I had a thought today as I was cleaning about what the word terrestrial means. Space is vast. So vast that humanity simply cannot believe that we are the only living beings in existence – that this tiny “Goldilocks” planet is the only one is the universe to support life of any kind. And of course there is no way to prove extra terrestrial life, or lack thereof. Some other “goldilocks” type planet candidates have been found but usually on closer inspection (or more information) they turn out to be different enough that humans at least couldn’t live on them.
Yet we persist in believing. And in many ways humans long to escape the limits of this planet. Whether it be New Age “planes of consciousnes” or spacecraft, humans around the world seek a way off, even if just to explore and come back. Of course, after thousands of years of staring at the stars, we now live in the Space age. We have as a race accomplished space travel…even if only to “get there first” over other humans! And the ultra rich can now escape Earth even if only for a quick visit to space. It boggles the mind!
Yet…what if there are extra terrestrial beings? The Bible’s answer is plain. There are. The Bible teaches that God made angelic beings as well as humans. Beings with a form of life, consciousness, will, and ability to interact on some level with us. Beings that can appear as terrifying (their first recorded words are usually “Fear Not”), or who can appear as human as you and I. Beings who, as recorded in various books of the Bible, exist to do God’s will…and yet, some of them (a third according to one verse) chose to reject that purpose and rebel against God. According to Scripture, they were locked out of their natural realm – Heaven, where they could be in God’s presence – and thrown to the earth. And, they will eventually in the fullness of time be thrown into a special place of eternal punishment prepared for them by God. They know about this. One demon (s) speaks to Jesus and asked if Jesus was going to throw them into that place before their time. In fact they beg Jesus to be allowed to enter pigs instead. Jesus gives his permission. ..and the whole herd of pigs goes absolutely mad and comits mass suicide.
The thought that struck me today is this, that demons (fallen angels are called demons by the Bible to differentiate them from the obedient, un-fallen ones), were created unlike us in significant ways. They were not created to be tied to the earth. They can move without regard to gravity. They are not, in some significant way, bound here the way we are. Yet demons were cast down to the Earth. In Job, God asks Satan (he demon “ring leader” if you like), what he has been up to. His answer each time is, going to and from on the Earth. That always struck me as an odd exchange. Of course God knows where Satan has been. Why ask? You can assume it is to introduce the subject of Job, God’s servant, but what if it means more? Is being stuck on earth a form of punishment for demons? Is God reminding Satan of his living hell, his limitedness? Is being terrestrial a terrible punishment for an extra terrestrial being? It sure would explain, at least in part, their absolute hatred of humanity – a terrestrial species who has the promise of eternal joy in the presence of the Lord for those who trust in Jesus. And the demons get…Hell. That has to really chafe. It isn’t like they can forget their low “estate” either because some verses of the Bible indicate that demons struggle against angels. That must be like having otherworldly salt rubbed into the gaping wound.
It is sobering to think of. And we still miss the point. In Luke 10 Jesus sent the disciples out to do his work. They came back rejoicing that even the demons had obeyed them. And Jesus replies, paraphrased, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven. I have given you (all my powers). But don’t rejoice that the demons obey you, rather rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” Those poor disciples always miss the point. (As fo we so often!) They see victory over God’s enemies as the supreme good while missing the point that they have that power because they have been given part of God’s authority, because they are now part of God’s family! How supremely reassuring for us. That we, brought into familial relationship with our creator, will be able to enjoy him forever in perfect fulfillment of our created purpose. Hallelujah! :)