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MAKING SPORT OF THE POWERS: THE BIBLE AND UFOS

Prepared for MUFON Pennsylvania

October 2009

Dr. Barry H. Downing


[Author’s Note: This lecture was prepared at the request of John Ventre to be presented at two multi-speaker UFO conferences, sponsored by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) of Pennsylvania. The lecture was given at Montgomery Community College, north of Philadelphia, on October 10, 2009, and at Westmoreland Community College, south of Pittsburgh, on October 17, 2009.

James Carrion is International Director of MUFON; headquarters are in Fort Collins, Colorado.]


I am here to talk to you about possibilities, religious possibilities in relation to UFOs. I have been a theological consultant to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) since 1972. MUFON of course does not have a theology, it is an organization devoted to the scientific study of UFOs. But very early MUFON recognized that UFOs have both scientific and religious implications.

I want to talk about UFOs from my point of view as a Protestant Christian pastor. Roman Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, not to mention atheists, may have other views. But here I am presenting my interpretation of what the UFO situation is about. We live in a time when no one trusts religious truth. Everyone has a point of view, and in religion in particular, we now assume, especially in our universities and colleges, that there is no such thing as religious truth, there are only religious opinions, or religious beliefs. I believe that in our UFO story, religious and scientific truth are linked in a way that challenges our modern assumptions about the difference between science and religion.

I concede that I can at this time only give you my religious beliefs. But notice how the relation between belief and truth work. Before the last Presidential election, some people believed that Hillary Clinton would be the next President of the United States, others that John McCain would be, and still others that Barack Obama would be. But when the election was over, some beliefs were shown to be false and some to be true. Those who believed Barack Obama would be elected turned out to believe in the truth.

So here is how I want you to consider my point of view. Yes, I hold one of many possible religious points of view. But how do you tell which point of view, on Election Day, is going to be the truth? On what basis do you suppose that my point of view might not be true? I assume that when you leave this conference, you will want to cast your vote for the truth on Election Day.


UFOS, CHURCH AND STATE


First, let us consider the current official view of UFOs. By official, I mean the public position of the United States government. That position is that we are not being visited by beings from another world, and that there is nothing flying in our skies posing a threat to our national security. By and large, this point of view goes unchallenged by our university communities, our scientific leaders, our religious leaders, or by the main stream American media. Recently, the media has become a little more open to the UFO reality. Larry King has given TV time to people who are protesting the UFO cover-up, without trying to ridicule them. That is a step forward. But still, the official position is still official. No aliens. I cannot think of a major religious leader who has said something like this: “There is growing evidence that our government, and other world governments, have lied to us about the nature of the UFO evidence. If we are being visited by aliens, religious leaders need to have this information in order to consider what this means for our faith tradition.” I wish religious leaders had said this, I have encouraged religious leaders to say this, or something like it. But it has not happened.

The late Roman Catholic priest Msgr. Corrado Balducci has gone on Italian television saying he believes UFOs are real, but I do not know of any American Catholic leader who has made similar statements. (Unlike myself, however, Balducci does not believe UFOs have anything to do with the biblical tradition.) I know of no major Protestant leader who has spoken out about UFOs, either here or elsewhere. There are a few scientists who have put their reputations on the line, and joined organizations like MUFON, but they are very few, and they perhaps have done so because they are not involved in scientific work that requires a national security clearance.

So here we are, more than 60 years after Roswell, and the lid of secrecy is still in place. So long as the United States government continues to say, “No aliens,” then there is no need for religious leaders to ask the question, “What do aliens mean for our religion?” On the basis of the religious people I have talked to, religious leaders are happy to leave it this way.

I believe our government has lied from the beginning, and I admit that lying makes sense within the framework of how all governments of the world work: truth is dangerous and powerful, and governments have power when they have information you do not have. Exactly what power our government’s UFO lies protect is of course an interesting political, scientific, and religious question. But keep this in mind, lying is what government leaders often do. President Eisenhower lied about U-2 spy plane flights over the Soviet Union; President Johnson lied about Vietnam; Nixon about Watergate; Clinton about Monica; Bush either lied about, or maybe just dreamed about, weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Alan Greenspan said there was no housing bubble, and Ben Bernanke said the sub-prime mortgage problem would not spread to the rest of the economy. As heads of the Federal Reserve, and High Priests of the American dollar, were they lying, so as not to panic the Stock Market, or were they just incompetent?

