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Was Jesus an alien?

Published: 10 February 2018 (GMT+10)

How can we show just how ludicrous the ‘alien Jesus’ conspiracy theory really is? Jian L. from Australia writes:

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I’m not sure if this particular conspiracy is discussed here, but some people make the outrageous and ridiculous claim that Jesus was merely an alien and NOT the Son of God, pointing to his various miracles and resurrection as proof that he was an alien visitor. Apart from the impossibility of the existence of aliens and the infallibility, inerrancy and inspired nature proving that he is the Messiah, what would you say to these people?

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

There are several reasons beyond the ones you mention for why the ‘Jesus is an alien’ idea is a ludicrous conspiracy theory.

Aliens and the Gospels

The ‘alien Jesus’ idea has only one thing (supposedly) going for it that other failed naturalistic ideas don’t: it (seemingly) explains Jesus’ miracles. But there’s an absurdly large cost for affirming this. If this idea is right, the documents that reliably report Jesus’ ‘miracles’ (the Gospels) either tell us about Jesus’ teachings unreliably, or reliably tell us about Jesus’ unreliable teachings. It can’t be the latter, because the Gospels clearly honour Jesus. The Gospel writers didn’t think Jesus was a charlatan. On the other hand, if the Gospels report Jesus’ teachings unreliably, why believe their reports about the miracles? If the Gospels can’t be trusted to report reliably on mundane things (e.g. what Jesus taught and what 1st century Judaism was like), we can’t trust the miracle reports either. If the Gospels are that unreliable, it would make much more sense to say that we can’t learn much about the historical Jesus from them than to say that they are evidence that Jesus was an alien, and that’s why He did miracles. Indeed, this is what many of the most articulate skeptics of the Gospels say. (See Can we know anything about the past? A review of Jesus Before the Gospels by Bart Ehrman)

But the link between the reliability of Jesus’ teaching and the reliability of His miracles is even closer than that. The Gospels put on the lips of Jesus a close link between His teaching and His miracles. For Jesus, according to the Gospels, His miracles were sure evidence for His claims and His teaching (Luke 11:20, John 5:36). But He taught that the one true God of Israel was setting up His kingdom in and through Jesus, His beloved eternal Son. Based on these miracles, Jesus declared His authority to call Israel to repentance, and to reform God’s true people around Himself as their Lord. This sounds like something that at least could make sense in the context of 1st century Judaism. But aliens? How does that make sense of anything about Jesus’ teaching and context? (See Gospel Dates and Reliability, Can we believe the Gospels?, and Should we trust the Bible?)

The ‘alien Jesus’ proponent would likely retort: ‘Maybe they just weren’t ready for the truth!’ Well, if they weren’t ready for the truth, then what was the point of Jesus? Did the aliens misjudge when to send Him? Did the aliens send Jesus just for a laugh at our expense? And again: what evidence do we have for any of this? Just because the ‘alien Jesus’ proponent can dream up witty retorts that sound like they keep the theory afloat, that doesn’t mean they have any evidence for it. This is just a failed attempt to explain away the fact that all the evidence we have stands against the ‘alien Jesus’ idea.

What if aliens could’ve done Jesus’ miracles?

But what about the miracles? Couldn’t aliens have done the miracles? For argument’s sake, let’s first assume that they could have. First, any ‘miracles’ aliens can do, God can do. So, what supposedly makes aliens a better explanation of Jesus’ miracles than God? After all, aliens do not fit the context for Jesus’ miracles, but God does. The answer is typically that aliens would be physical beings that do things solely by physical means, and we know physics works. In other words, as ludicrous as aliens are as an explanation, they’re a naturalistic explanation, so we should always regard them as a more plausible explanation than God. Indeed, precisely because God is supernatural (i.e. transcends the laws of nature), they regard Him as a non-explanation. But this just assumes naturalism regardless of (and even in spite of) the evidence (see Defining arguments away—the distorted language of secularism and How do miracles happen?).

