Archive for August, 2010
That last article may have had you wondering about my choice of the word “secular.” I’ve quoted religion scholar Christoper Partridge on this blog a number of times. Partridge has done a great deal of research showing that “secularization” is really a re-paganizing process (he uses the term “re-enchantment”). That’s the flavor of that article. It also is far from objective. Consider this choice quotation, after she overviews traditional religion, then “new age” worldviews as recent innovation or advancement in religion (!):
Is there any convergence between the evolving ideas of the religious, spiritual and philosophical leaders and what we have received from the helper and watcher extraterrestrials? Salla and Lamiroy have described the “helper” extraterrestrials as those who show respect for humans, do not abduct, and share information through telepathic communication. The “helpers” support a spiritual earth culture and are concerned with the environment and global transformation.
Uh, wouldn’t it be nice to actually get proof that there are ETs (as in beings from another planet) first? And how convenient — the aliens she favors don’t do nasty things to people.
In this next piece (a book review), atheist Michael Shermer gives us what he calls “Shermer’s last law”: “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.” The question is, do you think that’s true or can it be undermined? I’m of the latter opinion.
And in the spirit of Shermer’s Last law, I’d like to apply it to the former article’s new-agey and pretty gullible writer: “Any helper ET that spouts theosophy is indistinguishable from a demonic anti-Christ inter-dimensional propagandist.”
It’s nice to move out of the discussion of “Christian fundamentalism” and UFOs and aliens (really dislike the CF term). So now we can shift gears and spend some time examining how a “less fundamentalist” approach to ET religion parses the issues. Here’s an article to get us started (“Reflections on Religion and Exopolitics”). In case you are new to the term, exopolitics is “the study of the key individuals, political institutions and processes associated with extraterrestrial life.”1
- Michael Salla, www.exopolitics.org. ↩
As promised, in this post I’ll be wrapping up my “Understanding the Christian Fundamentalist View of Aliens and UFOs” by addressing Matthew 24:37-38 and Daniel 2:43. My last few posts on that thread have directed readers to my Naked Bible series on why an obsession with eschatology is a waste of time. My purpose there was not to take or deny any position on eschatology — it was to introduce readers to the overwhelming ambiguities that exist with respect to prophetic interpretation, and how everyone’s presuppositions drive their eschatology (i.e., no view is slef evidently “biblical”). With that skepticism as a backdrop, I move to Matthew 24:37.
My problems with the application of Matthew 24:37-38 to the UFO and “alien” abduction phenomenon transcend the fact that the typical eschatological view espoused by Christian UFO researchers — the notion of a pre-trib rapture — is far from being biblically self evident. “Self evident” is my bone of contention — that is, one should not make such a doctrinal belief core to one’s identity as a Christian. As such, it is equally foolish to marry “the answer” to UFOs and aliens to that particular view of end times.
More specifically, I just don’t see UFOs and aliens in Matthew 24. I’ll try to explain why.
First, let’s talk about the problems with the alien material brough to Matthew 24. The basic idea is that Gen 6:1-4 tells us that, in the days of Noah, the sons of God (divine beings) were cohabiting with human women, producing nephilim. Christian Fundamentalists (hereafter CF) argue that the alien abduction phenomenon is a modern version of the Genesis 6 events — that is, the fallen (evil) sons of God are now doing the same thing, masquerading as ETs. These ETs are abducting people and, through a variety of medical procedures (or what are disguised as medical procedures) are creating a hybrid (human-alien).
The problems are not hard to spot. (1) the offending “sons of God” in Gen 6 and other versions of the episode in ancient Jewish texts, the NT, and classical sources, are always said to have been punished — specifically, imprisoned until the time of the end. CFs argue that EITHER they must have been released or that more of these fallen angels are around today doing all this. The actual release of these entities is described in Rev 9 (the passage has a number of touchpoints with the sons of God story — CFs want to deny that, and good luck with that — my guess is that many have never considered Rev 9). But Rev 9 comes after Rev 4, which in the pre-trib rapture view = the rapture. Since the rapture hasn’t happened yet (I think we’d know if it had), we have an obvious problem with the fallen sons of God being back to do their dirty work again. That leaves the idea that the fallen angels masquerading as ETs are new ones. There simply is no Scripture to prove that — it is pure speculation and thus an argument from silence. In other words, it’s an idea brought TO the text, not one derived FROM the text.
Another obvious problem is the hybrid. If the sons of God are fallen angels, they don’t have DNA (they aren’t physical terrestrial beings). So how could we have a literal hybrid? At this point CFs offer some answers that don’t work very well: (1) it is assumed that the flesh in which these new sons of God (remember, the old ones are still imprisoned) has DNA. Another argument from no data. (2) it is also suggested that the fallen angels are simply conducting genetic experiments on people, and so the “hybrid” isn’t really a hybrid — it’s an alteration. Well, that eliminates the need for angel DNA, but what are we left with? You guessed it — no data and silence.
