The ancient aliens theory is the belief that aliens visited Earth, manipulated human evolution and brought civilisation to primitive humans in the distant past. The idea became popular in the 1970s following the publication of Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Daniken. Interest dropped off during the 1980s. In 2009 the History Channel’s series Ancient Aliens revived the idea. According to a survey conducted by Chapman University in 2015, about 20% of Americans believe in the ancient aliens theory. By 2018 this had risen to 41%.
A key assumption of the ancient aliens theory is that primitive humans did not know what the aliens were, so they thought the gods had come down to them. Ancient aliens believers apply this assumption to the Bible and argue that God, angels and the supernatural phenomena in the Bible were really aliens and their advanced technology. Thus, the ancient aliens theory challenges the truth of the Bible and seeks to re-interpret God’s working in human history as the activities of aliens.
An early critic of Erich von Daniken and the ancient aliens theory was Dr Clifford Wilson, an Australian archaeologist and creationist, who debunked von Daniken arguments in his books Crash Go the Chariots (1972) and The Chariots Still Crash (1976). More recent Christian critics have been Dr Michael Heiser and the 2012 documentary Ancient Aliens Debunked produced by Chris White. These Christians have recognized that the arguments of the ancient theory are false and challenge the authority of the Bible.
I have also addressed the ancient aliens theory in my series “The Case Against Ancient Aliens” Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven and Eight. Some of these were published in the Australian magazine Ufologist which has now ceased publication.
However, I have noticed that other Christians have not been so discerning. They assume they can still use much of the same evidence if they attribute it to an advanced human civilization before the Flood or to the Nephilim, instead of aliens. This will not work because the evidence is wrong in the first place.
Jonathan Gray calls himself an archaeologist, but does not appear to have any qualifications in archaeology. He has recycled many of Ron Wyatt’s dubious claims about having discovered Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah and more. In his website, which can be found here, he cites a lot of the same evidence as the ancient aliens theory, but instead of aliens, he attributes it to an advanced ancient human civilisation. In his book Dead Men’s Secrets Gray writes that the Flood occurred in 3398 BC and afterwards an advanced civilisation quickly reappeared. It was destroyed in a nuclear war around 2200 BC (Jonathan Gray, Dead Mens’ Secrets, Teach Services Publishers, Georgia, 2014, p 17, 40). His evidence for a nuclear war is the same misquoted passages from the Mahabharata which ancient aliens believers use . Gray cites other false ancient aliens evidence, which I have discussed in my earlier posts,such as von Daniken’s tunnels from The Gold of the Gods, the Dropa Stones, the Vymanika Shastra and the Book of Dzyan (Dead Men’s Secrets, p 167, 218, 237, 239, 267-268). It does not matter if you attribute it to ancient aliens or advanced ancient humans. Fake evidence is still fake.
In The Puzzle of Ancient Man Donald Chittick also believes that the pre-Flood civilisation could have been more advanced than our own (Donald Chittick, The Puzzle of Ancient Man, Creation Compass, Oregon, 2006, p 46). The survivors of the Flood quickly re-established an advanced civilisation which later declined (p 12-13, 46). Chitick repeats the ancient aliens claim that the Piri Reis Map shows Antarctica free of ice (p 58), when it does not.
He cites the “out of place artifacts” or ooparts, the Baghdad Batteries and the Antikythera Device (p 9-11. 155-156). These are supposed to be evidence for an advanced civilisation after the Flood in the third millennium BC, yet Chittick agrees they date to around 100 BC (p 10, 155). They show that people around 100 BC were smarter than we assume, but they are not evidence for an advanced civilisation 2000 years earlier, any more than today’s technology proves the Romans 2000 years ago were just as advanced.
Chittick also argues that ooparts discredit evolution, “However such artifacts pose a very great problem for the evolutionary picture that man developed upward from the animals. If evolutionism is correct and man did actually evolve up from the animal, then human artifacts should reflect that fact. The more ancient an artifact, the more “primitive” it ought to be. The actual case with the evidence, however, seems to be just the opposite.” (p 8)
In their book Alien Agenda The Return of the Nephilim Aaron Judkins and Michael McDaniel argue that monuments such as Stonehenge and Baalbek disprove evolution, “All this goes to show that, as in many regions of the world, advanced civilizations existed here in the past – which invalidates the thesis that the societies always “evolve” towards more advanced states.” (A. S. Judkins and Michael McDaniel, Alien Agenda, The Return of the Nephilim, Maverick Publishing, Texas, 2013, p 133)
The theory of evolution has to do with supposed biological development from the primitive to the more advanced. Human social and cultural development clearly has not proceeded from the primitive to more advanced. Human progress has not always been upwards. Civilisations rise and fall. The earlier Roman Empire was more advanced than the later Dark Ages, but that does not disprove evolution.