But, why assume naturalism? The ‘alien Jesus’ proponent admits Jesus’ miracles couldn’t have happened by spontaneous physical causes. They had to happen through intelligent agency (they would say, technology). To say that God is always the most implausible explanation in such a context, the ‘alien Jesus’ proponent needs good reason to think God doesn’t exist, or that God didn’t care about supporting Jesus. I don’t know how they could prove the latter, so it seems they need to show that God doesn’t exist. Even in their attempt to keep Jesus’ miracles within physics, they must go into metaphysics to show that we should explain Jesus’ miracles solely by (intelligent) physical (natural) causes. But, there are plenty of good reasons to think God exists (see Does God exist? and Philosophical arguments for God). Science itself is one of them (see Why does science work at all? and The biblical roots of modern science).

But it gets worse for the ‘alien Jesus’ proponent. We have no evidence for any extra-terrestrial (ET) life, let alone sentient ET life (and not for lack of looking: SETI—coming in from the cold of space). Indeed, the practical impossibility of chemical evolution makes even our very existence miraculous on a naturalistic view (see Five Atheist miracles). Or did aliens make us? Well, since they too are physical beings that would’ve had a beginning, who made them? (see Who created God?) If naturalism is true, chemical evolution must have happened at least once. But admitting that aliens designed us shows that chemical evolution is nothing short of a naturalistic fairy tale. And we can’t have an infinite regress of alien designers with beginnings. Thus, if aliens exist, God ultimately made them! (see Without Excuse) And, again, since God fits right into Jesus’ context, and aliens don’t, God is still the better explanation for the miracles.

Could aliens have done Jesus’ miracles?

The previous section presumed that aliens could’ve done Jesus’ miracles. But could they, given what we know about physics? No. Aliens wouldn’t even be able to survive the trip to Earth in the first place, according to physics (see Alien visitors to Earth? and More space travel problems: g-forces). If aliens couldn’t even get here, how could they perform Jesus’ miracles? No matter how good technology gets, it can’t allow us, or aliens, to switch physics off.

Nor can technology create new physics. That’s important, because the testimony about Jesus’ resurrection body is that it’s immune to death (Romans 6:9). Can our bodies be immune to death, given the physics we know? No. Jesus’ resurrection body behaves in ways that transcend the ‘bondage to decay’ behavioural constraints of this fallen physical cosmos (e.g. Romans 8:18–25, 1 Corinthians 15:35–49). That’s something only the Sustainer of the cosmos could pull off, i.e. God.

This ‘alien Jesus’ view is motivated by Arthur C. Clarke’s quip that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s simply not true. Physics limits technology. Only supernatural beings can transcend physics. And only God can change physics itself. If the ‘alien Jesus’ proponent wishes to say that physics can spontaneously change, then they’ve undercut their faith in science as the only reason for ruling out God as an explanation—science can’t work if physics can spontaneously change (Why does science work at all?).

Conclusions

Obviously, the ‘Jesus was an alien’ idea is ludicrous. Even atheists know this. The reasons are legion. It undermines the general reliability of the very documents that need to be reliable for the theory to work. Ruling out God in favour of the ‘alien Jesus’ is an even more blatant and baseless sop to naturalism than is typical of atheists. And even science itself stands against the theory. On top of that, we can include the reliability of Scripture and the impossibility of alien life.

The ‘Jesus was an alien’ idea is a conspiracy theory in the worst sense of the term; it denies the obvious to establish the ludicrous. But it’s important to note that it’s a naturalistic conspiracy theory. It’s an absurd last-ditch hope for the naturalist to deny God in the face of the reliability of the Bible. If someone really believes this, reading the Gospels would be the worst thing for their ‘faith’ in their ‘alien Jesus’. They already trust the hardest-to-believe aspects of the Gospels, and Gospels don’t allow for any other explanation for Jesus’ miracles other than that He truly is God’s unique Son.

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Helpful Resources

Alien Intrusion
by Gary Bates
From
US $15.00
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
From
US $17.00

