From a Biblical Perspective
This article is inspired by bedtime questions from my six year old son, who has been debating aliens and Star Wars with his classmates. I have given him the basic outline of this article, but I know that some day he will want references. So, I figure I’d better get busy to stay ahead of him as long as I can, because it is pretty clear that he is smarter than me.
This answer assumes a Biblical Christian Worldview. If you don’t have this, you will need to go and get it so that this article will make sense. The foundation for a Biblical worldview is a that God is the Creator of everything that exists anywhere in this universe or any other universe that might exist. John 1: 1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” So, this leads to the first step in answering my son’s question.
- God made everything that exists: So if aliens exist, God is their Creator.
2. God made angels: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17) http://www.christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-t005.html While the Bible does not specifically say when God made the angels, know that God made them. Here is part of an answer to the question of “when” from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “The Bible tells us that the angels were witnesses to the creation of the world, which indicates they were created long before that great event. God asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation … and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4,7).” http://billygraham.org/answer/when-were-the-angels-created-3/
3. Some of the angels rebelled. The leader of the rebel angels was named Lucifer, now we call him Satan, his followers are called demons: “The Bible classifies some angels as “elect” (1 Timothy 5:21) or “holy” (Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:38). All angels were originally holy, enjoying the presence of God (Matthew 18:10) and the environment of heaven (Mark 13:32).
Other angels oppose God under the leadership of Satan (Matthew 25:41; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Ephesians 6:12). We often call these “demons.” http://www.christiananswers.net/q-acb/acb-t005.html
4. If aliens exist, what are they? How can we know?:
Here are some options that would fit within a Biblical Christian worldview.
- They might be beings that God created on another planet somewhere and did not mention in the Bible, because we don’t really need to know. But, if this kind of alien showed up at my house, it had better be an inter-planetary missionary here to make sure that I know Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Galatians 1:8 says, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” So, if an angel, a human, or even an alien comes and preaches or represents something that contradicts the Bible, then that alien would be accursed and we should not listen to its message. So far, I have not heard of any encounters with an alien that fit the description of an inter-planetary missionary so that leaves me with a few more options.
- They might be imaginary. This may explain some if not many of the “encounters” but I don’t know that we can assume that every encounter is a lie or a hoax.
- They could be demons, pretending to be aliens. Demons are fallen angels, but angels are messengers who are obedient to God so they would not claim to be from another planet if this was not true. Now, if angels were in the process of becoming visible and someone saw them from a distance, they might think that they were a UFO, but this would be an Unidentified Flying Object, which do not necessarily have to be aliens. Demons have a bad reputation among humans, very few people would want to associate with a demon if they knew what it was, but aliens on the other hand have a much better reputation. In Joshua chapter 9, we read that the Gibeonites, pretended to be from far away, when in reality they lived very close so that they could deceive the Israelites into making a treaty with them. If humans would do something like this, then demons would be up to this kind of deception as well. “But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15)
The Bible tells us to, “test the spirits,” 1 John 4:1-6. So whether it is a preacher, teacher, politician, angel, demon, or even an alien, they still are under God’s authority.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
5. What are Ghosts? Some people thing that ghosts are the spirits of dead people but according to the Bible, this is not true. People only die once and then they will face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). When we die, our spirit leaves our body and does not hang around on earth. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 says, “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” In Cambodia, a lot of people believe in ghosts, “flying greenish lights in the sky or in the trees at night….black shadows or shaking in the trees at night, though there is no wind” (Folk Buddhism in Southeast Asia Page 55).
So, from a Christian perspective if there are no such thing as ghosts, and if these events are not imaginary what are they. The best answer is that they are demons who are pretending to be ghosts. It is ironic that the Cambodians “flying greenish lights” and they think, “it is an evil spirit,” while a secular “sophisticated” westerner would think, “it is an alien”
6. Why is it important to have a Biblically based understanding of angels, demons, and aliens?
The Intelligent Design movement has been very successful at pointing out the weakness of Darwinian evolution’s molecules to man by chance, mutations, and natural selection. The evidence for fine tuning in the universe as is the evidence of irreducible complexity. Therefore, these secular scientists having more and more difficulty escaping the evidence of an intelligent designer, whether they look through a telescope or a microscope.
While this is good news on one level, does this mean these committed atheists will suddenly become Christians? This isn’t likely. Richard Dawkins said, “Darwinism made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Now, Richard Dawkins believes that as an alternative to evolution, that intelligent aliens may have created humans after they evolving by Darwinian evolution themselves.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL7CCyuXAS4 While it is easy dismiss this idea with laughter, the fact that influential people believe this opens the door for demons to appear to them, claim to be aliens, and they will be accepted at face value. While atheists refuse to believe in the existence of God, angels, or demons, despite all of the reports of humans interacting with these beings throughout history, this is only because of their materialistic presuppositions. But, a demon who claims to be an alien, would be welcomed with open arms.