A great variety of people study UFOs. Some are out-and-out skeptics. Others are full-fledged believers. Many are somewhere in-between. Of course, a person's presuppositions greatly influences what he allows himself to believe. Therefore, it is no surprise that a number of theories have been proposed as to the identity of UFOs. Among these are the following:
A number of these have occurred. Some seek media attention and the thrill of fooling others. Fairly recently, in fact, a couple of gentleman confessed to being the originators of a number of crop circles throughout England. There have even been reports of more elaborate hoaxes.
(2) Overly active imagination.
In our science-fiction crazed age, it is common for people to desire that which is unusual and out-of-the-ordinary. X-Files character Fox Mulder even has a poster in his office that exemplifies this trend. It reads: "I want to believe." Unquestionably, many do.
(3) Misidentification of natural phenomenon.
Most natural activity is known to the human observer. On occasion, however, there are happenings in nature that are out of the ordinary. Examples include the famous aurora borealis, certain types of cloud formations, and debris from outer space. These can be categorized as uncommon, yet natural phenomena. On top of this, there are surely other natural wonders which science has yet to discover or categorize.
(4) Misidentification of unknown technology.
Made in the image of God, man possesses an inbred desire to create. Many of the technological wonders of recent years bear this out. From super-fast computers to Stealth bombers, mankind has produced countless wonders. Since this is so, and because of the need for national security, it would be shocking if government groups haven't produced secret, "alien-like," technology. This doesn't necessitate an extraterrestrial source. A simpler explanation, that of human genius, may be more viable.
(5) Extraterrestrial visitors.
This is the most popular view among ufologists. Aliens are (and have been) visiting our planet. The government has recovered alien craft. Aliens are among us. In fact, many believe that much of our technology was borrowed from extraterrestrial intelligences.
(6) Terrestrial visitors.
This is the less-popular theory that UFOs are of terrestrial origin. Perhaps they originate in the center of the earth. Maybe they live in some of the more remote places on earth (e.g., the poles, within volcanoes, etc.).
(7) Inter-dimensional visitors.
Because of the seemingly insurmountable distances an alien would have to traverse in order to arrive on planet earth, some have postulated aliens of an inter-dimensional sort. Rather that origination "way out there," they live along side us. These inter-dimensional beings are able to cross over into our dimension through sophisticated technology.
(8) Angelic manifestations.
This view resembles the inter-dimensional view, but perhaps (depending on the author) relies more on a spiritual mechanism than a technological one for leaping between dimensions. Likewise, this view is often grounded in a Judeo-Christian world view. Therefore, the beings who jump from one dimension to another are angelic in nature.
These are merely a handful of the more popular theories on the reason for UFO sightings and other phenomena. The questions remains, though, which ones are most viable. While our purpose in this brief article is primarily to provoke thought, we can lay out some simple evaluative words.
All of the above theories have the potential of being true. Certainly, numbers (1) through (4) are part of the explanation for UFO sightings. Number (5), on the other hand, is a reasonable possibility. From a Christian perspective, it is not impossible that God has created life elsewhere in the universe. On the other hand, current scientific knowledge does militate against alien civilizations being able to ever reach us in the first place. Some speculate that alien technology so transcends our own that it's no wonder we can't fathom it. At the end of the day, though, physical evidence is still quite scanty so far as proving the extraterrestrial hypothesis.
The terrestrial aliens view is, I suppose, feasible. Most, however, don't go this route. Indeed, it does sound like a somewhat strange proposal. Then again, perhaps it's no more unlikely (weird?) than the extraterrestrial view.
Finally, we come to views (7) and (8). These, it seems to me, have a great measure of support in their favor. If inter-dimensional being really do exist, this would explain their presence among us, without having to deal with the massive distances that extraterrestrials would need to travel. On top of this, scientist have already shown that other dimensions probably do exist. Of course, this work is all mathematical and theoretical. Still, not a few concede the existence of multiple dimensions. This doesn't prove that UFOs are inter-dimensional, but it certainly allows for the possibility. Furthermore, the spiritual/religious aspects of this phenomenon seems to demand a spiritual explanation. This doesn't necessitate that we reject other viable alternatives. Neither does our explanation of these matters need to be simplistic and singular; in fact, a complex explanation of the phenomenon is probable. From a biblical perspective, however, it is difficult to ignore the reality that some portion (perhaps the majority) of this puzzling array of seemingly paranormal activity demands an inter-dimensional/angelic interpretation.
For Christians, the fundamental world view revealed in Scripture enables us to keep our feet on the ground, even as we find ourselves looking to the sky. More importantly, it causes us to ground our thoughts and hopes in the only One who truly warrants our praise, God's Son, Jesus Christ. May all our efforts to unfold life's mysteries be grounded in and guided by God's revealed truth. Therein is found stability, wisdom, and life.
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