Reader’s comments

William R T.
Rather than dispute the whole article, I will just dispute one part of it. The part about physics. The author assumes we know everything there is to know about physics, and that everything we know is correct. We know how gravity works, but we don't know what it is. And the very existence of the Universe is based on Black Hole theory, even though not one Black Hole has ever been observed. Dark Matter and Dark Energy theories were invented to save the Black Hole Universe, because galaxies were not flying apart, as they should in a gravity only Universe, and the Universe was expanding too rapidly, without Dark Energy, which can't be seen. If there are so many holes in our theories of the Universe, how can we say we know all there is about physics, or that we are right about what we do know? And, who's to say that aliens don't know more about physics, or that they know more that's right, enough to have developed space travel? Jesus may not have been an alien, and He may have been the Son of God in human form, but, if He was, where did He get His DNA? He was born from a virgin. How, and by who, or what, was she impregnated? If it was by God the Father, does He have a form in the flesh, with DNA? With our technology, we can artificially inseminate virgins. Was there someone that could do it in Jesus' time? If a child is born through genetic engineering, is that not a form of Creation?
Shaun Doyle
I don't assume that we know everything there is to know about physics. Rather, I assume that we know enough about relevant physics to conclude that interstellar and intergalactic space travel will remain science fiction (and I provided the links to show why). The problems are not just about the inability to reach the speeds necessary to get here. It's also about energy generation, and about protecting the ship and it's inhabitants from the perils of space travel during the journey. Science fiction writers can make up stuff like 'inertial dampeners' and 'energy barriers' to protect the passengers, and 'dilithium' (Star Trek) or 'naquadah' (Stargate) to cover the problems of energy consumption. But any alien race would only have access to the same sorts of materials we have access to.

As for the virginal conception, since when does God need a body to make that happen? Since God made Adam from the dust end Eve from Adam's rib at the beginning, a virginal conception wouldn't be a problem for Him. God doesn't need to use IVF.

And even if the 'alien Jesus' proponent could hide in unknown physics, it still doesn't help their case. Why? It doesn't change the most important facts: God can do far more than aliens could supposedly do, God fits Jesus' context while aliens don't, the 'alien Jesus' idea undermines any reason for believing it based on the relevant evidence (i.e. the Gospels), and the existence of sentient ETs conflicts with the implications of biblical theology. Unless an 'alien Jesus' idea can overcome these fatal flaws, there's no reason to take it seriously.
Daniel J.
The comments are all interesting and in some cases, comprehensive. Some comments are pure speculation, i.e., we simply have no definitive means to limit the vast domains of YHWH (the Elohim). The universe of the Creator is teeming with millions of other inhabited planets. Both YHWH and His Son, Jesus are extraterrestrials.
Shaun Doyle
As to 'limiting God's domains', it's rather about discerning what would be consistent with His character. Sin and death are inevitable for moral creatures bound to this sin-cursed world (Romans 5:12-21, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22), and Jesus only helps humans (Hebrews 2:16). Plus, the church (made of Jew and Gentile in Christ (Ephesians 3:5-6)) is the main purpose of creation and history (Ephesians 1:22, 3:9-11; Revelation 19:7-9). Therefore, sentient ETs would be sinners without hope of redemption. However, "God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all" (Romans 11:32). Thus, leaving all sentient ETs bound in sin without hope for redemption would be inconsistent with God's perfect character. See Did God create life on other planets? for more information.

Second, where's the physical evidence that the universe is teeming with millions of other inhabited planets? There is none.

Third, YHWH and Jesus are not ETs. YHWH is the transcendent Creator of everything (Yahweh the Creator God of Israel). Jesus is truly human (and truly God: The Incarnation: Why did God become Man?), and was conceived and born on Earth.

Finally, if you doubt Jesus' teaching about His mission (as the 'alien Jesus' idea must assume), then why not doubt the miracle reports too? If the New Testament is an unreliable source for Jesus' teaching, then it's also an unreliable source for Jesus' miracles.
Andrew B.
Jesus was/is an alien. He said, "My kingdom is not of this world." And luckily, He is saving people to one day be part of His perfect world. Hopefully, Jesus will return today, to mop up the mess we humans have made of His creation.
Shaun Doyle
And like Christ was, we're 'aliens and strangers' in this world. That of course doesn't mean either we of Jesus came to Earth from another planet on a spaceship.
Colin F.
How could the Lord Jesus Christ ever
have been "an alien?"
He came to save His own! That is;
"For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels: but He took on Him the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2.16.

The Bible unequivocally teaches that the Earth is geocentric. The heliocentric solar system is a Roman Catholic inspired deception that subsequently derailed true science. For with vast distances (a neccessary corollary of heliocentricism), came the equally satanic doctrine of evolution which likewise required vast ages to support it: It can therefore be very clearly seen that evolution would NEVER have taken hold without heliocentricism.

