Why UFOs Need Not Be ETs
By Diana Cox, MEd, MBS
Part 1: General and Special Revelation
“The truth is out there” has been the mantra of Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) enthusiasts for decades. With Senate Report (SR) 116-233,1 ufologists believe that they can now announce “The truth is here.” But what the truth is is still unidentified and, for a Christian, may represent a paradigm shift. What does God’s Word say about UFOs? Given the wealth of current UFO information and the military’s admission that they exist, Christians need sound, logical, biblical reasoning to counter the ufologists’ claims that UFOs must be extra-terrestrial.
UFOs have been renamed UAP (Unidentified Aerial/Anomalous Phenomena) by the United States Air Force (USAF) which deliberately collects data “in the most likely areas to encounter UAP and evaluates “how to normalize future collection…”1 The UAP Task Force has identified “UAP cluster areas” and hopes data from them can yield a baseline for “standard UAP activity.”3 Words like most likely, normalize, and standard provoke no panic. The military clearly wants to know how these objects work as they have interfered with air traffic and military training, but, based on acquired data, no rhetoric in unclassified documents indicates a move to DEFCON1.
One reason may be that sightings are not new. Luis Elizondo, former Director of the Pentagon black project Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), declares, “These phenomena may be natural.”4 They may have always been here. One of several literary UFO accounts dates from 77 BC, written in Pliny the Elder’s “The Natural History.”5 John Lydus in a 6th century text even notes that the object he saw was “disc-like.”6 Even before literature existed, cave artwork depicted the same stereotypical UFO shapes people see today.7 Either disparate cultures globally have imagined similar likenesses for millennia or disparate cultures globally have seen similar likenesses for millennia. Thus, in all likelihood, these alien objects are not alien at all.
If UAP have been here for so long, why does man not know about them? Consider man’s ignorance of the Earth he inhabits. As of January 2023, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records that less than ten percent of the global ocean has been mapped using modern sonar technology.8 That translates to 90% unknown. Below that lies the Earth’s mantle – “between Earth’s dense, superheated core and its thin outer layer, the crust… about 1,800 miles thick… a whopping 84 percent of Earth’s total volume.”9 Man lives on the crust, only 3 to 43 miles thick. “If the Earth was [sic] an apple, the crust would only be as thick as the skin!”10 That is an enormous percentage of Earth that man knows nearly nothing about and assumes nothing there exists. Amazingly, only a decade ago, the “planet’s largest water reservoir” was discovered.11 It had long been thought that no water could possibly exist where it definitively does – in the Earth’s mantle 400 miles deep at temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit.12 Apparently, a dense band of water vapor is locked in the rock and its volume eclipses all surface oceans combined. “Who knew?!” God speaks to Job in chapter 38, “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come or walked in the sources of their depths?… Do you realize the extent of the Earth?…”13 “Why are you using your ignorance to deny my providence?”14
Man is just as ignorant of the extent of Earth’s lifeforms. Seventy-five years ago scientists “knew” that all life on Earth needed sunlight. Then, ocean probes hit rock bottom and found chemo-synthetic organisms. How could those fragile thermal vent species thrive in what for humans is lethal subaquatic pressure? Yet there they are. Extremophiles, completely unknown to scientists 50 years ago, have been found more than 4 miles deep in the Earth’s crust and more than 6 miles deep in the ocean. They exist “…from extreme acid (pH 0) to extreme basic conditions (pH 12.8); and from hydrothermal vents at [232 degrees F to inside] frozen sea water…”15 In every extreme environment seen on Earth, organisms have shown that they not only tolerate but require those conditions for survival. Truly, God’s breadth of diversity strains credulity.
In fact, many of those lifeforms possess capacities beyond those of man. Mantis Shrimp have far more complex eyesight. Eagles, with a 340-degree field of view, “can spot prey the size of a rabbit three miles away.”16 The Anna’s Hummingbird performs courtship rituals “where the males fly at up to 90 kilometers per hour [55 mph], and… stop on a dime.”17 Echidna use electrolocation.18 Chameleons change color and temperature at will. A long list reveals animals with unique traits and skills that humans can neither replicate nor, in some cases, understand. For instance, though engineers have studied the humble woodpecker for decades, they still cannot explain how he pecks without destroying his brain. In fact, figuring out how man can improve his own capacities is often based on studying existing objects and animals. The government and private sector spend billions annually on biomimicry, from shark denticles that inhibit bacteria on military submarines to the Kingfisher’s beak used to design the bullet train.19
Even inanimate objects have properties that exceed those of man. Man cannot, like water and rock, change his state.