Our government leaders would say that they only lie for good reasons, and sometimes it is their duty to lie to protect national security. What might be national security reasons to lie about UFOs? Issues could include fear of financial collapse, protecting military and technological secrets, loss of respect for human authority, or the spread of religious fanaticism, such as that of Marshall Applewhite who led 39 people to suicide in his California “Heaven’s Gate” UFO cult during Holy Week of 1997. UFOs frighten and mystify our government, which is more than enough motive to lie. I suspect our government has two problems: they know more about UFOs than they dare tell us, but they also know a lot less than they want to know, which may be even worse.

But it also appears the UFOs themselves help keep our government lie going. UFOs have the power to appear to us, or not, as they choose. UFOs play “peek-a-boo” with us. What this means is, the UFOs have the power to expose our government lie any time they want to. Up to the present time, they are glad to play peek-a-boo, and keep us wondering, keeping their existence on the margin of our public consciousness, perhaps just out of reach of our cultural panic button.

If you need evidence about both our American, and the worldwide cover-up, read books by those like Timothy Good (Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover- up )and Richard Dolan (UFOs and the National Security State, Vol. One: 1941-1973; Vol. Two: 1973-1991 ), or read Stanton Friedman’s regular “Perceptions” column in the MUFON UFO Journal, or George Filer’s column on the latest UFO sightings. Be that as it may, our government lie about UFOs has enabled religious leaders to avoid questions like: did a UFO part the Red Sea? Were the beings reported in the Bible as angels what we now call aliens, and did these beings take part in the Resurrection of Jesus? No high status religious leaders are dealing with these questions. Of course, if you are a high status religious leader, you have your reputation to protect, and perhaps the seminary or denomination you represent. I understand that. But the first commitment of any religious leader with integrity ought to be to the truth. If the truth is not obvious, but rather buried treasure, than we should get digging.

It is not as if religious leaders do not know that these questions are kind of out there, hanging in space, like a UFO, soundless. After all, my book, The Bible and Flying Saucers , was published more than 40 years ago, there are something like 300,000 copies in print. I have sent articles on UFOs to leading religious journals, articles which have been rejected. The History Channel program “UFOs in the Bible,” of which I was a part, has been run many times. So religious leaders know the issues are there, but they will not even publish the possibility that we have a problem. In short, if our government is lying about UFOs, our religious leaders are very glad about the lie, which of course is a strange position for religious leaders to be in, because we suppose that religious leaders would be the first to stand up to Pharaoh’s lies, to Caesar’s lies. When Jesus was raised from the dead, religious and political leaders agreed to spread a lie, that the disciples came by night and stole the body of Jesus. (Mt.28:13) That is how the lie works—put out a cover story, because the story of the resurrection is just as bad news to religious leaders as it is to political leaders. It means we are dealing with a power that is beyond our control. Our UFO cover stories are Venus, swamp gas, cloud inversions, or advanced secret American aircraft. Cover stories work, in part because we would rather believe the cover story than the truth. If aliens are here, we are dealing with a power that neither our political nor religious leaders can control, or perhaps even understand. In other words, like it or not, UFOs represent a god-like power. (See my article, “The God Hypothesis,” MUFON UFO Journal , October, 1988) Then the question is, is that power good or evil, angelic or demonic? Or a mixture of both? And how do we decide, how do we weigh the evidence? We want to vote for the truth on Election Day.


UFOS AND DIVIDED PROTESTANTISM


People often ask me, “If this is what you really believe, why hasn’t your church tried you for heresy?” My tongue in cheek answer is, “Just lucky I guess.” But the larger answer has to do with where American Protestantism now is. Protestantism does not have a Pope to herd liberals and conservatives into the middle of the road. American Protestantism is now badly split between left and right, liberal and conservative. I am a member of a liberal Protestant denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA). Liberal Protestants are not just Presbyterians, but also Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, and others who suspect many of the miracles in the Bible are mythology, miracles such as the parting of the Red Sea, and the Resurrection of Jesus. Some (but not all) liberal seminary professors would say these miracle stories represent the thinking of a pre-scientific world view, and we should not take these stories literally. Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong, in books like Why Christianity Must Change or Die , expresses this liberal agnosticism well. He says that people who still believe in things like the Parting of the Red Sea have parked their brains at the church door. If there was no resurrection of Jesus, it kind of takes the joy out of Easter, of course. Some liberal clergy find it easier to talk about their Easter hope than their Easter faith.

