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Space Exploration in Postmillennial Perspective

If the moon and Mars were to be colonized some time in the next 100 years, how would this affect the viability of a pre-trib rapture view?

Or how about this question: How do eschatological views affect the discussion on the existence of extraterrestrial life?

This is a topic I’ve always been interested in. I am a big fan of science fiction novels and programs such as the X-Files and Star Trek. As a Christian, I see these stories as entertaining ideas, or as one science fiction writer called them, “thought experiments.” I don’t believe in UFO’s or extraterrestrials, but I find the concept interesting. Even the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote a Space Trilogy, which like his Chronicles of Narnia series is an allegory relating to Christian theology.

As a high school sophomore, I wrote a science fiction novella about an atheist who invents a space ship capable of interstellar travel. After an argument with his wife, who is a Christian, he decides to travel to the nearest star and discovers a strange utopian civilization. When he returns to earth he discovers that the entire earth is deserted. He is left with no choice except to travel back to the utopian planet. To his surprise, he discovers that his wife and her friends are on the planet. Even though he has traveled many additional light years, they haven’t aged. The situational irony, of course, is that the rapture has occurred while he was en route to the Bernard Star solar system – which people thought at that time was the closest star capable of having a solar system. The novel ends with the realization that the distant planet was heaven. The fate of the protagonist was that he was thrown into a black hole, which according to my story, was the second death described in Revelation 21:8.

The biggest irony in all of this is that when I wrote this story, I was not converted to Christ. I had read the works of Hal Lindsey and seen TV programs on the topic of “The Terminal Generation.” I used to believe that the rapture had to be very close because the Bible spoke only of people being “caught up” in the air to meet the Lord. Once people began to explore other planets, I thought, that would throw a monkey wrench into the possibility of the rapture occurring while people were on other planets. At least I didn’t see any mention of it in the so-called “end-times” prophecies of the Bible.

Then ten years later as a new Christian, I read a book by John Jefferson Davis called, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered. Postmillennialism differs from the traditional premillennial view in that there is no “rapture” of the church sometime in a seven year tribulation of wars, diseases and natural calamities. Postmillennialism teaches essentially that the world will become gradually Christianized as time goes by. The Second Coming and the rapture will occur after a long Golden Age of peace and prosperity.

Today as a postmillennialist, I believe that we have enough time left in history to colonize space – and possibly one day travel to other solar systems. I don’t think we will find aliens on other worlds, but I often wonder whether or not God created some of these worlds in a way that would allow men from the planet earth to create biospheres on other planets. Is it possible that the Great Commission involves spreading the Gospel for beyond our own solar system?

More about postmillennialism.

Comments

Your comments are welcome!

I thought I was the only one who thought this way (lol). It was good to read your piece. I too believe that there is a long (or longer than pre-trib pre-mill eschatology implies) future ahead of us in which the Church will advance through the Cosmos (whether
there are other sentient species out there or not). I have read a
couple other things from this perspective online, but not much.
I hope you still monitor these
posts, since it's been a long time
since you posted, with, sadly, no
comments.

Posted by tolman on 11/27/2014 12:24 AM #

Yeah, it’s hard to see much future for space travel with an imminent-rapture, premillennial outlook. Sadly, theologians rarely ever mention the topic of space colonization. I think James Jordan is one of the few who has. He seems excited about its prospects. R.J. Rushdoony, on the other hand, just saw the space program as a big statist project, not the beginning of a new era.

I used to think it unlikely that we would find life in space, but I’ve changed my view. EVERYWHERE we go on Earth, even the most extreme places, seems to be teeming with life. Even way up in the upper atmosphere. So I suspect we’ll find quite a bit of life elsewhere, which should give a huge impetus to further exploration.

Regarding C.S. Lewis’ trilogy, there was a recent article that some may find interesting:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1754/1

Posted by Gordon R. Vaughan on 10/18/2011 01:41 AM #

Jay, you may have already read my essay “Futures for Sale.” The conclusion echoes your thoughts: <ul>
When fundamentalism committed itself to a no-future future, the humanists were glad to claim the discarded trifle for their own. For a while, writers populated their Darwinian futures with characters who were motivated by derivative religious values. That moral capital has been consumed. The bleakness of the current weltanschuung opens the door again for people who have a vision, who have a passion, who believe that they and their grandchildren truly have a future.

God gave Christianity a thousand years to develop its distinctive civilization in Europe, before giving His people a whole new world to occupy for His glory. God gave us another 500 years to carry the ball forward in this part of the world. Has He also hung the next step before our eyes? The first meal taken on the moon was the Lord’s Supper. I ask God to let the day come when I’ll be able to look up into the sky at night, and pray for descendents pursuing their callings on the moon. Or even, perhaps, on Mars. In the meantime, I ask for grace to present the heroes of the future with a future as big as the promises of God. </ul>

http://www.artsreformation.com/a001/ts-futures.html

Posted by Thomas Smedley on 04/10/2012 11:02 AM #

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

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Running Time: 28 minutes

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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Massacre of Innocence (DVD)

Exposing The Occult Roots of Abortion

This presentation looks at the spiritual roots of abortion and exposes the myths surrounding child killing. Little known historical facts about abortion and how they relate to modern feminism are presented logically and accurately. Has been effective in converting many to a pro-life position.

Massacre of Innocence goes where no pro-life presentation has gone before in “tearing the lid off abortion” to reveal the spiritual realities we must battle if we will bring an end to this crime. The presentation is absorbing, fast-paced, informative and incredibly devastating to any attempt to justify abortion.

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— Congressman Robert K. Dornan

Running time: 85 minutes

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