UFOs CHAPTER 2 (CONTINUED)

CONTACT, COMMUNION AND CHRISTIANITY CHAPTER 2 (CONTINUED)

Some secularly-oriented UFO spokespersons are fence-sitters. While they either explicitly or indirectly equate their extraterrestrial visitors with the Biblical God, they almost invariably follow a mechanistic mindset for which the Biblical God is demoted to the status of a mere extraterrestrial. In the most fundamental sense, the Judeo-Christian God is obviously and unequivocally a space being: by common understanding, as Creator and Master of the universe, He owns it. Space is a large part of His turf. But that is not the sense in which the UFO fence-sitter implicitly defines the Judeo-Christian God. The alien deities as depicted by these authors differ substantially from that God with respect to capabilities, morals, and, above all, intent. These alien beings may have come from a distant planet, and they may have possessed a superior technology, and perhaps even a more highly-developed intellect. They may have created man as a hybrid of their own genetic material and that of some subhuman species extant on earth at the time. Nevertheless, they appear to be remarkably similar in their nature and temperament to mankind itself. This is especially true with regard to their moral character, which included venality, uncontrollable sexual urges, and petty jealousies. Nor are these beings omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. As pilots of spacecraft, mine supervisors, and genetic manipulators, they were subject to the same limitations in time and space as humanity. They are perceived as a plurality, not as a Triune Godhead but as a number of individuals who belonged to some other planet and relied on vehicular devices to arrive on the Earth. From that perspective, they were much too small to come even close to representing the Judeo-Christian God, both in their moral stature and capabilities, and in their self-serving natures. Instead, it is stated in all seriousness with no intent of mockery, the god who comes to mind in their writings is very much like the Wizard of Oz. This Cosmic Wizard is endowed perhaps with a superior intellect, certainly possesses a superior technology, and is capable of putting on a good dog-and-pony show to impress us less sophisticated earthlings with his divine attributes. But in the end he his much like us, having a mixture of good and bad qualities. This extraterrestrial had the same potential as man to strive for nobility and to fail in the attempt.

A ‘god’ of such limited attributes would be more like a cousin to humanity than a God. He would certainly lack the moral authority to exercise absolute control over our lives. His motives toward mankind would be limited as well, in all probability being directed toward self-service, as Zecharia Sitchin suggests in his Twelfth Planet series regarding his supposition that man was created for utilitarian purposes. In that context, Sitchin’s explanation of our origins as being motivated by the need for labor in the aliens’ mines is entirely consistent with his view of ‘god’ as a construct of man inspired by his utilitarian interaction with visitors from another planet. But to carry this consistency of thought to its logical conclusion would not only force us to deny the strong theme of sacrificial love that runs throughout the entirety of Scripture; it would also require us to consider our Judeo-Christian Scripture to represent myth more than truth. The mythical elements might indeed be based on factual events, but the mythical would have to be invoked to blow up the main player(s) to the status of godhood. It indeed appears that secularists prefer to view the Bible in a mythical context. In developing their own picture of god, those of the alien presuppositions also refer to the Bible, but not in the same way as the traditional Christian community. While they, like Christians, consider it to be a valuable historical document, it is just that to them and nothing more. It is treated as no more inspired than other ancient literature and is usually regarded as a Hebrew version of an earlier (and therefore supposedly more accurate) original.

Moreover, a mythical interpretation of the Bible which the secular UFO believers appear to favor of itself requires a corresponding ‘god’ to be of limited abilities and probably (although not necessarily) less than selfless intent. This viewpoint not only opens the door to the selective acceptance and rejection of arbitrary portions of Scripture, but also leads directly to the interpretation of any specific creative acts noted therein as being of limited scope and probably originating from self-serving motives. A good example of this is found on page 191 of Sitchin’s Divine Encounters, where Sumerian king Gudea is commanded through visions from the deity Enlil to build a temple. The detail of construction he is given through the series of visions is highly reminiscent of the Biblical instructions God gives to Moses and, later to David, regarding the construction of the places of worship and the artifacts that are to be used therein. But with respect to intent the similarity ends. Whereas Gudea’s temple has a utilitarian significance for the deities, God’s temples were intended as models to communicate God’s relationship with mankind and especially to instruct man on the nature of the Messiah to come.

The general lack of humanity associated with Sitchin’s beings is common to the viewpoint of the secular UFO buff: the beings are irretrievably alien, a notion that carries with it a strong element of fear. To many people, the intrusion of anything into the physical world not perceived as compatible with it as defined by current science is a very scary thought. It is perhaps this fear of control more than any other that separates the Christian from the secular UFO buff. A popular theme, around which a number of recent movies and television serials have been based, is the alien takeover. Through the use of superior technology, the alien race indwells the bodies of selected humans. From that beachhead, the aliens push outward in their diabolical attempt to make their conquest complete. The situation is made all the more terrifying by the fact that to outward appearances the infected, traitorous humans are indistinguishable from the normal remnant.

