As I have personally been interested in science especially astronomy and space exploration since I learned how to read at about age 5 and long before I became a true or born again Christian I can say with some basis that I have knowledge of the scientific side of issue of extraterrestrial life (intelligent or otherwise). My interest in astronomy and space exploration especially the human variety was solidified when I eye-witnessed the Apollo 11 lunar landings in July 1969 at a rented cottage in central Ontario when I was 9 years old. The laser reflector left by those astronauts on the moon to determine the Earth-Moon distance precisely probably still works and could probably be used to disprove people who believe the Apollo landings were a hoax if NASA wanted to use this means. I continue to be intensely interested in this subject and am a member of The Planetary Society - the largest grassroots pro-space exploration private organization in the world. I am also quite pleased with the recent and ongoing discoveries of unmanned space probes especially at Mars and to a lesser extent with the current unmanned Cassini space probe at Saturn and its moons especially with the Huygens lander to its large moon Titan that has a substantial atmoshpere with much methane and other hydrocarbons but bemoan the continued lack of appreciable manned space exploration. Although I have not taken formal courses in Biology or Life Sciences I have taken courses in Chemistry including one in Organic Chemistry and have read many articles on Biology in its different areas both from an evolutionary perspective and more recently also from a creationist perspective so I have some understanding of the biology area to comment on the issue of possible extraterrestrial life. I have also been a "born again" Christian for more than 20 years and have read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation at least 15 times as well as done much Bible study including the terms heaven or heavens and heard many Bible messages and discussed Bible or Christian things many times with other people Christian or otherwise including the idea of extraterrestrial life. I write this article as from someone who has a deep interest, enthusiasm and support for both astronomy, space exploration, and desire to find at least bacteria or equivalent life in the present universe and as a Bible believing Christian that sees these two perspectives as complementary and not incompatible. I also am writing this article feeling that this is a topic of widespread interest to people of many backgrounds although from many different perspectives.
In Genesis 2:1 there is the expression thus the heavens and the earth were finished and the host of them. Although in Genesis 1 only the sun, the moon and the stars are mentioned specifically of things God made in the astronomical heavens, the host of the heavens would include also other objects such as asteroids, planets, comets, planetary rings etc. Although I can't be sure and it is true that no life, even the counterpart of Earthly microbial life, has been found beyond Earth in space so far it is quite possible that such microbial life could be found and exist and have existed in the past in our solar system such as on Mars before on the surface and now below the surface for which the recent recurring slope linnae (RSLs) and confirmation of recent methane emissions could be indications. There could be also current microbes on some other locations in the solar system in sub-surface water oceans in places like Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus. There could have been larger scale life before on Mars when it had a denser atmosphere and warmer temperatures and surface liquid water and rain such as our counterparts of plants and animals and there could be large scale life such as plants or animals in the subsurface oceans of Europa and Enceladus such as fish or other marine life. I do not think there is intelligent extraterrestrial mortal life as we might have heard about it before from Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) programs and the Bible would probably have been more definite to tell us about them to at least pray for their salvation if they had fallen into sin and needed to be saved and there is the problem of how they could be saved such as whether Jesus' death on the cross on Earth would count for their salvation or whether He would have to incarnate as one of them and die on their planet for the sins or such as hypothetical alien race. I believe bacteria and plants don't have either souls or spirits, animals including probably any beyond earth have souls but not spirits and only humans have spirits which allow us to have a relationship with God and be in His image as well as souls. I think the host of the heavens as well as the earth could include extraterrestrial life such as microbes in space or the heavens or large scale life such as plants or animals but not humanoid intelligent life but the host of heaven could be just referring to inanimate objects in space such as the sun, moon, planets, stars, asteroids, comets etc. and that whatever is out there was created by God but didn't evolve. We will just have to see. The scripture reference from Genesis 2 about the host of the heavens and the earth in God's creation that could include some non-spiritual or not intelligent life like microbes, plants or animals but might not is as follows:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations 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 2:1-4
In July 2018 scientists from the Italian Space Agency (ISA) and European Space Agency (ESA) announced they had found good evidence for a current medium size lake of liquid water on Mars. This lake is about 20 kilometres or 12 miles in diameter and at least 1 metre and perhaps up to more than 10 metres in depth. It is about 1 mile or 1 1/2 kilometres below the Martian surface in the south polar area plains in an area called Planum Australe. It is at about 81 degrees south on Mars. This lake is below about 1 mile or 1 1/2 kilometres of water ice with some rock mixed in. This lake was found consistently by 29 passes of the Mars Express orbiting spacecraft of ESA with its MARSIS or Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument. The MARSIS instrument is a pair of radar antenae projected from the Mars Express spacecraft that can be used for ground penetrating radar applications. Data was collected in this project for about 3 years consistently from 2012 to 2015. The MARSIS passes over this lake were from different directions but with the suspected lake at or near the intersection of these passes and that was detected by most if not all of the passes from Mars Express. The MARSIS instrument is able to detect features down to about 5 kilometres below the surface. Apparently it is easier to detect subsurface features by radar in areas that are fairly flat and wouldn't have much variation in radar images themselves. The area where the potential subsurface lake was found on Mars is in an area that is quite flat on the surface. There are usually different degrees to which radar pulses are reflected with different materials such as rock, water ice or liquid water or briny or very salty water. The ISA scientists or other scientists associated with the MARSIS project such as Professor Roberto Orosei of the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy consistenly found a very reflective area at about 1.5 kilometres below the surface in the same location. The reflective level in this area was consistent with very salty or briny liquid water. Some of the salts common on Mars are perchlorates of sodium, magnesium and calcium. These salts are all very effective at reducing the temperature at which water containing them freezes. The temperature at which water freezed can also be reduced if there is substantial pressure on the water by material above such as very thick levels of ice in this case.
