Ghosts and UFOs: What Are They Anyway?

How do we, as believers, deal with the phenomenon of ghost and abduction claims?
on May 24, 2019 · 12 comments

Society today is fascinated by the paranormal. Ghost-hunter, occult, and UFO reality shows occupy virtually every channel.

Many Christians consider stories of specters and space aliens both non-biblical and equivalent to fairy tales. But we must acknowledge the fact that thousands of reports over the years have come from otherwise credible witnesses. These include members of law enforcement, the military, several NASA astronauts, and fellow Christians. Many of these claims have also been accompanied by compelling photos and/or video evidence.

How do we, as believers, deal with this growing phenomenon?

As an example, let’s take unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. Literally thousands of sightings of strange aerial craft have been reported since the middle of the twentieth century. These have been sparked by what some believe is the infamous alleged crash of an alien space ship at Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. Back then we had typically no video evidence of such claims. But with cell phones as ubiquitous as they are today, photographic and video evidence of UFOs has grown exponentially in recent years.

It should be also noted that references to extraterrestrial visitors are not a recent phenomenon.

Ancient texts such as the Sumerian tale of the Annunaki, Indian Sanskrit, Mayan Popol Vuh, and others go back thousands of years. These many refer to visitors from the heavens arriving in vehicles often described as flaming chariots. In each case these “gods” interacted with humankind and, in several cases according to their authors, were responsible for the creation of humankind.

Let’s look at this issue from a biblical standpoint. It may sound strange to some believers, but there’s nothing in the Bible stating unequivocally that God created intelligent life only on our planet. One of the most prolific Christian writers of all time, C. S. Lewis, addressed the subject in his essay entitled “Dogma and the Universe.” In it, Lewis wrote about the possibility of life on other planets formed in the image and likeness of our mutual Creator, as well as those created being’s relationship with the God of the universe.

However, even though the Bible does not preclude the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, I believe the likelihood of those life forms visiting our planet to be extremely remote. Assuming there are planets capable of supporting carbon-based life in the universe, and the sheer vastness of the universe would suggest “yes,” that same vastness and the resulting time it would take to reach even the closest star in our own galaxy would suggest an emphatic “no.”

For now, at least, there is no physical evidence we know of proving the existence of intelligent life on other planets…OR that they have visited us. Which begs the question: What are all these people seeing?

Looking at the ghost phenomenon from a Christian perspective, there are several references in both the Old and New Testament referring to spirit beings, but not like those created in the mind of a Dean Koontz or Stephen King. Biblical “ghosts” are not the spirits of the dead come back to haunt the living. Rather, according to Scripture, they are divided into two clear camps—angels and demons. Angels are spirit beings who serve God and are righteous, good, and holy. Demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God, and are evil, deceptive, and destructive.

However, many credible witnesses are also claiming to see and be haunted by spirits of the dead. What are they seeing?

Although many reports are coming in from less than reliable sources, I believe many of the people claiming to see spirits, demonic creatures, and space ships are credible and being completely honest in reporting exactly what they are seeing.  However, I also believe what these people are seeing may not be what they appear to be. Could all the paranormal sightings be, in fact, far more sinister than aliens and vengeful spirits? Could these visions be satanic in origin? Perhaps a carefully orchestrated deception put forth by the Great Deceiver himself?

This scenario is addressed in my latest novel, The Reluctant Disciple. The story follows the life of Ryan Kates, the host of a popular cable TV show focused on everything and anything that might prickle the tiny hairs on the back of his viewers necks. Ryan himself is not only a religious agnostic, but also a skeptic of anything he can’t touch or feel.

But when paranormal phenomena begin to rock the planet, he is faced with possibilities too fantastical and bizarre to comprehend. These end-times events challenge both his atrophied faith and personal beliefs, pushing him to the brink between heaven and hell.

Both The Reluctant Disciple and my first book The Linen God, a Dan Brown–style thriller based on the most studied religious relic in human history (the “Shroud of Turin”), can be found on Amazon and many other fine book retailers. My third book, Blood Sisters, will be available from The Pelican Book Group in the Fall.

Jim O'Shea is a long-time resident of “flyover country.” He crafts suspense novels that often tackle faith-versus-science dynamics. God has and continues to reveal his creation masterpiece through scientific discovery, and Jim believes fiction to be a great tool to expose those emerging truths.
  1. notleia says:

    There was that one time the witch of Endor brought up the shade (or something) of Samuel to talk to Saul. That’s even biblical.

    But while there have been stories of That One Weird Thing That Happened Once, I’m none too convinced about ghosts or UFOs or UMAs. Relevant xckd comic:

    • Yeah, in the En-dor scenario, the medium was freaked out by the appearance of Samuel. The text makes it clear the Lord was using the witch to speak to Saul, and at the end says that Saul would die the next day with his servants.

