Uh huh. I can see it now. Rolling eyes and a smirk on your face.
That is how I responded, too, as I slouched in my seat, waiting to hear AiG’s Gary Bates speak on aliens. Little green men. Yeah, right.
I had a lot to learn. Since hearing UFO researcher Gary Bates—and devouring his just-released book Alien Intrusion: UFOs and the Evolution Connection—I will never again watch science reports about Mars, read science fiction, or watch space films with the same eyes.
When I first heard about Gary’s UFO research, I wondered, “What do sci-fi and aliens have to do with creation/evolution and the authority of God’s Word?” As I discovered, there is an undeniable connection.
Not just cranks and hoaxers
What are UFOs? Many people are dismissive or have already made up their minds on the subject without looking deeper. You may have heard all sorts of different explanations, but Gary’s book provides eye-opening research that forces the reader to rethink his assumptions—a bit like evolution.
“UFOlogy” is not just fun and games, or hoaxes and pranks. Science fiction is a megabucks business. For example, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has become an international obsession. Their scientific search of the skies costs millions of dollars. At the same time, millions of impressionable young people are flocking to theatres and dream of life on other planets.
There are more reported sightings of UFOs now than ever before. The “epidemic” sometimes reaches the front page, with tragedies like the Heaven’s Gate suicide-murders (all fully explained in Gary’s book). Yet the press—and many Christians—typically dismiss the subject out of hand.
“The idea that ‘aliens are with us’ has become increasingly mainstream”, Gary tells audiences. “Just ask a few teenagers. Several of them are likely to tell you that they believe aliens ‘are a fact’ and they may have been humankind’s original creators. This should rightly shock us. Surveys estimate that more than 80% of Western peoples now believe that ET is out there somewhere. Finding ET is actually one of the stated goals of NASA’s taxpayer-funded ‘Origins’ program. To them, it’s a search for the meaning and origins of life.”
The story gets personal. “As a young non-Christian, my own love of science fiction and ‘alien worlds’ shaped my view of my place in the universe because I desired them to be true”, Gary recalls. Gary still loves science fiction—that fact is obvious in his book, which shares his deep insights into many of the genre’s greatest films and books. But since Gary’s life-changing realization that God’s Word is true from the first verse, he has gotten new insight into the work of scientists, authors and “UFO abductees” who believe in alien life.
Their evolutionary worldviews are not incidental. I was amazed, for example, to learn about the virulent atheism and evolutionary beliefs of H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, which influenced their science fiction writings.
The evolution connection
The face on Mars
UFO author Richard Hoagland created a media frenzy when he popularized the idea of a lost Martian civilization, based largely on the photo at right. This image of the Martian surface by the 1976 Voyager probe seemed to show what looks like a face. Efforts by NASA to assure critics that this was merely a fortuitous play of light on a mesa (hill) were met with disdain by “true believers”. More recent probes with far superior photographic equipment focused on the area (images above) confirmed that this geologic feature had no artificial origin.
“Once you look into it, evolution is the central tenet, whether you look at science fiction, SETI or the Rover missions to Mars”, Gary observes. “Belief in an ancient cosmos billions of years old has preconditioned people to expect alien visitations. It is thought that if life evolved on Earth, surely other civilizations would have evolved on distant planets far earlier than ours and, thus, would be more technologically advanced.”
Gary says star travel is impossible, according to known laws of physics. But he observes some interesting parallels between popular media portrayals of aliens and subsequent UFO sightings and reports of alien visitations. For example:
“Prior to Close Encounters of the Third Kind  reports of alleged aliens with long thin necks were non-existent. After the film, they became common. Before the film, the eyes were human-like with a pupil and iris with white surrounds. Afterwards, they were black, slanted and much larger—an image that endures today.” (Excerpt from Alien Intrusion, chapter 1, “The Invasion is Underway”.)
Gary’s book gives intriguing additional evidence of how UFOs, which were reported even in ancient times, seem to have manifested to reflect either current technology or that which was very shortly to come.
Increasingly, AiG receives questions about UFOs and extraterrestrial life, and to assist AiG, Gary wanted to learn more. He decided to study the leading research, to interview leaders and to attend conferences to learn first-hand what the movers and shakers were saying.
“I have written this book out of a genuine desire to understand the truth about this phenomenon”, Gary writes in the introduction to his book, “I have a great respect and compassion for the people who have been caught up in alien phenomena, sometimes with very distressing consequences.”
The things that he discovered surprised even Gary. He shows how belief in evolution has opened the door to “alien” visitations. Surprising, I know. But the evidence is hard to escape. Reports of sightings and abductions sometimes defy natural explanation, and they have surprising similarities, despite separation by oceans, and ignorance of other witnesses” reports. Those who report sightings and abductions are changed people. “Real or otherwise, ‘abductees’ and their perception of the world are forever altered. Many develop a strange interest in the occult and supernatural.”