Moving on to Genesis 6 and Matthew 24:37-38 …
1. Does Matt 24:37-38 describe the conditions of the sons of God-human women cohabitation? The sons of God are never mentioned; their presence is assumed on the basis of the phrase “marrying and giving in marriage.” In Gen 6, though, there is only the idea that the fallen angelic beings “took” wives for themselves. Since this wording is used in other instances in the OT for simply getting married (Gen 11:29; 25:1; Exod 2:1; Ruth 4:13; etc.), there is no inherent sinister feel to it. But how does that fit with alien abduction, reports of which describe involuntary physical violation? There are separate Hebrew words for rape (women are described as “humbled” in these contexts – see Lam 5:11; Gen 34:2; Deut 22:24, 29; 2 Sam 13:14). This vocabulary is not in Genesis 6. My point here is that a real parallel for today back to Genesis 6 would be aliens showing up and getting married to human women, not the trauma described with alleged alien abduction.
2. Can we be sure that what is described in Genesis 6:1-4 was actually happening in Noah’s day? This may sound like an odd question, but it is relevant. The answer is no. Consider the wording of Genesis 6:1 – “When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them…” When did humanity begin to multiply? In Noah’s day? No. Genesis 5 tells us humanity began to multiply centuries before Noah’s day. The book of 1 Enoch tells us the sons of God committed their violation in the days of Yared (see Gen 5:18), centuries before Noah. In fact, if we go with Enoch, the fallen sons of God were imprisoned in the days of ENOCH (he is the one that God sends to them in their prison to announce their doom). That means these fallen sons of God were in prison before Noah was born. That means the sins of the fallen sons of God has nothing to do with the days of Noah. in 1 Enoch, the flood is not about the sons of God (they are in prison); it is about their offspring, the giants — the flood helps cleanse the earth of them. The wording of Genesis 6 could be consistent with this, but it isn’t as precise. Hence there is ambiguity.
3. In Genesis neither the giants (nephilim) nor the sons of God are mentioned as the reason for the flood. Rather, it is human sin that is to blame (Gen 6:5). If one interprets “marrying and giving in marriage — coupled with “eating and drinking” in Matt 24:37-38 — as merely living in a godless manner, THAT would make sense of Matthew’s wording. Matthew cannot be referring to the sin of the fallen angels in vv. 37-38 since the point of those verses and what follows is judgment on HUMAN sin. But even if we assume the cohabitation continued into Noah’s day, humans are not specifically blamed for the divine-human cohabitation in Genesis 6. I would suggest that the fallen angels aren’t in view in Matt 24 (where are they?) – and they logically wouldn’t be given what I described in number 2 above.
4. Some CFs argue that the “signs in the sky” described in Matthew and other passages about the second coming speak to UFOs. There is simply no description of any CRAFT in those passages. The signs spoken of are consistently astronomical / celestial phenomena, not alien craft.
In short, I don’t see any way to securely connect Matthew 24 to the FALLEN ANGELS of Genesis 6, and what is described in Genesis 6 lacks the violence of the abduction phenomenon. I think both are needed for the CF view to have any merit.
What about Daniel 2:43? The phrase in question is that “they” will “mingle their seed” with the “seed of men.” It is assumed that “they” in the verse are aliens (non-human) since “they” mingle with humans (“seed of men”).
There is a huge problem with this idea. “They” in Daniel 2:43 are members of the fourth kingdom. It is in the days of this fourth kingdom that the kingdom of God would begin (2:44). We know from the NT that the kingdom of God began at Jesus’ first coming — during the days of the Romans. All rapture positions that I know of agree that the fourth kingdom is Rome. So, unless we are willing to argue that the Romans were aliens, I don’t see how Dan 2:43 has anything to do with UFOs and aliens. Of course, the “answer” will be that at the end times we will see a “revived ROman Empire” and that is what Daniel is referring to. No, it isn’t. The key here is when did the kingdom of God begin. Paul assumes all believers are already in the kingdom (Col. 1:13) and Jesus preached that the kingdom of God was among his hearers (Luke 9:60; Luke 10:11 – and it was – JESUS was in their midst). Jesus also said very bluntly that the kingdom was here (Luke 11:20). Now, this doesn’t mean there is no future kingdom that will come, but it DOES mean that the prophecy of Daniel 2:43-44 did come to pass – the eternal kingdom began in the days of the Romans, and they weren’t aliens.