Given the chemical compounds and DNA with which God chose to create, He has an enormous palette available to Him and all eternity to paint. Even using an evolutionist’s time frame, 20 billion years is still infinitesimally brief to God.
A further consideration is God’s dispensation of lifeforms. On Day Five God made an abundance of sea creatures and told them to “be fruitful and multiply.”20 On Day Six He created one man and one woman and gave the same command. He then gave most sea creatures a reproductive gestational period of weeks or months with many yielding hundreds of eggs or live young at a time, yet for humans He set 10 months with one child (normatively). Sea creatures, then, are far more likely to fulfill God’s command with a greater diversification of species, and that clearly reflects earthly reality. Thus, greater abilities or properties than man possesses in no way indicates, let alone necessitates that UAP have an extra-terrestrial origin.
Furthermore, Scripture says nothing of extra-terrestrial beings, yet it includes much about beyond-Earth beings. God made “all the host of them.”21 Host means a large number both in heaven and Earth. Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm notes dozens of biblical references to beyond-Earth beings.22
God created more than what exists on Earth, and other realms may be even more vast, but Scripture notes that they are of the heavens and not terrestrial.
That is not to say that God could not have created life on other terra; He will do as He wills. But the Bible, as man currently understands it, does not reveal terrestrial beings elsewhere. Thus, reason does not demand that a Christian accept any ET proposal based on cosmic probability.
Perhaps a greater reason for man’s lack of knowledge regarding UAP is not his ignorance but his limitations. Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation with longer frequencies than humans can see, yet they are everywhere, and they are used to run nearly everything: cell phones, television, radio, and military communications. Radio waves have always existed naturally. Man only recently discovered, however, methods to utilize them. Similarly, solar winds are invisible to humans until they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field which is also invisible to humans. But the consequence of the interaction is visible. The DNI UAP Assessment specifies, “Military aircraft systems processed radio frequency (RF) energy associated with UAP sightings.”23 This RF finding has enabled the USAF to collect further data. If these objects use, respond to, and/or communicate by certain RFs that have always existed naturally but that humans are now utilizing ubiquitously, that would explain the recent deluge of sightings.
It is important to note that while man has stared at the sky for millennia, he has only flown in it for a mere hundred years or so. Man sees through the air believing there is nothing there. He knows of the existence of frequencies beyond his ability to perceive yet has not fathomed that a vast array of lifeforms may exist amid a realm which was previously outside his perception and reality. It is possible in God’s breadth of diversity that the wealth of lifeforms found everywhere beneath the sky may give evidence for a similar array of lifeforms within it.
People generally believe that scientists have answers. They certainly search, but that in no way means they have the right ones. At one time learned scientists knew much: the Earth was flat; it was the center of the universe; it was one of only 9 planets; black holes and gravitational waves were only theoretical, and the list continues. Scientists are often eventually wrong. So, why even listen to them? They are worth listening to because they are constantly learning more about Earth’s surrounding reality, and they are finding the reality far more expansive than anyone ever imagined.
A final consideration to bring biblical reasoning to the UAP table comes not from without but from within: purpose and capacity. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them dominion.24 After the Fall, God and man could no longer commune together, and, since man was and forever would be physically made from the “dust” of the Earth, all “dust” of the Earth had to be cursed. Man forgot dominion and God’s desire for a personal relationship with him.
Man became so isolated from God, Earth and everything in it that he found himself asking, “Are we alone?” and looking beyond Earth for an answer that is all around him.
A common Christian quote says, “God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.” Thus, it was for man. God created man with the ability to have dominion over such an expanse. A 2010 article from Scientific American reported human memory capacity at “something close to around 2.5 petabytes…You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.”25 Only 6 years later the Salk Institute concluded that the brain’s memory capacity is “10 times more than previously thought – in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.”26 Salk Professor Terry Sejnowski admits, “This is a real bombshell [for] neuroscience.”27 It appears man’s brain capacity was designed for either a much longer life span or for far more information than he currently processes. It seems odd that man would think he knows so much when current use of his total capacity is so minimal.
