Some people think they can make out a UFO over St. Peter’s Basilica in a video of the night Pope Francis was elected. And various conspiracy theory sites are convinced that the Vatican not only has made contact with aliens, but is “easing humanity toward alien disclosure.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
UFO conspiracy theorists point to a number of verses in the Holy Bible which they claim may be speaking of UFOs or aliens, with one person claiming that “if you just look at what’s actually in the Bible with an open mind, you can find dozens of UFO accounts.”
Here are just a few examples, with why they are obviously not about aliens. But hey, you never know…
1) Ezekiel 1.1-28 – “Gleaming metal”
As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal.
And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings.
I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of beryl. […] And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. (Ezekiel 1.4-6, 15-16, 19)
That’s just a snippet; you can read the whole chapter here.
So in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision we have a large metallic object coming from the sky, human-like creatures coming out of it, and the humanoid creatures possibly moving around on floating discs.
You can see why alien conspiracy theorists would jump on this passage.
But it gets harder to maintain an alien interpretation when the full context is taken into account, including that the creatures had wings and had faces like various animals (v. 10-11, et al) – which doesn’t sound like aliens from another planet at all.
2) Zechariah 5.1-2 – “A flying scroll”
Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll! And he said to me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.” (Zechariah 5.1-2)
I think the idea here is that the prophet Zechariah is seeing something that’s (1) flying and (2) pretty big (20 cubits by 10 cubits = 30 ft by 15 ft).
But it’s also looks like a scroll, which I think rules out it being an alien spacecraft.
3) Genesis 6.1-4 – “Sons of God”
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6.1-4)
As we’ve written before, what in the world is going on in this passage? Specifically, who are the “sons of God” who are having children with the “daughters of man”?
One theory is that the “sons of God” are angels. But this creates problems about how immaterial beings are having children with humans. One solution? Maybe they’re… aliens. They’re called “sons of God” since they come from “the heavens,” but they are still able to procreate with the humans because they’re corporeal creatures.
Of course, that’s if the “sons of God” aren’t simply descendants of Adam and Eve’s righteous son Seth…
4) 2 Kings 2.1, 11-12 – “Chariots of fire”
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. […] And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.
So the prophet Elijah is physically swept away by something flying through the air. Scripture describes it as a “whirlwind into heaven” and “chariots of fire and horses of fire.” What was this thing?
Some conspiracy theorists think it could have been an alien spacecraft, saying that ancient peoples described it as a “chariot of fire” simply because it was the best analogy they could use to describe what they saw: it was a vehicle, so call it a “chariot,” but it was gleaming, so say it was on fire.
But this of course rules out that God just really miraculous took him up in a dramatic fashion. And since we’re dealing with Scripture, that seems pretty reasonable.