Well, it’s about time I got back to this. When I last left you, I had noted that I was writing about end times over on my Naked Bible blog and that you needed to check out that discussion to understand my hesitation on agreeing with the typical Christian “fundamentalist” view of UFOs and aliens. I’m nearly done with that discussion (it’s 14 parts, and likely will only be one or two more; here is the archive). I can now summarize my thoughts.
The standard view of end times, to which the UFO and alien topics are married by many Christians, is riddled with problems. It’s not that the typical scenario — a rapture, then a seven year tribulation period in which the antichrist plays nice for the first half, then unleashes the forces of darkness, then Armageddon, then the second coming (think Left Behind) can’t work — it’s that it is based on a long series of presuppositions, guesses, and a few questionable exegetical points (but so is every other view). That’s what I’ve been illustrating and chronicling on the other blog. And so, given the tenuous nature of the entire reconstruction (and I know it’s news to many of you that there are any problems), when Christians want to insert aliens and UFOs into the picture, I see trouble.
By trouble I mean that those who do such a thing are setting themselves up for not only a potential, huge disappointment, but they risk all that they are saying about aliens and UFOs being construed as nonsense if their eschatology doesn’t pan out. And they also risk many in the flock leaving the faith over disenchantment with the “assured” nature of their end times schemes. I just cannot endorse how the alien-UFO subject is married to a rapture, for example, because I’m quite uncertain there is even a thing such as a rapture taught in the New Testament. (Again, if that’s news, go to my archive — and please read ALL the posts starting at the beginning – they build on each other).
Other than this general uncertainty, I don’t think the major “exegetical” argument that is used to bolster aliens and UFOs factoring into the end times is at all sound. I speak here of the notion that Matthew 24:37 (“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”) is a reference to the fathering of nephilim by the sons of God in Genesis 6. This connection is critical to the typical “fundamentalist” view tying aliens and UFOs to the end times. I’m also not a believer that Daniel 2:43 is about alien-human hybrids.
I’ll try and explain the problems I see with these interpretations in the next post or two.
“by trouble I mean that those who do such a thing are setting themselves up for not only a potential, huge disappointment, but they risk all that they are saying about aliens and UFOs being construed as nonsense if their eschatology doesnt pan out. And they also risk many in the flock leaving the faith over disenchantment with the assured nature of their end times schemes.” Michael….I believe this a key issue you are pointing out here.
It is obvious the saints of Revelation have the most needed element of their faith and that is relationship,,,theology can fail us, but true relationship with Christ will never fail.
We need to be much like Job and other men of faith and say Though “God slay me or permit me to be slain Yet will I trust him”
“potential, huge disappointment”…”married to a rapture for example, because I’m quite uncertain there is even a thing such as a rapture taught in the New Testament.”
Mike, thank you for your insight into falsely hoping would be rapturees. As times get tougher for “rapture ready” Christians in USA, they may wonder why the rapture has not occurred. Never mind the millions of deserving impoverished Christians violently killed in Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Chad, Central African Repub., Zaire, Somalia, and Ethiopia. They never heard of the rapture.
Maybe there is a dramatic deliverance such as a rapture in the NT? But the circumstances under which such an event might occur will probably rival the parting of the Red Sea- not necessarily the “Left Behind” version.