      Equally as weird as that is the episode where Saul sends servants to kill David, and on the way, they all (one by one) become filled with the Holy Spirit and start prophesying. Then, Saul gets irritated after hearing what keeps happening, goes himself to kill David, and HE gets filled with the Holy Spirit and starts prophesying.

      18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there. 19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”; 20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied. 21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied. 22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?”

      “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.

      23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth. 24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

  2. I believe in the existence of spiritual beings both aligned with the Lord and aligned against him. Scripture makes it clear there’s great variety to them. But it is extremely unclear how all that functions. I try to remain open-minded. As regards ghosts, UFO’s, and demon sightings, I do wonder how much of it is caused by psychosis. My guess is there’s a blend of actual unexplainable phenomenon (like those massively loud, random trumpet-like sounds maybe caused by electromagnetic fields–which I think are pretty stinking cool btw), and psychosis-related hallucinations.

  3. Jill says:

    Roswell’s alien story was fueled by the government changing its official story. They obviously lied….to hide the aliens, or their tech from the Soviets? Call me crazy, but I honestly believe the alien phenomenon is a combination of govt experiments and demonic manifestations. I don’t know what to believe about ghosts. Some phenomenon could be bleed-over from another dimension. After all, Christians believe the saints are alive somewhere. It’s fundamental to the faith. That’s why Catholics ask departed Christians to pray for them. They assume these people are alive with God.

  4. I believe in spiritual entities, but angels and demons are probably different than a lot of people imagine them.

    Growing up, I didn’t believe in aliens and a lot of people around me put them in the category of things that were silly to believe in. Now days, though, if someone asks me if I think aliens are out there, I’ll say ‘Maybe’.

    It’s been a bit strange for me, because as a kid it looked like everyone brushed off the thought of aliens, and thought that everyone who believed in them was ridiculous or crazy. (Understandable, considering how odd the beliefs in aliens can get) Now days, it almost seems like the opposite. ‘Of course we’re going to find aliens some day!’ And since so many Christians seem sure that there aren’t aliens, a lot of people assume that finding aliens will prove religion wrong.

    That said, the alien stuff can get really weird really fast. Even if there are aliens out there, that doesn’t really tell us if the reported sitings are true. If there are aliens, they are probably different than we imagine. Like, maybe they’re just boring, primordial slugs with no space travel abilities or something.

  5. Jes Drew says:

    Samuel in the Endor incident was a surprise to the witch and appeared to be under special permission from God that it even happened. It was, to the best of my knowledge, a one-time thing.

    Haunted houses are generally places that something very, very wicked happened, opening a portal to the spiritual world, and the ‘ghosts’ haunting it are not the victims, but demons here with the intent to cause more pain and death- under the guise of something to be played around with (I have a coworker who once lived in a haunted house with a handicapped roommate. They would play with her hair and massage her shoulders so she thought they were benign, but they often tortured the roommate by grabbing him and knocking him around).

    For there to be intelligent life on another planet would either mean a. Humans were not God’s crowning creation; or b. other innocent beings with willpower fell for a choice that was not theirs when humans fell (and got no redemption since Jesus, the kinsman redeemer, died once for all as a human).

    Alien encounters do indeed happen, but they are not alien because they are from another planet, but because they are from another plane of reality- the spiritual dimension. They, like ghosts, are also demons (and have even been known to be banished with the crying out of Jesus’ name). For more details about aliens=demons, check out:

    • I guess I’m not so open-minded as I thought, then, because I have a hard time believing any of that. Especially since the idea of wicked events opening a portal to the spiritual world is found nowhere in the Bible, so far as I know. I’d be more likely to think the person suffered from psychosis. So, the events were real to them, but not actual physical manifestations other people could identify.

      • I’m not inclined to think wicked events would open a portal to another world, either. I don’t even know if I believe people encounter anything truly supernatural at those sites. But, hey, who knows. Maybe, if something spiritual IS going on at some of those places, it’s more like demons can go just about anywhere they want, but they choose to go to creepy places because that’s the easiest way for them to mess with people’s heads and hurt them spiritually. So if that was the case, it wouldn’t be because there’s a portal, it would just be the place that fulfills what they want.

        • Jes Drew says:

          The witch of Endors opened a portal to the spiritual world with the occult. She’s just lucky it was Samuel who came through and not a nindedcript demon.

      • notleia says:

        If we poke ’em, what do you figure will come out next? Chemtrails? Municipal water turning frogs gay? Anti-vaxx seems too obvious.

      • Jes Drew says:

        There is a lot of evidence toward that end. Some of the mist isolated people groups perform terrible things like cannibalism, and they live in constant fear of spirits- and the missionaris that go to them see the manifestations as much as the tribal people.

    • Jill says:

      Gary Bates’ book is quite interesting and I recommend it, but I haven’t seen the film. I would like to, though. I heard him interviewed on local Roswell radio; they were advertising the film which ran for like a weekend.

What do you think?