Can Aliens Be Saved? or, Extraterrestrial Life and the Christian Author – Part 2

Christians sci-fi authors have to ask ourselves a lot of strange questions. For example, when we ask “What If we discovered intelligent extraterrestrial life?” we almost certainly find ourselves asking another question: “Can aliens be saved?”

Believe it or not, there are apologetics sites that attempt to tackle this very issue. For the most part, they suffer from one fatal flaw: they make dogmatic statements about something the Scriptures are silent on. Namely, they dogmatically say that aliens cannot exist [except in “frivolous fiction¹“]. They tale something that is strongly suggested by Scripture and make a leap to present it as a certain prediction of the Biblical worldview. This is the worst sort of overstatement and if we do ever discover alien life, such hubris will create a stumbling block to the Gospel where none ever should have existed. In many cases, they are forced to prop up this overstatement on logical fallacies.

With that in mind, I want to examine the question of whether ETs can be saved in a logical, consistent manner from a Biblical perspective.

Does ET Need Saving?

Before we can ask ourselves whether ET can be saved, I think we need to ask whether he needs to be. The entire idea that aliens need to be saved is based on the idea that Adam’s sin affected the whole cosmos because he was given dominion over all creation. A king falls and his kingdom suffers. So far, so good. We immediately note a difference in the way animals and humans were affected by the Fall. The animals suffered what we might call the universal effects of the Fall [death, suffering, adaptations to the struggle for resources, etc.], but man also inherited a sin nature [what we call depravity]. Depravity is like a computer virus that comes with each replicated program. Everyone of Adam’s bloodline is affected by it. Christ was required to incarnate as a human in order to be man’s kinsman-redeemer, so that His death could free us from the curse of sin and death and His resurrection could give us the promise of eternal life. Again, so far, so good.

The trouble comes when we bring up the possibility of intelligent ETs with a spiritual aspect. It should be noted that we’re talking about intelligence at or above the human level here. Ape, insect or dolphin intelligence just don’t count.

Before we move on, I need to address one last thing. I once read a really bad argument that said that if aliens die, it means they are worthy of death. That begs the question of whether animals are worthy of death or if he was just utilizing a double standard to defend his anti-alien stance when he started speaking of intelligent beings affected by Man’s Fall. I think it’s the latter.

  • If extraterrestrials aren’t intelligent, they’re animals. The Bible makes it clear that animals don’t need to be saved.

Does ET Have a Soul?

The Bible says that we are made in God’s image. A lot of folks think that having a mind and a spiritual aspect is what is meant by being made in God’s image; however, if we’re fair about it, the angels also meet these qualifications and would also qualify as being made in God’s image if this were true. Unless being God’s image-bearer means something else entirely, known only to God Himself.

If the extraterrestrial is intelligent but lacks a spiritual aspect… First of all, that would be a critter we’ve never seen. We may see it in the form of future artificial intelligence. I’ve often thought that Revelation 13:15 could turn out to be a prophetic reference to artificial intelligence. I dealt with artificial intelligence in a short story called “Bad Program.” I believe that the problem with artificial intelligence is that it will never be true intelligence, it will merely mimic intelligence. As such, if it begins mimicking the human concern for its robot soul, I think we will have done the poor thing a disservice for by what theory does a robot gain a soul through sufficient complexity of intelligence? If we say yes, we are saying that robots are now made in the image of God rather than in the image of man. If we say no, as we must given the absurdity of the conclusion of the affirmative, we are saying that intelligence alone is not enough to qualify one as being made in God’s image.

  • In any case, if the extraterrestrial lacks a spiritual aspect, an eternal soul to save, then it does not need saving.

Are ETs Fallen?

Let’s say then that we discover a creature that is intelligent and has a spiritual aspect. Does it follow that these aliens need saving? Well, that depends upon whether it is fallen or not and how it fell.

We typically see an argument against the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life based on the idea that the effects of Adam’s Fall extended to the entire universe via the Dominion Mandate. This is true enough. The trouble comes when they insist that the effects of the Fall necessarily implies that intelligent extraterrestrials with a spiritual aspect would be imputed with Adam’s sin nature along with the effects of the Fall which the rest of non-Adamic creation suffers under; this imputed sin nature then requires Jesus to be born and sacrificed on alien worlds for their salvation. Yet it does not follow that just because proposed intelligent aliens with a spiritual nature suffer the universal effects of the fall that they also suffer what are often termed the “spiritual effects” of the Fall [i.e, separation for God, depravity, etc.], which might be more accurately termed the “sanguine effects” of the Fall. Keep in mind that there is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood precisely because of the curse that was place upon Adam and his descendants. Christ was required to incarnate as a kinsman-redeemer to forgive the sins of Adam and cleanse his bloodline. Aliens being exempt from Adam’s bloodline would be exempt from the need for salvation as much as the opportunity of salvation.

  • If they are unfallen, they don’t need to be saved.
What If ETs are Fallen on Their Own Merit?

Of course, even if they did not fall in Adam, but fell on their own, they might need saved, but they’re not really germane to the subject. If they fell in their own right and not because of Adam’s sin, that is between them and their Creator; not Adam and their Creator. 

