by Johnny Carlton
Erich Anton Paul Von Daniken is the author of CHARIOTS OF THE GODS. In this bestseller, and in other of his books that followed, Daniken put forward the idea that UFOs, including flying saucers, are spaceships that have brought alien creatures to Earth.
Before going into the main point of this article, we need to have a closer look at the general matter of unidentified flying objects, such as flying saucers and other mysterious flying crafts, and related matters.
Those who haven’t been following these goings-on closely will likely not agree with me in the next few paragraphs, but since these particular points are not really what I’ll be trying to get across in this article, I don’t want to spend too much time on it here–that is, on the matter of whether or not there really are UFOs along with aliens from outer space waltzing around on our planet.
A few years ago a great many people would have said the concept was a lot of nonsense. Not any more. One reason is that so many people have seen them (ordinary, everyday people plus distinguished, respected individuals) that a lot of these witnesses are getting less and less afraid to talk about their UFO experiences.
The UFO phenomenon* seems to be unfolding in a series of small, overlapping stages so that today’s overall concept of the matter is quite different from that of the approximate turn of the twentieth century or a little earlier when most people began to hear about them.
The following timeline is only roughly correct because each stage dissolves into the next. Most of us who are old enough to remember the 1940s and/or the 1950s became aware of the UFO mystery in those decades. At that time and throughout the 60s, most people scoffed at the concept when they came across stories of sightings in sensation-magazines or maybe sometimes lost in some back page of a regular newspaper.
But through the 60s–and particularly after the moon landing of 1969–our credibility acceptance levels began to rise, and we thought, “Well, maybe, but not likely, we’ve got visitors from space.” And reports of sightings increased in number.
Of particular interest was a report of a flying saucer having crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, way back in 1947. Apparently most or all of the alien crew was killed and the bodies were in charge of the US government. This was enthusiastically denied by that government, but their denial was anything but convincing.
I think the large number of sightings per year kept on or increased through the 70s, along with accounts of face to face encounters with aliens. Those individuals who were studying the matter began to agree with one another that government agencies knew a lot more about all this than the rest of us did. Said government agencies denied this.
A related mystery involved the Men in Black, some spooky gents wearing black suits and driving classy black limousines–and dropping in unexpectedly on UFO researchers for brief and confusing visits. These Men in Black were confusing because although they seemed to be giving warnings to the people they visited, indicating that they were not to go on with their research on UFOs, they were, at the same time, saying nonsensical and contradictory things. When the people they visited repeated to the general public what they had been told by the Men in Black, it did not sound convincing but rather like a story that someone had dreamed up. The trouble was that there were a great number of such reports and there was enough similarity in details from one report to the next to suggest an element of truth.
Were these Men in Black using some sort of reverse psychology to make people believe in UFOs rather than keep us in the dark as the government agencies had been doing? By telling these researchers that they should abandon their research, and then adding some contradictory and confusing things, the Men in Black may have been saying, “You’re on the right track, boys. Keep it up, but remember that we told you to drop it.” But what would be their motive in presenting this confusion?
I don’t know, but it reminds me of the strange behavior of some representatives of government agencies defending their stand of poopooing UFOs. This was in a documentary about researchers exploring the validity of autopsies that were said to have been done on alien victims of the Roswell UFO crash. I had opportunity to see this old film on TV. It includes sharp black and white 16mm film footage of the autopsies and, believe me, the alleged crash victims were not human. The question was whether or not they were cleverly-made dummies. But if they were, then what was the motivation for such an expensive hoax?
In any case, after the autopsies were done (real or fake) a sort of debate followed with the government side looking foolish because of some of the things they said. I don’t feel that it’s necessary to get into the details of that because it’s not the main point of this article; but I will say that hearing that argument was what first got me thinking that possibly the spokesmen of the government agencies were really not wanting anyone to believe them but rather to disbelieve them.
Reports of UFO sightings and contacts continued to pour into research organizations from all over the world during the ‘80s and 90’s, and into the new millennium right up to the present.
But the situation kept slowly changing in that the public was inundated with more and more information, accurate or otherwise–that is, more and more reports of sightings and contacts, and more secret government files were being opened and revealed.
This is the age of the knowledge explosion. Involved along with other factors are the internet with its worldwide, rapid communication, and stacks of documentaries about various strange things going on here on Earth.
If you follow the UFO and Alien matters you may find, as I do, that the info coming in from “Those Who Know” is no longer really concerned about government agencies withholding information; but, rather, I get the impression that both the UFO investigators and the government agencies that used to be involved with cover-up, as well as the occupants of the strange vehicles themselves, are all in agreement, their goal now being to gradually educate us in regard to what’s been going on and is going on. They will also tell us what the aliens plan to do with us–which ought to be interesting. As born-again Christians, however, we have the basic assurance that God will keep us safe in his care.
