[As of 11/5/11 my thesis is now available in print or for Amazon Kindle.] Since I began summarizing my thesis in a series of blog posts last month, several people have asked me what I thought of the ancient alien hypothesis. If you aren’t familiar with this idea, allow me to summarize it.
It has been proposed by some researchers that aliens visited this planet long ago. Many of those who promote this view believe these aliens seeded the first life forms on earth (panspermia) and may even be involved in guiding our alleged evolution. As evidence, adherents point to the amazing complexity of life and to many of the artifacts and incredible structures from ancient history that can be found all over the globe. The famous Nazca lines in Peru, the various pyramids and ziggurats, and other mysterious ancient constructions are some examples of the evidence used. Two of the most popular proponents of this view have been Erich von Daniken and the late Zecharia Sitchin. Both have sold millions of copies of their books on the subject, so there is obviously great interest in this concept.
A version of this hypothesis was promoted in the popular 1994 sci-fi movie Stargate (and the three subsequent television series). Some of the ideas out there seem more believable, while some are so outlandish that it is amazing anyone would even consider it.
Of particular interest to me is that many of these folks claim the Bible mentions this in the Book of Genesis.
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:1–4, NASB)
Many ancient alien proponents believe aliens visited earth several thousand years ago to breed with humanity either in an effort to keep their own race going or to advance humankind. The passage cited above is sometimes used to support that notion. It is claimed that the “sons of God” were actually aliens who visited earth and mated with women. Zecharia Sitchin has argued that the term “Nephilim” is from the Hebrew verb naphal (to fall), which he changes to mean “to come down” as though they came down from space. For the record, Sitchin is not alone in connecting the word “Nephilim” to the verb naphal, many Christians have also tried to make this connection, but this is inaccurate because it would not fit any of the Hebrew morphologies (i.e., the way the Hebrew word construction changes, for a good explanation of this term see this article by biblical and ancient near eastern scholar Michael Heiser).
Having written my thesis on these particular verses I am quite familiar with what they do and do not teach. Although Christians disagree on the proper identification of the “sons of God” and the “Nephilim,” one thing is clear: the Bible does not promote the ancient alien hypothesis here or anywhere else (some proponents cite Ezekiel 1 for support as well). There are several problems with the ancient alien view from a biblical perspective.
First, the text reveals that the “sons of God” married the daughters of men and the Nephilim were very likely the offspring of these unions. I believe it is best to identify the “sons of God” as heavenly beings (in this case fallen angels) since heavenly beings are called this in Job 1, 2, 38. Numbers 13:33 indicates that a race of giants known as the Anakim were part of the Nephilim. This makes sense since the term “Nephilim” is likely from the Aramaic noun naphil, which means “giant.”
Second, the notion of extraterrestrial sentient beings (not including spiritual creatures) is foreign to the Bible and contradicts several biblical teachings. For example, the Bible reveals that God created the earth (Day One) before the other astronomical bodies (Day Four). So earth plays a unique role in God’s program. Also, Jesus Christ became a descendant of Adam and died “once for all” for the descendants of Adam (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10). If there were sentient beings elsewhere in the universe and they sinned against their Creator, then they would be unable to be saved since the Son of God died once and it was on earth and for mankind.
Third, the whole notion of panspermia is flawed. This is the idea that life came to earth from another planet. The reason this view was originally developed is because many scientists (like Hoyle and Wickramasinghe) have realized the impossibility of life arising by chance processes here on earth. So instead of believing that God created life, they proposed that the first organisms came here from another place. However, this is simply passing the buck. Where did those life forms come from? Why, if life cannot evolve from non-living material on a planet perfectly suited for life (like earth), could it allegedly evolve somewhere else in the universe? This is an argument from silence.
Although the Bible does not promote the ancient alien theory, there is a plausible connection that needs to be explored. The modern UFO/alien abduction phenomenon bears some resemblance to what I believe is described in Genesis 6. Although I think many of those who claimed to have been abducted are simply seeking attention, there seem to be some cases where something really did happen to the individual (although I don’t believe they were abducted by aliens since I don’t believe in aliens).