If I were to be tried for heresy, one would have to deal with the fact that I believe in a literal resurrection of Jesus, in fact, I affirm all the articles of the Apostles’ Creed, so that by today’s liberal standards, I am quite orthodox. My views introduce the possibility that some biblical miracles are the result of advanced technology, which modern theology has never considered, and is in no mood to face. (See my article, “Biblical Miracles as Super-technology,” The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters , ed. Ronald D. Story) Even more, a heresy trial would have to test the truth of American government statements about UFOs, and if there were evidence that our government is lying, this would raise huge questions about separation of church and state. Are UFOs a national security issue, or do UFOs pertain to the God of the Bible, the God of the “pillar of cloud and fire” of the Exodus? (Ex.13:21,22) I know some of my fellow clergy thought I ought to be tried for heresy, they told me so, but it would not take long to discover that any trial of me for heresy would create one big Presbyterian public mess. The newspaper headlines would not be good: “Presbyterian Church Tries Minister for UFO Heresy.”

So here I am, untried. Uncensored. But not necessarily loved. Although I have received good support from my former congregation Northminster Presbyterian Church in Endwell, New York, and some of my fellow clergy, nevertheless some of my best clergy friends think I am way off base, or crazy. If any high status Presbyterian leader has publically voiced support for my work, I do not know who he or she is. But there has been no heresy trial, nor do I expect one.


CONSERVATIVE PROTESTANTS AND THE DEMONIC THEORY


But if I had been a member of a conservative denomination, I almost certainly would have been tried for heresy. Conservatives do not mind looking foolish in public. I will give conservative Protestants credit: many of them have taken UFOs seriously, unlike liberals. Of course they do not complain loudly that our government and military leaders are lying, because conservative Protestants love American military power, and believe American military power is important as a defense against Islamic Fundamentalism. But many American conservative Protestants believe UFOs are real, and that UFOs are demonic. If UFOs are demonic, then it would be a good thing if United States Air Force jets could shoot them down. But if UFOs carry the angels of God, then shooting them down would not be such a good idea. (Heb. 13:2)

There are many internet sites dealing with the religious dimension of UFOs, and the web site “Strong Delusion,” administered by James Cunningham, is one of the best. Cunningham has made a good effort to present a broad point of view on his site, including mine, although the majority of those writing on his site would condemn me. One writer has called me a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” another charges that I am guilty of “hermeneutical rape,” a phrase I did not hear used when I was attending Princeton Theological Seminary. Conservative Protestants hold an annual UFO conference in Roswell, New Mexico, this year called the “Ancient of Days” conference, proclaiming that UFOs are real, and demonic. MUFON Florida state section leader Joe Jordan is part of this effort to interpret UFOs as demonic, which of course some of them may be.

The conservative demonic argument is basically this: in UFO abduction reports, the aliens do terrible things to abductees, conducting sexual and other tests on them. The aliens have the power of thought control which shows this is a paranormal/demonic power. Conservatives argue that if the aliens were God’s angels, they would not do these terrible things, causing the victims nightmares, and sometimes serious health problems. Secular UFO researchers often complain the aliens treat us like laboratory animals. I have no desire to be abducted, and I am glad for the good research work of Joe Jordan, with others, who have investigated cases where people were in danger of being abducted, and they shouted out, “Jesus save me,” or prayers to that effect, and the abduction did not happen. If I am ever in danger of an abduction, I plan to shout out, “Jesus save me.” (Jordan is a state section director for MUFON in Florida, part of their CE4 Research Group, and author of Unholy Communion. For a summary of his work, see the Strong Delusion articles, “UFO-alien Christian ‘smoking gun,’” parts 1 and 2, March 13 and 24, 2009. For a summary of concepts of the demonic in relation to UFOs, see my article, “Demonic Theory of UFOs,” The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters , ed. Ronald D. Story.)

