I am a science teacher. So far I haven’t had any issues with my faith and Biology or my position on evolution but with the recent discovery of water on Mars I’m starting to wonder…”What if there was bacteria or some other life form on Mars? What does that mean?” I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this and could help a sister out?
As far as I know there is no biblical issue raised by the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe than the earth. The question of life elsewhere is simply not mentioned in the Bible, so it is hard to see how this question could impact Christian faith. Could God create life elsewhere? Of course he could. Did he create life elsewhere? I have no idea and no way to even guess.
Having said that, perhaps the only place in the universe where life may now or may once have existed that humans in our lifetimes might actually be able to decide if it is true is Mars. My opinion is that it is more likely than not that very simple, bacteria-like life once existed on Mars and may even still exist under the surface of the planet. A NASA article in early 1990’s gave significant evidence that such life did indeed exist in the past. The fact is that meteorites from Mars have landed on the earth. They have been found in Antartica on top of the icecap. Some of these meteorites have shown evidence which suggests, but does not prove, that life did exist in the past in the form of microbes. It is also likely that in the past material from the earth could have entered space due to asteroid impact, which might have seeded life from the earth to Mars. Once life existed on the earth, it is not a big stretch to believe that it could have seeded such life on Mars. Bacterial spores can remain viable for thousands of years in extremes of cold and dryness.
Of course, I do not know if life existed or exists on Mars. The search for methane, a by-product of most microbial life, has not yielded much evidence. On the other hand, there definitely is enough water on the planet to support extremely simple lifeforms such as some of the extremophile microbes on the earth. We will see, and it will be fun anticipating the investigation.