Summary: the Bible provides us with a very positive answer to the question of whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe: it does.
14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth.
On April 21, 1991, Alitalia pilot Achille Zaghetti was flying a passenger plane from Milan to London when he saw an object streak in front of his plane. “Look out! Look out!” he exclaimed to his copilot. He then asked the control center that was monitoring his flight whether their radar had picked up anything, and they reported seeing a strange object ten nautical miles behind Zaghetti’s plane. An investigation ruled out a missile. No satisfactory answer was ever found.
This is one of many reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) that the British Ministry of Defense has made available to the public from its secret files. Most reports were easily explained, but some, including Zaghetti’s, are still a mystery.
For years, individuals in different parts of the world have reported seeing strange objects in the sky. One of the more notable incidents in the United States happened over Nevada and Arizona on March 13, 1997. Thousands of people reported seeing lights in the sky traveling southeast for some 300 miles, including over the city of Phoenix. The lights were reported to be in the shape of a triangle, like a boomerang or a carpenter’s square. Among those claiming to have seen them was then governor of Arizona Fife Symington.
Many people took photographs of the phenomenon, making it difficult to claim that the images were the result of the digital manipulation of photographs. Analysis of the photographs suggests that if it truly was a UFO, it was one to two miles long! The United States Air Force identified the lights that passed over Phoenix as flares dropped by aircraft that were on a training mission. UFO fans were quick to claim that the event confirms that extraterrestrials do visit our planet.
At about this same time, the comet Hale-Bopp showed up in the sky, and some people claimed that a UFO was following it. Marshall Applewhite, the leader of a cult called Heaven’s Gate, persuaded 39 members of his group to commit mass suicide between March 24 and 26, 1997, in the mistaken belief that following their death, they would shed their earthly bodies and join the “aliens” on the UFO!
A more fundamental question is whether intelligent life exists outside of our planet. To UFO enthusiasts, the answer is Yes. If this is correct, and if UFOs are both real and operated by nonhumans, the next burning question is whether these aliens are hostile or friendly.
What the Bible says
Fortunately, the Bible provides us with a very positive answer to the question of whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe: it does. The most significant intelligent Being outside our planet is God Himself, who lives in a place we call heaven. And, according to the Bible, a race of beings called angels inhabit heaven with Him. The Bible also informs us that a conflict erupted in heaven thousands of years ago when some of these angels rebelled against God and His government, and the rebels were forced to live on our planet.
Revelation tells the story: “There was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7–9).
Next question: are the nonhumans in our universe hostile or friendly? According to the passage just quoted from Revelation, the answer depends on which beings we’re talking about. Everyone assumes that God and the angels who are loyal to Him are friendly, while it’s probably safe to say that Satan and those loyal to him are hostile to our best interests.
The question of whether UFOs are real depends partly on the kind of evidence we use to prove the point. If we demand evidence provided by people who are qualified to make a scientific, unbiased (if that’s even possible) inquiry, the answer is No. To date no such evidence has appeared in the usual sources of reliable information, such as reputable books, magazines, and newspapers. However, if we’re satisfied to accept the witness of sane, mature individuals who may not have the proper “credentials” but who claim to have seen strange flying objects up close, then perhaps the answer is Yes.
What if it’s really true?
If the answer turns out someday that at least some of the reports of UFOs with nonhumans onboard are real, we will each be faced with a very important question: who’s operating these UFOs? Science fiction would have them operated by aliens from a distant galaxy who have evolved to a much higher level than we earthbound humans. And, according to conventional wisdom, any such alien invaders would probably be friendly, in spite of the fact that most science fiction, in order to create an interesting conflict, portrays them as very hostile.