Are UFOs Demonic? Preliminary Reflections

 

Seriously. It’s an important question which more than 2 billion Christians have reason to take seriously. There are parallel considerations for Judaism, Islam, etc. Even non-theists may have reason to consider alternative theories before concluding that UFOs, if not of earthly origin, are the work of our new alien overlords, enemies, co-founders of the Federation, or however that turns out.

Now, slow down. I didn’t say they have reasons to think the answer is yes. One option is to consider the question just long enough to get to a solid no! I’m not ready to answer myself. These are preliminary reflections. At most, they would prepare the way for someone who’s taken a fair but critical look at the tapes, the stories, and various arguments surrounding UFOs to consider (and possibly reject) this more traditional hypothesis.

Let me first emphasize that this question is hypothetical.

Suppose that debunking efforts like this one and this National Review piece (rather than its rebuttal) should turn out to be a flop. Suppose that these phenomena are not the results of geese, weather balloons, technical glitches, military technology, or something else pretty ordinary. In that case, should we consider angelic beings a likely explanation?

It’s the sort of question FringePop321 looks into here with respect to alien abductions, and I hope FringePop321 does a nice video later focusing on UFOs.

So here’s what I’m gonna do: Lay some cards on the table about my own somewhat confused preferences, give some preliminary reflections from a Christian perspective, and then (very briefly) consider what preliminary reflections might apply even if we don’t assume that perspective.

My working answer is as follows:

When considered from a Christian perspective, this is an explanation that has a slight Ockham’s Razor advantage, at least until we know more. When considered from a non-Christian perspective, this explanation should not be ruled out just as long as the possibility of a supernatural should be ruled out. And there are two tests we might be able to use to try to figure things out!

Do I Even Want Aliens?

I Want To Believe GIFs | TenorUnlike Mulder here, I’m not entirely sure what I want to believe. Sometimes I want aliens; I’m a huge nerd, and I kinda want aliens to be real. I also want cool spaceships!

On the other hand, aliens might mean some hard work rethinking everything.

Or maybe not. Confirmed aliens would make it easier to wonder whether biblical miracles were just high-tech alien stunts (a thought experiment I toy with in my essay in this book). On the other hand, the default C. S. Lewis position–G-d made them too!–would be a pretty comfortable place.

But I’d probably still have to do some work rethinking things. Or at least . . . thinking about whether I have to rethink things.

I think, on the whole, I’d prefer for the aliens to not exist; at least it’s less work. But I go back and forth. It could be super-awesome.

The Question from a Christian Worldview Perspective

Now let’s suppose that a Christian worldview is correct.

That means the Gospel is true, and there is one G-d, etc., etc. It also means G-d created intelligent beings who weren’t human. There are angels. And some of them rebelled. They’re the bad angels, the jerk ones, the fallen angels, the demons.

(And maybe not just them. If you wanna get technical and learn from sources like the Lord of Spirits podcast, the Whole Counsel of G-d blog, and the works of Brian Godawa, unions of angels and human women produced the Nephilim, whose spirits are the “unclean spirits” from the New Testament–jerk spirits to be sure, but not exactly the same ones as the fallen angels.)

Ok, but what do the demons want? What do they do? The most conventional and succinct answer I can give you is–tempt and deceive, the same thing Satan (who is one of them) did in the Garden of Eden. And also–destroy and cause trouble.

The big jerks!

But why would these big jerks want to fake alien spacecraft? Is that the sort of thing Satan and his council of demons would come up with?

I can hear the high-school version of myself answer, “Anything to take our minds off of Jesus!” Not bad, actually. I don’t know that they would need any other motive. But there’s more. Let’s start with @flicker on another thread with a story.

Flicker (View Comment):

Quite a few years ago a couple of guys in Florida started investigating reports of UFO sightings and abduction stories. And they made this determination: UFOs are real, and no one has ever been abducted by UFOs who hasn’t willingly accepted an invitation to enter, the extraterrestrials were malevolent, and the two guys became Christians as a result of their investigations.

If this is correct, it suggests that demons faking alien spacecraft could just be doing standard demon stuff: Take people’s eyes off of Jesus, sure, but also wreck lives and generally cause trouble.

(That reminds me: Until I saw It: Chapter 1, a solid artistic rendering of Satan, the scariest movie I ever saw was Dark Skies. This alien movie was a stellar rediscovery of the concept of demons, but without any G-d to help out. These baddies are malevolent, they’re stronger than you, they sometimes take control of your body, they come into your home, and they come for your children! Very messed up.)

Anyway, these standard answers aren’t bad, but there’s more still. Here’s a good place to start:

What is it that a man worships? Or–what else does he worship but what he trusts and puts his hope in?

Now Augustine would sooner say “what he loves with the love due to G-d.” Martin Luther probably wouldn’t disagree, but here’s Luther’s direct answer: “As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both G-d and an idol. . . . That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your G-d” (here, page 6).

Are there some who would readily put their trust in some vague idea of higher extraterrestrial powers or a Star Trek-like hope of a better future? Sure. Would demons want to harness this? Of course.

And that brings us back to C. S. Lewis. In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis’s character Screwtape is a senior demon advising the junior demon Wormwood. Screwtape describes the dilemma the demons have traditionally faced: Either they trick humans into materialistic denials of the supernatural (including them), or they trick humans into worshipping them.

The best option for the demons would be to trick us humans into worshipping them and denying the reality of a spiritual world at the same time. Screwtape is optimistic that this can happen, and he thinks the time is ripe for sneaking demon-worship into modern atheistic materialism! Screwtape says:

I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us, (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy. The “Life Force”, the worship of sex, and some aspects of Psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce our perfect work—the Materialist Magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshipping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits”—then the end of the war will be in sight.

I think Lewis is correctly getting at something demons would want, and I can’t imagine what would be a better vehicle for them to accomplish this today than the idea of aliens.

And what this all leads us to is this: If the Christian worldview is correct, then demons are real, they are supernatural beings who could fake aliens visiting earth, and they would have reasons to do so.

But that only means that demonic UFOs are plausible. Are aliens just as plausible? I’m inclined to take another C. S. Lewis approach: Sure, as far as I know; why not?

So how is a Christian to decide whether any putatively well-documented activities of non-earthly beings are the result of aliens or demons? Well, these are only preliminary reflections. This is just the sort of thing I hope FringePop321 or someone else will answer.

The best I can do at this point is make two suggestions. First, Ockham’s Razor is one point in favor of the demon hypothesis until we know more. Second, there are two possible tests we might be able to apply to the question: a negative test for aliens, and a negative test for demons.

A negative test for whether unearthly beings are aliens:

Assuming we have a fairly good idea of what is physically possible, do the dang things do what’s physically impossible? If they do, then the likelier Christian hypothesis, at least until we know more, is that these phenomena are demonic.

Of course, we might not actually know what’s physically possible.

Roughly, it seems that the strength of this test would be X times Y, where X is the probability that we have correctly identified a certain law of physics and Y is the probability that we have correctly observed a violation of said law.

Nor would demons necessarily make it obvious that they are supernatural beings, especially if they’re posing as aliens. So this is more of a test for aliens than a test for demons. And it’s a better negative test than a positive one. It probably wouldn’t produce a lot of false negatives (aliens we mistake for supernatural beings), but it could easily produce some false positives (supernatural beings we mistake for aliens).

A negative test for whether unearthly beings are demons:

If prolonged contact with the beings leads to the point where we can get some idea what they want, is it the sort of thing demons would probably want, or is it something else?

The aliens in C. S. Lewis’ lovely space trilogy actually worship G-d, and the aliens in the magnificent book Eifelheim only want to get home. One narrow-minded but big-hearted guy in Eifelheim thought the aliens were demons, but Eifelheim‘s wiser protagonist, Deitrich, could tell that they weren’t.

