“I always wish to be the spokesman for these star peoples who also are part of God’s glory, and I will continue to bring it to the attention of the Holy Mother Church.”[i]—Monsignor Corrado Balducci, Exorcist Archdiocese of Rome
“We are witnessing a masterful satanic subterfuge that appears to involve the appearance of ‘angels’ and ‘aliens.’ Many are asking whether the coming of Antichrist can be far removed.”[ii]— Timothy J. Dailey PhD, Senior Fellow Family Research Council
On July 7th, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI released an encyclical Caritas in Veritate, or “Charity in Truth,” calling for a New World Order. Section 67 of that document spoke of an “urgent need of a true world political authority” one with “real teeth.”
In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.[iii]
While there are several elite globalist organizations working toward that end, according to their website, “The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.”[iv] In a report entitled Global Risks 2013, among the top five “X factors from nature” is the discovery of alien life, which “could have profound psychological implications for human belief systems.”[v] The report explains that this might present a challenge to the assumptions of religion:
Over the long term the psychological and philosophical implications of the discovery could be profound. If lifeforms (even fossilized lifeforms) are found in our own solar system, for example, it will tell us that the origin of life is “easy”—that anyplace in the universe life can emerge, it will emerge. It will suggest that life is as natural and as ubiquitous a part of the universe as stars and galaxies are. The discovery of even simple life would fuel speculation about the existence of other intelligent beings and challenge many assumptions which underpin human philosophy and religion.[vi]
In other words, even microbial extraterrestrial life could be perceived as a confirmation of the mediocrity principle (explained elsewhere in this series). However, it really only entails an expansion of traditional design reasoning, and the existence of simple life does not by any means demand the existence of intelligent life.
Several questions are suggested. Why is it that many evangelical Christians doubt the existence of extraterrestrial life? Why do Christian scholars like Dr. Walter Martin, Dr. Timothy Dailey, Dr. John Weldon, Dr. John Ankerberg, and Dr. Chuck Missler see connections to demons and biblical, end-time prophecy? Would Christians panic or lose their faith given an ET disclosure event? This series will answer those questions while addressing the existence of extraterrestrials in light of biblical revelation, examining contemporary Roman Catholic views, and offering a scriptural defense for its connection to eschatology.
Extraterrestrials and the Biblical Philosophy of History
Perhaps one of the most overlooked differences between Christians and unbelievers is the notion that world history is actually heading somewhere. The Bible presents the ultimate account of history with a cosmic scope. It has a very real and decisive goal in the return of Jesus Christ. Theologian Charles Ryrie wrote, “The Scriptures per se are not a philosophy of history, but they contain one.”[vii] Because God is the creator and sustainer of all things, most theologians agree that the inherent historical trajectory is universal and ultimate. From Genesis to Revelation, a cosmic conflict centering on humankind is the focus. It begins in a perfect garden with an innocent man and woman who are subsequently corrupted by a usurper, and it ends in that garden with the conflict resolved. The bulk of the Scriptures describes the redemptive process, salvation history, as God’s relationship to humanity. How comprehensively one views the scope of revealed history is crucial to one’s position in this discussion. Even though Scripture is silent on the existence of extraterrestrial life, that silence is suggestive.
The biblical philosophy of history accounts for the range of events from the dawn of Creation to the return of Christ. Genesis 1:1 boldly declares that God created the entire universe “in the beginning,” rendered from the Hebrew term בראשית (bereshit), which is also the name of the book in the Hebrew Bible. Dr. John Sailhamer explains that this denotes an unspecified duration of time: “It is a block of time which precedes an extended series of time periods. It is a time before time. The term does not refer to a point in time but to a period or duration of time which falls before a series of events.”[viii] Modern cosmology affirms that the universe had a beginning. We find the reluctant twentieth-century acceptance of this fact by scientists a verification of what the Bible stated thousands of years prior. Might there have been other worlds prior to our own during this primeval time of the universe? Some have even suggested a civilization on Mars, where the angels rebelled. We will save that for a later entry, but there is supporting evidence.