Summarily, God’s Creation and the Bible give Christians all they need to reason logically about UAP and whatever forthcoming information arises. The following reasons cogently prove that UAP need not be ET. The military’s rhetoric is neither inflammatory nor foreboding. Man in all cultures has seen UAP in the skies globally for millennia. Man knows comparatively little about Earth. Lifeforms exist in abundance here even in the most humanly inhospitable places. Life existed here before man and that life has been given a greater capacity for genetic diversification. Many known species possess unique skills far beyond those of man. And scientists regularly discover new species with unique abilities yet do not regularly presume they are extra-terrestrial. Based on man’s current lack of earthly understanding, it is foolish to think that he now knows all species on Earth and that any new ones discovered must come from some other planet. Furthermore, God gave man dominion over Earth and its creatures, and He gave man the mental capacity for dominion. Given all these facts, a Christian can solidly counter the modern extra-terrestrial proposal with Scriptural truths.
Part 2: Expert Indecision
Yet the argument against ET need not be left to General and Special Revelation. The Christian should also cite and counter UAP experts. Former AATIP Director Luis Elizondo was responsible for the public release of three videos showing US Naval sensor systems tracking UAP. Elizondo details, “These UAP move at 13,000 miles per hour when our military aircraft only fly at 3,200, and they change direction 90 degrees instantly when one of our aircraft at that speed would take half the airspace of Montana.”28 No known object can fly at those speeds or with that handling. The DNI Assessment states, “[The objects] remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind [demonstrating acceleration or a degree of signature management], maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernable means of propulsion.”29 UAP clearly act beyond human capacity, but so do chickens. Man cannot lay eggs. Chickens do because God designed them that way. Unique design, even when beyond man’s human capacity, does not necessitate extra-terrestrial origin. UAP also perform feats beyond man’s technological capacities, but so do tardigrades. Man cannot survive oxygen deprivation or radiation. Man can neither match the water bear’s environmental versatility nor its cuteness. But proprietary traits, while unique, neither support nor warrant a belief in their extra-terrestrial origin.
Elizondo admits that ET origin should not be a foregone conclusion. All possibilities are still on the table: “extra-terrestrial, intra-terrestrial, and all the space in between.”30 “[Humans] tend to see things…in a binary way,…but in reality the universe and physics is not binary… When we begin to understand ourselves on this little planet, we realize there are a lot of other options.”31 British GQ host Charlie Burton asked Elizondo if UAP are drones or if something is “piloting” them. Drones are currently incapable of the flight seen in the videos, and Elizondo specifically uses “intelligently controlled” instead of Burton’s “piloting.”32 Elizondo responds haltingly, “There is… certainly a… stimulus-response…”33 That basic description opens a broad door for many creature behaviors. Elizondo then introduces a “big picture” assessment of mankind’s growth in understanding reality over recorded history. When man first encounters the incomprehensible, Elizondo explains, he typically creates wild-eyed stories. Later, he discovers the incomprehensible was just, “… part of nature, part of… reality, part of [the] paradigm.”34 So, it seems logical to conclude that Elizondo’s example and deliberate terminology insinuate a probable earthly origin for UAP that man simply does not yet completely comprehend.
Until solid evidence conclusively proves ET origin, people should refrain from making unwarranted assumptions. Commander Chad Underwood, Naval Weapons Systems Specialist who recorded the now-famous “TicTac” UAP video, explains, “I’m not saying I saw aliens; I’m just saying I can’t describe [it].”35 Similarly, Leslie Kean, former journalist who wrote for decades about government obfuscation of UFO reports, says, “We’re not saying that they’re extra-terrestrial craft; we’re just saying that we can’t explain them.”36
It is not “unchristian” to believe that God may have created beings on other planets, but it is clearly unbiblical for a Christian to believe such an idea based on cosmic probability: ET life must exist because there are so many planets. Ample evidence exists in General and Special Revelation for a Christian to counter the ET idea associated with UAP. But since no current unclassified evidence links UAP with alien origins and even experts in the field cannot speak definitively, there remains no logical reason for anyone to accept such an idea.