It’s the same with beings Vulcans, Klingons, Wookies, or the Independence Day Harvesters–them critters ain’t demons.

But if I ever meet guys from UFOs and find they want me to worship them, or if they want me to put all my trust and hope in their race of skydwellers, or if I find that they delight in evil and seem to enjoy suffering purely for its own sake–well, that’s different.

Not that that would prove they’re demons. Aliens could be malevolent physical beings who demand our worship–like in the Stargate franchise!

So this test might not do much to prove UFOs are demonic in origin, but it could potentially provide solid evidence that they are not. In other words, this should be a pretty reliable negative test for demons–if the guys in the UFO don’t do anything like this, they probably aren’t demons. But it could provide some false positives–aliens who might look like demons.

So now we get to make a handy chart!

Let’s chart our negative test for aliens using columns and our negative test for demons using rows. If we could apply both of these tests, there are four possible outcomes.
–one (lower-left) where these beings probably are demons,
–one (upper-right) where they’re probably just aliens,
–one (lower-right) where either theory fits,
–and one (upper-left) where neither theory quite fits.

The beings break the laws of physics, so they probably aren’t aliens. They don’t break the laws of physics.
They don’t act like demons, so they probably aren’t demons. It beats me what they actually are. They’re probably aliens, and maybe they’re friendly! Awesome!
The beings act like demons. They’re probably demons. Maybe they’re demons. Maybe they’re malevolent aliens.

Ingeniero Dilbert on Twitter: "Today's #Dilbert comic strip. https://t.co/LsIxfdAPg8"

The Question not from a Christian Worldview Perspective

And what if you don’t have a Christian worldview? Well, unsurprisingly, my advice would be to accept some of the reasoning from the grand tradition of Christian apologetics, adopt a Christian worldview yourself, and then just scroll up and reread!

But assuming you’re not going to do that, what are your options? Well, you could simply do your best to consider the evidence pertaining to these beings in light of your own worldview. For worldviews that overlap with Christianity on some points–Islam, for example–the analysis might not be so different. Obviously, the analysis from an atheistic materialist worldview perspective would be pretty different.

But I will make this final suggestion: Be like Socrates: Search for the truth, admit you don’t know what you don’t know, and don’t rule out any idea too hastily without examining the evidence. In particular, I recommend not ruling out the possibility of a supernatural too quickly. Above all, don’t rule it out beforehand. Rule it out on Ockham’s Razor after looking at the evidence if it looks like there’s not any good evidence for it.

And if we do indeed have otherworldly visitors–and that is still a very big IF–don’t neglect that first test. If the odds are pretty good that these things really are breaking (or superseding) the laws of physics, then a supernatural explanation may be our best option. And don’t be surprised if someone like Thomas Aquinas–who is, after all, way smarter than you or I–turns out to be right about human beings having supernatural enemies.

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  1. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    @flicker tag, Take Two.

    • #1
  2. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine:

    Are aliens just as plausible?  I’m inclined to take another C. S. Lewis approach: Sure, as far as I know; why not?

    @hartmannvonaue, you are invited to say that thing you say, if you’d like.

    • #2
  3. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine:

    Let’s start with @ flicker tag, Take Two.

    If you know I have thoughts on this, you probably know my thoughts. :)

    • #3
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine:

    Let’s start with @ flicker tag, Take Two.

    If you know I have thoughts on this, you probably know my thoughts. :)

    Yes, I quoted them. It should have been obvious, but I think the tag screwed up the quote of the quote in the comment. Or maybe it was the aliens.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Just curious.

    Is that supposed to be the scene of Zefram Cochrane trying to return the Vulcan salute, and shaking hands?

    Or is it the “Mirror Universe” one where he pulls up a shotgun and blasts the guy, then they rush the ship and take it over?

    • #5
  6. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Just curious.

    Is that supposed to be the scene of Zefram Cochrane trying to return the Vulcan salute, and shaking hands?

    Or is it the “Mirror Universe” one where he pulls up a shotgun and blasts the guy, then they rush the ship and take it over?