Above is the foundation material of this article; I can now proceed with the point I want to make, namely my concern about a particular slant of some of the writings of Erich Von Daniken.
First of all, I have no disagreement with Daniken in regard to his belief that there are passages in the Bible that describe flying vehicles in such a way that they could easily be thought of as today’s UFOs with its flying saucers and other shapes of space vehicles. The following two scripture segments are probably the most obvious for supporting the connection to UFOs. I will be using the New International Version of the Bible.
2 Kings 2:11 tells about the great prophet Elijah being taken away in a strange vehicle while his understudy, Elisha, watches the event: “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.”
Exodus 13:21,22 tells us about one way that God guided the Israelites on their trek from Egypt to the promised land: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”
Erich Von Daniken proclaims, first of all, that what Elisha and the Israelites saw, respectively, in the first and second above scripture segments, were space vehicles or perhaps, I think, some smaller vehicles used to fly from a large mother-ship to the surface of Earth.
Actually, I think a lot of people, probably including myself, came up with this idea long before Von Daniken did, but that’s beside the point. He committed no crime in putting that viewpoint into a book, and maybe he was the first, or one of the first, to do so.
In any case, for people living in today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, it’s almost obvious that the vehicle that came to take Elijah away was some kind of craft propelled by a flaming jet.
Also it seems fairly obvious that the amazing thing that God used to guide the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was a craft riding on a vertical flaming jet. In daylight the flame’s visibility was dwarfed by the greater light of the sun, but the pillar of cloud could be seen; and at night the vertical flaming jet could be clearly seen against the surrounding darkness.
If those explanations had been the sum total of Daniken’s theory as expressed in his books, I wouldn’t be writing this article–for, after all, up to this point he has not expressed any belief that is contradictory to the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible calls the vehicle that picked up Elijah a chariot, one with horses of fire; which is exactly what Daniken believes it is, only he uses other words, such as craft, maybe outer space, spacemen, alien visitors, etc., words which were not yet in any human language at the time when the biblical accounts were written. The words used by Moses or whoever wrote Exodus (Bible scholars aren’t sure about who the inspired writer was) used the best words available.
Take, for instance, the words horses of fire. It seems that when Elisha told others about the experience of his parting with Elijah, he chose the words, horses of fire. He used this label for what he obviously, and probably rightly, took to be the strange vehicle’s locomoting power source–or at least the visible part of the power source, since there were no normal looking horses attached to this chariot. To this point Daniken is not in disagreement with the Bible.
But then he goes on, quite unreasonably, to say that this proves, or at least strongly indicates, that the Bible has it all wrong in regard to its spiritual teachings about God and his creation. According to Daniken, if the Biblical descriptions of the flying crafts and other things that the people of those times saw matched so well with today’s concepts of UFOs and aliens, then the occupants of those crafts were not supernatural angels, but rather natural space beings whose purposes in coming to Earth had nothing to do with the supernatural teachings of the Bible.
I don’t think Daniken tries very hard, if at all, to support this concept with evidence and logic. He probably doesn’t see any reason to do so because people today have a strange misconception. Even Christians are caught up in this to some degree. What is this misconception?
It is the idea that supernatural, spiritual things invariably have no process to them–no steps, no development. And yet the Holy Bible itself shows that in many ways–including the information given in the creation account–there are definitely processes involved. Maybe not in all of it, but certainly in a lot of it.
The part about God creating light reads: “And God said, `Let there be light,’ and there was light…” (Genesis 1:3) This could be taken as one of those no-process happenings that appear to have no developing steps, only God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God can will anything into being if he wants to; but it seems that he doesn’t always want to but at least sometimes prefers to break up the process into progressing steps. This is shown by the rest of the creation account. God used seven time periods, which he called days, in which to create the universe and give the Earth’s inhabitants their first law, which was that they were to rest on the seventh day.
So, as I’ve already pointed out, on the first day God created light and separated the light from the darkness. If there was any process or cause-and-effect steps to this, we are not here told much about it.
On the second day, however, there seems to have been some step by step activity in the creation of the sky (the expanse that separated the water under the “expanse” from the water above it.) However, this description of the second day of creation admittedly is not so different from the first day in regard to a step by step process, so let’s go on to the third day.
God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” Again, as on the second day, this scripture segment suggests a bit of progression-type happening in the “gathering together” of the water under the sky so that (cause and effect) dry ground can appear.
