What Can the Bible Tell Us about Mysteries Like Aliens and UFOs?

man looking up at night sky stars

What Can the Bible Tell Us about Mysteries Like Aliens and UFOs?

People worldwide have reported sightings of unidentified flying objects (UFOs), and even encounters with aliens for years. Movies and TV shows about UFO and alien stories are popular. Government officials in the United States and many other nations have investigated unidentified aerial phenomena, declassifying videos and documents and producing reports for a curious public. Are extraterrestrials really visiting our planet? What does the Bible say about mysteries like aliens and UFOs?

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Where in the Bible Does it Discuss Aliens or UFOs?

Certain Bible passages can be interpreted as possibly referring to extraterrestrial aliens or UFOs.

In Genesis 1:26-28, before human life is created, God speaks in terms of “us” planning to create human beings: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Some readers have suggested that the “us” to whom God is speaking are aliens. However, many Bible scholars believe that God is speaking in terms of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who are distinct yet united forms of himself.

Job 38:4-7 reports that extraterrestrial life (which God describes as “morning stars”) celebrated with joy when the Earth is created, but those extraterrestrials are likely angels.

Genesis chapter 6 describes Nephilim, who were the children of “sons of God” and human women. Biblical scholars have debated whether or not those “sons of God” were aliens or angels. Genesis 6:4 reveals: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”

The prophet Ezekiel’s vision of brightly lit creatures, wheels within wheels, and a vault may seem like a visitation from extraterrestrials with spacecrafts: “I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north – an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures…” (Ezekiel 1:4-5). After experiencing this wondrous vision, however, Ezekiel concludes that it is a manifestation of God’s glory, rather than an encounter with visitors from another planet: “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown…” verse 28 declares.

Two Bible passages that could be interpreted as referring to UFOs are in 2 Kings 2:1-12 and Zechariah 5:1-2. Elijah is taken to heaven by a celestial vehicle in front of his son Elisha: “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2 Kings 2:11). Zechariah sees a flying scroll: “… ‘I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide’” (Zechariah 5:2).

blue sky with cloud in form of angel

What Exactly Are Aliens According to the Bible?

The Bible doesn’t definitively say whether or not aliens whose homes are on other planets exist. Nor does the Bible answer the question of whether or not aliens from other planets – if they do exist – have ever visited Earth. The Bible leaves all of that a mystery, but it does leave the door open for such possibilities. Jesus declares that “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) and many biblical passages speak about the vastness of the universe God has made.

However, the Bible does clearly describe a different type of aliens – intelligent extraterrestrial life forms – who travel between different dimensions. Those aliens are angels!

In Genesis 28:12, Jacob dreams of angels moving between heaven and earth: “He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” What Jacob’s dream shows is essentially interstellar travel. Jesus describes angels traveling in a similar way when he says in John 1:51: “… you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

The Bible says that both holy and fallen angels are at work on our planet. UFO sightings and alien encounters could sometimes be non-angelic visitors from other planets – and they could sometimes represent the work of either holy angels or fallen angels, depending on the context.

So, the only alien-type of creature that the Bible mentions are angels. The Bible never specifically mentions aliens who are visiting Earth from another planet. However, just because the Bible never mentions aliens from other planets doesn’t necessarily mean that those types of aliens don’t exist. God intended the Bible’s message to be for human beings, so it makes sense that the Bible focuses on life on our life on Earth.

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How Should Christians Look at Mysteries Like UFOs and Aliens?

While exploring mysteries like UFOs and aliens, Christians can learn valuable spiritual insights. Investigating those mysterious phenomena with both openness and wisdom can ultimately strengthen our faith.

In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe what I learned from participating in a UFO tour in Arizona. We wore night-vision goggles that expanded our range of vision. Not only could we see thousands of stars overhead, but we could even see the motion of gasses burning on those stars. A bright light flew over us through the sky; the light grew significantly larger and brighter, and hovered over us as we gazed up at it. I couldn’t help but wonder if we were encountering something from beyond Earth: an angel. Angels are light beings who carry out their God-given missions in heavenly and earthly planes of existence. UFOs in the form of mysterious lights could certainly be angels.