    I think it’s the original. I hope so!

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Just curious.

    Is that supposed to be the scene of Zefram Cochrane trying to return the Vulcan salute, and shaking hands?

    Or is it the “Mirror Universe” one where he pulls up a shotgun and blasts the guy, then they rush the ship and take it over?

    I think it’s the original. I hope so!

    Can’t tell just from what’s there, up to where it ends they’re identical.

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Just curious.

    Is that supposed to be the scene of Zefram Cochrane trying to return the Vulcan salute, and shaking hands?

    Or is it the “Mirror Universe” one where he pulls up a shotgun and blasts the guy, then they rush the ship and take it over?

    I think it’s the original. I hope so!

    Can’t tell just from what’s there, up to where it ends they’re identical.

    Ah, interesting.

    I only saw the Mirror Universe episode where that happened one time that I can recall.

    It was hard to find even this gif. If my brain holds up, maybe I should try one more search and see if I can’t get a handshake gif with good lighting that also shows the Vulcan’s face well. But from the office compy. Not this phone.

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #9
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine: Ok, but what do the demons want?

    I will add a couple things, it it’s alright.

    From a Christian perspective, what demons want most of all is a body.  They were born with bodies and in death have become disembodied.  This would explain why when Legion was being cast out, they begged to be cast into the herd of swine.  And space ships or UFOs whatever their constitution could be at least acceptable interim (perhaps material and mechanical) bodies.  (And perhaps this is why the powers that be are stretching forward to creating the technology for transhumanism.)

    From a materialist’s view, I once knew an atheist physicist who said that aliens could not come from other stars because nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, and so they would have to travel for thousands of years at near the speed of light just to reach earth, and that would be too long a commute.  Surprisingly to me back then, he suggested that aliens were from another physically-near dimension.  it was years before this made sense to me, since at the time, multi-dimensionality was not a real thing — and it may still not be, but Nachmonides (per wiki): The ancient Hebrew scholar Nachmonides, writing in the 12th century, concluded from his studies of the text of Genesis that the universe has ten dimensions: that four are knowable and six are beyond our knowing. Particle physicists today have also concluded that we live in ten dimensions.

    (And I would add that physics and experience shows as well that four of them are knowable.)

    A Biblical world view would support modern physical musings, as well as the existence of extra-dimensional beings.

    • #10
  11. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    This is such an interesting post!! It’s also interesting that “UFO info is supposedly going to be released soon” and why now?  I’ve always been fascinated by UFO’s, the same as you.  I grew up watching Lost in Space, Star Trek etc. but quite honestly, been skeptical. I love the movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind – rather than War of the Worlds (could they just be friendly – we have enough idiots on earth).  I lean toward the CS Lewis theory and yours.

    I’ll tell you a story. About a year ago or more, I watched a documentary on TV about UFO sightings escalating in Mexico.  It showed these weird white balls skimming along the water, and the investigative team interviewed Mexicans (fisherman etc.) , who took them to where these sightings were frequently seen – near an island that is protected because of its plant and animal diversity.  It was fascinating, and they had actual footage.

    So……that night I had a dream that was very very vivid, brief, and has stuck with me. I took it as a warning.  The night after I watched the above documentary, I dreamed that I was at the entrance of some sort of cave – an underground tunnel with a shallow stream that ran through it toward the entry of the cave. I was on a narrow side bank, and looked up and saw an enormous (as big as a room) cage that contained a very large furry creature that resembled a white shaggy dog (don’t laugh). The cage was so large that the only way to move it was to float it atop the shallow stream –     There were people pulling it with ropes to the cave. I watched as it entered the cave entrance but I stopped cold in my tracks, wanting to follow the curious cage, but what stopped me was on a stone at the entrance of the cave was a symbol of the cross.

    It was burned into the rock as you entered the cave and was black, but perfect in shape.  I knew not to go past it because I would never return, in fact cease to exist.  I think it was the entrance to hell.  I felt like this silly dream was a warning to pay no heed to UFO stories and I stopped watching them.  I felt like the demon connection was accurate and that it was a distraction.

