Human colonization of other planets is a recurrent subject of science fiction. From Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950) to Andy Weir’s The Martian (2011), sci-fi authors have been imagining human civilization on Mars for a long time. With advances in technology, growing economic concerns, and worries about the earth’s environmental stability, the push for extraterrestrial habitation is at the forefront of the scientific community’s focus.
Mars, one of Earth’s closest neighboring planets, is arguably the best possible destination for human expansion beyond the boundaries of our world. The temperature and sunlight conditions of Mars’ surface are closer to Earth’s conditions than on any other celestial body in the solar system. However, with reduced air pressure and an atmosphere of only 0.1% oxygen, most human life would not survive without complex life-support systems and protective living structures. Still, the scientific community persists in discovering a way to see science fiction become science fact on Mars.
Christians do not need to fear Mars colonization efforts. Colonizing Mars is not akin to abandoning Earth or the world God has given us. The Bible tells us that everything in God’s creation—galaxies, stars, planets, people, plants, animals—all things were created for God’s glory (Psalm 8:3; 19:1; Isaiah 43:7; 48:13). We are not forbidden from exploring our world, so we can assume the same holds true for other planets.
Spiritually speaking, humanity could glorify God just as effectively on Mars as it can on Earth. God is omnipresent, and He is present on Mars as much as on Earth. The believer’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, no matter where he or she goes (1 Corinthians 3:16; Psalm 148:1–14). Believers living on Mars in the future would not need to fear being “left behind” during the rapture in the end times (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:51–52), because God is not limited by the bounds of Earth’s atmosphere (Psalm 139:7–12; Jeremiah 23:23–24; 1 Kings 8:27).
Politically speaking, one of the concerns with colonizing Mars is how civil laws and culture would be established in a Martian colony. In 1967, the United Nations created the “Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies.” This treaty stipulates that “no country may take claim to space or its inhabitants.” Since colonizing Mars would present such dangerous and challenging obstacles to human life, it is assumed that community laws on the Red Planet would likely be quite different from those on Earth. If Mars colonization is actualized, Christians within the scientific and political communities should be vigilant in helping to establish moral, humane laws and practices for the new civilization.
Christians may safely view the idea of Mars colonization simply as a continued advancement of scientific endeavor and expansion of knowledge. Supporting Mars colonization efforts is to support space exploration, scientific research, and interplanetary study—it is not a subscription to doomsday scenarios, global warming hoaxes, overpopulation fears, or any other enviro-political issue.