(Similiar bodies of liquid water have been already been found on Earth below the ice caps of Antarctica including the very large Lake Vostok that are at temperatures down to -13 degrees celcius according to The Planetary Society's Emily Lackdawala and others. This would be due on Earth to some of the same factors such as the thick ice cap above and also very salty water but not as salty in this Martian lake. Some single celled microbial life has been found to exist in these subsurface lakes in Antarctica. The discovery of these subsurface lakes on Antartica was a main factor encouraging the ESA and ISA scientists to look for subsurface lakes under the polar caps of Mars.) I have seen different figures for the temperature of the water in the lake discovered from -10 ro -30 degrees Celcius to as cold as -68 degrees Celcius. No matter which of these figures is more accurate they still indicate there would need to be not just the pressure from the above ice cap but substantial amounts of salt dissolved in the water for the lake to be liquid significantly below the freezing temperature of water on earth at sea level without such significant amounts of salt.
As is well known NASA and other space agencies such as ESA and probably national ones like ISA have been looking for water especially liquid water on Mars to find direction where any past or present life there might be. Substantial areas of water ice and many features called RSLs or Recurring Slope Linnae have been found on crater or canyon slopes of Mars. They show seasonal patterns down the slopes and occur in the warmer weather or when they are more directly facing the sun and have been found to have some form of water measured in their location but partly because they mostly occur at slopes that aren't too steep some other scientists claim they are caused by falling sand or soil and not melting briny water but I believe and many scientists still believe many of these RSLs are caused by temporary flows of salty water. However any water from these RSLs or from this water ice on Mars has not been seen to leave any significant lakes or areas of liquid water even very salty liquid water. This is the significance of this likely discovery by the ESA and ISA and associated scientists even though this liquid water lake they probably found is far below the Martian surface and would be very hard to access directly. (Of course on Antarctica and Greenland scientists have drilled through similiar or greater depths of ice including to find the subsurface lakes in Antarctica but as the Italian scientist involved in this discovery and others have notes it would be very difficult and expensive to get similiar heavy and bulky equipment to Mars and then get it set up to work properly.) Although most scientific or general reviews or reports of the work by the scientists involved with this MARSIS instrument acknowledege they have already checked their reports very carefully to eliminate other possible interpretations of the strong radar measurements at about 1 1/2 kilometres or 1 mile below the surface of this Martian polar ice region many are still wanting more confirmation of their results from other scientists or projects before fully accepting the interpretation as the first discovery of long term liquid water body on Mars. Of course this is partly because it would be the first time it is discovered and would be a very important discovery if confirmed (which is already may be by the MARSIS scientists.)
If this discovery is confirmed to be a lake of liquid water and especially if other similiar or possibly smaller area liquid water lakes are found on Mars under the ice cap there this would open much better possibilies for area that life could exist on Mars. However as has been pointed out this water would be toxic for humans to drink as it is because of the high salt content. However it is possible there could be very simple and hardy life there such as single celled microbes or organisms. However it would probably be very difficult to examine them or even see if they are there without drilling down unless some current or recent geyser locations are found that could have brought some microbes to or near the surface. Probably any microbes that might be found would be quite different than earth life including quite possibly not being based on DNA like most Earth life. If scientists can find subsurface lakes or streams on Mars in rock and closer to the equator there the water might not have to be as cold and salty to still be liquid and could be more conducive for more types of life to live or thrive there. Such water could also be more accessible to any possible future human astronauts on Mars to drink or make the water drinkable. From a biblical Christian viewpoint such as I have I believe it is possible that scientist could find not just this but other subsurface water, including in rock closer to the surface and the equator that would be warmer and not as salty or toxic and that scientists could even find subsurface microbes or other simple life like lichen or moss but that the Creator God of the Bible including God the Son Jesus Christ as well as God the Father having created it and sustained it. At least microbes and plants are living but don't have a spirit and eternal nature and probably don't have souls or feeling like earth animals do. As mentioned above in this web page one reason I believe this is the fairly frequent expression in God's word the Holy Bible of God creating the heavens and the earth (and sometimes also mentioning the seas) and the things therein. Although I think this verse could include some type of mortal life in the second or astronomical heavens such as microbes on or under the surface of Mars or other planets or large moons of our solar system or others. However these types of verses of God creating the heavens and earth (and the seas) and the things in or the host of them could just mean the heavens and the inanimate things in the second heavens such as stars, planets, galaxies, comets, nebela etc. but it certainly includes mortal life on the earth in the seas of Earth. I doubt there is intelligent spiritual life on other planets in the galaxy or universe and certainly not Mars as such mortal spiritual and more humanlike life could sin since it would probably have a free will and then they would need a Saviour like God the Son Jesus Christ coming down in the person of Jesus of Nazareth is to human beings on Earth. Also the science SETI projects haven't obtained definite evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life yet and most of the so-called aliens, UFOs or extra-terrestrials or interdimensional beings that have manifest and that don't bring the biblical message and are sometimes manipulative are most likely demons or fallen angels in disguise and so aren't technically mortal or physical intelligent life.
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