There have been dissenting opinions on the use of bereshit, but an examination of the biblical data verifies Sailhamer’s exegesis.[ix] The Bible mentions that the angels were present and singing while God created the Earth (Job 38:7). Angels are created beings and were necessarily created before the Earth. It is clear that the Earth is already present before the days of the Creation week have ensued (Genesis1:2). A day is never specified when God created the angels, chemical elements, molecules like water, and the Earth. They are already present as the Spirit hovers over the waters. Thus, there had to be time for all of this to occur prior to day one. This confirms that the rendering of bereshit as an unspecified duration is indeed correct. God reveals further details about Creation through the prophet Isaiah, who wrote, “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18). This speaks of God forming the Earth, which is not accounted for in Genesis. Since the Hebrew word תֹּהוּ (tohu), translated here “in vain,” also appears in Genesis 1:2 as “without form,” this statement in Isaiah could imply a contrast between the Earth, which was formed to be inhabited, and the other planets, which were not. Indeed, the ones we do know about are not.
For many of us, this begs the question of why God bothered to create the other planets. As we have detailed elsewhere, the concept of wasted space only applies to beings with limited resources and, in this case, the same applies to effort. Again, God used Isaiah to explain: “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding” (Isaiah 40:28). He does not get tired, and He does not run out of resources. In fact, we have been given an answer. God reveals in His word that the heavens above serve for: 1) signs; 2) time keeping; and 3) illumination (Genesis 1:14–15). Most importantly, they testify to God’s glory and power:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge. (Psalms 19:1–2)
The Bible states that the Earth was originally given to humans, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psalms 115:16). However, dominion over the Earth was usurped by a rebellious reptilian and is now under his controlling influence (Psalms 82; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:2; 1 John 5:19). The Apostle Paul alludes to the entire Creation being cursed when Adam sinned (Romans 8:20–22). A strict, literal rendering of the first phrase of the Greek text of Romans 8:20 (“ῇ γὰρ ματαιότητι ἡ κτίσις ὑπετάγη”) reads, “To for futility the creation has been subjected.” The one doing the subjecting is necessarily God, because the last phrase, “him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Romans 8:20b) would exclude Satan. The meaning of the term “κτίσις,” which the KJV renders “creature,” is derivative of the verb “κτίζω,” “to create,” and can be understood as “creation,” or, according to a scholarly lexicon, “the universe as the product of God’s activity in creation—‘universe, creation, what was made.’”[x] In fact, missionary scholars who translate the New Testament into various foreign languages try to find a term in the receptor language that means “everything that exists.”[xi] With this in mind, we wonder, is it pressing too hard on this text to understand this curse as applying to the furthest reaches of outer space?
Some may think we stretch it too far, but undeniably, the Fall of man extended into the realm of nature (Genesis 3:17). A better question might be, “Is there warrant to limit it exclusively to Earth?” Based on the universal language in the epistle to the Romans, it does not seem justified. Paul taught, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22, underline added). When we consider the toxic conditions in space and on the other planets in our solar system, it seems to apply. If God did create beings similar to man, they would be included in the “whole creation.” However, if they were innocent, it would be unjust to subject them to a curse based on Adam’s Fall. Because God is just and consistent, this counts against the existence of sinless extraterrestrials as part of God’s Creation. Even so, we do know that Satan fell and took a host of angels with him. Taken at face value, the sin qua non (absolutely essential element) of history’s turmoil is the devil’s opposition to God (Genesis 3:1–5; cf. Revelation 20:10).
While sincere Christians have different views concerning eschatology, most agree on humankind’s central role in the divine conflict. For example, universal language describes God’s covenant with Israel: “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?” (Deuteronomy 4:32, underline added). This language implies the covenant is unique to Earth, exclusive to humans, and universally unprecedented. It follows that the incarnation of Jesus Christ as our Savior, delivered via Israel, is similarly universal.