    I still feel like anything that God creates is good, and anything or anyone that tries to invert and create something else in it’s place is bad. So in the infinite universe could there be other life forms or are some UFO’s real? Why not? But I took this dream to tell me to stay away from most of what is being fed the public, and I have.

    • #11
  12. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    This is such an interesting post!! It’s also interesting that “UFO info is supposedly going to be released soon” and why now? I’ve always been fascinated by UFO’s, the same as you. I grew up watching Lost in Space, Star Trek etc. but quite honestly, been skeptical. I love the movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind – rather than War of the Worlds (could they just be friendly – we have enough idiots on earth). I lean toward the CS Lewis theory and yours.

    I’ll tell you a story. About a year ago or more, I watched a documentary on TV about UFO sightings escalating in Mexico. It showed these weird white balls skimming along the water, and the investigative team interviewed Mexicans, who took them to where these sightings were frequently seen – near an island that is protected because of its plant and animal diversity. It was fascinating, and they had actual footage.

    So……that night I had a dream that was very very vivid, brief, and has stuck with me. I took it as a warning. The night after I watched the above documentary, I dreamed that I was at the entrance of some sort of cave – an underground tunnel with a shallow stream that ran through it toward the entry of the cave. I was on a narrow side bank, and looked up and saw an enormous (as big as a room) cage that contained a very large furry creature that resembled a white shaggy dog (don’t laugh). The cage was so large that he only way to move it was to float it atop the shallow stream – There were people pulling it with ropes to the cave. I watched as it entered the cave entrance but I stopped cold in my tracks, wanting to follow the curious cage, but what stopped me was on a stone at the entrance of the cave was a symbol of the cross.

    It was burned into the rock as you entered the cave and was black, but perfect in shape. I knew not to go past it because I would never return, in fact cease to exist. I felt like this silly dream was a warning to pay no heed to UFO stories and I stopped watching them. I felt like the demon connection was accurate and that it was a distraction.

    I still feel like anything that God creates is good, and anything or anyone that tries to invert and create something else in it’s place is bad. So in the infinite universe could there be other life forms or are some UFO’s real? Why not? But I took this dream to tell me to stay away from most of what is being fed the public, and I have.

    Good choice, I think.  And a good dream.

    • #12
  13. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I will add a couple things, it it’s alright.

    Very much alright, thanks.

    From a Christian perspective, what demons want most of all is a body. They were born with bodies and in death have become disembodied. This would explain why when Legion was being cast out, they begged to be cast into the herd of swine. And space ships or UFOs whatever their constitution could be at least acceptable interim (perhaps material and mechanical) bodies. (And perhaps this is why the powers that be are stretching forward to creating the technology for transhumanism.)

    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right?  Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    From a materialist’s view, I once knew an atheist physicist who said that aliens could not come from other stars because nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, and so they would have to travel for thousands of years at near the speed of light just to reach earth, and that would be too long a commute. Surprisingly to me back then, he suggested that aliens were from another physically-near dimension. it was years before this made sense to me, since at the time, multi-dimensionality was not a real thing — and it may still not be, but Nachmonides (per wiki): The ancient Hebrew scholar Nachmonides, writing in the 12th century, concluded from his studies of the text of Genesis that the universe has ten dimensions: that four are knowable and six are beyond our knowing. Particle physicists today have also concluded that we live in ten dimensions.

    (And I would add that physics and experience shows as well that four of them are knowable.)

    A Biblical world view would support modern physical musings, as well as the existence of extra-dimensional beings.

    Two questions, starting with another terminological one: What do we call visitors from another dimension?  Are we supposed to call them aliens?  I think of the word “alien” as referring to beings not from earth but from this universe and from the same dimension(s) we’re in.

    Next, when you talk about dimensions, you’re not talking about parallel universes like in SlidersFlash, and so on, are you?  Those are regular 3D worlds.  You’re talking about higher dimensions than the third, but in the same universe we’re in, right?  More like in the book Flatland?

