is another world or realm — the one that the angels inhabit that’s inaccessible to us right now.
As for other physical worlds, the Bible is silent about other planets with sentient creatures. If forced to answer the question “are there other worlds with sentient life?” based on the Bible alone, I would lead toward no. For example, Hebrews 9:26–28 talks about Jesus’ sacrifice being once for all. He was sacrificed once for all sins. Romans 8, additionally, talks about the whole creation groaning and longing to be restored. This seems to imply that the fall of man affected all creation, not just Earth. The idea that the big-picture ultimate culmination of creation is humans in relationship with God is there throughout Scripture, and so would seem to imply that we are alone made in God’s image.
However, I don’t think that’s enough to be conclusive. There are a number of possible explanations for those implications.
Kingston Tong, Graduated from seminary, preaching and teaching the Bible
Answered Jul 24 2017 · Author has 1.3k answers and 390.8k answer views
Thank you for the question, “According to the Bible, is there more than one world?”
As I read this question, one wonders is this question asking about other life forms on other planets in the universe or is there another dimension of beings that is beyond our physical realm as we know it today.
The Scripture is clear that there are other life forms than just corporeal one as found on earth. The other life form in another dimension is called angels. The angels who rebelled against God are called demons.
The Apostle John reveals in his vision that he saw multitudes of angels before the throne of God. “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang, “Worthy is the lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise” (Rev. 5:11–12). Throughout the OT and NT, angels have come as messengers of God as to Abraham and Lot, Mary and Joseph, even to Jesus as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Thus, there is a physical world and there is also a spiritual world. The Apostle Paul writes in Eph. 6:10–12 that there is a spiritual battle in the spiritual realm. “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s scheme. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…”
This spiritual dimension is not seen with our physical eyes or at least we have not been able to detect or confirm its existence with our technology at this point. Nevertheless, the Bible states there is a spiritual dimension since God is spirit and the angels are sent to minister to those who are being saved. The writer of Hebrews says this, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14).
SUMMARY: There is more to what our eyes can physically see.
John Dougherty, MBA from Stevens Institute of Technology (2005)
Answered Jul 24 2017 · Author has 102 answers and 44.5k answer views
I don’t think so. If you take the creation story in Genesis at face value – which I’m assuming you would if you are going to accept the Bible’s answer about other worlds – God separated the waters above the Earth from the waters on/below it with a big vault. Elsewhere we see that he keeps the snow and hail up there for when it’s needed (Job 38:22).
The whole model suggests that the world is sort of a bubble of existence in a big cosmic ocean. While it would be possible for him to have created similar bubbles elsewhere, it doesn’t say that he did.
Other answers seem to focus on the idea that there are other angels or beings which have authority over large groups of people and assume this means that there are other worlds. With respect, the verse in question (Deuteronomy 32:8) appears to be about El Elyon (the most high God) divvying up the nations of the world, giving each of his sons (or angels in later versions) a nation to look after.
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Roberto Vilar, Listening to the words of Jesus for more than 40 years.
Answered Jul 25 2017 · Author has 4.5k answers and 1.8m answer views
Some early church’s fathers, as Origene, used to believe in the pre-existence of the soul and in reincarnation through parallel worlds.
Jewish rabis arrived to similar conclusion in some cabalistic texts. However their main opinion is that we shouldn’t care too much about the “world to come” as we don’t know and can’t know God’s plan for us.
Now Christian believe on a different harmonius reality than this absurd, cruel and unfair world, however it is our duty to struggle to experiment it on a daily basis in all possible present instants.
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James Alan Bush, Blogger and iOS Developer (2011-present)
Answered Jul 25 2017 · Author has 851 answers and 353.8k answer views
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Menique Aviles, Has no credentials. None.
Answered Jul 25 2017 · Author has 3.7k answers and 2.4m answer views
‘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.’ (Hebrews 11:3)
The word ‘worlds’ appears in the KJV translation and some others, and some claim that it refers to other inhabitable planets. However, the word is αἰῶν(aiōn), from which we derive the word ‘eons’. Thus modern translations render the word as ‘universe’ (entire space-time continuum) – Did God create life on other planets?
So some translations actually do mention “worlds” but not in the sense of other extraterrestrial lives and planets but more as a description of all of creation.
The Bible doesn’t talk much about scientific things. The Bible prefers to focus on heaven and earth mostly.
Nathan Ketsdever, lifelong theological questioner
Answered Jul 25 2017 · Author has 31.1k answers and 10.6m answer views
All of this hinges on what constitutes a world. There is the physical and spiritual world, but those are integrated in the physical world.
I suppose you could say 3:
This just constitutes a best guess.