The more I look at this image the more I think something’s wrong here. I have a suspicion but I’ll withhold it for now. I just want to note that another possibility has come to mind (and I’m not a “face” believer as my original post below makes clear). I wonder if the same notion that occurred to me just now will occur to Richard or Dave. At any rate, here is the page for the photo on the HiRise website via the University of Arizona. Do you see what I see? (I see what appears to be an incongruity in the photo data — but I’ll wait to see if Richard or Dave comment).
The new extreme close-up image of the “face” on Mars should finally put this to rest. There is absolutely nothing in the famous Cydonia region resembling a face or even anything “structural.” Even the other “structures” in the region with the “face” don’t show up in the new photo. It’s like they missed the right location! (But no one has demonstrated that, so we’ll assume they got it).
I never bought into there being a face at Cydonia, as readers who follow my work know. The reason wasn’t because I don’t consider the idea of intelligent life on Mars or elsewhere in our solar system (or beyond) impossible. The reason was the weakness of the data, and the relentless spinning of that data by “face” researchers. I never found it persuasive.
I personally know two of the researchers heavily engaged in “face” research. I speak of Richard Hoagland and David Flynn. I went to their respective websites today and saw nothing posted about the new photo. It was obviously not good news for them. I have some thoughts about how I hope the death of the “face” prompts them in terms of their research.
With respect to Richard, it will be painful if Richard goes the denial route — the notion that the new image isn’t real, or is doctored, or (worse) still shows a face. He will cross into the realm of the comical if he does that, so I hope he doesn’t. I know, many of you think he’s already there, having gone on that trip some time ago, but I think that response is not only unkind, but unfair. Think what you will about Richard (he is of course very controversial), but the older data was anomalous and got serious peer-reviewed attention (Carlotto, McDaniel). Now we have new, better data, and that should be allowed to take center stage, even though it eliminates the “face.”
As I noted already, I didn’t buy what Richard was saying about the “face,” nor his (to me) incomprehensible mathematical proofs for it. But his real contribution is likely the hyper-dimensional physics model, which doesn’t need the “face” to be real at all. I’m a physics bonehead, but I know enough science to know that if a model has successfully predicted certain things (and his has), then there is something to *that* at least. But the “face” and all he has erected upon it (“earth-Mars” connections, Martian-human heritage, that sort of thing) needs to fade into the past. I also don’t buy into most of what Richard says about moon artifacts and all the elements of his NASA conspiracies. That said, I do believe he has marshaled enough evidence (and we’ll throw in the life story of Jack Parsons here for good measure) to demonstrate that it’s reasonable to think that at least a few people in NASA have intellectually married the agency’s mission to occult religious beliefs. High office does not translate into or away from *any* set of ideas. Parsons might have occult kindred spirits at NASA. My hope is that Richard will do what a scientist would in the wake of the new photo: say he was wrong, junk all the ideas rendered null by the error, and then concentrate on the working hypotheses that remain.
I think the new Cydonia photo might be more serious for David Flynn since he had attached a few theological ideas to the “face” (but it doesn’t need to be). Dave is very gifted and, in my judgment, a valuable resource as a thinker (albeit my reasons for attributing value to his work are probably different than most who are familiar with his work). My hope for Dave is that he will be willing to dispense with the “face” and focus on what I’ve always wished he’d focus on: occult history and — more importantly — doing what is necessary to teach that history to a popular audience. Going forward, Dave will hopefully learn an important lesson: correlation does not mean causation. One can “see” all sorts of connections between things that might mean *something* but may not be at all related to a cause-effect relationship (and of course they may mean nothing at all). In short, I hope this makes him more cautious without paralyzing his work.
I’d love to see Dave do more in regard to teaching the principles of sacred geometry, gematria, numerology, and occult history, especially to a Christian (yes, I said Christian) audience. Why? Because the thoughts Dave thinks were the thoughts of very important “schools” in the ancient world — schools that produced their own “occult hermeneutic” for the Bible and biblical theology. Dave is one of the few people who speak that language today. If he could teach people this lost way of thinking, we could more easily decipher the erroneous theological thinking of aberrant groups in early Christian history, like the Gnostics, for example. Basically, Dave could be an important resource for understanding a variety of “mystical” approaches to the Bible that are just very hard to comprehend nowadays.
The “face” on Mars has nothing to do with this per se, but Dave has factored it in at points (and it in turn has had an impact on his eschatology). My hope is that he can let go and still see clearly how valuable he can be to Christians interested in understanding early occult theology, My own view is that our world is rapidly re-paganizing — that is, we are sort of moving back to the early Christian era, where orthodox Christianity was a minority view, surrounded by all sorts of mystery religions and pagan religions. Whether the Church wants to admit it or not, we are living in a substantially post-Christian world. Dave can help us make sense of that world, thereby equipping the Church to minister to it and intellectually rebut it.