But I do not conclude that Jordan’s UFO research proves UFOs are demonic, or at least, that the aliens are not obeying the will of God. I believe it makes much more sense, biblically, to say that many UFOs carry God’s angels of judgment, rather than demons. The Bible refers to judgment angels as “destroying angels.” (Ps. 78:49; also see Gen. 19:1; Acts 12:23; Rev. 8:1-9:21) Let us remember the Exodus. The Exodus story says that the last plague, killing the first-born of Egypt, was an act of God. (Ex. 12:39) This would of course appear demonic to the Egyptians, but angelic to the Jews. At the same time, the Jewish first-born could be saved by putting the blood of a lamb on the doorposts of their home. The Bible says killing first-born Egyptians was a divine action of God’s judgment, modern UFO abductions may also be part of the divine judgment, but “Save me Jesus” may have the same purpose as the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of Jewish homes, protection from God’s angels of judgment. It may be that “chosen people” may be saved from what is a divine process, a process that may be necessary from God’s point of view, in dealing with our modern Pharaohs. “Save me Jesus” may be the blood of the lamb that leads to an Abduction Passover.

When we read about modern abduction reports, however, we should also remember modern medicine. A doctor will give chemotherapy to a cancer patient. The patient will become sick, his or her hair will fall out. Do we call the doctor demonic? A woman who cannot conceive may have medical treatment that is sexually invasive. Do we call this demonic? Before surgery, persons are often given anesthesia, which makes them unconscious during surgery. Is it demonic that patients suffer memory loss after surgery?

There is much in modern UFO abduction reports that seems more medical than demonic, abductions may not be as evil as they appear, and may not be the work of “destroying angels.” Until we have a better understanding of the purpose of the UFO reality, I think the “demonic” explanation of abductions is weak.

Although I am skeptical, the demonic interpretation of UFOs must be considered, and books like Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection , by Gary Bates, The Millennial Deception , by Timothy J. Dailey, and Alien Encounters by Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman, explain the demonic, or fallen angels point of view (see Genesis 6:1-4, concerning the Nephilim). Others, such as Lynn Marzulli, Michael Heiser, Stephen Yulish and Guy Malone publish regularly on Strong Delusion and other web sites. My sense about conservative Protestantism is that it is so focused on the Second Coming of Christ that it finds it difficult to see how God may have purpose in continuing what I call “God’s Faith Game” on earth. I believe in the Second Coming, but it should be obvious 2000 years later, that God is in no hurry about it, and that not even Christ knew when the Second Coming would happen. (Mt. 24:36)

There are several biblical problems with the Conservative Demonic/Fallen Angel theory. I know of no case in the Bible where either demons, or fallen angels, are reported to be seen flying around in craft. There is nothing like the “chariot of fire” of Elijah reported to be carrying demons, or fallen angels. Biblical UFOs—the pillar of cloud and fire of the Exodus, the chariot of fire, the wheels of Ezekiel, or the “clouds” in the New Testament that carry Christ and the angels (Mt. 24:30), are all signs of divine power, not demonic power. Where did the demons or fallen angels suddenly come up with space craft, and why did God allow demons to have this up-grade? Are UFOs, even if they are demons or fallen angels, doing the will of God, in the manner of Satan in relation to Job? I have not seen the conservative answer to these questions stated clearly.

My point of view creates stress for conservative Protestants. Conservative Protestants believe in the infallibility of Scripture, and believe it should be interpreted literally, not as mythology, like the liberals. I fall somewhere between. The Bible is not one book, it is 66 books written by dozens of authors and editors, covering a period of more than 1000 years. I believe much in the Bible is story, not history, such as the early Genesis material. Adam and Eve were not there to observe the creation of the universe, but the Jews were present to observe the Parting of the Red Sea. I believe the Parting of the Red Sea is history, not story or mythology, like many liberal Christians. Thus conservative Protestants believe—no questions asked, that the Red Sea really parted, like the Bible says, and that Jesus was raised from the dead, like the Bible says. One might think that conservatives would love me—here I am, saying we may have evidence flying in our skies, that the Red Sea parted, that Jesus was raised, that the angels of God are still with us. But alas, conservatives do not love me, and never have. When the conservative magazine Christianity Today reviewed my book in 1968, the main hope of the reviewer was that no one would read my book.


