"This is only a test."
- —System tests of the U.S. Emergency Alert System
The universe is a parallel simulation. Some time after God spoke the universe into existence with a big bang, Satan made a bar bet with God to see how easy it is to tempt an agent that has free will. The hypothesis was that merely by making suggestions to people to act like dicks on the theory that God does not want what's best for people, Satan could make God lose control. So God set out to disprove this lie. Over the course of quintillions of seconds, he made numerous star systems, some with an orbiting class M planet. Earth and other class M planets in Mutter's Spiral were created as purgatories, or stress-test harnesses, to sort out usable souls from unusable souls. From each planet in the galaxy, "two great lights" could be seen, its star and one satellite.
Other stars were placed to hold the galaxy together and to act as aids to navigation and timekeeping. Many of these uninhabited star systems are binary star systems, and in any cases, many planets are so terrifying that they're unsuitable for life created in God's image. Genesis 1 states that creation took six "days", which some might object gives no time for distant star systems' light to reach a planet. But other scriptures make clear that these days represent periods far longer than 24 hours.
Over billions of years, billions of life forms arose and became extinct. But the Spirit of God fluttered to and fro over the waters, guiding evolution to the point where a species ended up with enough intellect to be called "in God's image".
To prevent hijinks like those seen in the speculative fiction films Independence Day and Planet 51 from contaminating the experiment done on each planet, God placed class M planets thousands of light-years apart so that sapient life cannot reasonably survive a trip from one planet to another, even at a significant fraction of the speed of light. To put it simply: man was not meant to visit other star systems. The 20 light years to Gliese 581g would take millennia in a rocket, and the amount of fuel even for a round trip from Earth to Mars and back would be impractical. Even the best slower-than-light propulsion systems known to science fiction would have trouble making it anywhere in one piece, as explained in this Vsauce video. So aliens are everywhere, just not nearby.
One of these star systems is the real world, and another is the game world.
For each planet, there are several other planets where only a few variables are changed, so that hypotheses can be tested against a control group of similar planets. Furthermore, a planet at a habitable distance from its parent star will have an orbit roughly one Earth year long. So like the real world, the game world has 24-hour solar days, 29.5306-day synodic months, and 365.2422-day years. And like the real solar system, the star system of the game world has a gas giant or two in an outer orbit to act as a traffic cop to divert rogue comets from the experiment.
Normally, Satan's power is only to tempt people toward sin. But occasionally, God and Satan go into "case in point" mode where Satan gets a chance to interact more directly with test subjects' lives. Adam Tod Brown of Cracked has referred to the story of Job as Lucifer "work[ing] social experiment shenanigans in tandem with God himself like a couple of power-drunk buddy cops."
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|Behind the scenes information|
Tropes related to the creation myth:
- Why We Don't Need to Worry About Space Invaders by Ray Villard on 2010-05-07
- The importance of being Jupiter from Science News on 1995-02-18
- Ryan Menezes. "5 Awesome Things Invented by the Last People You'd Expect". Cracked, 2013-11-10. Accessed 2013-11-10.
- Andrew Heaton. "5 Real Planets Way Weirder Than Anything in Science Fiction". Cracked, 2014-01-25. Accessed 2014-01-25.
- In the Bible, "day" is often used figuratively when referring to events on God's timescale. At least twice it is explicitly stated to refer to periods as long as a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). This correlates nicely with the likening of Adam's 930-year lifetime (Genesis 5:5) to a day: "for in the day you eat from it you will positively die" (Genesis 2:17, NWT). Notice further that the seventh creative day never had an "evening and [...] morning" after it like the six from Genesis 1.
- Were the nephilim E.T.s? on ChristianAnswers.net
- Discover magazine blog post from October 4, 2010
- Forget space travel: it's just a dream by Alan Finkel in Cosmos Online on April 11, 2001
- The High Frontier, Redux by Charlie Stross on June 16, 2007
- Are we alone, or is there life elsewhere in the universe? on ChristianAnswers.net
- Maddie Stone. "Aliens Are Probably Everywhere, Just Not Anywhere Near Humans". Motherboard, 2014-12-04. Accessed 2014-12-04.
- "Earth's twin discovered beyond solar system". Al Jazeera, 2011-12-06. Accessed 2012-06-28.
- Adam Tod Brown. "6 Compelling Reasons to Consider Switching to Satan". Cracked, 2014-10-24. Accessed 2014-10-24.