Billy Graham died yesterday at the ripe old age of 99 years. He was perhaps the greatest evangelist the world has ever witnessed. Moreover, he was the quintessential evangelical, a preacher whose primary focus was ever and always the Gospel, the personification of 1 Corinthians 2:2:
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
It is perhaps surprising then to some folks that he believed that there is life in outer space.
Chapter 22 of his 1960 book My Answer includes the following (identical to his November 17, 1955 column of the same name):
“I am a student of the physical sciences. Some of my associates are inclined to believe that there is life on other planets. If there are people who inhabit these planets, what does that do to our faith in the Gospel? Can it be that God is primarily interested in this planet?
From my studies in the Scriptures I can find nothing that would change our essential faith in the Gospel if we did discover life on other planets. Our Bible is clearly designed for this particular planet with its particular problem of man’s sin. When we observe this fact we are on safe ground. It is not a part of the Bible’s message to inform us of what God has done elsewhere. Its message is concerned with earth dwellers, their origin, the reason of their existence, the cause of their misery and the plan of redemption for a fallen race. I am sure that if there are dwellers on other planets, they are either not involved in the sin problem, or else God has made satisfactory provision for them. The God of the Universe is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is entirely able to support the entire creation and is able to govern it in righteousness.”
Graham fielded this question numerous times over the years (see the end of this post), but his answer remained consistent.
- The Bible didn’t mention life in outer space
- Life beyond the Earth was not part of the Bible’s message
- Nothing about the discovery of extraterrestrial life would undermine any essential element of the Christian faith
- He personally believed that extraterrestrial life exists
- Though he initially allowed for the possibility that God had made satisfactory provision for fallen aliens, he eventually decided that only mankind was fallen in the universe, therefore:
- Aliens did not need salvation, and
- Mankind was the special focus of the universe
What is significant about his views is that while many anti-alien critics claim that the possibility of extraterrestrial life somehow undermines the Gospel, the Gospel was, undeniably, at the forefront of Billy Graham’s thinking.
Here are just a few of the many times where Billy Graham addressed the question of extraterrestrial life: