One of the presentations from the 2017 Roswell UFO Festival (themed “70 Years Later: Modern Challenges to the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis”) that I was most intrigued by a presentation called “Science Fiction: Televangelism for ET Religion.” The speaker, Dr. Michael Heiser, is a fellow science fiction author so I was very much interested in where he would take his presentation.
He stated from the outset that the premise behind his title was to explore how science fiction in its many forms has been a vehicle “to articulate a theology, a specifically a theology of the extraterrestrial.”
He begins with “Elements of the Extraterrestrial Gospel.” The first element is that New Myths Replace Old Creeds. Admittedly, that seems a bit melodramatic.
He quotes Carl Sagan in support of his thesis:
“[T]here is today – in a time when old beliefs are withering – a kind of philosophical hunger, a need to know who we are and how we got here. There is an ongoing search, often unconscious, for a cosmic perspective for humanity
– The Cosmic Connection (1973), p. 59
What Sagan is speaking of here is a worldview. Christianity’s worldview of a universe created by a loving Deity over six calendar days about 6000 years ago stands at direct odds with the all-natural worldview of millions of years of evolution. The advantage of the Biblical Christian worldview is its coherence. It explains where we came from, who we are and where we’re going in a logically consistent manner.
One of its perceived weaknesses is that it is anti-science. It really isn’t anti-science; it’s opposed to science chained to pure naturalism. And since the Bible is the only authority which can claim to be supernaturally authenticated by fulfilled prophecy and the Resurrection of Christ, there is no reason to presume that pure naturalism is the answer.
Unfortunately, it is my fellow creationists, the very ones who have taken up the call to defend the Bible against the charge of being anti-science, who have unnecessarily chained it to a geocentric (and dare I say anthropocentric worldview) that makes any truly “cosmic perspective” very much Earthbound. In a day and age where we are discovering exoplanets and looking toward actually mining the moon and colonizing Mars, the fact that some creationists still call the search for ET “rebellion against God” and similarly dismiss the idea of space colonization makes us seem very anti-science indeed.
In the mind-blowing 2014 sci-fi film, Interstellar, the Earth finds itself dealing with a global crop blight and a second Dust Bowl. Among the ways the Powers-That-Be encourage folks to be content to be farmers in a caretaker generation is to teach kids in school that the Apollo missions were faked to bankrupt the Soviet Union. Nobody went yo the Moon. It was all “a brilliant piece of propaganda that the Soviets bankrupted themselves pouring resources into rockets and other useless machines.” When the protagonist, Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughy), protests this false propaganda, his daughter’s teacher adds:
“And if we don’t want a repeat of the excess and wastefulness of the 20th century then we need to teach our kids about this planet, not tales of leaving it.”
In the movie, the lie is pretty effective, causing Cooper to lament:
“We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.”
Regardless of the geocentric view of the cosmos professed by some Biblical creationists, there are some of us who yet wonder whether God hasn’t painted on another canvas, as it were, and whether pronouncements that God won’t allow us to conquer space will go the way of similar arguments made by those who supposed God would never allow man to breach the heavens and set foot on the Moon!
Back to Heiser.
The fact that people have rejected the Biblical worldview, that New Myths are increasingly replacing Old Creeds, should not come as a surprise. In fact, the Bible predicts it:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils
[1 Timothy 4:1]
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables
[2 Timothy 4:3-4]
Heiser has not described an element of the ET Gospel so much as acknowledged the general state of affairs in the so-called post-Christian era. Many different worldviews aside from ET Religion, whatever that is, are vying for our attention. No matter what truth claims we may hear, we should always judge their veracity against the unfailing, supernaturally authenticated revelation of God’s Word, the Bible – and not the other way ’round!
In other words, regarding this proposed ET Gospel, we should heed the words of the Apostle Paul:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.