Patheos answers the question:

What Does The Bible Say About Aliens?

an alien in a room with a man on the bed scared

In October of 2023, CNN reported that the United States government “is receiving dozens of UFO reports [each] month.” While there have always been those who have believed in the existence of extraterrestrials, in recent years, theories about what the government “knows” or is “hiding” seems to be increasing by the day. Studies show that 40% of Americans believe that there are UFOs that are visiting the celestial sphere that surrounds our planet, if not visiting the actual earth itself.

            So, what does the Bible have to say about the existence of “alien” beings—potential visitors to this earth from outer space? The King James Version of the Bible translates three different Hebrew words as “alien” (some six different times). However, these three distinct words each mean essentially someone from a “different” land or nation. Other renderings of these three Hebrew words include a “temporary inhabitant” or “visitor,” an “unknown” or “unfamiliar,” and “that which is foreign” or a “foreign deity/being.” Essentially, there isn’t anything in these three words that would necessarily imply a visitor from some other planet.

            There are a few verses in the Bible that some believe refer to the existence of “aliens” and “UFOs.” For example, the pre-Christian Book of Ezekiel speaks of four beings that sound like extraterrestrials, and the text describes what some interpret to be their vehicle:


“I saw a windstorm blowing in from the north. Lightning flashed from a huge cloud and lit up the whole sky with a dazzling brightness. The fiery center of the cloud was as shiny as polished metal, and in that center I saw what looked like four living creatures. They were somewhat like humans, except that each one had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, but their feet looked like the hoofs of calves and sparkled like bronze. Under each of their wings, these creatures had a human hand. The four creatures were standing back to back with the tips of their wings touching. They moved together in every direction, without turning their bodies. Each creature had the face of a human in front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of a bull on the left, and the face of an eagle in back. Two wings of each creature were spread out and touched the wings of the creatures on either side. The other two wings of each creature were folded against its body.” (CEV Ezekiel 1:4-11)


Not all scholars agree on what exactly it was that Ezekiel was seeing. However, the “thing” in the center of the clows that was “shiny as polished metal” and the “four living creatures” that were “somewhat like humans” feels to some like a description of a UFO with alien inhabitants.

            Others have theorized that Job’s reference to “morning stars” which “sing” is speaking of some kind of extraterrestrial life that is unlike anything within our solar system. (See Job 38:7) They see in this verse beings so bright that they appear to the human eye to be “stars.” However, they are (according to this theory) actually alien intelligent lifeforms. The challenge with this interpretation is that the verse (in Hebrew) appears to be engaging in an intentional wordplay, where the Hebrew noun rendered “stars” in English can also be translated as “brothers,” “youth,” or “progeny,” and that word parallels the phrase “sons of God” in the second half of the verse. Thus, the Hebrew doesn’t really support the idea that Job was seeing or speaking about “talking stars.”

            Finally, a third passage that some interpret as being about aliens is found in the New Testament. In the mind of some, Jesus’ words in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of St. John refer to “aliens.” Jesus stated: “I also have other sheep, and I must bring them too. They do not belong to this group of sheep.” (EEB John 10:16) While some explain the alien interpretation away by saying Jesus was referring to the “Gentiles,” those who believe that the passage is about aliens point out that Jesus did not proselytize gentiles. (See Matthew 15:23-24) Thus, Jesus must be speaking of beings foreign to His Jewish hearers in the first century. Perhaps the biggest challenge to the “alien” interpretation of this verse is the fact that Jesus uses the traditional Greek word for “sheep” or “goats.” Of course, the alien interpretation insists that Jesus is speaking metaphorically, and that He uses “sheep” because they are different than humans. Again, the problem with that is Jesus seems to refer to His human followers as “sheep” and speaks of other “sheep” whom He would appear to or teach. Thus, that would suggest not aliens or extraterrestrials, but other humans.

            The problem with every single biblical verse that has been interpreted as being about aliens is that none of them outright speak of extraterrestrials. If that is what Ezekiel, Job and Jesus were referring to, why the cryptic and unclear language? Why not just come out and say that there are “Martians” or “aliens” who live on other planets and who visit our earth? And yet, nothing that clear appears in any of the biblical books. Nothing!  