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right?  Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    I’m not sure I’m aware of anywhere in the Bible that demons are referred to as angels or angelic beings.  As evil spirits, yes.  But there are a lot of spirits that are not angels.

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    This is such an interesting post!! It’s also interesting that “UFO info is supposedly going to be released soon” and why now? I’ve always been fascinated by UFO’s, the same as you. I grew up watching Lost in Space, Star Trek etc. but quite honestly, been skeptical. I love the movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind – rather than War of the Worlds (could they just be friendly – we have enough idiots on earth). I lean toward the CS Lewis theory and yours.

    Well, these are preliminary reflections. I’m probably better categorized not as “guy with a theory” so much as “sci-fi nerd with preliminary reflections.”  Or, if we want to make it sound fancy, “Christian philosopher with preliminary reflections.”

    I’d have to study the evidence/lore much, much more than I have even to get to the point of ruling out geese and camera glitches.  If I got that far, I could maybe go with a cautious Ockham’s Razor hypothesis (demons), or just hold out on opining until more evidence comes in–starting with the first test, hopefully.

    At this point it seems safe to say that I just don’t know anything.

    I’ll tell you a story. . . .

    Splendid. Thank you for sharing!

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    What if the aliens are (mostly) avoiding us because WE are demonic?

    • #16
  17. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Two questions, starting with another terminological one: What do we call visitors from another dimension?  Are we supposed to call them aliens?  I think of the word “alien” as referring to beings not from earth but from this universe and dimensions.

    Well, the meaning depends on one’s world view, but extraterrestrials seems like a good and specific term.  Aliens would be more a materialist’s term, and spirits would be a supernaturalist’s term.  Angels are spirits, and demons are spirits.

    • #17
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right? Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    I’m not sure I’m aware of anywhere in the Bible that demons are referred to as angels or angelic beings. As evil spirits, yes. But there are a lot of spirits that are not angels.

    A lot of different kinds of spirits, or just a lot of Nephilim spirits?

    Maybe the biblical term “demon” only refers to the spirits of the Nephilim.  (I don’t know Hebrew or if it even has a parallel word, but in theory I could at least check the NT Greek uses of daimonion!)

    But I’m pretty sure most Christians using the word “demon” are referring to fallen/rebellious angels.  I’m quite sure Lewis, Augustine, Aquinas, and Milton would use words like “demons” and “devils” that way, almost certainly exclusively.  I’ve never taken a poll of churchgoers, but at least I’ve always had the impression that’s how Christians generally used the term unless they’re lucky enough to have heard these biblical interpretations about the Nephilim.

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    kedavis (View Comment):

    What if the aliens are (mostly) avoiding us because WE are demonic?

    We’ve certainly given them some reasons to stay away from this ridiculous little planet.

    • #19
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right? Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    I’m not sure I’m aware of anywhere in the Bible that demons are referred to as angels or angelic beings. As evil spirits, yes. But there are a lot of spirits that are not angels.

    I think these are identified as fallen angels – as @saintaugustine describes – could you link some of the Catholic’s Churches references on this – I know I’ve read it.

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Two questions, starting with another terminological one: What do we call visitors from another dimension? Are we supposed to call them aliens? I think of the word “alien” as referring to beings not from earth but from this universe and dimensions.

    Well, the meaning depends on one’s world view, but extraterrestrials seems like a good and specific term. Aliens would be more a materialist’s term, and spirits would be a supernaturalist’s term. Angels are spirits, and demons are spirits.

    Yes, but we have to be able to talk about theories we don’t necessarily accept (whether or not we are even prepared to accept them).

    There’s a lot of people to talk about here: rebellious/fallen angels, spirits of the Nephilim, beings from another planet in this universe, beings from earth in a parallel universe, beings from another planet in a parallel universe, and beings from a higher dimension in this universe.

    What do we even call all these guys?

