The first two terms are used as synonyms. UFO means, “Unidentified Flying Object.” The term was coined by USAF in 1952. It was initially used to describe objects which remained unidentified after investigation. It is now colloquially used of unidentified objects whether investigated or not. UAP means “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena.” NASA uses this term. Until December 2022 the meaning was Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” Either way, it refers to “observations of the sky that cannot be identified as aircraft or known natural phenomena” (UFOs and UAPs Explained: This is How NASA Classifies Unidentified Aerial Objects by Clare Mulroy, February 16, 2023, usatoday.com).
The second two terms are also used as synonyms. LGM means, “little green men.” This term has been used since 1955, after a reported encounter in Kelly, Kentucky (Legend of ‘Little Green Men’ Invading Kelly, Kentucky, Continues by Liz Carey, October 22, 2021, dailyyonder.com). E.T. means “extra-terrestrial.” There was a popular movie released by this name in 1982. The movie was produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. Both of these terms refer to life from beyond earth.
What are Bible-believers to think about such things? Is it possible that there is life out there?
If there life out there, from whence did it come? Did it evolve by chance? Or, was it created?
Atheistic evolutionists believe that life happened by random chance. If such could happen on earth, then it is reasoned that it must have happened elsewhere in the universe. This belief drives much of modern space exploration. NASA says, “Are we alone in the universe? So far, the only life we know of is right here on our own planet Earth. But we’re looking” (The Search for Life, exoplanet.nasa.gov). A Harvard website says, “The universe is massive, with an estimated 70 quintillion planets – that is 70 followed by an additional 18 zeros. In the Milky Way, alone, where we reside, there are billions of planets. With these huge numbers, Earth seems very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This raises the question: are we truly alone in this vast space of the universe? Surely, there must be another planet out there with life, right? This is the question that organizations such as… NASA have been trying to answer for decades… Even as we continue on our quest to find other planets with life, we need to recognize that Earth may be more unique and precious than we think” (Finding Life in Space: Why are We So Special? By Wei Li, Harvard.edu).
Bible believing theists believe that life was created by intelligence, by God (Genesis 1). Life did not come forth by random chance. It was brought into existence by the will of God. If there is extra-terrestrial life (I am not saying that there is, but hypothetically) then it must be by creation that such exists. There is no evidence that non-living matter can turn into life.
Richard Dawkins speculated in an interview with Ben Stein that life on earth may have been seeded on earth by extra-terrestrials. He admits that there may be intelligent design, but reasons that it could have come from beings from another place in the universe (2008 film, Expelled). However, this does not solve the problem of the origin of life in the universe. It simply transfers the problem to a different place in the universe.
Could God have created life elsewhere in the universe if He wished? Certainly. God could do this if He wanted to do so. No one could argue against this.
The Bible seems to describe the earth as unique. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). In creation, God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth” (Genesis 1:14-15). The whole perspective concerns earth, and life on earth. The Bible is silent on life existing on other planets (No, Ezekiel did not see a UFO. See article Ezekiel’s Vision by B.H.). Admittedly, this alone does not rule out that possibility (Deuteronomy 29:29). However, it does seem a bit odd that God would tell us of seraphim, cherubim, angels, the devil, and demons and not tell us of extra-terrestrial life.
It is to this earth that Jesus, came, lived and died (John 1:1, 14, 29; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:9). Jesus’ death is described as a once-for-all event (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:26-27; 9:28; 10:14). Does once-for-all only apply to earth? Or, if there are extra-terrestrials, did He need to go to them also, and die for them? Bert Thompson remarked, “Since Christ died only once (Hebrews 7:27), it is a seeming violation of scripture to suggest that Christ somehow must go ‘planet hopping’ to die again and again as the propitiation for infractions of God’s plan made by creatures (possessing freedom of choice) in other parts of our vast universe” (Bert Thompson, Tract: Is There Intelligent Life in Outer Space?).
The Great Commission seems to refer to earth. Consider: “Go… and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19); “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). If there is extra-terrestrial life, are we to preach to them the message of the Gospel?
How does one explain sightings of UFOs by some who seem to be credible witnesses? NASA has five categories: (1) Airborne clutter; (2) Natural atmospheric phenomena; (3) USG or U.S. industry development programs; (4) foreign adversary systems; (5) other (usatoday.com). Notice the last category. I admit that some things are not so easy to explain. Some have speculated that these could be angelic or demonic activities. I see no reason to infer this.
We do not have all of the answers. We do not need to have all of the answers. We do not have to be able to explain everything. He has given to us “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). We need to trust God. “And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” (1 John 5:4). We need to obey Him. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).