UFOs and the Laughter of Faith
Article by John Piper
Since the Internet is abuzz over UFOs, I thought I would take the opportunity to join the woman of Proverbs 31:25 who “laughs at the time to come.” I just wrote a book on Providence, and can hardly contain myself when I get a chance to celebrate God’s purposeful, all-embracing, all-pervasive, invincible sovereignty.
Last night I received an email from a friend asking about the recent UFO dustup. He had read an article that threw him for a loop. He was wondering how a UFO, if it proved to be true, could fit with the biblical vision of reality.
Here’s the gist of what I wrote back, with a few comments and Bible passages added.
No Cracks in Complete Sovereignty
One of the great joys of believing in the absolute sovereignty of God over all things is knowing that he is in control of every falling bird (Matthew 10:29) and all the movements of the farthest galaxies (Isaiah 40:26). Nothing anywhere in the universe happens apart from his plan. Whatever he causes directly, or whatever he permits less directly — everything happens in accord with his all-wise, all-just, all-merciful plan. He “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
So no UFOs are showing up except by the plan of God. If they are fake, he rules over fake. If they are real, he rules over real. There are no cracks in complete sovereignty. Nothing squeaks through. God governs illusions. God governs atmospheric conundrums. God governs all the reaches of space and everything in it.
No UFO Exceptions
Add to that the spectacular news that the death of God’s Son, for the sins of all who believe, guarantees that this all-embracing, all-governing, divine plan is for our good. Nothing happens — absolutely nothing — but what God plans for the good of his people. And the reason we can count on this is the death of Jesus.
That’s the point of the logic of Romans 8:32:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Paraphrase: God did the hardest thing in the universe for the sake of his elect (Romans 8:33) — he did not spare his Son the worst suffering the world could give. Therefore, Paul reasons, he will not spare any wisdom or power or goodness needed to give his people everything they need to joyfully do his will. He will “graciously give us all things.” God’s love and sovereignty work everything together — no exceptions — for our good (Romans 8:28).
That includes fake UFOs, explainable UFOs, unexplainable UFOs, real UFOs, and a hundred conspiracy theories, waiting to spread. They are all blood-bought servants of God’s undeserving elect. That’s what the logic of Romans 8:32 teaches.
No Limits to God’s Rule
Or to put it another way, for all who trust in Christ, UFOs cannot mean condemnation. There is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1). UFOs cannot mean wrath for God’s elect. “It is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). We are not destined for wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). There is only mercy and wise guidance for God’s children. Suffering, to be sure. But nothing that is not designed for our great good (Romans 8:35–39). We stand in grace (Romans 5:2). Almighty grace. If God is for us, no one, and nothing, can successfully be against us. UFOs included.
“If God is for us, no one, and nothing, can successfully be against us — UFOs included.”
God is not a territorial deity. Which means earth (or this solar system) is not his limited territory, while other gods have their interplanetary territory. No. God created all things (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16). The point of saying that God made all the stars, and gave them all their names, was precisely to banish any thought that other gods have their space in the universe (Isaiah 40:26). They don’t. There is no galaxy, no star, no planet, no moon, no asteroid, no space where God is not God.
No Worries, Fake or Real
Not only that, but Romans 8:20–22 teaches that the whole creation — not just the earth — fell under God’s judgment when sin entered the world. Planetary geography offers no greater barrier to the effects of the fall than earthly geography does. If Adam’s sin in the Middle East brought judgment and futility and corruption to North American forests, there is no reason to think the judgment did not fall on stars a billion light-years away.
The creation [not just the earth] was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him [God] who subjected it, in hope that the creation [not just the earth] itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation [not just the earth] has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:20–22)
Therefore, God rules the farthest reaches of the universe. He rules them as Judge. And he rules them as Redeemer. Jesus Christ died and rose again. He sits at the right hand of God as Redeemer-Ruler. “He upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). The reach of his rule and redemption extends “far as the curse is found.” No galaxy, no star, no planet, no UFO escapes his design in the plan of redemption.
This means that I really don’t have much interest in the present claims about UFOs. First because I am a born skeptic about such reports. But mainly because it just does not make any ultimate difference if they are real or not. God reigns over fake UFOs and real UFOs.
Far Stranger Things
Moreover, there are far weirder things going on in this world than UFOs — things we don’t even know about. And even the ones we do know about are worse than anything outer space might produce. We have already been invaded by the worst aliens imaginable — Satan and his demons. They are more cruel and more powerful than any we may expect from distant galaxies. And their aim is not just earthly destruction, but eternal destruction. But their defeat is sure, since they were disarmed by the death of Christ (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14). God has them under control as well.
In other words, believing in the total, wise, loving sovereignty of God puts ballast in our boat and keeps it from tipping over when the waves of rumor, science, culture, and nature batter us.
Stay steady, and laugh in the face of imagined and real invasions. God reigns. You are his child. What could be more secure!
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons.