Adventist teaching: Yes
Biblical teaching: Not specified
An interesting aspect of Seventh-Day Adventist theology is their belief in intelligent life on millions of other worlds. This is ultimately coming from Ellen G. White who the SDA Church believes was divinely inspired and corrects inaccurate interpretations of scripture.
In the preface of Ellen White’s capstone work, The Great Controversy, the publisher note speaks on this concept where they write:
Happily we have no evidence that, outside the apostate angels, any other world than our own has fallen under the influence of this sinful revolt. But this is enough to make it a matter of absorbing interest to us; for Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven, this world has become the sole theater of the struggle between right and wrong. All men have become involved therein. Between them and salvation there lies the problem of recovery from sin, the attainment to a condition of reconciliation and acceptance with God.The Great Controversy (1888), Preface, pg. a.5
According to Mrs. White, all of the intelligences on these other worlds are keeping the 10 Commandments which govern them as they never fell into sin like humanity on earth did. These intelligences are all watching in on the earth like a stage as the great controversy unfolds. These intelligences supposedly marveled at the mystery of the incarnation as they watched Christ in human form go about a sinless life. It was this act of Christ that she also alleges vindicated the character of God to these other intelligences in these worlds which is the central theme of the entire Great Controversy paradigm—God having to vindicate His character against accusations made by Satan regarding the 10 Commandments and God’s character.
These other worlds allegedly existed prior to the creation of earth and the rebellion of Satan in heaven with the great controversy never extending to these other worlds, only the earth. Not just that, but the earth is supposedly much smaller than these other worlds.
The Bible nowhere speaks to any of this so it isn’t truthful when the SDA Church vehemently asserts that everything they believe is plainly in the Bible and that Mrs. White never adds anything to scripture, but only expounds upon what it already present. Adventist apologists have tried to refer to places such as Psalm 103:19, Ezekiel 1, and Revelation 4-5 to try and find biblical support for these claims, but none of those pericopes of scripture state these very specific details.
Some have also tried appealing to Acts 2:19 where Peter is citing Joel regarding signs in the heavens in the last days. But again, neither Peter nor Joel say that there are other worlds that existed prior to the creation of the earth, that are much larger than earth, and all of the intelligent life on those planets observes the 10 Commandments, they never fell into sin, and they all stare into the earth like it’s a stage where they watch the unfolding of the great controversy taking place. This is horrible eisegesis of the biblical text.
Some of them will point to 2 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul talks about a man, whether in the body or out of the body, who was taken to the third Heaven and say inexpressible things. They will assert that this proves Ellen White’s claims are plainly found in the Bible. But again we have a case of playing doctrine-in-search-of-a-text to try and bring these extra biblical statements to the bible to try and find somewhere for them to fit.
Paul says this individual was taken to heaven, not shown other worlds in the universe with unfallen creatures that keep the 10 Commandments and are all watching in on the earth like a movie.
Others will try and cite Hebrews 1:2 KJV and Hebrews 11:3 KJV in the King James specifically because it says Jesus Christ was appointed the heir of all things, through whom also the world was created. The King James’s rendering says “worlds” plural. This is an instance of them having to rely on an English translation to try and find support. Even if this translation were to be granted to them it doesn’t state anything like what Ellen White claimed about these worlds. All of those details are missing.
Another popular set of verses they try and appeal to are Colossians 1:16-17. But like with the other places they try and appeal to, Paul doesn’t say that there are other worlds with creatures that never fell who all look in on the earth as a great controversy plays out between Christ and Satan.
Furthermore, Romans 8:20-1 is clear that all of creation was subjected to futility by man’s sin and is awaiting the day that it is no longer subjected to bondage with the curse placed on it in Genesis removed. This is not only relegated to the creation of the earth.
Extra-terrestrial life may very well exist. But to try and assert what Ellen White did as being a plain “thus saith the Lord” in scripture is not only a stretch, but outright false. The fact is the Bible simply doesn’t tell us these things and, for Christians, the only infallible rule of faith and practice for the Christian is the Word of God, not Ellen White.