By Brian Mariani
“Who were they?
Why did they come?
What did they leave behind?
Where did they go?
Will they return?”
These questions whirl towards you, accompanied by an excitingly epic soundtrack, as the History Channel presents the Ancient Aliens TV series with convincing effects. And the audience drinks it in, willingly swallowing the information offered in the documentaries that “examine 75 million years of the most credible alien evidence here on Earth”[i].
|FanArt for Ancient Aliens: http://fanart.tv/series/101501/ancient-aliens-2009/|
The mystery of life in outer space is a question that has puzzled scientists, been the topic of countless movies and books, and fascinated adults and children alike for hundreds of years. Throughout history and all over the world belief in extraterrestrial life, aliens and/or accounts of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) are commonplace. Many believe aliens are real life forms from other planets in our universe and they have visited, and continue to visit, our planet. This has led SETI (the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence) and other organizations to spend millions of dollars researching the possibility and scanning the incoming airwaves of space for alien messages with little to no results.[ii]
The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. We believe we are conducting the most profound search in human history — to know our beginnings and our place among the stars.[iii]
Others dismiss the idea of life in outer space and point to other explanations for supposed alien sightings including drug influence, hallucinations, secret government projects or even mistakenly identified objects, aircrafts or unusual weather.
What many people may not realize is that the idea of aliens is deeply rooted in theories about our past as well as our future (this is prevalent in the mission statement of SETI stated above).
Ancient Assistance from Aliens?
In recent years the History Channel has aired the television documentary series Ancient Aliens, where they pursue the idea that the advanced civilizations of the past left evidence of contact and aid from ancient aliens.[iv] Pointing to perplexing ancient ruins and ancient writings that speak of mysterious alien/UFO encounters, they theorize that aliens once traveled to our planet and helped our ancestors build megalithic and astronomically-aligned structures such as the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, Stonehenge, the Nazca lines, Easter Island, and Tiahuanaco among many of the other unusual sites around the world.[v]
In the past, people were more accustomed to the spiritual realm and the world of gods and spirits than today’s modern culture. The ancient world was deeply religious; there were cults, sacrifices, incantations, petitions, and influence of gods in everyday life. Many ancient cultures believed the gods interacted with man (in both good and evil ways) and man could in fact become gods. The Aztecs, Mayans, Incans, and Egyptians each believed in a similar figure/god (depicted as a bearded white man, known as Quetzacoatl, Kukulkan, Viracocha, or Osiris respectively) that helped them erect many of their megalithic structures and assisted in building most of their advanced systems of civilization.
|Viracocha carving from Tiahuanaco, Peru|
Where did these religious myths and legends come from? Perhaps ancient myths (Greek/Roman among others) are not completely made up. Do the similarities between present-day alien theories and ancient mythology point toward elements of truth?
Ancient Alien/Astronaut Research
The originator and one of the leaders of the ancient aliens theory is Erich von Daniken. He wrote a popular book entitled Chariots of the Gods, where he suggests that the evidence from the past testifies to alien encounters. He defends some fantastical ideas and interpretations of ancient anomalies. He suggests that:
- The Nazca lines are runways or at least aerial visuals to guide air travelers into the landing place.
- Megalithic ruins, stonehenges, pyramids, and Moai statues on Easter Island were built with the help of aliens.
- The descriptions of “gods” from ancient texts (Vedic texts, the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, the Babylonian Enuma Elish and many more worldwide) are actually accounts of when ancient peoples mistook extraterrestrials for “gods”. Popular examples are the Vimana flying crafts in Vedic sources, Ezekiel’s experience in Ezekiel chapter 1, and also the descriptions of “watchers” in the Book of Enoch.[vi]
- Underwater ruins and underground ruins are evidence of advanced ancient cultures aided by aliens.
Von Daniken is not the only one to foster this theory. He is joined on the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens program by many other fringe and mystery researchers such as:
- Graham Hancock – well known journalist, author and speaker
- David Hatcher Childress – Author and owner of Adventures Unlimited Press
- Giorgio Tsoukalos – publisher of Legendary Times Magazine
- George Noory – host of “Coast to Coast AM.”
What does this mean?
How does all this fit with the Bible and general history? If extraterrestrial life does exist, how does it affect our lives? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? What does it mean for Christianity? This is one of many topics where we must be cautious as we handle the information and sources we are using.
Visit the blog next week and we will address the implications of the existence of aliens, what the Bible has to say about them, and how we should be treating the subject of extraterrestrial life.
In the meantime jump into your own research by reading some of the difficult and mysterious passages of Scripture such as Ezekiel 1 and 2 Kings 2:1-14.
Read Part Two!
[i] “Ancient Aliens: The Series,” History.com, accessed September 30, 2013, http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens.
[ii] “Origins: Where Are The Aliens?” NOVA Documentary, aired September 28-29, 2004, accessed March 23, 2011, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3113_origins.html.
[iv] “Ancient Aliens: The Series,” History.com, accessed March 23, 2011, http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens.
[v] “Ancient Aliens: The Series,” History.com, accessed October 5, 2013, http://www.history.com/shows/ancient-aliens.
[vi] Clifford Wilson, War of the Chariots, (San Diego, Ca: Master Books, 1978), 43-45.