In third grade elementary school, the teacher led our class in crafting a paper-mache model of our solar system. We dipped strips of newspaper in a paste, and wrapped the paper strips around spherical balloons and let it dry into a hard shell. Next, we popped the balloons, and painted the orbs to match the colors of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and so on. Finally, our teacher suspended all 9 planets in their proper order from the classroom ceiling (Pluto was a planet then).
I thoroughly enjoyed the project.
Outer space fact and fiction fascinated me. It was the early 1970s, and humans were leaving footprints on the moon. The TV series Star Trek had inspired a generation to dream about space travel and the possibility of connections and conflict with beings from other worlds. Later, Steven Spielberg’s movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind imagined the arrival on earth of an extraterrestrial mothership in a sort of technological rapture that welcomed aboard those who had prepared for its arrival. Then there was ET the Extraterrestrial, an innocent-looking family movie in which a young boy named Elliott and his little sister Gerti befriend a cute alien who just wants to "phone home," and who dies and is resurrected.
The latest generations have their own on-film alien adventures that include popular superheroes that their grandparents knew from comic books.
Fictional stories of human encounters with beings from other worlds continue to show up on television, in theaters and popular streaming services. Many of these weave themes that originate in biblical stories but leave out the most important element: a true revelation of Jesus.
With today’s postmodern mindset, fiction is becoming some people’s reality.
In the wake of recent videos released by the U.S. military showing unidentified, aerial phenomenon (UAP), a former intelligence officer from the U.S. Department of Defense is claiming “we are not alone.” He says he has indirect knowledge of many encounters between humans and UAPs, including retrieval of downed craft and bodies. He’s blowing the whistle on the military with a claim that they’re withholding information about these events with the intent to extract technology from these encounters that can be used for military operations.
What does a Christian do with information like this?
What if it’s a government campaign of disinformation to distract Americans from important issues—a hoax. That solution works until the evidence that something outside our understanding of reality is so compelling most people start believing it.
Seventh-day Adventist understand the Bible’s portrayal of the great controversy between Christ and Satan to place our planet at the center of a cosmic battle where our planet is the only world experiencing sin and death. Other than being visited by Jesus, angels, Satan and demons, we don’t expect other extraterrestrial life to make appearances.
Jesus said, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24, NKJV)
The “great signs and wonders” Satan deploys in his war against God are lies. Our best defense against lies is to know the Truth.
Without the Truth we’re guaranteed to lose.
But our knowledge of the truth must be more than a rote knowledge of Adventist trivia supported by proof texts from the Bible and writings of Ellen White.
The apostle Paul warned, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT)
You can count on Satan knowing the truth. If any one of us faced off with him in a round of Jeopardy focused on facts about end-time events or Adventist theology, he’d win.
Satan and those who cooperate with him have spent thousands of years devising convincing counterfeits to the truth. Satan has to know the truth in order to be as good as he is at counterfeiting it.
To avoid deception, we need an intimate knowledge of the Truth that covers us from head to toe and fills us inside and out with the transforming power of Jesus through the Spirit of Truth. Jesus is our Armor against deception against which no weapon formed against us can succeed.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;” (Ephesians 6:11-17, NKJV)