Genesis does not suggest there was an advanced civilisation before the Flood. They built cities (Genesis 4:17), had agriculture (Genesis 4:20) and used bronze and iron tools (Genesis 4:22). This sounds like the same level of technology as when Moses wrote Genesis. Jonathan Sarafti suggests that because the world before the Flood was full of violence (Genesis 6:11), conditions were too unstable for scientific research. There was no opportunity for advanced technology to develop (Jonathan Sarfati, “Computers on the Ark”, Creation, Vol. 33, No. 2, April 2011, p 40-41)
In fact, the idea of an advanced industrial civilisation before the Flood conflicts with the creationist model. Our industrial civilisation has only been possible because of the large deposits of coal and oil which creationists argue were apparently formed during the Flood (Andrew Snelling, “Coal Beds and Noah’s Flood”, Creation, Vol. 8, No. 3, June 1986, p 20-21). If there were no large coal and oil deposits before the Flood, it is hard to see how an industrial civilisation could have emerged.
I have noticed that the connection goes both ways and ancient aliens believers have been using some creation science arguments. The ancient aliens movement believe in evolution, that life evolved on Earth over hundreds of millions of years. However, they also believe that aliens have intervened and manipulated human evolution. They even use some of the same arguments and evidence as creationists to support this belief.
In The Genesis Race ancient aliens proponent Will Hart cites Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton and Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe, He says there are no intermediate forms in the fossil record and Darwinian evolution cannot explain the origin of life (Will Hart, The Genesis Race, Bear and Co, Vermont, 2003, p 26-37).
In the Ancient Aliens episode “The Animal Agenda” Giogio Tsoulkas says, “The fossil record, while it’s there, doesn’t necessarily correspond to Darwinian evolution because you don’t see the transitional creatures in between whatever evolution there may have been, so this suggests to me an outside influence.”
They sound like creationists. However, ancient aliens believers do not conclude that this means there is something seriously wrong with the theory of evolution. They argue that it means aliens intervened and manipulated evolution, resulting in jumps forward, rather than gradual change. The same episode also gives the example of the bombardier beetle, which is common in creation science literature, arguing that it could not have evolved naturally. However, instead of attributing this evidence for design to God the Creator, they argue that aliens have intervened and created new species and manipulated evolution.
Will Hart calls this “intelligent extra-terrestrial intervention.” (The Genesis Race, p 6) This is reminiscent of theistic evolution or some versions of Intelligent Design, except they do not God was controlling the evolutionary process. It was aliens.
Will Hart and other ancient aliens theorists also believe in directed panspermia which was proposed by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA (Will Hart, Ancient Alien Ancestors, Bear and Co., Vermont, 2017, p 6-17). Crick did not believe it was possible for life to have arisen on Earth, an assumption the theory of evolution is founded upon. He proposed that life came to Earth from outer space either on comets and meteorites, or by directed panspermia in which aliens seeded life on Earth. Even some mainstream scientists have to appeal to aliens to preserve the theory of evolution and keep God out of the picture. Directed panspermia begs the question, if it was not possible for life to have arisen on Earth, how was it more possible for it to have arisen on another earlier planet?
The Ancient Aliens episode “The Science Wars” shows us the London Artifact or London Hammer which is on display in the Creation Evidence museum in Glen Rose, Texas. This is a hammer which was discovered in purportedly 140 million year old rock in London, Texas, in 1936. Like other Ooparts, it is not proof of ancient aliens. An old hammer is not the sort of thing which aliens would leave behind. They use the creation science argument and argue that it shows there is something wrong with conventional dating techniques. However, they claim this is because of the radiation produced by the nuclear war described in the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata, which it does not.
Erich von Daniken has been convicted of fraud and was described by a court psychiatrist as “a prestige-seeker, a liar, and an unstable and criminal psychopath with a hysterical character.” The claims of the ancient aliens movement are groundless, if not fraudulent. As I will discuss in my next post, some Christians cannot see through them and attribute their dubious evidence to the Nephilim, rather than aliens.