    • #21
  22. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    This raises the issue of how we even define the natural vs. supernatural. In popular imagination angels and demons seem to be more like natural created beings that exist in some other dimension, but nevertheless a dimension which is part of the created world like our own. Does this make them natural or supernatural? If supernatural, that would mean that the supernatural realm is actually a part of the created world, albeit one that is not accessible to us. It would also mean that God is not supernatural, but rather something even more remote and unknowable. 

    This also implies that whether these beings are demons or angels is not something that can be known scientifically. Even if you could meet one and talk to him, an assertion that he is a demon or other supernatural being would be unfalsifiable. 

    • #22
  23. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Next, when you talk about dimensions, you’re not talking about parallel universes like in SlidersFlash, and so on, are you?  Those are regular 3D worlds.  You’re talking about higher dimensions than the third, but in the same universe we’re in, right?  More like in the book Flatland?

    I’ve never been there to my knowledge. :)  So I don’t know the details; my view is that it is Flatland.  I’ve idly looked for Nachmonides’ exposition of the Torah, but I have not been able to find it.  I suppose I’ll look some more now.

    Added: there are references to it goodreads, but nothing on kindle.

    • #23
  24. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    W Bob (View Comment):

    This raises the issue of how we even define the natural vs. supernatural. In popular imagination angels and demons seem to be more like natural created beings that exist in some other dimension, but nevertheless a dimension which is part of the created world like our own. Does this make them natural or supernatural?

    They’re thisworldly, or at least thisuniversely. But they’re supernatural if they aren’t bound by the laws of physics.

    If supernatural, that would mean that the supernatural realm is actually a part of the created world, albeit one that is not accessible to us.

    Part of it is created.

    This also implies that whether these beings are demons or angels is not something that can be known scientifically. Even if you could meet one and talk to him, an assertion that he is a demon or other supernatural being would be unfalsifiable.

    Possibly, possibly.  But don’t expect me to properly sort through Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn in this thread.  (And perhaps not anywhere, ever!)

    • #24
  25. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Two questions, starting with another terminological one: What do we call visitors from another dimension? Are we supposed to call them aliens? I think of the word “alien” as referring to beings not from earth but from this universe and dimensions.

    Well, the meaning depends on one’s world view, but extraterrestrials seems like a good and specific term. Aliens would be more a materialist’s term, and spirits would be a supernaturalist’s term. Angels are spirits, and demons are spirits.

    Yes, but we have to be able to talk about theories we don’t necessarily accept (whether or not we are even prepared to accept them).

    There’s a lot of people to talk about here: rebellious/fallen angels, spirits of the Nephilim, beings from another planet in this universe, beings from earth in a parallel universe, beings from another planet in a parallel universe, and beings from a higher dimension in this universe.

    What do we even call all these guys?

    Does anyone ever watch Svengoolie on Sat, night on METV? He plays the worst old scary movies, many sci-fi – we love it. I’d say just stick with old fashioned aliens or spacemen – or is that so not gender-neutral?

    • #25
  26. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    This raises the issue of how we even define the natural vs. supernatural. In popular imagination angels and demons seem to be more like natural created beings that exist in some other dimension, but nevertheless a dimension which is part of the created world like our own. Does this make them natural or supernatural?

    They’re thisworldly, or at least thisuniversely. But they’re supernatural if they aren’t bound by the laws of physics.

    If supernatural, that would mean that the supernatural realm is actually a part of the created world, albeit one that is not accessible to us.

    Part of it is created.

    This also implies that whether these beings are demons or angels is not something that can be known scientifically. Even if you could meet one and talk to him, an assertion that he is a demon or other supernatural being would be unfalsifiable.

    Possibly, possibly. But don’t expect me to properly sort through Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn in this thread. (And perhaps not anywhere, ever!)

    It sounds like you’re saying that “supernatural” is defined in relation to our part of the created order. So that both God and angels/demons are supernatural because even though God is uncreated and angels and demons are created, none of them are bound by the rules of our part of creation?