Given their common insistence on treating the Bible in the same manner as other ancient documents, it is inevitable that the proponents of the alien thesis should come to regard it from a mythical perspective, even while placing a literal interpretation on many of its passages. Sitchin and other writers of the alien visitation genre develop their theses from an interpretation of ancient texts that is driven by the alien notion. While their interpretations may be literal, the orientation remains secular with a rational, causal flavor. Sitchin, for example, follows precisely the same standard with respect to his interpretation of Hebrew Scripture as he does with the Sumerian texts. This approach may be justified with respect to the Sumerian literature, which seems to possess, to a large degree, an intrinsically secular, sometimes even a technical or social, basis. Scripture, on the other hand, has a different orientation. While its ultimate Author claims to have created the physical universe and everything within it, and while Scripture furnishes essential background information relating to secular matters, its emphasis is not on the secular but on God and His relationship with mankind. When a materialistic concern is presented at all in Scripture, it is usually included only when such background is necessary to provide an appropriate setting for its major theme, which is the presentation of God to man. While Sitchin is to be commended for the consistency of his approach, it may be suggested that perhaps the specifics of the approach to interpreting text should take this difference in orientation into account. There is no question but that a literal interpretation of Scripture is justified in all cases by the richness of the corresponding information it produces. But whereas it would also be appropriate to apply a strictly rational, technical, and causal approach to the exposition of secular material, an interpretation of Scripture should recognize in the omniscience of God His ability to transcend our ideas of causality, limited as we are in time and space. In this context, the possibility of miracles should be recognized, as should the ability of God, through the Holy Spirit, to influence man in both the writing and the interpretation of Scripture. When we attempt to interpret His Word, Scripture itself implies that we should recognize the influence of our own limitations as well as the power of God in the successful execution of this endeavor.

Zecharia Sitchin demonstrates that a strictly secular interpretation of Scripture can lead to a radically different outcome than that of historical understanding. On pages 30 through 33 of Divine Encounters, Sitchin discusses the rift between Cain and Abel, attributing it to their rivalry over the legal heirdom of the patriarchy and paralleling the rivalry between the gods Enlil and Enki. Christians, on the other hand, in the light of a different understanding of the intimacy of God’s interaction with man, see an entirely different cause of the animosity, one that is clearly implied in the Book of Genesis and which is fundamental to their faith. Cain was a farmer, whereas Abel was an animal husbandman. When they brought offerings to the Lord, they each did so in the context of their respective functions: Cain offered the fruits of the harvest, and Abel offered an animal. God viewed these offerings for how they represented man’s attempt to regain His favor after the expulsion from Eden. Whereas Cain offered the work of his own hands, Abel offered the blood of an innocent victim, acknowledging his own inability to please God and foreshadowing the work of Jesus Christ on the cross on behalf of mankind. Cain’s subsequent jealousy over God’s preference of Abel’s sacrifice led to his murder of Abel. Interestingly, on page 40 of Divine Encounters, Sitchin implies, in direct opposition to the Scriptural account, that the farmer enjoyed Enlil’s favor over the herdsman.

This radical difference in interpretation necessarily leads to the perception of inconsistencies throughout the Bible, self-fulfilling the initial assumption that Scripture is less than inspired. The inevitable conclusion that one might make from this viewpoint of the Judeo-Christian Scripture, and especially its regard for the Bible as less than inspired of God is that our ancient forebears were duped into submission, even slavery, to other beings of perhaps superior intellect but less than honorable motives. Our inferior society, according to this view, went along with their functional imprisonment out of their lack of sophistication. To this very day, according to the adherents to this alien genre, the less intellectually endowed among us who attempt to follow the teachings of their religions remain trapped in subjugation to an evil fable.

The result of this trend toward the self-reinforcement of entry presuppositions is that the group of secular believers in UFOs, unlike those who deny their existence, will tend to stand firm in their particular visions of what UFOs represent. If they maintain an assumption of Scriptural errancy, however, their reasoning about the relevance of God to the UFO situation will tend to be circular: they will take out of their mental exercises with respect to God exactly what they came in with. There is thus a rather extreme and irreconcilable divergence of views between the Christian believer in UFOs and their secular counterparts regarding any link between so-called aliens and God. The net outcome of this difference is an implacably dark assignment to UFO occupants of either evil intent or alien indifferene.

This outlook, in turn, has heavily influenced the ongoing government policy of inhibiting the public awareness of UFOs to maintain control over the human population while seeking a better understanding and control over the phenomenon itself.

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