Could it be that demons are posing as aliens and either physically abducting people (if possible) or creating psychological encounters that seem real to the victim? Although many are probably hoaxes, consider that tens of thousands of abductees from all over the world share similar details about their encounter. They claim to have undergone some sort of sexual examination during their abduction or even to have been forced to have sex with another abductee or one of the aliens. Oftentimes, the victim is severely traumatized as a result of their abduction and some have even claimed to have become pregnant as a result.
As bizarre as this seems, it is not too different from Medieval stories of incubi and succubae. Numerous reports speak of the incubus as a male demon who would visit women in their sleep and have sex with them, sometimes impregnating them. The succubus is said to have been a demon manifesting as a female to have intercourse with men.
So are all of these strange encounters simply make believe? What do professing abductees have to gain from announcing their abductions? Sure, some may be publicity seekers, but many of them are embarrassed and ashamed of what has happened to them. There does seem to be something very strange going on.
There are two more ideas that lead me to believe that the modern alien abductions are part of a demonic deception. First, many abductees have told that the aliens have shared messages with them (often telepathically). They are told that Jesus was just a member of their race, which explains why He could work miracles. They are also told things that flatly deny biblical teachings. For example, these “aliens” claim that hell does not exist and that all religions are equally valid. If these were truly aliens, why in the world would they travel hundreds of billions of miles through space just to inform us that the Bible is wrong? Why would they care in the first place? This seems like an obvious indication that these encounters are demonic in nature. Furthermore, there are a handful of documented cases in which an abduction in process immediately stopped when the abductee cried out for Jesus to save them. Why would aliens stop their abduction when the name of Jesus is called upon? (See Gary Bates’ informative book on the subject entitled Alien Intrusion for more details on the ideas in this paragraph).
Finally, the timing of the modern UFO/alien abduction phenomenon is just too perfect to be coincidental. Although some UFO sightings have been reported throughout history the modern phenomena started in June of 1947 when Kenneth Arnold spotted nine Unidentified Flying Objects near Mt. Ranier in Washington state. Two weeks later the famous Roswell incident occurred and literally hundreds of thousands of sightings have been reported since then. What is so special about this timing? Well, many Christians, myself included, believe that the most obvious and important sign preceding the Second Coming of Christ was the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Following the atrocities committed against the Jews during World War II, many of them moved back to the Promised Land and for the first few years after the war, support grew for the re-establishment of the Jewish nation. On May 14, 1948, after nearly 1,900 years of being without a homeland, Israel became a nation once again.
Is it just coincidence that an intensified demonic deception in the form of alien abductions sprang up as it became obvious that the nation of Israel would once again be on the face of the earth? I don’t think so. I think we are witnessing the fulfillment of biblical prophecies in our day and age. Not only did the Jewish people return to their homeland as prophesied (see Ezekiel 37-38), but many of the other signs discussed by Jesus in Matthew 24 are falling into place (the sign Jesus mentioned three times in that discourse was the increase of spiritual deception that would take place just before His return).
So maybe I’m wrong for believing these things are related, but they all fit together in an extremely intriguing fashion. Make no mistake. Jesus Christ will return to this earth someday, perhaps very soon. Many people have rejected Him, either by outright denial of Him, indifference toward Him, or by attempting to save themselves from sin thus denying His sacrifice for their sin. These people will face His wrath and be judged for eternity for failing to repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone for salvation. They will suffer the same fate as those fallen angels whose sin was described in Genesis 6, and of those demons who are involved in the modern alien deception. Those of us who have received Christ as Lord and Savior will dwell with Him in glory for all eternity.
Again, if these were actual aliens, why would they work so hard to deny the Person and work of Jesus Christ? The most important issue you will ever confront is to figure out what you will do with Jesus. Will you reject Him or receive Him?
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