For the sake of argument, we could ask whether Christ be required to be sacrificed on their world for their sins. There’s no requirement here at all. However unlikely, it may be that salvation through the Terran [Earth, for you non-geeks out there] Christ through future missionaries or through supernatural revelation. It may be that God offers them a totally different means of salvation, germane to the conditions of their fall. Christ could even possibly incarnate on other worlds as a God-alien as He incarnated here as a God-man. This would not, as some apologists erroneously claim, make God a polygamist. It would not give him a Terran bride, a Vulcan bride and Gungan bride, so to speak, precisely because any being saved by Christ would be incorporated into the Bride of Christ [singular]. 
It may be that God offers them no means of salvation at all. An appeal to equality is a fallacy based an assumed premise of equality. “If fallen aliens existed, not being of Adam’s bloodline they wouldn’t be able to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice. Does that sound fair?” Unfortunately, the Bible answers this question in one of the most-ignored passages relevant to the terrestrial question, “What about those who’ve never heard of Jesus or the Gospel?” Romans 9:14-25 reminds us that God is sovereign, showing mercy on those He will and hardening the hearts of others. In this, He is not unrighteous, precisely because it is impossible to condemn the Designer for making you. God’s will is based on His omniscience, and only God is wise enough to know all of these reasons. If fallen alien life existed, it would not matter whether we thought it was fair. More importantly, our perception of unfairness in no way prevents the possibility of extraterrestrial life, fallen or otherwise. Despite being intelligent and possessing a spiritual aspect, fallen angels do not seem to require or warrant salvation, nor suffer death. This implies that either being made in God’s image means something other than intelligence and a spiritual nature, or that the only image bearer requiring a blood sacrifice for their sins are those who inherited the sanguine effects of Adam’s Fall.
  • If they are fallen apart from Adam’s sin, God is not required to save them.
What If ETs are Fallen as a Result of Adam’s Sin?

Of course, we have to at long last consider the possibility that we discover intelligent aliens with a spiritual aspect who fell through Adam’s sin. If this were the case, we must point out there isn’t a single shred of Scriptural evidence that anyone outside of Adam’s bloodline was imputed with the sanguine effects of the Fall. So yeah, that would be a big surprise for everyone. If it were true, much of what we said in the preceding sections holds true, except that God would certainly have to offer them the means of salvation. If Adam’s sin were imputed to them, Christ’s righteousness could be imputed to them as well, so it would not be necessary for Christ to incarnate on other worlds. As God did here on Earth, He could give them revelation, prophecies, and a school teacher in the form of the Law to prepare them for the Gospel. Presupposing that we encounter said extraterrestrial life, God could then either send us as missionaries with the Gospel. If we only find evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial civilization without encountering it, we could speculate that God delivered the Gospel of Christ’s sacrifice for the cosmos through revelation validated by fulfilled prophecy. Incarnating on another world would be possible, possibly about as confusing for the natives as the Trinity and the idea of a God-man is to us, but feasible considering that it would still be Christ incarnate. Th

The only hinge is that the Bible says that Christ was sacrificed once for all. Anti-alienists tend to translate this verse as meaning “once for all men.” If that’s the case, then the idea of Christ incarnating on another world is really no problem. If the verse has a broader application that Christ died for all who need to be saved,” then a separate incarnation of Christ on an alien world would not be necessary.

  • If aliens were fallen through Adam’s sin and Christ died once for all who need to be saved, Christ’s righteousness could be imputed to them as much as Adam’s depravity was;
  • If aliens were fallen through Adam’s sin and Christ died once for all men only, Christ could incarnate on another world and be their substitutionary atonement for the imputed [rather than sanguine] sin of Adam.
One last thing needs to be said. It is unlikely that we will encounter extraterrestrials fallen through Adam. The reason for this is simple: the Bible’s revelation makes it pretty clear that the sanguine effects of the Fall apply only to Adam’s bloodline. This is why the angels do not require or warrant salvation by Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice. Angels did not fall with Adam; they fell quite apart from the Fall of Man. In fact, Lucifer’s Fall predates ours. Still, it’s pretty clear the sanguine effects of the Fall only apply to mankind; therefore, aliens would either be unfallen or fallen on their own merits, posing no problem for Christian theology and lacking a requirement to be saved by Christ’s sacrifice. Likewise, extraterrestrial entities lacking intelligence and/or a spiritual aspect could exist within Biblical parameters, none of which would require salvation by Christ. 
So can aliens be saved?
Any aliens we encounter probably won’t need it. The sanguine effects of the Fall apply only to mankind. Any aliens that do requiring saving will be fallen on their own merit, meaning that their salvation is between them and their Maker, who is not obligated to save them at all or by the same means afforded to mankind. In other words, separate transaction. If it were possible to impute Adam’s sin nature apart from being a member of his bloodline, then it is equally possible for the Last Adam’s righteousness to be imputed to them by grace through faith.
So yeah, but it’s probably not necessary. 
In any case, please take a few minutes to fill out our Facebook poll on Aliens, UFOs and the Bible to help us get a bead on where folks stand regarding the issue of extraterrestrial life. The poll can be found at

1. For an example of this viewpoint, see Dr. Danny Faulkner’s article “Is Belief in Alien Life Harmless?” in the Oct/Dec 2015 issue of Answers magazine:

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