There is no alien life.
Shaun Doyle
You're right about Hebrews 2:16; it rules out salvation from sin for any race other than humans. And of course we agree that aliens don't exist (Did God create life on other planets?).

However, on absolute geocentrism, please see Why the Universe does not revolve around the Earth and Refuting absolute geocentrism: Refutation of our detractors.
Jordan C.
Thanks Shaun, your arguments are awesome! Also, I think it would require many more ad hoc explanations on part of an "alien" hypothesis to explain many OT prophesies attributed to Jesus. What of all the miracles attributed to God in the OT and witnessed by the prophets such as Moses, David, Daniel and Isaiah and their revelation from God regarding the Messiah wouldn’t these also be relegated to fit an ad hoc "alien" hypothesis? I wouldn’t be surprised if supporters of an “alien” hypothesis proposed alien time travel machines to fill in the gaps of their argument to explain some OT prophesies. Take Genesis3:15 after the fall, God hints about Christ crushing the serpent; Why would an alien race make such an exquisitely concerted effort simply to fool mankind from the beginning, and what reason would we have to trust any of what is recorded if it comes from an untrustworthy source, hence lying aliens masquerading as a god? Why trust an untrustworthy source? The only source worth trusting is obviously from a trustworthy source, otherwise why believe any of it. If the Scripture are accepted as trusted and true, then all untrustworthy sources regarding its origin should be discarded. An alien hypothesis is way more ad hoc. They would need to make a case by defining the term “alien” first. Are they intra-dimensional or multi-dimensional. But what evidence do they have to defend it if the source is unreliable? It’s like Napoleon said, people will believe anything so long as it’s not in the Bible.
Terry D P.
Jesus, is the “alien god” whom all Atheists fear may exist.
Jesus said: God is spirit. The God the Holy Spirit fills the known universe, to its farthest bounds and beyond, as it says here and other places in the Bible:
«/ Am I a god only near at hand, not far away? Can a man hide in any secret place and I not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? This is the very word of the LORD. — Jr§23:23-24 /»
Furthermore, as it is written in Genesis §1–2, in the beginning the Spirit of God aka the Word of God spoke the universe into existence:
«/ WHEN ALL THINGS began, the Word [Jesus] already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through him all things came to be; no single thing was created without him. All that came to be was alive with his life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines on in the dark, and the darkness has never mastered it. — Jn§1:1-5 /»
So, the spirit of God came to earth in a human body named Jesus, incognito as it were,…
«/ He [Jesus, the Word] was in the world; but the world, though it owed its being to him, did not recognise him. He entered his own realm, and his own would not receive him. But to all who did receive him, to those who have yielded him their allegiance, he gave the right to become children of God, not born of any human stock, or by the fleshly desire of a human father, but the offspring of God himself. So the Word became flesh; he came to dwell among us, and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. — Jn§1:10-14 /»
Because Atheists deny the existence of the Word of God, their Creator, God denies them the right to become children of God, born again by the Spirit of God the Father.
Dan M.
Sometimes when I think of the ludicrous arguments God deniers present; I think of a dog chasing its tail going nowhere. All the arguments I've heard present an, if this, then that, assumption, (not verifiable science or history). If you assume, (unverified) this is true then that, (invented) must be the cause. It is a fabricated pointless exercise in circuitous reasoning. First you make an assumption and then you invent a cause. This is the reverse of reason and science. The reasonable approach is to observe effects and then hypothesize and try to find a reasonable cause. That's real science and rationality!
I believe CMI presented in the documentary Alien Intrusion, a rational case from science and history for why aliens are not visiting our planet. CMI instead explained effectively why some UFO's and Alien abduction is a sinister and covert spiritual event, meant to deceive and harm.
Good job CMI!
Michael T.
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

- If a man is without Christ, then yes, God is alien to him.
Shaun Doyle
Although I don't think our status as unbelievers has anything to do with either us or God being Vulcan :)
Chris R.
Surely his mother, father, brothers, and sisters would have noticed. Or are they suggesting an alien embryo could have been successfully implanted into a human and successfully grown from there?
Shaun Doyle
My working assumption was that they would say Jesus was implanted in Mary's womb; it seems like they'd want to brand Mary's virginal conception as an alien IVF implant. But if an alien replaced a human Jesus (at Jesus' baptism?), it would be an interesting alien spin on the old docetist heresy (where Jesus only seemed to be human).

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