POSSIBILITIES AND UNCERTAINTY


Even though I take the parting of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Jesus literally, the way in which I do it raises all kinds of possibilities, and conservatives do not like possibilities, they want everything nailed down. I will certainly admit that things are not nailed down. If UFOs are real, and piloted by aliens, then we have many possibilities. How long have these aliens been flying in our skies? Since 1947? Since biblical times? Or maybe for millions of years? If our modern abduction reports are true, then it appears the aliens have advanced biological and medical powers. And why wouldn’t they? Look at where we are now scientifically. We may soon have the power to fly to another planet, and start life on that planet. We know how DNA works. Theologically, we have been made in the image of God, “partakers of the divine nature.” (Gen. 1:26; 2 Pet. 1:4) Perhaps our divine destiny is to go to other worlds, to create or redeem beings in our own image, or at least to join the angels in this creative/redemptive process. (Jn. 14:12) Suppose that life on earth has been created by the alien reality flying in our skies. The idea of linking the Bible, creation, and UFOs has already been explored in the larger culture, if not in your local church or synagogue, in movies like “Knowing” staring Nicolas Cage.

Notice what the UFO reality does to our scientific theories of evolution. Scientists who are atheists, like Richard Dawkins and the late Carl Sagan, both of whom promoted atheism in the name of the theory of evolution, would suddenly have to face the possibility that life on earth did not just evolve all by itself. That may be one reason Carl Sagan would not take UFO evidence seriously—it threatened his life’s work. Sagan was happy to imagine future alien contact, but not current contact. (See Sagan’s article, “UFO’s: The Extraterrestrial and Other Hypotheses,” published in UFO’s: A Scientific Debate, edited by Carl Sagan and Thornton Page.) If the United States government now holds information that indicates that aliens have designed biological life on our planet, there goes our high school text books, not to mention the Dover Pennsylvania court ruling of Judge John E. Jones that “intelligent design” is not science. (The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Tammy Kitzmiller, et. al., Plaintiffs v. Dover Area School District, et. al., Defendants, Case No. 04cv2688, 2005) If aliens have created life on earth, then intelligent design is better science than the theory of evolution now being taught to our children. A lot of scientific reputations could go up in smoke if the truth about UFOs were released.

But at the same time, this theory—that aliens created life on earth—brings no joy to religious conservatives. One of my sharpest critics—who calls me a wolf in sheep’s clothing—not only does not believe in evolution, he does not believe the universe is more than about 6000 years old. What is the basis for this belief? His chronology of the age of the earth is based on the Bible, not on modern science. He believes in a literal Genesis, not in a universe that is 13 billion years old. So even though the existence of aliens could embarrass many of our world’s scientists, their existence also threatens the faith of many Christian conservatives. Conservative Christians are divided between the “New Earth” proponents, like Gary Bates, who read Genesis literally, and the “Intelligent Design” advocates, like Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial , who oppose evolution, but do not read Genesis literally. They believe the universe is billions of years old, but that God created different species over a long period of time.

Christian conservatives will let aliens exist only as supernatural demons, or perhaps fallen angels (Genesis 6), who are trying to create confusion on planet earth. They suggest God has let these demons loose, to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Christ. I admit this is possible, but it is no sure thing. The other possibilities worry Christian conservatives a lot.


THE ALIEN AGENDA


A basic pressing issue is: what is the alien purpose, the alien agenda, and how do the governments of the world fit into this agenda? Most of the theories about the alien agenda take on a science and technology flavor. Some believe the aliens are here because they need some of our DNA to save their dying planet—Budd Hopkins (Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods ), has put forth this speculation. Or perhaps the aliens are here because we have now advanced enough to join the equivalent of the United Nations of the stars. Soon the aliens will land, and welcome us to the interplanetary brotherhood. Or maybe the aliens are here because we now have atomic weapons, and the aliens are worried that we will disrupt the space/time continuum of the universe. Maybe the aliens have made a pact with our government, and are sharing technological secrets of new energy that will not pollute the environment. By and large, the speculation about alien purpose sees the aliens as a little more advanced technologically than we are, and maybe more morally advanced, because, after all, they have not blown up their own civilization. But do the aliens have a spiritual purpose in their relation to planet earth? That is a different kind of question.