These facts expose the idea of ET probability for UAP as an atheistic attempt to cast doubt on God’s Word and distract Christians from their purpose and relationship with Him. To effectively combat the popular argument for extra-terrestrial life, which sets itself against God’s Word, Christians must read Scripture, study Scripture, and use Scripture in the mission field called Earth.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
1. Congress.gov, S. Rept. 116-233, Intelligence authorization act for fiscal year 2021, https://www.congress.gov/congressional-report/116th-congress/senate-report/233/1.
2. Department of National Intelligence, Unclassified – Office of the Director of National Intelligence Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, But Some Potential Patterns Do Emerge, Section 7, (June 25, 2021), https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Prelimary-Assessment-UAP-20210625.pdf.
4. British GQ, “Luis Elizondo on unidentified aerial phenomena…” YouTube, 23:26, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yX6ETCKyPo.
5. Pliny the Elder, “An Ominous Appearance That Was Seen in the Heavens Once Only,” The Natural History. Book 2, Ch. 35, John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S. and H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Eds. London, Taylor and Francis: Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, 1855, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.02.0137%3Abook%3D2%3Achapter%3D35.
7. The History Channel, “UFO Sightings – Cave Paintings,” A&E Television Networks, 2023. https://www.history.com/videos/ufo-sightings-cave-paintings.
8. National Ocean Service, “How Much of the Ocean Have We Explored?” January 2023, https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html#:~:text=Currently%2C%20less%20than%20ten%20percent,been%20mapped%20with%20modern%20methods.
9. National Geographic, Mantle, https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/mantle/.
10. National Science Foundation, Voyage Into Planet Earth, https://www.nsf.gov/news/classroom/images/EAR_VoyageIntoPlanetEarth_2021_BK_v1Cem_508.pdf.
11. Karen Walsh and Peter Genzer, New Evidence for Oceans of Water Deep in the Earth, (Brookhaven Laboratories: June 13, 2014), https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=111648#:~:text=June 13, 2014. Scientists%20have%20long%20speculated%20that,250%20miles%20and%20410%20miles.
13. Job 38:16-18 (The Living Bible).
14. Job 38:2 (The Living Bible).
15. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, Epub August 2013, Extremophiles and Extreme Environments, DOI: 10.3390/life3030482.
16. Eagle Wing Tours, Nine Bald Eagle Facts That May Surprise You! 2023, https://www.eaglewingtours.com /articles/nine-bald-eagle-facts-that-may-surprise- you/#:~:text=Bald%20eagles%20can%20have %2020,fill%20most%20of%20its%20skull.
17. Maddie Stone, “Hummingbird Flight Is More Amazing Than We Realized,” Gizmodo, July 18, 2016,
18. National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information, Epub 2012, Passive electroreception in aquatic mammals, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23187861/.
19. Nicole Barantes, “5 Animal-Inspired Inventions,” World Animal Protection, August 2021, https://www.worldanimalprotection.us/blogs/5-animal-inspired-inventions.
20. Gen. 1:20-22 (KJV).
21. Genesis 2:1 (KJV).
22. Heiser, Michael. (2015). The unseen realm: Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible. Lexham Press: Bellingham, Washington. p. 29-34.
23. Department of National Intelligence, Unclassified – Office of the Director of National Intelligence Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, But Some Potential Patterns Do Emerge, p. 5, (June 25, 2021), https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Prelimary-Assessment-UAP-20210625.pdf.
24. Genesis 1:28, KJV.
25. Paul Reber, “What is the Memory Capacity of a Human Brain?” Scientific American, May 2010, scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-memory-capacity/.
26. Salk Institute, “Memory Capacity…” Salk News, January 20, 2016, https://www.salk.edu/news-release/memory-capacity-of-brain-is-10-times-more-than-previously-thought/.
28. British GQ, “Luis Elizondo on unidentified aerial phenomena…” 2022, YouTube, 9:30, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yX6ETCKyPo.
29. Department of National Intelligence, Unclassified – Office of the Director of National Intelligence Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, But Some Potential Patterns Do Emerge, Section 5, June 25, 2021, https://www.dni.gov/file/ODNI/documents/assessments/Prelimary-Assessment-UAP-20210625.pdf.
30. Jacquelyn Alameny, “Luis Elizondo: UFOs and National Security,” Washington Post Live, YouTube, 11:07, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcH5nuqa-0w.
32. British GQ, 17:40.
33. British GQ, 17:58.
34. British GQ, 19:26.
36. National Geographic, “Secret Pentagon Program,” UFOs: Investigating the Unknown, (2019).