I don’t keep up with the debates between creationists and evolutionists, and I don’t really hold a definite conviction on the controversy. I do know that evolutionist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Biblical creationist Ken Ham have been known to debate each other on the subject.
A couple of weeks ago I read a news report about some comments Mr. Ham made about a tangentially related subject – extraterrestrials – and the three word comment Mr. Tyson made concerning Ken Ham’s statements. It seems that Ken has stated that search for extraterrestrial life is useless for two reasons: (1) the Bible supposedly teaches that earth is a “special creation” of God – I suppose all those other planets and star systems are just there for show; and (2) if extraterrestrials do exist, they’re hopelessly lost and destined to hell, inasmuch as the whole of creation was ruined by the sin of Adam – but only earthly descendents of Adam and Eve can be “saved” by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
Neil’s short comment on this was “that’s messed up”! I consider that to be an extremely polite and diplomatic response. 😆 Ken Ham’s statement is so nonsensical that it doesn’t even match up with what the Bible itself teaches – if one were inclined to accept the accuracy and truthfulness of that book (and Ken Ham claims to be a firm believer in the Bible).
I would like to consider both of Ken Ham’s points, beginning with point #2. This point stated that although extraterrestrials would have suffered the effects of Adam’s sin, Jesus Christ only redeemed and reconciled to God the descendants of Adam; and extraterrestrials would obviously not fit into that category. Now although the apostle Paul does seem to have taught the (absurd) notion that somehow all of creation was adversely affected by the sin of one earthly human, Adam, the very verses that teach this (absurd) notion are the ones that explicitly say that the whole of creation shares in Jesus Christ’s redeeming sacrifice! The effects of Adam’s sin and Jesus’ righteousness are co-extensive according to the teaching of Paul. (Ken Ham claims to believe in the infallibility of the apostle Paul as an “inspired” messenger of Jesus Christ. I don’t make any such claim.)
Consider for instance this passage from Romans 8 (English Standard Version): Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Rom 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. Rom 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, IN HOPE Rom 8:21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. Rom 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (By saying “not only the creation”, Paul clearly meant that “the creation” is included among those eagerly awaiting adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.)
Surely any extraterrestrials are part of “creation”, and therefore are among those who will be set free from … bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. And what about the angels, seraphim, and cherubim? They are surely part of “creation” – and therefore must be (according to Paul) suffering the consequences of Adam’s sin. But they are not descendents of Adam. So would Ken Ham have us believe that the angels (including such “archangels” as Michael and Gabriel) are hopelessly lost and destined for hell because they can’t participate in Jesus Christ’s redemption? I’m sure that Ken does not believe any such thing; certainly Paul didn’t as is obvious from the quotation from Romans 8.
Consider one other verse from the letters of Paul, before moving on to Ken Ham’s first point. Colossians 1:20 says: and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven [literally “the heavens” – SGP], making peace by the blood of his cross. Clearly the implication of this statement is that Paul considered that all things – both on earth and in the heavens – were corrupted and stood in need of being reconciled to God. The actual direct statement is that in fact all things – both on earth and in the heavens – have been reconciled to, and brought to peace with, God! And “extraterrestrials” are by definition beings who are not “on (or from) earth” and are therefore “in (or from) the heavens”. According to Paul, then, extraterrestrials would be participants in the effects of Jesus Christ’s “atonement”. Ken Ham doesn’t know what he’s talking about, even when it comes to the Bible! 🙄
Now let’s consider the first point raised by Mr. Ham. He believes that searching for extraterrestrial life is a waste of time because Earth is a “special creation”. God apparently has a “special purpose” which is fulfilled only in Earth humanity. Although God created the seemingly endless Universe (or Universes), He would seem to have “tunnel vision” which is focused totally on this one otherwise insignificant planet.
Of course, the Bible itself acknowledges the existence of extraterrestrial life: the “heavenly hosts” of angels and archangels, seraphim and cherubim, etc. But in Ken Ham’s “Christianity” these extraterrestrial hosts are no doubt focused (just as God is in this absurd “theology”) totally on Earth and the humans who inhabit it. That is the point of the creation of “angels”: to serve humans! One would think that just the stating of such an idea would be enough to refute it, since it is so ridiculous.
Certainly, in traditional “Christian” theology (and I guess also Jewish and Muslim theologies), these angelic hosts are pure spirit beings, not material beings coming in spaceships from other planets. However, there are hints even in the “Scriptures” as we have them that such a view is not entirely accurate. Some of these hints would seem to be much more in line with modern day understanding of “UFOs” coming from other planets, and very material “angels” with bodies pretty much indistinguishable from Earth humans. These hints come in both “Testaments” of the Bible. For instance in the “Old Testament” (“Hebrew Scriptures”) Genesis 6:1-4 speaks of certain mysterious “sons of God” who took as wives the “daughters of men”. The progeny of this relationship were “giants” or “Nephilim” – “mighty men” and “men of renown”. Also, many people have noted that Ezekiel’s visions of wheels in the air, wheels within wheels, correspond very well with modern day UFO sightings – taking into account the differences in scientific and technological understanding between then and now, which would affect the terminology used to describe the visions.