            Even so, while the Bible says absolutely nothing about little green men with massive frontal lobes, large black eyes, and antennae protruding out of their heads, and who fly around in saucer-shaped spacecraft; nonetheless, the biblical text is absolutely insistent that beings exist who are not from this planet and who do not look like us. Perhaps the question we should be asking is not so much “Are their actual aliens?” but rather “What do beings who are not from our planet look like?” There are several categories of beings mentioned in the Bible that seem to fit the description of “non-humans” who are “from a place other than earth.”

            The Bible speaks of a whole host of monovalent beings who are not from this planet, and whose form are different than our own. Beings such as “devils,” “demons,” “evil spirits,” and “fallen angels” all qualify. While scholars are not united in their beliefs about what these demons look like and whether there are different types of demonic beings, believers generally think that they are a lifeform alien to planet earth, and with an appearance significantly different than that of humans.

            While angels are often described as having wings and halos, their actual look (or appearance) is uncertain, in part because biblical descriptions of them are often heavily symbolic. The Bible speaks of “angels,” “archangels,” “cherubim,” and “seraphim,” to name a few. These appear to be different classes of angelic beings, and some actually assume that they are different species—each hailing from a location much different than our planet. For example, while “cherubim” appear to be something akin to our traditional construct of an “angel,” the Hebrew word for “seraphim” is sometimes rendered “serpent” or “fiery serpent”—when it is not being translated as a multi-winged majestic being with human hands and the ability to speak. Thus, the various categories of angles are alien to anything we know in our sphere of existence, both in the location of their origin, but also in their nature.

            Genesis 6:4 speaks of “giants in the earth” in the days leading up to Noah. The Hebrew word translated as “giants” is typically transliterated into English as “Nephelium.” These are often understood to be half breeds who were the result of mating which took place when the “sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children.” (KJV Genesis 6:4) Not everyone agrees what exactly the Nephelium were, or even if this is a metaphor rather than an actual race of beings who were only half human and who have become extinct. Regardless, the biblical passage definitely speaks of beings (i.e., “divine ones” or “godlike ones” in Hebrew) who have come to earth from a different sphere or planet and who impregnated mortal women resulting in a specious different than our own. This sounds suspiciously like some of the “alien abduction” stories on might see on the cover of a tabloid magazine, with a headline akin to, “Woman Abducted and Impregnated by Alien.”

            While admittedly an apocalyptic text, the Book of Revelation speaks of numerous “alien” beings which are nothing like life on earth and—in many cases—have come from “the sky” or celestial realms above our earth. For example, John wrote of a “red dragon” with “seven heads and ten horns.” (KJV Revelation 12:3 & 13:1) He also spoke of extraterrestrial “beasts full of eyes” on the front and back of their heads, which had multiple wings. (KJV Revelation 4:6 & 8) John also described a small “lamb” that had “seven horns and seven eyes.” (KJV Revelation 5:6) While this latter symbolic “beast” is traditionally understood to be a symbol for Christ—who is, Himself, different from us and who hails from a place other than planet earth—the various other strange beings described by John in some ways sound like the kind of depiction one might expect of “aliens” in some sci-fi movie.

            In any discussion of the potential existence of aliens and UFOs, one thing we must keep in mind is the declaration at the beginning of the Gospel of St. John, where we are told (speaking of Christ) that: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (BRG John 1:3) Thus, if “aliens” do exist—and that’s a big “if”—then they exist because God allowed them to, and because they were ultimately created by God, through Christ. The Bible is unclear on whether such beings have actually been created by the Divine, but it seems unequivocable that such creatures (if they are real) have but one source—God Himself.  

Bible Verses about Aliens and Extraterrestrial Life

  • (CEV Ezekiel 1:4-11): “I saw a windstorm blowing in from the north. Lightning flashed from a huge cloud and lit up the whole sky with a dazzling brightness...”
  • (Job 38:7): “...when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
  • (EEB John 10:16): “I also have other sheep, and I must bring them too. They do not belong to this group of sheep.”
  • (KJV Revelation 12:3 & 13:1): “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns...”
  • (KJV Revelation 4:6 & 8): “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne...”
  • (KJV Revelation 5:6): “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes...”
  • (BRG John 1:3): “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”

2/7/2024 10:48:31 PM
Alonzo L. Gaskill, PhD
About Alonzo L. Gaskill, PhD
Alonzo L. Gaskill is a Professor of Church history and doctrine. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a masters in theology, and a PhD in biblical studies.