In Part 3 of this discussion topic, I focused on the first of two descriptions of “alien” and talked about how that definition does not conform to the biblical characters we know as demons, angels, and gods. This first description of an “alien” went like this:
1. It isn’t human
2. It is from a different planet than earth within our universe / dimension.
3. It has a determinate life span (it can and will die in this universe / dimension)
4. It has to maintain its existence through some means of nourishment (i.e., it isn’t a machine) and through reproduction.
5. It is subject to the laws of physics by which our universe / dimension operates.
I noted that I didn’t believe any of these are in the Bible and discussed how biblical descriptions of angels and demons don’t really mesh with these descriptive criteria. Here was the gist of my position:
What this means is that, if there are real space aliens (beings that meet the above criteria), then they cannot be demons, since demons do not conform to these criteria in biblical theology. That said, such aliens could certainly be evil and demonic (using the adjective, not the noun) and unworthy of trust in any way. It would also mean that such beings cannot be angels for the same reason. They would just be aliens, a separate category. But the point is of course moot without proof of actual aliens. If aliens are interdimensional, though, then things change. The demon equation goes back on the table (I’ll explain in part 4).
This last comment-about the “interdimensional description-is my focus in this post. There is far more congruity between that description of an “alien” than the “physical, THIS dimension” description.
First Things First: What “elohim” Means At Its Most Basic Level
Readers are likely familiar with my discussion of “elohim” when it refers to the singular God of Israel (well over 2000 times in the Bible) that constitutes part of my rebuttal to the silliness of Zecharia Sitchin and his followers. That focus isn’t where I’m going here. Yes, elohim most often refers to the lone God of Israel (upwards to 98% of the time I’d guess). But the curious thing is that elohim is used to describe several other entities besides the God of Israel. Elohim is used to describe the following in the Hebrew Bible:
1. The God of Israel
3. Angels / Sons of God
4. The spirits of human dead
I’ll spare you a lengthy discussion of what’s going on here (for Bible verses and brief comments, see this paper extract drawn from one of my published articles).
Anyone who’s read much of the Bible knows that neither the Bible nor its characters consider these four personages equal in attributes (power, character, etc.). There is a huge difference between the attributes of God and the spirit of a dead human being. So why are they all called elohim? Because elohim is, at its most basic level, a “place of residence” term. That is, if your “proper” realm is some place other than the reality plane embodied humans occupy, then you are, by definition, an elohim. An elohim is a being that is a resident of another, different reality plane. Elohim can visit our reality plane and we can visit theirs, at least according to the Bible. There are many occasions where elohim (angels, demons) come to earth and interact with humans. There are also occasions where prophets get to see the other “dimension” or reality plane. The most common human path to that reality plane is, of course, death. The “other side” (other reality plane) has its own geography, too (heaven, hell/Hades/Sheol, that sort of thing).
In our scientific terminology, our concept of another dimension is basically the same as the ancient idea that there are other non-human reality planes where the gods (the elohim) live. It is an unseen realm, but considered just as real as the one we by nature inhabit.
Christians use terms like “spiritual world” or “supernatural realm” to describe this “elohim reality plane,” but those terms aren’t very accurate. Why not? Because, since ALL beings that exist are created by God, who is the lone uncreated being in biblical theology, then ALL other things must be made of something–they are material. We just mistakenly equate “unseen” with “non-material” but this is not allowed by biblical theology. Only God is not made of something. He is described as an uncreated spirit in the Bible. He inhabits a reality plane that is occupied by the unseen entities he created (and of course may occupy ours). He is “realm independent,” but his “normal” place of residence (this is not a denial of omni-presence) is the unseen reality plane.
Applying this to the Alien Question
It’s pretty easy to see how these ideas dovetail with the discussion of “aliens.” If an alien is NOT a physical life form in the sense described in Part 3 and above, then perhaps “aliens” are members of another reality plane (dimension in our modern scientific parlance) that can interact with our reality plane / dimension.
What would the ramifications be? A number of questions and possibilities arise. If there is only one other dimension, this would suggest that angels and aliens and demons are all occupants of that reality plane — but there can still be differentiation. But there could also be overlap. Flying craft are still problematic IF one could ever prove that UFOs are BOTH alien in origin/manufacture AND physical (in terms of our reality plane). But we have all read instances where a UFO will break the sound barrier and NOT create a sonic boom, suggesting that whatever it was, it wasn’t physical (in our reality plane sense).
In some ways, this second description leaves us with the same questions and categories (angels, aliens, demons, gods can all exist and not be the same – they just share the same reality plane “normally”). The Bile does not put a number on the number of dimensions there are, primarily because such questions are not the focus of the Bible. It wasn’t written to answer this question any more than it was written to tell us what’s really in fruit cake. But the second description can also mean overlap and therefore lend credence to the demonic view — that what we think of as aliens (the Part 3 description) are actually best understood as beings from another reality plane that can enter our reality plane as they wish–possibly for the purposes of deception.
So what does this get us? It shows that the demonic view shouldn’t be dismissed. But it also shows that, even if aliens are from a different reality plane, we cannot use that as a conclusive argument that they must be demons. The other-dimensional view is more useful for the demonic view, but isn’t a slam dunk. In short, even the other-dimensional view doesn’t compel a single Christian view.