The most compelling biblical argument for the uniqueness of terrestrial life is the incarnation. The Second Person of the Trinity, the One who brought the entire universe into existence (John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:16–17; Hebrews 1:1–2), became an everlasting member of the human race in the incarnation (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:24–25). He ascended to heaven bodily and sits on His throne as a man. This strongly counts against the existence of extraterrestrials and multiple incarnations on alien worlds, a topic we will address in “Exotheology: Nature and Grace.” Furthermore, the doctrine of the Second Coming is Earth-centered. Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10, underline added). This means the Earth, not some alien exoplanet, is God’s chosen location for His kingdom. After all, even the angels long to look into these things (1 Peter 1:12).
Apart from divine beings described in Scripture, we cannot say with certainty whether God has created intelligent beings living on other worlds. God is free to do as He pleases. If He did, as C. S. Lewis has argued, perhaps the vast distances involved are “God’s quarantine precautions” meant to protect them from us![xii] We know that we are fallen. The twentieth-century death toll of 262 million killed by their governments leaves no room for protest.[xiii]
Some point out that the Bible is silent about automobiles and myriad other modern developments, but we do not argue that cars or toaster ovens don’t exist. For example, Lutheran theologian and professor Ted Peters’ critique of the fundamentalist position concludes:
It seems to me that fundamentalist interpreters perceive with accuracy the salvific structure inherent to the developing UFO myth in our society and, further, that this myth stands at some variance with what Christians want to teach. For this the appropriate response is Christian apologetic theology, to be sure. Yet, the apologetic argument as actually raised here is unnecessarily confused with fallacious appeals to the exclusive authority of the Bible.[xiv]
While we will address the “UFO myth” in a later entry, Peters is referring to an argument by Frank Allnut in the book, Infinite Encounters (1978), which argues against the existence of ETs somewhat similarly to the above. Peters points out the fallacy of arguing from ignorance (i.e., the Bible does not mention ETs, therefore ETs do not exist.) However, we are not saying that the Bible’s silence leads to the definite conclusion that “ETs don’t exist.” We concede an argument from “silence is tenuous,” but we are not arguing from silence as much as from the revelation we have been given concerning history’s goal. Furthermore, it’s somewhat of a category error. Automobiles, Swiss watches, and toaster ovens are not inspiring, theological revisionism. For us, the crux of the matter is the sufficiency of Scripture and, given the implications, we doubt God would leave His church so unprepared. Biblical prophecy lays out a future scenario, and it isn’t at all like Star Trek. For this reason, we advise militant agnosticism for now and proactive skepticism regarding any future claim to extraterrestrial disclosure.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO
JUMP FORWARD IN INTERVIEW BELOW TO 15-MIN MARK, WATCH WHAT FORMER D.O.D. INTELLIGENCE OFFICER LUIS ELIZONDA ADMITS ABOUT THE PENTAGON’S CONCLUSIONS ON DEMONS AND UFOS (HE WILL DISCLOSE FURTHER INFO ON THIS IN THE UPCOMING “GREAT DELUSION” DOCUMENTARY FROM SKYWATCH TV!)
Does ET Disclosure Threaten Christianity?