I would like to focus on some instances in the Christian “gospels”, though, since Ken Ham is so convinced that his “Christian” theology is completely opposed to extraterrestrial life (at least the kind from other planets). It is so ironic that there are events within the Biblical accounts of the life of Jesus Christ which are best explained – in fact can only be reasonably explained – by extraterrestrials and spaceships as we understand such things today. Extraterrestrials were intimately involved in the birth, baptism, ‘resurrection’, and ‘ascension’ of Jesus! 😯
First consider the story of “the star of Bethlehem” in Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). In this story certain “wise men” (magi) from “the East” saw a peculiar “star” in the sky – which they were able to conclude signaled the birth of a “king of the Jews”. The “wise men” then went to Jerusalem – presumably led by the “star”, though Matthew does not specifically say so – and started asking where this newborn Jewish king was. After talking with “Herod the king”, they then were led by the “star” to Bethlehem (Matthew here specifically says the “star” led them), and the “star” came to a stop over the place where the child was.
This story has long been considered an example of the historical and scientific inaccuracy of the Bible. No star, comet, or meteor known to man could move slowly in front of men on foot or riding camels or horses to guide them somewhere, and then come to a stop directly over the point to which it was leading them. There is simply no reasonable explanation for such an account – unless it is compared to modern day UFO sightings. Were a similar account to be written today, it would immediately be labeled a UFO sighting. The writer of Matthew didn’t know what to make of such a strange light in the sky, so he called it a “star”. But the ‘gospel story’ matches modern UFO sightings very nicely.
Then at the other end of the earthly life of Jesus (at least as recorded in the Bible) we have the story of Jesus’ ‘ascension into heaven’ (Acts 1:6-11). Here is another account which is considered a scientific absurdity, and is frequently ridiculed. Jesus is said to have been “lifted up” into the sky until a cloud hid him from the viewers. Aside from the levitation itself, where did Jesus go to after the cloud hid him? Did he just keep going until he reached a “throne” out in space somewhere, upon which God is seated? Obviously that’s ridiculous, and so the ascension story is frequently mocked.
However, again such a story is very consistent with modern day UFO accounts. There are frequent accounts of a blue beam of light shining down from a hovering spaceship, in which beam spaceship occupants as well as humans are observed either descending from the ship or ascending to it. So perhaps there was a spaceship hovering behind the clouds outside of Jerusalem, and Jesus was levitated up to the ship. Certainly such an account would fit in very well with the modern UFO phenomena. Alternatively, though, perhaps the spaceship had landed, Jesus got into the ship, and then it was the ship that rose up until clouds hid it. Either way, it seems to me that UFO involvement is the only way to make any real sense of the ‘ascension story’ in the Bible.
Then there are the stories of a voice being heard from heaven (or from a bright cloud) proclaiming Jesus to be “my beloved son”. In the gospel accounts this occurred at Jesus’ baptism by John (Matthew 3:13-17), and at the “transfiguration” (Matthew 17:1-8). When one reads such accounts in the light of the present day UFO stories, it is not hard to understand. Otherwise one must just imagine the gospel writers were giving us some very imaginative myths.
Interestingly, there is a “gospel” discovered relatively recently (1963) which makes explicit the extraterrestrial involvement hinted at in our ‘official’ “gospel” accounts. This “gospel” is called “Talmud Jmmanuel” (the “J” in Jmmanuel is the equivalent of the English “I”), though this “Talmud” has no relationship at all with the Jewish Talmud (“Babylonian” or “Jerusalem Talmud”). The word “Talmud” comes from the three letter Hebrew root word meaning “to learn or to teach”; therefore a “Talmud” is the teaching or instruction which is learned or taught. So “Talmud Jmmanuel” means “Immanuel’s Instructions or Teachings”. This “Talmud” is said to have been discovered in 1963 by two men, in a tomb outside of Jerusalem which they believed to have been the tomb in which the body of Jesus/Immanuel was placed after the crucifixion. It was written in Aramaic; but unfortunately the original documents were later destroyed in an Israeli attack on a refugee camp in Lebanon where one of the discoverers was living. He had managed to translate about ¼ of the material into German before the documents were destroyed. That of course makes it impossible to run verifying tests on the documents to see if they really were as old as they claim to be.
For anyone interested, an online English translation of the “Talmud Jmmanuel” can be found here. In addition, a comparison with the Gospel of Matthew (to which the Talmud Jmmanuel bears a striking resemblance, although there are also many very important differences) can be found here. The comparison was made by James W. Deardorff, and the site contains links to several other articles he wrote concerning subjects relating to the contents of the “TJ”. More complete information about the “TJ” – its content and teachings, its author, and its discoverers – can be found at these two sites.