When Eric von Daniken published Chariots of the Gods? , one of his arguments was that the beings in the Bible that we call angels were not angels, they were just ancient astronauts, landing to pick up soil samples or conducting experiments. The biblical people fell down and worshipped the aliens as gods, because they did not know any better. Von Daniken says he believes in God, but the Bible, for von Daniken, is no special source of divine revelation. I understand this. One can take my whole argument for the Exodus, and suppose that it is some kind of extraterrestrial experiment, whereby aliens gave the Jews a set of moral laws in the laboratory of the Sinai wilderness. The aliens insisted on being worshiped, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3), in order to establish their authority. In our scientific age, this possibility has sold very well. But I do not see it as von Daniken sees it. I believe the Exodus story is one way divine reality has been revealed to us. The God of Moses was the God of Jesus. Jesus compared the process of divine revelation to a woman hiding leaven in a lump of dough. (Mt. 13:33) God is hidden, and revealed, in our Exodus history, in our Jesus story, and in our modern UFO encounters.

Not only do some look at aliens as ancient astronauts, but also there are those who see UFOs as New Age religious spirituality. Books like Shirley MacLaine’s Out On a Limb , or the late Dr. John Mack’s book, Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens , suggest that UFOs are a sign that a new form of world consciousness is growing. Those presenting a New Age point of view do not try very hard to understand alien purpose in light of the Bible, but that is what I am trying to do.


GOD’S ANGELIC AGENDA


Here is what I want you to consider with me. That the aliens are real, they are part of a larger divine purpose in relation to planet earth, they may not be demons, but rather the guardian angels who have guided the development of life on earth. (Mt. 18:10; 26:53 etc.) These angels are not only advanced spiritually, but technologically. Theology has never thought about angels and technology because when Ezekiel saw the “wheel within a wheel” (Ez. 1:16), he did not say, “Wow, what a fine example of advanced technology,” rather, he said he had visions of God. Ezekiel knew about God, but he did not know about technology. Our age knows about technology, but we do not know about God. There is nothing in the Bible that says the angels do not use technology. The word “supernatural” is not even a biblical word. The Bible affirms that God created the universe , and that all things were made through Christ (Jn. 1:3; Col. 1:15-20). There has been little theological discussion about the extent to which the angels of God might have participated in the creation process. Early in his ministry, Jesus sent out his disciples by twos, and “gave them authority over the unclean spirits.” (Mk. 6:7) Jesus believed in power sharing. The church is part of the New Creation, and Christ delegated the creation of his church to human authority. [“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Mt. 28:19)] This authority was divinely confirmed at Pentecost. (Acts 2) If God is willing to share his divine power with human authority, then we ought to wonder to what extent God has shared his divine power with angelic authority in creating life on earth.

The “cultural” development of life on earth, whatever that may be, is not yet complete. Humanity is God’s main harvest, and the angels not only participated in the Resurrection of Christ, the beginning of the New Creation. (Mt. 28:2; Rev. 21:1) The angels will also participate in the final harvesting process, transporting humans to God’s heavenly kingdom. (Mt. 13:39) The Bible does not give us the physics, chemistry or biology of the first creation, or of the New Creation to come, only the affirmation that God has done the creating, and we do not even have proof of that, we only know it by faith. (Heb. 11:3) There is no biblical statement that the angels have participated in shaping biological life on earth, but I do not know of any direct biblical evidence that rules out this possibility. The Bible tends to see God, and God’s angels, as in some sense identical (Ex. 3:1-6), as Jesus shares his identity with God (Jn. 14:8-11), and as believers share the identity of Jesus (Jn. 15:1-11). If modern aliens seem to be doing “biological” things, how do we know this is not divinely “authorized” angelic activity? If we consider the plagues reported during the Exodus, plagues of flies, frogs, locusts and boils, we are faced with an apparent biological control of the environment, with the angels of God exercising this power. (Ex. 3-12) In other words, the book of Exodus reports that some kind of extraterrestrial power waged biological warfare against Egypt. Killing the first-born of Egypt in some sense was a biological act, timed with engineering precision. Of course the healing miracles of Jesus, as well as his resurrection, point to biological power. What the Bible suggests is that the angelic reality has the biological knowledge and power to have created life on earth, not to mention, eternal life to come. Did the angels reported in the Bible create the ecology of the earth, over a period of millions of years? Is it the task of the angels to monitor human abuse of the environment? I believe modern UFO reports challenge theology, and science, to wonder about these possibilities. The view that the angels of God may have been involved in the shaping of the biology of the earth is more biblically speculative than I would like, but I believe we need to be careful not to close too many doors until our government becomes more honest with us about what UFOs seem to be doing. Theologically, we also need to remember that with God all things are possible. (Mt. 19:26)

