“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know (Job 38:4-5)!”

The report was relayed that NASA had announced evidence for life on Mars. Actually, that’s not what the recent press release stated but that was how some interpreted the news. NASA actually announced that the Mars rover Curiosity had discovered organic compounds, the “building blocks for life,” in the red planet’s soil. (1) Jennifer Eigenbrode, a NASA biochemist said, “We’re in a really good position to move forward looking for signs of life.” That is far from any real news or hard evidence for extraterrestrial life but NASA basked in the glow and many accepted the press conference findings as further evidence bolstering the narrative that life out there is common and arises from naturalistic causes.

NASA has a history over the last two decades of such sensational press releases that suggest that they have discovered evidence for life outside of our planet. In 1996 the world gasped when NASA displayed a rock, ALH84001, in a glass case that was touted as of Martian origin and proclaimed, “We believe that these are indeed microfossils from Mars.” (2) POW! There it was. Proof that life exists elsewhere. The New York Times blasted the news that, “Mars lived, rock shows Meteorite holds evidence of life on another world.” Except it didn’t. Microbiologist Andrew Steele discovered that Earthly bacteria had contaminated the Mars meteorite and spread into the cracks in its interior. Today few believe that ALH84001 contained alien microbes.

But that has not deterred NASA from continuing with similar claims of evidence for life on Mars, such as this month’s new information. As a Houstonian I am proud of NASA’s history and believe their contributions to the world are immeasurable. But does anyone else wonder if they are now really promoting science or a narrative they desperately need to be true to sustain their relevance and funding?

But announcing that they have found organic material is very far from evidence that life ever existed on Mars. As Jonathan Wells Ph.D. explained, even given the components for a living cell, “all the enzymes, the DNA, and so forth – your still immeasurably far from life.” (3) The Bible explicitly states that God created life on earth from the dust of the ground (Genesis 1:20, 24, 2:7). As much as science has studied life and its necessary conditions and ingredients they have yet to bring life from non-living materials and biogenesis, all life comes from existing life, remains the law of science.

Life began at God’s word and continues to be sustained by it (Deuteronomy 8:3). It is possible that there is life outside of Earth but there cannot be life outside of Christ (Colossians 1:16, John 14:6, 17:2). Those who exist outside of His lifegiving words (John 6:63, 68) are said to be perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 2:15, 4:3), like a fish out of water gasping in the harsh red soil of Mars.

Our ten-year-old niece Allye recently protested to a friend the notion of naturalistic causes of life and professed her faith in man’s creation by God. Her friend’s mother chided her, “It’s science Allye!” Is it science or is it a narrative that allows one to deny that ONLY God can give life? Christians are not anti-science but we do hold fast to the truth that there is no life outside of Christ (1 John 5:12). It’s the law of life.

“The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47).”

  3. Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2004, p.39.

Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.