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Godwin Goziem Jireh, been “born of God” and serving Jesus Christ passionately for more than 3 decades
Answered Jul 27, 2017 · Author has 2.7k answers and 1.2m answer views
Thank you for requesting my answer to the above question.
Yes, the Bible seems to support the idea that there is more than one world God created. Here are some Bible passages where worlds are mentioned:
But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, (1 Corinthians 2:7 WEB) Note: This is also translated “worlds” in ASV and NHEB
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. (Hebrews 1:2 KJV)
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. (Hebrews 11:3 KJV)
In Understanding the Biblical Difference between the Words World and Earth, the Bible, Genesis & Geology Ministry provides us with this insightful information:
The King James Authorized Version of the Holy Bible has its own internal set of words and definitions which are self-interpreting intheir specific meaning and context. From Genesis to Revelation, translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts, the KJV Bible’s English translation is an integrated whole throughout the sixty-six books.
The English words “world” and “earth” are different words and have distinct, separate conceptual meanings in the Holy Bible and the English language. These meanings are defined by the Scriptures when used in context. Understanding this distinction is CRUCIAL to rightly dividing the word of truth, for therein is found one of the keys to unlocking the paradox of the creation account of Genesis chapter one and the geologic evidence of an ancient Earth.
In the book of Hebrews, the Lord Jesus Christ is said to be the maker of the “worlds” (plural):
“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 KJV)
“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 KJV)
The Greek word in these two verses for “worlds” is αιων (as in eon), which means a nage or a perpetuity of specific prevailing conditions in time upon the face of the Earth. Therefore, the word “world,” as doctrinally defined in our Bible, is NOT referring to other planets in outer space but to defined ages and prevailing conditions during those ages on the Earth, be they past, present, or future.
The “Earth” is a planet. It is a spherical-shaped mass of matter in time and space. The “world” is the specific set of conditions prevailing upon the face of the planet Earth at a specific point in Biblical time. The Earth is a part of our present world, past worlds, and the future world to come (see Matt 12:32, Mark 10:30, Hebrews 2:5), but the Earth itself is not the whole “world.” Our present “world” also consists of the stars in the sky, the trees of the field, the people, the cities of the nations and the present evil world system on the face of the Earth:
“And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.” (Isaiah 23:17 KJV)
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” (Gal 1:4 KJV)
The Earth itself is not evil, but it is cursed (see Gen 3:17-19). When Adam sinned, death entered the “world” of Adam, who had just been created on the sixth day and placed by God upon the face of the regenerated earth in that new world, the world of MAN who is made in the image of God.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”(Rom 5:12 KJV)
Adam’s newly created world was pristine on the surface. But under Adam’s feet, entombed and hidden in the rocks of the planet, was the buried fossil record – God’s material testimony to the truth of the existence of a previous “world” on the face of the Earth and a long reign of death across ancient ages past, long before the new world of Adam. This material evidence, there all along but only scientifically examined and understood by man over the past two to three centuries, now speaks to us today about the existence of that previously-created world (Genesis 1:1), which came under subjection to death, was eventually destroyed (Genesis 1:2), and then Divinely replaced by the present world (Genesis 1:3-2:1). That ancient world was under the stewardship of an “anointed” being, a creature called the covering cherub and named Lucifer. Through Lucifer’s sin of rebellion against God, the old world under Lucifer’s stewardship was first subjected to Death and, through time, eventually perished. At the end of its time, when the stars of the old universe, including Earth’s sun, perished, their remaining hydrogen gases oxidized into waters as darkness (both physical and spiritual) took its final toll upon the ancient Creation. That time is specifically what these two verses point to:
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”(Genesis 1:2 KJV)
“For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”(2 Pet 3:5-7 KJV)
The old world was the first “generation” of the heaven and the Earth (Genesis 1:1). The heavens and Earth “which are now” are the second generation of the heavens and the Earth. It is the same planet Earth but different worlds upon the face of the same planet. This is why the Bible says:
These are the generations (PLURAL) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, (Genesis 2:4 KJV)
F6 Misn. Oketzim, c. 3. sect. 12. Targum Jon. in Exod. xxviii. 30. Kettoreth Hassamim in Targum Jon. in Gen. fol. 4. 4. Lex. Cabel. p. 60, 61.
F7 T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 2. Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 50. 4.
F8 De Opificio, p. 39.
F9 Targum Oak. in Deut. xxxiii. 27. & Ben Uzziel in Isa. xlviii. 13.
F11 De Opificio, p. 4. & Leg. Alleg. l. 1. p. 44.
F12 Tzeror Hammor, fol. 1. 1. Kettoreth Hassamim in Targ. Jon in Gen. fol. 5. 1, 2.
(Original article is from Creation Magazine March 2007)
by Gary Bates
[INTRODUCTION ADDED NOVEMBER 2009:
We have received numerous inquiries from around the world on the issue, with CMI-US CEO Gary Bates quoted on CNN television just days ago. In light of this recent story, we are republishing the following article by Gary (the author of the creationist classic Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection) which will be of great interest to you in understanding this growing phenomenon.]
Many people, Christian or otherwise, struggle with the notion that the earth is the only inhabited planet in this enormous universe. In short, is there life on other planets?
Those who believe life evolved on the earth usually see it as virtual ‘fact’ that life has evolved on countless other planets. Discovering life on other planets would in turn be seen as confirming their evolutionary belief.
But even many Christians think, ‘God must have created life elsewhere, otherwise this enormous universe would be an awful waste of space.’ In my experience, this seems to be the major underlying reason why people think that there must be other life ‘out there’. However, our thinking should be based on what God said He did (the Bible), and not what we think He would, should or might have done.
Firstly, since God is the one who made the universe, it can scarcely be ‘big’ to Him. Humans struggle with its vastness because our comprehension is limited to the created time/space dimensions within which we exist, and it is mind-bending to try and comprehend anything beyond our dimensional existence. Size is only relative to us as inhabitants of this universe. And size and time are related somewhat. Because the universe is big to us, we consider how long it would take us to travel across it, for example. But, time itself began with the creation of the physical universe, so how can we comprehend what eternity is, or might be? What was ‘before’ the universe? Similarly, how do we imagine how ‘big’ God is? We cannot use a tape measure that is made of the very atoms He made to measure Him. One example of this might be if you were asked to build a small house and you did. Now you are asked to build a large house. In our dimensions, for you to build the larger house it would require more effort and take more time. So, is it harder, or does it take longer for God to build a big universe compared to a smaller one (according to our perspective on what constitutes large or small of course)? Of course not, because He isn’t bound by time and space (which He created). Isaiah 40:28 says; ‘… the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not grow weak nor weary …’.
We are impressed that God made billions of galaxies with billions of stars in them and suitably so, because that is one of the reasons for making them. But as mentioned, size is not an issue for God. Stars are relatively simple structures as they are just great big balls of gas. It would take more ‘creative input’, in that sense, for Jesus’ miracle of feeding the five thousand than for the creation of countless quasars (there is immense genetic complexity in the structure of even a dead fish).
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.
One attempt to fit ETs in the Bible is on the basis of a word in Hebrews 11:3: ‘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.’
The word ‘worlds’ appears in the KJV translation and some others, and some claim that it refers to other inhabitable planets. However, the word is αἰῶν (aiōn), from which we derive the word ‘eons’. Thus modern translations render the word as ‘universe’ (entire space-time continuum) because it correctly describes ‘everything that exists in time and space, visible and invisible, present and eternal’. Even if it was referring to other planets, it is an unwarranted extrapolation to presume intelligent life on them.
It should also be remembered that expressions like “the heavens and earth” (Genesis 1:1) are a figure of speech known as a merism. This occurs when two opposites or extremes are combined to represent the whole or the sum of its parts. For example, if I said “I painted the whole building from top to bottom.” One would understand this to mean everything in the whole building. Similarly, biblical Hebrew has no word for ‘the universe’ and can at best say ‘the all’, so instead it used the merism “the heavens and the earth”. It is clear that New Testament passages like the aforementioned Romans 8:18–22 and Hebrews 11:3 are pointing back to the Genesis (“heavens and earth”) creation, and thus, everything that God made and when time as we know it began. See this further explanation.
Jesus’ teaching was causing division among the Jews, because they always believed that salvation from God was for them alone. Jesus was reaffirming that He would be the Saviour of all mankind.
Another is the passage in John 10:16 in which Jesus says, ‘I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.’ However, even an ET-believing astronomer at the Vatican (thus a ‘hostile witness’ to the ‘no ETs cause’), a Jesuit priest by the name of Guy Consalmagno, concedes, ‘In context, these “other sheep” are presumably a reference to the Gentiles, not extraterrestrials.’4 Jesus’ teaching was causing division among the Jews (vs. 19), because they always believed that salvation from God was for them alone. Jesus was reaffirming that He would be the Saviour of all mankind.
A more recent idea to allow for ETs arose out of a perceived need to protect Christianity in the event of a real alien visitation to Earth. Michael S. Heiser is an influential Christian UFOlogist/speaker with a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages. He claims that the arguments put forward earlier might not apply to God-created aliens. Because they are not descendants of Adam they have not inherited his sin nature, and thus, are not morally guilty before God. Just like ‘bunny rabbits’ on the earth, they do not need salvation—even though they will die, they are going to neither heaven nor hell.