The next creative moves listed–still on that same third day–came as follows when God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” From this it can be seen that during this third day of creation God was using a distinct cause-and-effect process: First the land was separated from the water to prepare the right kind of place for the growing of the vegetation that God had in mind. Then he ordered the vegetation to grow there. And then he caused the seeds of that vegetation to grow more vegetation.
On the fourth day God made the stars and the sun and the moon. As explained in Halley’s Bible Handbook, and probably in agreement with many other Bible scholars, when the Bible says that on the fourth day of creation God made these heavenly bodies–sun, moon, and stars–it means that for anyone on the surface of the Earth, angels or animals (but humans hadn’t yet been made), these heavenly bodies appeared for the first time. And this happened because on the fourth day God removed the until-then heavy mist or fog between Earth and sky so that the Sun, moon, and stars became visible. (Whereas on the first day, when God said, “Let there be light,” the light that then appeared was that of a new universe exploding into being and into billions of suns and galaxies, at God’s command.)
On the fifth day the step by step procedure is not so obvious as it was for the fourth day; however, I think it still can be seen as we read about God creating the birds and then all the life in the ocean.
Then, on the sixth day, the matter of creation-by-procedure gets very clear and obvious. In the first place, please take notice that the creation of land animals and then the creation of human beings, take place on the same day. Here is the Biblical account: “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so. God made wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.’” (Genesis 1:27)
The Bible tells us that there were steps and cause-and-effect processes involved in the sixth day of God’s creation: “Let the land produce” (my italics) “living creatures….” And then, in Genesis 2:7a “… the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground….” Then the Bible goes on to say, in Genesis 2:7b “… and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
The sixth-day segment carries on with God giving the newly created humans some instructions; and then on the seventh day God rests and also proclaims that day to be a day of rest for Adam and Eve.
Pretty much everything I’ve written here to this point has been for the purpose of showing that God uses step-by-step, cause-and-effect processes, at least sometimes, in the things he does; and the sixth day of creation presents good examples of that. Now we can get to the main point of all this and see where Erich Von Daniken went wrong.
It’s really quite simple. As I’ve already pointed out, Daniken, like many others, seems to take for granted that for anything to be spiritually and religiously valid (as in angels, miracles, heavenly means of transportation, etc,) the thing in question must not be involved with any cause-and-effect process. For instance if, when Jesus miraculously turned water into wine (John 2:1-10), someone had done careful scientific research into the matter and found that there had been step-by-step, cause-and-effect processes going on (mind you I’m not saying that this was the case, only what if) and people found out about this, would they have rejected the idea that the changing of the water into wine was a miracle from God? If people then had the same mindset on the matter as they do today, then I think that probably many of them would have rejected the happening as a miracle, at least until they learned more about miracles.
The main point here is not whether there were steps involved, but, rather, whether having steps involved should make any difference in regard to whether or not it was considered to be a miracle.
At least one of my Websters defines a miracle as “An extraordinary event manifesting a supernatural work of God.’
But let’s think about this a little, asking ourselves, “What is not a miracle?”
We have already seen from reading the creation account and paying attention to some of the details, that there were steps and processes involved. For instance, (1) God formed man from the dust of the earth, and (2) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Then (3) Eve was made out of Adam’s rib (which, of course, contained his DNA.)
But would anyone–particularly a Christian–say that the creation of man was not a miracle?
I have found that no matter what you look at, if you look at it deeply enough, it becomes a straight-out miracle. It becomes a mystery that can only be “explained” by saying that it’s a miracle of God.
Because we are finite, created beings, and because God is infinite, we can never hope to understand everything about anything; we can never totally understand anything. That is why God has given us the gift of faith, the ability to recognize God’s truth when he reveals it to us.
The false concept that a thing cannot be spiritual if it has cause-and-effect steps involved in it can be (and has been) used by the forces of evil to confuse people.
In the case of Erich von Daniken, he has rightly pointed out that many things written about in the Bible involve science and step-by-step processes; for instance in the matter of space vehicles and the arrival on Earth of space aliens. Then, wrongly, he makes the illogical assumption that if there is science involved then God cannot be involved, as though the infinite Creator-God was not big enough to include science in his creation.
There are other books, as well as TV documentaries, that follow Daniken’s illogical attempt at reasoning in this matter. Don’t let any of them fool you by calling your attention to some possibly real discoveries and then saying that these discoveries somehow prove that Christianity is false.
If these scientific discoveries mean anything, it is that in this age of the increase in man’s knowledge, God has seen fit to reveal a little more to us about how he does things.