Church Planting on Mars?


Ok, I have to admit, this is pretty cool.

Yesterday, Elon Musk, known for his innovative companies SpaceX and Tesla Motors, announced an ambitious plan to colonize Mars in the next 50 to 100 years. Something that could only be dreamed of in science fiction novels and movies is now closer to becoming a reality. According to Musk, he envisions humans becoming an “interplanetary species” within our lifetime. Motivated by the scientific projects that a doomsday event is imminent for earth, his company is making a huge investment into the future and sustainability of human life beyond the gravitational pull of our celestial home.

This raises a number of ethical questions for Christians. Didn’t God create Adam & Eve on this earth with the purpose to subdue and multiply the human race within it? Should mankind seek to save itself from impending doom from global warming or a meteor strike? Are we meant to leave the confines of earth’s atmosphere for colonizing distant worlds? Should we support ventures such as those of SpaceX or NASA?

I have to admit, in the past my view of God was relatively small. God was a sovereign creator of the earth, planets, stars and every inch of the galactic expanse. He was both the architect and maker of the universe, and the initial force that sparked the “Big Bang”. So what part of this understanding of God makes him relatively small, you ask? My view of God was not fully sufficient. In other words, I misunderstood and misrepresented his perfect holiness and sovereignty.

Scripture testifies that God is the sole maker of the universe. From every atom to every building block of DNA, he envisioned it, designed it and created it. It says in Colossians 1:16-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible … all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” The “him” that Paul refers to in this passage is actually speaking of Jesus Christ, one of the members of the Godhead. How crazy is that to think of? God, through Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, is who created all things seen and unseen, and presently – actively – holds all things together. The molecules of air you are breathing, the chair you are sitting on, the flesh on your bones, and the orbit of the earth around the sun, all of it is being actively held together by the grace of God and “by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).

A small view of God would hesitate to question and even consider ambitious ventures such that of SpaceX sinful. With a small view of God, anything that happens outside of the bounds of our atmosphere is no longer under the rule and reign of God’s eye or “plan”. Therefore it must not be endorsed.

However, a much bigger and accurate view of God’s sovereignty reminds us that “all things” are under his watchful eye and care, including the heavens. This includes other planetary worlds in and outside of our solar system. (The discussion of “is there life on other planets” is for another time.) If God holds all things together, and if he intends to redeem all of creation, including the heavens and the earth (Revelation 21:1), then we must start thinking about how God thinks. “All things” are just that, “all things”.

I highly doubt when the disciples heard Jesus say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” they understood him to also mean the future nation of Mars. They were too focused on sharing the gospel with the known world in the Middle East, north Africa, Western Asia and the Roman empire. Regardless, the mission was set, “go to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8), and so they did. But what about beyond the earth?

As part of his great commission, Jesus reminds the disciples that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). He is the creator, sustainer and sovereign over all things, both on the earth and beyond its orbit. Where mankind exists, so must and will the gospel, because Jesus is there too. I’m excited to see the technological advancements of mankind and the ingenuity to bring life to a lifeless planet. It speaks to the depths of our souls, lifeless apart from the Holy Spirit living within us, terraforming our souls to be living and breathing works of holiness. If Musk’s vision becomes a reality, we’ll need a new wave of brave pioneers and pilgrims to ride aboard the science fiction ships of the future to a new world to plant the first churches on Mars.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you volunteer yourself to go? Share your thoughts by leaving me a comment!