Let us suppose that the power that led the Exodus in the Bible, and parted the Red Sea, and later raised Jesus from the dead, is the same power we see flying in our skies now, what might this mean? You do see the problem for Protestant conservatives here. The very same powers conservatives are calling demonic I am calling angelic. I am calling them guardian angels, which includes angels of judgment. Calling the UFO aliens demonic could be a bad call when the election results are announced. After all, the leading religious leaders during the time of Jesus said he was demonic. (Mt. 9:34; Lk. 7:33; Jn. 7:20; 8:49; 8:52)

But if the alien/angelic reality had a purpose in biblical times, and has a similar purpose now, what is it? The best purpose I can now name is to Make Sport of the Powers. Make sport of political leaders, embarrass scientific leaders, make sport of religious leaders, embarrass the wise in our universities and in our media, the editors of the likes of the New York Times, and Time magazine, who have consistently joined our government leaders in making fun of the whole idea of UFOs and aliens. One thing the God of the Bible likes to do is to make sport of the establishment powers. Hear these words from the book of Exodus. They explain God’s purpose for the Exodus. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son how I have made sport of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them; that you may know that I am the Lord.’” (Ex. 10:1,2, RSV) God made sport of the Egyptians, embarrassed them. In other words, one of God’s main tactics is to strike at human pride, not just at an individual level, but also at a political level, at a national level. God sent plagues of frogs, flies, locusts, hail and boils, among the many troubles for Egypt. Finally the angel of God killed the first-born of Egypt, but spared the first-born of Israel. Jews celebrate this saving event as Passover. In terms of modern ideas of religion, of course, this killer God of the Exodus seems out of step with the God of love that most clergy proclaim. In fact, I am sure many liberal theologians not only do not believe the Exodus story, they pray that it is not true. Nevertheless, the angels in the Bible often seem to be a kind of military power. (2 Kings 6:17; Mt. 26:53)

After Passover, God’s angels crush Pharaoh, making sport of Pharaoh’s chariots in the Red Sea. Not surprisingly, modern UFOs have made sport of our technology, and our advanced jet fighters. Why won’t American military leaders just announce that modern UFOs fly circles around our fighters? Because this is embarrassing. UFO truth crushes our military pride, our Pharaoh pride.

In the New Testament, the evidence is similar. The religious leaders were humbled by the teaching of Jesus, who told them they were hypocrites. (Mt. 23) Jesus sided with the poor and the oppressed, just as God had sided with the Jews against the oppressor Egyptians. The preaching and healing miracles of Jesus made sport of the powers, which is why religious and political leaders joined to kill him, and why the resurrection of Jesus is such a good way to make sport of those who killed him. Embarrassment required the resurrection cover-up. The Apostle Paul was religiously devoted to destroying Christians, but was humbled, in his religious pride, by that bright UFO on the road to Damascus, with the voice that said, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? ” (Acts 9:4) Paul explained this divine humbling process very well. “For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.’” (1 Cor. 1:19; Is. 29:14) “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. 1:25) Making sport of the powers is God’s game, and I think we are in the midst of a wonderful spiritual Super Bowl, the real World Cup, God making sport of human pride. It is God’s favorite game, and it is human pride that keeps religious leaders from recognizing the significance of UFOs for the biblical tradition. Because in “seeing they do not see.” (Mt. 13:13) Why do I believe I see when others do not? Beats me.


UFOS AND THE RESURRECTION OF GOD’S FAITH GAME


If I am right, what happens next? An Associated Press poll in 2007 indicated that about 14% of Americans (one in every eight) believe they have seen a UFO. This amounts to over 40 million Americans. (Angela K. Brown, Associated Press, January 14, 2008, “Dozens in Texas Town Report Seeing UFO.”) My cousin saw a UFO fly at treetop level over her house in rural Delaware County, New York. The sighting was at night, the light from the UFO was strong enough so that she could have read a book. The only noise was a slight hum, as she watched this UFO fly for five minutes at walking speed. What does my cousin know, that 40 million other Americans know? She has seen with her own eyes that our government has hidden the truth from us, our modern Pharaohs have been exposed for the liars they are. All the UFOs have to do is keep showing up—they do not even have to land, and eventually, all our modern Pharaohs will be emperors with no clothes, walking out of the Red Sea with their bathing suits missing.

