John Weldon and Zola Levitt are best known as the authors of UFOs: What on Earth is Happening? The 1975 book was influential in popularizing the Demonic Eschatological Hypothesis of UFO, especially because it received encouraging back cover blurbs from Hal Lindsey (author of The Late, Great Planet Earth (1970)) and Walter R Martin (aka the original Bible Answer Man and author of Kingdom of the Cults (1965)).
Weldon and Levitt’s book is properly viewed as a product of the Satanic Panic fueled evangelical grist mill. Weldon was a research editor for Walter R Martin’s Christian Research Institute. Levitt was already an established author, recently converted to the faith in 1971. (You can hear Levitt give a 1975 talk on the book’s material here: [Part 1] [Part 2].)
While I intend to review the book’s arguments more fully at a later date, I did want to take time to look over the arguments against extraterrestrial life the bokk provides in Appendix 2: The Bible and Life in Outer Space.
They begin with an expected warning of deep theological dangers:
“Does the Bible allow for life on other planets somewhere in the universe? Though God could have created on other planets, this runs into insurmountable Scriptural problems if such beings are behind UFO phenomena.”
So right there we have an issue. They’ve unnecessary entangled the UFO phenomenon with the separate question of the possibility of extraterrestrial life that has not visited this planet. Let’s see how this plays out.
“First of all, the Bible gives no hint of any such life existing.”
So an argument from silence. Not unexpected.
“Genesis 1:14-18 states that the stars and Heavens were created for signs, seasons, days and years, and to give light upon the earth, not as places of habitation.”
Note how they tacked on that “not as places of habitation” qualifier, which is not found in Scripture. They’re basically following the fallacious Doctrine of Stated Intent, which is disproven by the fact that we walked on the moon when it is only revealed as a light source given for times and seasons, etc. Clearly, the stated intent need not be the only intent, which leaves the possibility that distant star systems are inhabited open.
“Deuteronomy 4:32 implies that God has no covenants with any other beings in the universe.”
The passage actually reads:
“For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? “
I would note that the fact that we’ve been invited to “ask from one side of heaven unto the other” suggests that there might someone to ask, even if God only covenanted with Israelite human beings. The verse doesn’t really say what they it does, which us probably why no one uses this argument today.
“Psalm 115:16 implies human life is unique to the Earth.”
Actually it says that God gave the earth to man. It says nothing about life elsewhere, human or otherwise. It doesn’t even say that man is limited to inhabiting the earth, which is evident since we walked on the moon.
“Nowhere in the Bible are other planets ever mentioned. (The King James term “worlds” in Hebrews 1:2 and elsewhere literally means “ages” in the Greek.)”
Another argument from silence. Moving on.
“Secondly, some ufonauts are obviously sinful, since they rape, murder, lie and deceive. Thus they are clearly in need of redemption. Here we run into more problems. Scripture implies that the incarnation of Christ was planned and ordained from eternity past to occur at just the proper time. Having once died for man’s sin, he is never to die again: His work is finished. However, to die for man sin it was absolutely necessary for Him to become a man, so he could truly represent mankind.”
“The extraterrestrial problem is that the only way for God to redeem all these supposed millions of creatures is to incarnate as one of their kind (Hebrews 2:17) on each of their planets and then to cause Christ to die over and over again.”
This is the Kinsman-Redeemer argument and this version makes the usual unnecessary assumption that Christ would have to incarnate as a God-Klingon or God-Vulcan to redeem those respective alien races. The problem is that if they fell because of Adam’s sin apart from Adam’s bloodline then the spiritual effects of the Fall were imputed to them; if this is the case, righteousness can likewise be imputed to them by grace through faith in Christ’s once for all sacrifice. All that would be required is special revelation, not multiple incarnations.
Now brace yourself for the worst exotheological argument against aliens I have ever read:
“Christ would have to incarnate has a monster, a dwarf, a pyramid-shaped being, someone with six arms or four legs, etc., since this is how some ufonauts appear. Hebrews 9 25-28 shows this is not possible. Would Christ ever be called the brother of a monster (Hebrews 2:11)? Or would a creature that looks like asparagus ever be called a son of God?”
For real? An argument from revulsion. You really do not see that every day. Just sad.
It should probably be mentioned that, even if it were the case that Christ had to incarnate as a wide array of His creations, if the wide array of earth organisms is any indication, He probably wouldn’t share our anthropocentric aesthetics in the matter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m sure the Creator sees the beauty in each of His creatures. In any case, such incarnations are unnecessary.
“If Christ must die for billions of other creatures, the most sacrificial act in all history – the Incarnation with all its implications – becomes a common thing what was planned from eternity past is no longer unique. Even Christ Himself, the God-Man, is no longer unique. History and all the things are no longer summed up in Jesus Christ as the Son of Man, the Son of God (Ephesians 1:10).
Scripture reveals that Christ will return as a glorified human, the Son of Man. The fact that Christ will remain a Man means other fallen creatures could never be redeemed.”
As we noted previously, the assumption of multiple incarnations and crucifixions is actually unnecessary, so the uniqueness of Christ is unaffected by the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
In their last point, they make an argument for Satanic UFOs:
“Last of all, we will consider Scriptural indications that UFOs could be demonic. The hypothesis that UFOs are examples of Satanic supernatural deception fits in with their evil character, without raising the above problems. Since Scripture says that in the last times Satan will come upon the world with “all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness” and that God will allow “wonders in the sky above,” a phenomenon like Satanic UFOs could almost be expected as our age draws to a close. Ephesians 2:2 refers to Satan when it speaks of “the prince of the power of the air.” In the original Greek, the word “power” (exousia) is a collective term meaning the whole empire of evil spirits, and the term “air” (aer) means physical air in the normal sense. The demonic center of power, according to this verse, is the atmosphere around the earth. If the air is the region of the demons’ might, we can easily see the UFO interconnection that could exist. All in all, everything one would expect of spiritual warfare and deception can be found in the UFO phenomena. Scripture says we are against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).”
After making this typical argument that “Satan lives in the sky and UFOs are in the sky, therefore Satanic UFOs,” they shuffle back to their exotheological arguments against extraterrestrial life:
“While it is true that other fallen races could be expected to deny Christ (just as fallen men do) we would not expect this to be true in nearly every case. And if there is no way to redeem these creatures, why did God create them? And if they deny Christ because they have never heard of him, is it conceivable that God would not reveal himself to the billions of races he supposedly created? The more you think on it, the more you understand UFOs for who they are.”
Again, none of these points are actually valid. It amounts to an appeal to fairness made necessary because they supposed multiple incarnations were actually necessary.
Their last point is a summary statement that the Demonic Hypothesis firs the evudence better than the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis of UFO. The great drive of the Satanic Panic era was to connect everything to the Devil, so the slant of this book is no surprise:
“The theory that UFOs are of Satanic origin fits in so well with Scripture that it is far and away preferable to a view that simple, bizarre appearing, but incredibly advanced creatures of God have come across the vast reaches of the universe for unknown reasons to observe or terrorize our planet in such strange ways.”
Of course, the UFO phenomenon is irrelevant to the question of extraterrestrial life (and that’s one point that even NASA agrees on), and, frankly, the Psychosocial Hypothesis of UFO is a better explanation of the experiencer phenomenon than the Demonic Hypothesis anyway.
I do hope it’s been helpful to pick apart the bad arguments contained in this Christian UFO classic, especially since many of these same bad arguments show up in today’s anti-alien Christian rhetoric.