A few secular ufologists have suggested that Christians might lose their faith or even panic given an ET reality. Some of this stems from a report commissioned by NASA in 1960 widely known as The Brookings Report, which stated:
The Fundamentalist (and anti-science) sects are growing apace around the world and, as missionary enterprises, may have schools and a good deal of literature attached to them. One of the important things is that, where they are active, they appeal to the illiterate and semiliterate (including, as missions, the preachers as well as the congregation) and can pile up a very influential following in terms of numbers. For them, the discovery of other life—rather than any other space product—would be electrifying.[xv]
Since then, several surveys have attempted to determine whether religious folks would panic or lose their faith. The earliest attempt was the Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey (AUFORCS), conducted in 1994. This survey, directed by Victoria Alexander, wife of retired army colonel, Dr. John Alexander, focused on the responses of a relatively small sample of Protestant ministers, Roman Catholic priests, and Jewish rabbis. The findings were somewhat surprising to secularists because they indicated there would not be a crisis of faith. Colonel Alexander wrote of the report:
Victoria noted in her conclusions, “As the Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey illustrates, religion should not be summarily categorized as unresponsive or inflexible to challenging matters. They do not appear to be in danger of disintegration at the news that the UFO community believes would overwhelm them.” She goes on to state “that religious leaders did not believe their faith and the faith of their congregation would be challenged by contact with an advanced extraterrestrial civilization—one with or without a religion. According to many respondents, it would confirm God’s glory as the creator of the universe.”[xvi]
While this speaks to a greater resilience than expected by many secular ufologists, it has been noted that Roman Catholics were overrepresented in the survey.[xvii] Since then, Ted Peters has provided a valuable service to the family of faith by performing a more rigorously scientific survey that corroborates the religious noncrisis. The abstract reads:
The Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey was constructed to test the following hypothesis: upon confirmation of contact between earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse. Responses from individuals self-identifying with seven religious traditions—Roman Catholicism, mainline Protestantism, evangelical Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, Mormonism, Judaism, and Buddhism—indicate widespread acceptance of the existence of ETI and incorporation of ETI into their existing belief systems. Religious persons, for the most part, do not fear contact. Forecasts regarding imminent collapse of earth’s religious belief systems were found to be more prevalent among non-religious respondents than among religious respondents. This survey provides evidence that tends to disconfirm the hypothesis.[xviii]
Interestingly, Peters also found the expectation of a religious crisis was largely on the part of the nonreligious. Indeed, it seems that the popular notion concerning collapsing faith in the face of ET disclosure is overstated. Even though the 1960 Brookings Report said it would be “electrifying” for fundamentalists, it actually made the case that scientists with a naturalistic worldview might be more threatened:
It has been speculated that, of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man. Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to earth scientists.[xix]
Indeed, it was Stephen Hawking who warned in 2010 that contact would be “too risky.”[xx] The Christian faith is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the word of God in Scripture. Our faith is not predicated on something as tenuous as the existence of ETs. We are open to following the evidence where it leads and testing the spirits should such an occasion arise.
At this time we would like to address a few statements within the book, A. D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact, by Richard M. Dolan, Bryce Zabel, and Jim Marrs. Speaking to our position, the authors write:
People do not change overnight. For better as well as for worse, during times of stress, during periods of great uncertainty and even fear, believers will hold more closely than ever to their faith. One key article of faith among Christians is that God will not allow his creation, humankind, to be possessed by dark, Luciferian forces. Instead, it remains within the power of all souls to accept God and reject Satan.[xxi]
Actually, the Bible teaches that the world has been under the influence of dark forces since the Fall of Adam and remains so until Christ’s return (1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4). We refer you to the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. Also, the question of human autonomy in accepting God and rejecting Satan is a matter of intense intermural debate among Christians and is by no means a given. However, both sides of that discussion do agree that only the Holy Spirit can lead one to saving faith (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The authors of After Disclosure continue:
If the Christians are right about how they interpret the UFO phenomenon, it is hoped that the rest of humanity will thank them for their stand against a demonic presence masking as extraterrestrials. If they are wrong, or even incomplete, in their analysis, they will be seen as obstructionist or even dangerous, refusing to see the truth that stares them in the face.[xxii]
This is a fair assessment, but of course we think we are correct. Even so, we advise prayer and skepticism, not fear and violence, for our readers. If these events are connected to prophecy in the way many Christians expect them to be, then it is Jesus Christ, not His followers, who will resolve the situation. If we are incorrect in our view, Michael Heiser and Ted Peters are providing helpful answers as to how evangelical Christians might parse a genuine ET reality.