No matter what I had witnessed, that awe-inspiring experience opened my mind and heart more to the beauty of our vast universe. It motivated me to praise God. Psalm 19:1-2 declares: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”

Mysteries like UFOs, aliens, and angels both attract and repel us. They’re intriguing and inspire us to learn more. Yet their unknown qualities can scare or threaten us. We may find it easier to ignore such mysteries rather than letting them challenge our worldview. However, mysteries can lead us to awe, if we don’t give in to fear but instead step out of our comfort zones with a willingness to learn.

We shouldn’t be afraid, but neither should we be naïve. We can ask the Holy Spirit to give us the discernment we need to respond to celestial mysteries with both openness and wisdom.

It’s important to consider where we’re placing our faith. If our faith doesn’t go beyond our own ability to understand something, we’ll dismiss some truly wondrous experiences we could have learned from, simply because they make us uncomfortable. Job 37:5 tells us that God “does great things beyond our understanding.” If we place our faith in mysterious experiences themselves, we can be deceived by signs and wonders that come from negative sources, such as fallen angels. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 explains that Satan “will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.” However, if we place our faith in God and pay attention to what mysteries like UFOs and aliens tell us about him, we can be blessed. The Bible describes many signs and wonders that are holy and genuinely show God at work. Jesus’ miracles are obvious examples, but other instances show God working through his natural creation. UFOs and aliens are simply part of the natural universe that God has designed – and all of creation shows evidence of God’s work. Romans 1:20 declares: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” If God has indeed made extraterrestrials, we can learn more about God by learning more about them.

What UFOs and Aliens Can Show Us about God's Wonder

What UFOs and Aliens Can Show Us about God's Wonder

Exploring the possibility of intelligent life outside our home planet can inspire us with awe for God. As Jesus says in Matthew 19:26, “… with God all things are possible.” There is always more to discover about our all-powerful Creator from studying creation. Not only are there no limits to God’s power, but there are also no limits to God’s love. 1 John 4:16 tells us: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” God could have created and redeemed extraterrestrials along with human life. God’s power and love extend throughout the entire universe and all who live within it.

So far, scientists have estimated that there are more than 1 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. We haven’t yet discovered if other forms of life exist. But we can be sure that God has created and sustains everything and everyone. Colossians 1:15-17 declares that Jesus rules the entire universe and all that is in it: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.” Learning more about UFOS and aliens can motivate us to seek God, who is at the head of the whole universe.

Many astronauts have been inspired to worship God after experiencing the vast wonders of space. Buzz Aldrin read from the Bible and took holy communion on the moon, to give thanks to God. John Glenn spoke about how he felt looking out from the shuttle Discovery on his last space mission: “To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible... It just strengthens my faith. I wish there were words to describe what it's like.”

If we do discover for certain that aliens are out there, we don’t need to be afraid of them. As evangelist Billy Graham once said, “I firmly believe there are intelligent beings like us far away in space who worship God. But we have nothing to fear from these people. Like us, they are God’s creation.” We can take the same approach to aliens as we do to our fellow human beings: trusting God to help us relate with love and wisdom, no matter what choices they make. We can choose to be lifelong learners who stay connected to the Holy Spirit and follow his guidance in all situations. As we learn more about UFOS and aliens, we can experience awe – and that will draw us closer to the God who made the whole universe.

We simply don’t know for sure right now if intelligent life exists on other planets. However, we can be certain that God is the creator and sustainer of all life throughout the universe. As John 1:3 declares about Jesus: “Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.” We can explore the possibilities of UFOs and aliens with the confidence that Jesus’ power extends throughout the cosmos. As we make further cosmic discoveries, we can enjoy what they show us about God’s wonder!

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headshot of author Whitney HoplerWhitney Hopler is author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.