Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org.

Dear Roger,

If life exists on other planets, did Jesus die and resurrect for them, too?

Sincerely, Tom

Dear Tom,

What a great Easter question!

Revelation 13:6 describes Jesus as the "Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.”

Could it be that Jesus was crucified and then resurrected on a cosmic cross before God spoke the universe into existence?

“World” is the English translation for the Greek word “cosmos." Jesus was the Lamb slain before the creation of the cosmos. Sometimes, "cosmos" is translated as "universe."

Notice that He was slain "from" or "before" the creation of the cosmos.

The idea that our universe is populated with others is not hard to imagine any more. Our universe is “carbon based” and life-friendly. It stands to reason that life on earth is not the only life in the universe. Scientists have already found over 400 planets orbiting distant stars. Approximately 25 of them are in the bio-life zones surrounding stars that could sustain life as we know it. A billion trillion more stars exist that have yet to be observed. The number of planets in our universe must be mind-boggling.

Personally, I have a hard time imagining that the only life in the universe is on our little planet Earth. After all, our sun us just a second-rate star tucked between two spiral arms in the Milky Way galaxy. We are not even in a spiral arm! Our earth is cosmically insignificant!

Creating billions and billions of galaxies with trillions and trillions of planets seems like a tremendous waste of God’s time and energy if He created only one planet to harbor life.

When Henry Ford began mass producing cars in giant factories, thousands of cars emerged from the warehouse doors. It's inconceivable that Ford would build massive factories and then make one automobile and no more! In the same way, it is hard to conceive that God would make a massive universe and produce only one car — I mean only one planet with living humans. I believe that God loves people and He enjoys having many of them posited throughout His universe.

Jesus may have made an oblique reference to life on other planets in John 10:16. He told His disciples: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” Most probably Jesus was referring to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, some people have put this verse into a cosmic perspective and wondered if Jesus were talking about sheep on other planets.

Because of the distance between stars, the likelihood of actually visiting another planet to verify the existence of life there is miniscule. Wormholes are highly unlikely to work (if they even exist). The instantaneous connectivity of Quantum Mechanics may one day prove otherwise -- but probably not.

Then why bother to speculate on such questions?

Because such imaginings stretch our insight into the "height, depth and width" (Ephesians 3:14-19) of an all powerful, all-knowing and always-present God!

Again, why bother to speculate on such questions?

Because if alien life does exist throughout our universe, what might be God’s relationship with them?