We realize that some of this discussion might seem inconsistent with our argument against ET belief based on a biblical philosophy of history, but an important qualification is in order. In light of the UFO phenomenon and the deceptive behavior of its associated entities, we think the existence of genuine ETs is, for all intents and purposes, a separate issue. David Fetcho made a similar point in the Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal: “The Bible does not demand that we believe one hypothesis or the other regarding the existence of physical beings elsewhere in the universe. The more pressing demand, both biblically and pragmatically, is to discern the activities of the Adversary through the various guises under which he operates.”[xxiii] A huge paradigm shift involving benevolent ET advisors guiding us in our spiritual evolution does not fit well with a biblical philosophy of history, but an alien disclosure deception does.
UP NEXT: Alien Disclosure vs. Biblical Prophecy
[i] Paola Leopizzi Harris, “Monsignor Corrado Balducci says Mexico is Blessed with UFO Sightings,” www.paolaharris.it March 28, 2006, http://www.delusionresistance.org/ufo/catholicism-ufos.html.
[ii] Timothy J. Dailey, The Millennial Deception: Angels, Aliens, and the Antichrist (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books Pub Co, 1995), 11.
[iii]Benedict XVI, “Caritas In Veritate” Vatican, last accessed January 14, 2013, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/encyclicals/documents/hf_ben-xvi_enc_20090629_caritas-in-veritate_en.html.
[v] World Economic Forum Global Risks 2013, World Economic Forum, last accessed January 17, 2013, http://reports.weforum.org/global-risks-2013/section-one/executive-summary/, 12.
[vi] Ibid., 59.
[vii] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Dispensationalism, revised ed. (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1995), 20.
[viii] John Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Books, 1996), 38.
[ix] For a discussion of the debate, see: R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 826.
[x] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, electronic ed. of the 2nd ed. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1996), 1.4 κτίσις.
[xii] C.S. Lewis, “Religion and Rocketry,” as quoted in The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays (Orlando, FL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), 92.
[xiv] Ted Peters, “Exo-Theology” essay (article or chapter in a collection) in James R. Lewis, ed., The Gods Have Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995), 199–200.
[xv]Donald N. Michael, Jack Baranson, et al. (December 1960), “Footnotes for Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs” (PDF), Washington, DC: Brookings Institution. NASA Document ID: 19640053194; NASA Report/Patent Number: NASA-CR-55640, http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19640053194_1964053194.pdf. page 102, n.34.
[xvi] John B. Alexander, UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities (New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011), 242.
[xvii] Jeff Levin, “Revisiting the Alexander UFO Religious Crisis Survey
(AUFORCS): Is There Really a Crisis?” Journal of Scientific Exploration, vol. 26, no. 2 (2012), 278.
[xviii] Ted Peters, “The Peters ETI Religious Crisis Survey,” last accessed January 19, 2013, http://www.counterbalance.org/etsurv/index-frame.html.
[xix] Donald N. Michael, Jack Baranson, et al.,”Footnotes for Proposed Studies,” http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19640053194_1964053194.pdf, page 103, n. 34.
[xx] “Hawking: Aliens May Pose Risks to Earth,” NBC News, last accessed January 19, 2013, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36769422/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/hawking-aliens-may-pose-risks-earth/#.UPRyvGdyGSo.
[xxi] Jim Marrs, Richard M. Dolan, and Bryce Zabel, A. D. After Disclosure: When the Government Finally Reveals the Truth About Alien Contact (Pompton Plains, NJ: Career Press, 2012), Kindle locations 3631–3636.
[xxii] Ibid., Kindle locations 3634–3637.
[xxiii] David Fetcho, “A Sum of Shipwrecked Stars UFOs and the Logic of Discernment,” Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal, vol. 1, no. 2 (August 1977), 30.