As I said, this “Talmud Jmmanuel” makes explicit what is hinted at in the ‘official’ Gospels concerning UFO and extraterrestrial involvement in the life of Immanuel (Jesus). For instance, concerning the ‘ascension into heaven’ recorded in Acts 1 (verse 9), it has this to say: TJ 32:49-53 49And it came to pass, that while he was speaking to them in this manner, a thundering came from the sky, and a great light descended. 50The light settled on the ground not far from them, and it glittered like metal in the sunlight. 51Jmmanuel spoke no more, but went to the metallic light and entered into it. 52Then, however, a haze arose all around it. Once again a thundering began and the light ascended back into the sky. 53And the disciples returned to Jerusalem in secret and made known the events among their own kind. (This was copied from Mr. Deardorff’s comparison). Chapter 33:1 tells us that the “great light” took Immanuel to Damascus in Syria, where he lived for two years before beginning a long journey which would eventually find him in India – where he lived to approximately AD 115 and then died a natural death. (According to the “TJ”, Immanuel did not actually die by crucifixion, but was “near death”.)
The “TJ”, then, teaches what I presented as an alternative explanation of the “ascension”: instead of Immanuel/Jesus being levitated by a light from the hovering spacecraft, the spacecraft landed on the earth and Immanuel entered into it. Then the spacecraft itself rose up into the air and was obscured by the cloud/haze which arose around the craft. All of this is very explicit – no confusing talk of a “star”.
At the birth of Jesus, the “wise men” explained their mission, to Herod, in this way (chapter 2:2-5): 2″Where is the newborn king of wisdom of the Jews? 3We have seen a bright light in the sky and heard a voice saying, 4’Follow the tail of the light, because the king of wisdom of the Jews is born, who will bring great knowledge.’ 5Therefore we have come to adore the newborn king of wisdom.” The “tail of the light” probably refers to the blue light which is sometimes observed to shine down from the hovering spacecraft. And note that the “TJ” explains how the “wise men” were able to connect the “light” to the birth of a “king” in Judea. They heard a voice from the spacecraft telling them about this “king of wisdom”, rather than being left to deduce it from astrological calculations and perhaps knowledge of “scriptures”.
Then when they left Herod, the “bright light” with the “tail” led them on to Bethlehem: TJ 2:14 14After they [the magi] had listened to Herod Antipas, they departed. And behold, the light with the long tail, which they had observed in the Orient, moved ahead of them with a high singing sound until it reached Bethlehem and stood directly over the stable where the infant was born. This is all very consistent with modern day UFO sightings.
At the baptism of Immanuel by John the Baptist, instead of the “Holy Spirit” descending in the form of a dove, we read this: TJ 3:30 30When Jmmanuel had been baptized, he soon came out of the water of the Jordan, and behold, a metallic light fell from the sky and rushed over the Jordan. TJ 3:31-32 31Consequently they all fell on their faces and pressed them into the sand while a voice from the metallic light spoke, 32″This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased. He will be the king of truth, through which the terrestrial human species shall rise as wise ones.” After this, instead of the “Holy Spirit” leading Jesus into “the wilderness” where he was “tempted by the devil” for 40 days, the TJ says that Immanuel entered into the “metallic light” which then rose in fire and smoke and carried him away to another land for 40 days. During that time he was instructed by the occupants of the spacecraft. Chapter 4 of the TJ tells us some of the instructions given to Immanuel.
The voice heard proclaiming that Immanuel was his beloved son would undoubtedly belong to Gabriel, the “celestial son” (traveler from a far distant point in the Universe) whom the TJ and Jmmanuel himself consistently insist is the “father” of Jmmanuel. It is emphatically denied that “god” is Immanuel’s “father”; and “god” in the TJ is not the Creator and Sustainer of all things, but is simply the leader of the “celestial sons” who came to earth from far away in the Universe. “God” is the greatest of those travelers in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom – but not “the Creator”. In fact, the TJ does not acknowledge a “Creator”; the Ultimate Existence is “Creation” Itself, and is self-existing without beginning or ending. It seems to me to be a poor choice of words to describe the All-in-All, since “Creation” implies a Creator – but in the TJ “Creation” is uncreated. It refers to the eternal “Source”, the “material” from which everything is formed. It is genderless Intelligence, and is “the Whole” of which we are all “parts”.
You may accept or reject this “Talmud of Jmmanuel”; but the things concerning UFOs and extraterrestrials which are explicit in it, are definitely hinted at in the ‘official’ Bible and very reasonably derived from that Bible. Sorry, Ken Ham; extraterrestrials are not only “out there”, but have been involved in earth events for a very long time – including being intimately involved in the events surrounding that wonderful man called Immanuel/Jesus!