Gary already knew that the modern UFO movement had a quasi-religious side and even served as a substitute religion that consciously displaced Christianity and biblical authority. But only after he was deep in research did he uncover reports from well-established researchers that linked stories of abductions and ancient demonology.
“There is an enormous spiritual battle going on,” he tells audiences, “and it is more widespread than most people realize. The whole phenomenon, and our complacency about it, has become deeply worrying to me. After all, how would you witness to someone who told you that a little grey alien visited them in the middle of the night? If you tell them they are being deceived, then watch out! … It is very difficult to reach these people.”
The first “classic” abduction case involved American couple Barney and Betty Hill. They could not account for a missing period of two hours when driving home in their car one evening in 1961 after sighting a UFO. Later, under hypnosis, the Hills individually recounted the same terrifying experiences with strange beings who performed grotesque “medical-like” examinations on them. Barney died in 1969 and his wife in October, 2004.
Even self-proclaimed Christians have been swept into a UFO worldview. “On one occasion,” Gary says, “I was giving a talk, and at the end a young married woman spent over twenty minutes quoting sections of the Bible better than most Christians I know, but each time it had a UFO interpretation. As she explained it, aliens were our creators and had been visiting us for millennia, overseeing our evolution and the Christian religion. She spoke openly about visitations and stated that she had met Jesus. (This is very common among abductees.) Every time I identified an inconsistency in her interpretation, she brushed it off. Her state was the closest thing that I could imagine to being brainwashed.”
The most disturbing chapter in Gary’s book details stories of “alien abductions—close encounters of the fourth kind”. Popular reports fail to relay the ugly truth experienced by the majority of these victims, yet the nature of such events reveals the true deception behind them. (I certainly had never heard these shocking details before.)
The right enticements
Though it covers some heavy truths, I found Alien Intrusion a really interesting book to read. Like a good mystery, it digs deeply into many famous (and not-so-famous) sightings and stories of abductions around the world, as well as government efforts to investigate UFOs (or cover them up). I always wanted to know the real story behind Project Blue Book, Area 51 and the “Men in Black”, crop circles and the “holy grail” of UFOlogy—the Roswell Incident and the associated Alien Autopsy “documentary”—all addressed in this book.
Due to Gary’s work, I now feel that I have a comprehensive understanding of one of the most influential and confusing—yet intriguing—movements of our day. The study of UFOs offers a wealth of broader lessons about human nature, life and the supernatural.
UFOs and big business
The book The Chariots of the Gods, which claimed that ancient artifacts were evidence of alien visitations to a primitive earth, was an international best-seller. Author Erich von Däniken (right) made the transition from the science fiction market into the mainstream, selling over 65 million books. This made him one of the biggest-selling authors of all time. He claimed that Bible events such as the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were “UFO-mediated” miracles by way of advanced technology. After some solid rebuttals were published (including creationist Clifford Wilson’s Crash Go the Chariots), demonstrating his claims to be without substance, von Däniken went into retreat. He is not highly regarded by the serious UFO community and is often dismissed as a populist UFO hoaxer.
Nonetheless, due to the resurgent interest in “all things alien”, he has resurfaced and used his wealth to build a massive ET museum complex in Interlaken, Switzerland as shown in the pictures from his website (below). This is estimated to have cost US$76 million—yet another gauge of the worldwide interest in the UFO phenomenon.
Yet I found it even more thrilling to examine how, in yet another arena, the Bible proves its ability to solve the great mysteries of our day and be “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Gary shows how the Sword of Scripture cuts to the heart of the matter and gives the only satisfying answer to real-world problems. Our personal problems—even if they seem other-worldly—boil down to the same practical problem of our submission to God and His Word.
Gary’s book is unlike anything AiG has ever produced. I believe it is very timely. For the curious Christian reader, it is loaded with valuable insights. Have you ever wondered, “Does the Bible mention ETs? Did God create aliens? Did Ezekiel see a UFO?” This book thoroughly answers these and other questions. For instance, his coverage of the controversial “sons of God” passage in Genesis 6 is one of the most comprehensive I have ever seen. This passage has been widely used by Erich von Däniken (of The Chariots of the Gods fame) and others to promote “ancient astronaut” theories.
It is important for Christians to have these answers. Yet the author also has non-Christians in his sights, intriguing them on a “non-threatening” popular topic. By the time they get to the end of the book, the powerful arguments lead them patiently but inexorably to one conclusion: God is the real master of the universe.
I think Gary has a winner here. Head-on, he helps to uncover one of the greatest deceptions in mankind’s history, in Satan’s battle for souls. We should keep him—and the message of this milestone book—in prayer.