Not long ago someone brought up the theory that UFOs are mentioned in the Bible. As is often the case with various theories, it was stated with a degree of certainty bordering on Gospel truth. It also seems as though there has been a rash of movies exploring the UFO themes as in Indiana Jones 4. It is certainly not a new theory for I remember as a small kid hearing such theories. It is interesting reading the description of the “whirling wheels” in Ezekiel chapter one, written around 600 B.C.
“The appearance of the wheels and their workmanship was like sparkling beryl, and all four of them had the same form, their appearance and workmanship being as if one wheel were within another. Whenever they moved, they moved in any of their four directions, without turning as they moved. As for their rims they were lofty and awesome, and the rims of all four of them were full of eyes round about.” NASB
Just reading this text, sounds pretty convincing that this is a description of a UFO as is often depicted in popular culture. But is this a description of UFOs as we understand them? Or are these similarities more imagined than real? As is always the case, context is the determining factor of meaning. Studying with an open mind, I believe that the context fails to support the connection with UFOs in two points: the description and the function of these “whirling wheels”.
The context of these whirling wheels is that of a type of mobile amphibious throne chariot. Cherubim form the structure of this “chariot”. Their wings form the flying capabilities of this throne and the wheels beside the Cherubim serve for the purpose of traversal of terrain. Thus by description and function, it is best viewed as literal wheels rolling on the ground. The one question arises as to the wheel within the wheel–though a simple and straight forward explanation would be the presence of a hub within the wheel. Another possible explanation is that of globe form or of two wheels at 90 degrees which would reinforce the idea of traveling at 90 degree angles, in accordance to the faces of the cherubim and the directions of the compass. In short the wheels are not for flying, but rolling. Another important point to note is that the “whirling wheels” do not have a concept apart from the throne chariot. In other words we do not have these wheels flying off on their own. As far as the eyes around the rim it seems more natural to see them placed around the outside rims of the wheels or placed on the rim much like studs on a chariot wheel. In conclusion, I would say it is a stretch of the imagination to identify these “whirling wheels” (by the way the term “whirling wheels” is taken from the continued description in Ezekiel 10) as UFOs. However, the possibility of a connection is intriguing and we must recognize that the Bible speaks of things we do not understand. For me the concept of this amphibious throne chariot enveloped in storm clouds with crystal like platform and a great throne upon which sits deity with fiery skirt and an upper body of a brilliant rainbow radiance that defies description is much more intriguing, terrifying, and beautiful than any old UFO.
However, the question remains. In a Biblical world view can UFOs exist? Actually, the question needs to be stated differently. In a materialistic world view can UFOs exist? If you are speaking in terms of alien life forms evolved on other planets, the answer is no, both in a Biblical as well as a materialistic world view. The physics necessary to travel the vast (unimaginably immense) expanses of the universe are such that space travel is what it is, science fiction, space fantasy and has nothing in common with the physics of the observable universe. Could new discoveries change that? Yes, but is there any basis to believe that new discoveries would or could change this. No, it is beyond scientific speculation, it is mere wishful thinking. Are there UFOs? Sure, anything that flies, or appears to fly, and is not identified is a UFO. It could be an optical illusion, a prank, a secret experimental craft, natural phenomena, or possibly a spiritual or metaphysical element or rather appearance. I, for one, do not feel inclined to chase after fleeting mirages of aliens.
I believe Science fiction is man’s attempt to escape the confines of the time/space continuum in which God has placed us. I firmly believe that man can make it to Mars and even bypass the outer boundaries of our solar system just as the voyager spacecrafts have done into interstellar space. But what then? Just the immense cold futile dark expanse of space. For what purpose? The Bible says that God has placed eternity in our hearts. We were made in the image of God. We were made for more than this time/space continuum. We were created for eternity. The question is whether we will try to reach and live in eternity with or without God. Will we as our ancestors long ago try to build a tower to Heaven. “Babylon 5” ring a bell anyone? Or will we accept God’s determined way to eternity through His Son Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me.”