    • #26
  27. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    Interestingly, The poor Clare nuns opened a monastery in Roswell in 1948, about a year after the famed Roswell incident. Now the reasons are unrelated to the incident I’m still struck by the nun’s move.

    https://poorclares-roswell.org/history.html

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    This raises the issue of how we even define the natural vs. supernatural. In popular imagination angels and demons seem to be more like natural created beings that exist in some other dimension, but nevertheless a dimension which is part of the created world like our own. Does this make them natural or supernatural?

    They’re thisworldly, or at least thisuniversely. But they’re supernatural if they aren’t bound by the laws of physics.

    If supernatural, that would mean that the supernatural realm is actually a part of the created world, albeit one that is not accessible to us.

    Part of it is created.

    This also implies that whether these beings are demons or angels is not something that can be known scientifically. Even if you could meet one and talk to him, an assertion that he is a demon or other supernatural being would be unfalsifiable.

    Possibly, possibly. But don’t expect me to properly sort through Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn in this thread. (And perhaps not anywhere, ever!)

    It sounds like you’re saying that “supernatural” is defined in relation to our part of the created order.

    It’s defined in relation to the laws of physics.

    So that both God and angels/demons are supernatural because even though God is uncreated and angels and demons are created, none of them are bound by the rules of our part of creation?

    Sure, if you want to equate the laws of physics with “our part of creation.”  I wouldn’t want to phrase it that way, but I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with it.  Seems close enough!

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right? Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    I’m not sure I’m aware of anywhere in the Bible that demons are referred to as angels or angelic beings. As evil spirits, yes. But there are a lot of spirits that are not angels.

    A lot of different kinds of spirits, or just a lot of Nephilim spirits?

    Maybe the biblical term “demon” only refers to the spirits of the Nephilim. (I don’t know Hebrew or if it even has a parallel word, but in theory I could at least check the NT Greek uses of daimonion!)

    But I’m pretty sure most Christians using the word “demon” are referring to fallen/rebellious angels. I’m quite sure Lewis, Augustine, Aquinas, and Milton would use words like “demons” and “devils” that way, almost certainly exclusively. I’ve never taken a poll of churchgoers, but at least I’ve always had the impression that’s how Christians generally used the term unless they’re lucky enough to have heard these biblical interpretations about the Nephilim.

    I’ve pondered for decades what “spirit” is, and I haven’t settled on a meaning.  It is certainly immaterial, and in the case of God Himself, self-existent; and all subsequent spirits are created by God’s spirit.  I have not thought the need to come to a firm determination,  but I liken it to attitude.  Even God Himself refers to the spirit (the breath: which is living, life sustaining, perpetual, palpable, but largely invisible) metaphorically, likening it to the wind which is essentially incomprehensible (like mathematically forecasting the local weather next month from the weather today).

    But it is impossible for me to envision God alone (who is Spirit), in a sense of being immaterial and outside of time and space.

    Though there are references to these, I don’t know of any Biblical definition for spirits, angels, demons, or the archaic “devils”.  My understanding (if it is any understanding at all) of demons being spirits of the dead nephilim is surmised from the Book of Enoch, which while not being canon (though I believe it is canon in Ethiopia) is not necessarily not true; Jude apparently refers to Enoch in verse Jude v7: “since they in the same way as these angels indulged in sexual perversion and went after strange flesh” (where else would he have gotten this?); and Enoch does use the same language and imagery as the Book of Revelation; and iirc it does refer to coming Book(s) of wisdom over which righteous men will rejoice (essentially).

    • #29
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    Ok, you’re talking specifically about the spirits of the Nephilim, right? Not the usual Christian sense of the term “demon” as referring to fallen/rebellious angels?

    I’m not sure I’m aware of anywhere in the Bible that demons are referred to as angels or angelic beings. As evil spirits, yes. But there are a lot of spirits that are not angels.

    I think these are identified as fallen angels – as @ saintaugustine describes – could you link some of the Catholic’s Churches references on this – I know I’ve read it.

    I don’t think that fallen angels are ever identified as demons in Scripture.

    • #30