When will we reach the tipping point? Here is the downside risk in the UFO lie to both American political leadership, and to the American press. If one in every eight Americans has seen a UFO, how long before government lies are no longer believable? Other countries like Great Britain and France are releasing their UFO files. China is fairly open about UFO issues. The political leadership of other countries realizes they have to release UFO information or they will lose their credibility. America almost stands alone in denial.

When and however the UFO truth is finally admitted, then the arrogance of our scientists will be crushed. So much for Richard Dawkins’ certainty about atheistic evolution, and his popular book The God Delusion . And what about our religious leaders? How could they be silent about UFOs for 60 years? Religious leaders will be exposed as blind leaders of the blind. ( Mt. 15:14) The leaders of the media will be exposed for burying their head in the sand, blind to the biggest news story of the past 1000 years, having betrayed their guaranteed Constitutional freedom to expose government lies.

God is making sport of all the powers. Writing from a scientific perspective, Foster Morrison has said, “The only identifiable thing the UFO phenomenon is doing is discrediting the scientific and political establishments.” ( See Morrison, “UFOs—Science and Technology in the Service of Magic,” MUFON UFO Journal , June, 1988)

How will this process of making sport of, or discrediting the establishment powers end? Will UFOs land and finally show themselves openly? Will we have a friendly exchange of scientists as in the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” or will the landing be the Second Coming of Christ?

If the biblical pattern of divine UFO behavior holds, then UFOs will not land on the White House lawn and say, “Take me to your leader,” as our scientific culture expects, nor will the Second Coming happen, as religious conservatives expect. Rather, I expect UFOs to just keep showing themselves until everybody knows they are real, but we will not know their purpose. What if UFOs just kind of hover there in our skies, what if our government leaders do not know what UFO purpose is, what if our scientists do not know either, then what? Then we are back to wondering, wondering why we are here on earth, wondering if those aliens in the sky made us, and if they did make us, when we die, do we go join them? Do we then become like the angels, as Jesus said? (Mt. 22:30)

We must also wonder if the ethical decisions we make, the decision we make to love God, or not love God, the decision to love our neighbor, or not love our neighbor, have eternal consequences. We may wonder if the earth is kind of a greenhouse, where God starts us on an eternal journey to a heavenly, extraterrestrial home. Life on earth then becomes a test of our worthiness to be given the freedom of the children of God. (Rom. 8:21) All this is basic biblical teaching, of course. The existence of UFOs can resurrect us from the atheism of our scientific age if we want to be resurrected, or we can continue to deny God in the name of science, if that is our choice. Ours is a Doubting Thomas Age demanding proof, but Jesus says believing without seeing is more blessed. (Jn. 20:29) That is what I believe, but I do not have scientific proof that my faith is the truth. From my point of view, if UFOs make sport of our modern human powers with embarrassment, just by showing their existence, but do not land openly, then as a Protestant I go back to the Bible and wonder, back to the Bible because I believe this is where God has chosen to bury the treasure of his plan for the kingdom of heaven, and by digging in the Bible, we uncover God’s purpose for humanity. (Mt. 13:44) Others will wonder with me. We will wonder knowing we are not alone in the universe. But we will not have scientific proof of what our purpose is, deciding what our purpose is will require an act of faith, and faith has always been a big part of God’s Game. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) It is through faith that we have the freedom to choose good or evil. Because we do not have proof of our divine purpose, we are free to choose to believe in God, or not, free to choose evil, or good.

UFOs are an attack on the scientific atheism of our culture. Whether Richard Dawkins likes it or not, the God of the Bible is alive and well. UFOs are also an attack on blind religious faith. Religious leaders are in for a shock. Not only are the angels of God alive and well, but they are scientifically very advanced. Religious leaders have to wake up and smell the wonder. God is redeeming his Faith Game.

I believe in Election Day, a day when everyone’s faith will be shown to be true, or false. You have a lot of UFO theories before you, possibilities scientific, political and religious. I hope I have been given the wisdom to understand what I believe is God’s UFO Game, and that I have explained that wisdom as clearly as I can. Until Election Day, thank you for wondering with me.


Barry H. Downing

Endwell, New York

For MUFON Pennsylvania, October, 2009



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