On the surface this seems a compelling argument; after all, fallen angels are intelligent but are beyond salvation (“For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.” Hebrews 2:16). Angels are immortal and not of our corporeal dimension. And Heiser’s ETs in spaceships require a level of intelligence not found in rabbits. This acutely highlights the injustice of their suffering the effects of the Curse, including death and ultimately extinction when the heavens are ‘rolled up like a scroll’ (Revelation 6:14). It also seems bizarre to assign no moral responsibility for the actions of highly intelligent beings.
Heiser also claims that vastly intelligent ETs would not displace mankind’s position as being made in the image of God because ‘image’ just means humans have been placed as God’s representatives on the earth.
However, the Bible says we are made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). Man was immediately created a fully intelligent being about 6,000 years ago and was involved in craftsmanship shortly thereafter (Genesis 4:22). Since that time, even we have not been able to develop technologies advanced enough to travel to other star systems. If aliens were capable of developing incredible faster-than-light spaceships needed to get here, one would presume they must have been created with vastly superior intellect to ours—which would make them even more in God’s likeness in that sense than we are. Or, their creation is much older than the 6,000 years of the biblical six-day timeframe; the aliens were created before man and had sufficient time to develop their technologies. However, God created Earth on Day 1 and later the heavenly bodies on Day 4.
Although Heiser does not promote theistic evolution, he is sympathetic to a universe billions of years old, as proposed by the progressive creationist Dr Hugh Ross.5 In theory, this could allow the time necessary for any unseen ETs to develop the almost science-fiction-like technologies required to get here. But, this is circular reasoning.
There is a huge problem for the Gospel in these long ages. First, it’s important to understand that modern scientific idea of long ages (i.e. millions and billions of years) derived from the belief that sedimentary rock layers on Earth represent eons of time.6 This in turn derived from the dogmatic assumption that there were no special acts of creation or a global Flood, so that Earth’s features must be explained by processes seen to be happening now.7 This philosophy of uniformitarianism seems to amply fulfil the Apostle Peter’s prophecy recorded in 2 Peter 3:3–7.
The conflict with the Gospel is that these very same rock layers contain fossils—a record of dead things showing evidence of violence, disease and suffering. Thus, taking a millions-of-years view, even without evolution, places death and suffering long before the Fall of Adam. This undermines the Gospel and the very reasons that Christ came to the earth—such as reversing the effects of the Curse. Romans 5:12 clearly states that sin and death entered into the creation as a result of Adam’s actions. There was no death before the Fall.
Psalm 8:5 says that man was made a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honour. Heiser has said that salvation is based upon ranking, not intelligence. If so, where in the Bible (which omits to mention them) would ET sit in this pecking order? Would they be higher than man, and lower than angels, for example? If these advanced ETs were capable of visiting the earth, mankind would now be subject to their dominion. (Even if the ETs were friendly, potentially they would be much more powerful due to their intelligence and technology.) This would be in direct contravention to God’s ordained authority structure when he ordered mankind to ‘subdue’ the earth—also known as the dominion mandate (Genesis 1:28).
Psalm 19:1 tells us a major reason that the universe is so vast: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.’ There are many similar passages in Scripture. They help us understand who God is and how powerful He is.
It reminds us that the more we discover about this incredible universe, the more we should be in awe of the One who made it all. In short rather than looking up and wondering ‘I wonder what else is out there?’ and imaginary aliens we’ve never seen. We should instead be considering the very One that made it all.
NASATwo identical Mars Rovers traverse the surface searching for evidence of water. Evolutionary researchers are eagerly looking for past or present signs of (even) microscopic life.
The Bible’s ‘big picture’ seems to preclude intelligent life elsewhere in God’s universe1 (see main text). But what if bacteria were found on other planets, for example? This is exceedingly unlikely, but ‘God-made’ bacteria would not violate the Gospel (see Is the Bible Falsifiable and would a real ET do it?). And in any case, any ‘microbes on Mars’ were likely as a result of human contamination.2 What would be their purpose? The entire focus of creation is mankind on this Earth; the living forms on Earth’s beautifully balanced biosphere are part of our created life support system.
If bacteria are found elsewhere in the solar system, it will be hailed as proof that life can ‘just evolve’.3 However, we have previously predicted in print that in such an unlikely event, the organisms will have earth-type DNA, etc., consistent with having originated from here as contaminants—either carried by recent man-made probes, or riding fragments of rock blasted from Earth by meteorite impacts.