The Ancient Aliens TV series (History channel) has viewers asking questions but, in my opinion, not asking far enough down. Let’s look into one sample episode to highlight problems that also appear in many episodes.
But first, a general note: Hosts and guests in this TV series don’t use designations in a consistent way. Terms like aliens/ETs, deities, advanced beings, gods/God, celestial beings, spirits, angels, ghosts, other-worldly beings seem randomly interchanged. For example, one host might use the word deity to describe what another host calls an ET. (And very rarely is the word demon heard.) Just good to keep in mind.
OK, Season 13, Episode 14 (S13E14) of Ancient Aliens is titled “The Alien Phenomenon” and is a 2-parter (1.5 hrs online). Special guest is Erich von Daniken, author of Chariots of the Gods? I watched it twice and these are my notes—time stamps noted below are from the linked video in the title above.
- “Lost gospels.” Periodic reference is made to books that are not part of the Bible. We get the idea that such documents should’ve been in but were cleverly “edited out” (see 15:30, 16:40). That claim isn’t true. (Check out research from evidence guys like Josh McDowell and J. Warner Wallace.)
- The Bible is classified (or hinted) as being myth, inaccurate, contradictory, and such. Note the language at 16:20, “In all mythologies, including the Bible …” (and see related spots 4:35, 7:59, 8:35). At 24:06 a guest host says that there could be other explanations for angels than what we see in biblical and religious literature. At 28:45ff a researcher concludes that what Ezekiel 1 refers to is some kind of UFO. It’s frequently implied that Bible mentions of angels (or even Greek mythology mentions of winged creatures) were merely the way writers decided to describe an indescribable thing. Meaning, such beings were more likely aliens. (But what if the Bible is true? What if angels exist? What if some depictions in myths are merely imagination or represent demon manifestations?)
Don’t forget that this series assumes a certain age of the universe/earth, a certain time of human origins. There’s sometimes acknowledgment that ancient humans could’ve been rather advanced; other times they’re depicted as Neanderthal-ish and, therefore, incapable of designing complicated structures (42:35ff). At 18:12 von Daniken describes having visited Egypt when he was young. At that time, he “felt” that the pyramids weren’t built by humans. This series typically doesn’t consider how advanced civilization could’ve become before the flood. Genesis 4:22 names Tubal-Cain, who forged tools. Post-flood, Noah’s family would’ve retained some of that knowledge.
Comic relief about human evolution: From 50:15–54:40 there’s discussion of oddly shaped human skulls. It’s not clear whether these anomalies are considered advanced ETs or pre-evolved humans. But when they displayed a skull that had an extra tooth, I perked up. My own lower front teeth, where there should be four teeth, consist of only three; the fourth never appeared. I asked my dentist about all this. She herself never got her fourth wisdom tooth. We decided that our fewer teeth surely indicate highly evolved beings!
- A recurring theme in this series is exemplified at 56:35: that ancient structures arranged in a pattern matching star clusters/constellations prove that ETs had bestowed this knowledge and that people were communicating with ETs. Again, the idea is that humans didn’t have the smarts or tech capability of managing star calculations (or building structures). People have long examined the stars. (Orion and the Pleiades are mentioned in the Old Testament.) And remember that from very early times until today, people tend to drift from the Lord and into astrology or other ways of “worshipping” the sun and stars (see Deuteronomy 4:19; 2 Kings 23:5-11; Isaiah 47:13). Structures that seem to be revering the stars or supposed deities aren’t proof of communication to/from other-planet aliens.
- A similar issue in assorted episodes is the claim that some of the giant doodlings on the ground (a) could only have been done by aliens. But an engineer friend confirmed that this could rather easily be accomplished with simple tools and math. Or (b) were signals to or from ETs (see 19:40, 1:00:05). I say it’s possible that people were trying to contact or revere some pagan god. But that doesn’t mean pagan gods are real. There’s only one God.
- Credibility. At 1:17:10 a liberal Jewish rabbi, who’s a frequent guest, says that Mr. von Daniken’s views are biblical. Sorry, but whenever such declarations are made, it’s best to have your Bible open.
- Danger. The Ancient Aliens series fascinates. It also entices; we’re intrigued with the idea of maybe interacting with something spooky. But we’re spiritually naïve, not savvy about pagan/demonic danger. At 39:00 a guest says that today’s youth are very open to the idea that ETs have influenced us in the past—and are doing so now. There’s never been a time, it says at 40:15, when we were more prepared for the appearance of ETs. At 40:55, the narrator asks, Are we “being prepared for a reconnection” to such beings? And we hear the response that’s heard multiple times in any episode of this series: “Ancient astronaut theorists say yes.” Near the end of this episode, we learn that courses in UFOlogy and ancient astronaut theory have been added to some college curriculums. It’s very troubling to think of vulnerable young people NOT being warned against trying to communicate with any “individual” other than living humans and the Lord himself. (Very specific exceptions in the Bible have the Lord’s angel or the Lord himself initiating a message to a human, and the human responding. Be careful not to confuse such legit scenarios with what’s being promoted.)
- What do we really want? At 33:30 and in the last five minutes of the episode, we’re reminded that humans have a desire for the spiritual. Yes! But getting our spiritual guidance from Ancient Aliens is like when the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark were digging for the lost ark of the covenant. They had obtained an imprint of the secret-code map. But they didn’t know the map/medallion had two sides, so they were following only the one side they had. Ignorant of the total picture, they were digging in the wrong place. No amount of sincerity and excitement would get the desired result. For our spiritual guidance, the Lord’s Word is “both sides of the map.” If only the ancient astronaut theorists would say “yes” to that!