With UFO sightings on the rise, it begs the question: Are aliens real? Or are they demons in disguise? Is there life on other planets? The internet is full of bad information, so today we are consulting an expert. Renowned astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross sat down with me to answer some of these pressing questions. He is the senior scholar and founder of Reasons to Believe, an organization that researches and communicates how discoveries about nature harmonize with the Holy Bible.
Explaining Increased UFO Sightings
Pastor Mike: Selfishly, I am asking you questions that I am desperate to hear your answer on because I respect you so much as not only an intellectual figure but as a spiritual leader. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that according to U.S. intelligence reports, UFO sightings have increased in the past two years. From a scientific and spiritual perspective, is there any validity to these reports?
Dr. Ross: Well, two years ago is when the U.S. government and several European governments released a lot of classified material on UFOs, and that sparked a lot of interest in UFOs. So I’m not at all surprised that they’re getting more reports because it’s on people’s radar. And I’m not seeing anything in the new reports that’s distinctly different from what’s been happening over the past hundred years. But, yes, they are indeed getting more reports, mainly because people are reporting it. A lot of people I’ve talked to have had UFO encounters, and they’ve never talked to anybody about it.
I was an amateur astronomer before I became a professional astronomer, and as an amateur, I always wound up with the job of dealing with the UFO reports that would come into our astronomy club or the universities where I was studying. So without any intent on my part, I wound up becoming an expert on UFOs. And I can tell you that about 99% of what people report to me as UFOs are phenomena that are naturally explained. They’re hoaxes or secret military activity that’s going on. When I look at the 1% residual, it has the property of defying the laws of physics, and yet in many cases, we can prove that the phenomenon is real. We’re dealing with non-physical reality.
I took a course from Carl Sagan when I was at the University of Toronto, he was extremely dismissive of UFOs, but that was because his worldview would not tolerate the possibility of nonphysical reality. As a Christian, my worldview does tolerate that possibility. God created another realm independent of the universe for the angels.
So what we see in this 1% residual, for example, is UFOs coming through our atmosphere at five to 18,000 miles per hour, but the witnesses never report a sonic boom or any evidence of heat friction behind the UFO. If this was a physical craft coming through our atmosphere you would easily hear sonic booms. So, for example, when this space shuttle comes through our atmosphere you get two loud sonic booms, and you see a trail of heat friction. We don’t see that with UFOs, but there are 2000 documented cases where observers see the UFO going through the atmosphere and it crashes into the earth.
And when you go to the crash site you see a shallow crater. If there’s snow, the snow is melted, and the vegetation is damaged. But when you investigate the crater site you can’t find any artifacts or debris. Again, if it’s a physical craft, there would be debris. There’d be some physical artifacts that people could pick up. We don’t see that. And then what’s come here with these new reports from the Navy and the Air Force is pilots seeing UFOs turning sharp right-angle corners or acute angles at five to 25,000 miles per hour. No physical object can withstand those G-forces, it would shatter. So we’re dealing with non-physical reality.
The Connection to Occult Activity
Pastor Mike: If we know this phenomenon is not physical, then what connection between occult activity, supernatural spiritual activity, maybe clandestine dark activity, and UFO sightings have you seen?
Dr. Ross: Well, I’m the one Christian astrophysicist that’s written on this phenomenon, but I know of five others who’ve spent at least a decade studying the UFO phenomena who are not believers. They agree with me that we’re dealing with something beyond the space-time dimensions of the universe.
The French astrophysicist Jacques Vallee, who’s put the most research into the UFO phenomena says we’re dealing with inter-dimensional beings. Now, from a Christian perspective, we would recognize that angels are inter-dimensional beings. And this is where I think the research on close encounters is important.
It was Alan Hynek, the American astrophysicist, who came up with his term “close encounters of the first kind,” as well as second kind and third kind. A close encounter is where the human contactee is less than 500 feet from the UFO phenomena. And then the second kind is where they actually have communication. The third kind is where there’s actual contact.
What we notice in these close encounters, in no case is it beneficial for the human contact team, it’s always deleterious. The best you come away with from a close encounter is recurring terrifying nightmares. What’s the worst-case scenario? People have been killed by these encounters. So injuries and death have happened. More commonly it’s the death or the injury of the animals that are associated with the human contactee. And so we’re not dealing with something that’s beneficial, we’re dealing with something that’s harmful.
And then when you look at those cases where communication has come from these UFO beings to the human contactee, number one, their astronomy is never accurate. And moreover, the phenomena always keeps pace with our advancing technology and signs of deception. And where there is actual verbal communication taking place.
A famous incident is where the human contactee was put into a trance, and then began to write a book. It’s called The Urantia Book. And it’s the bible of several UFO occult religions. It’s almost 4,000 pages long, and a third of the content of The Urantia Book is focused on denying the deity of Jesus Christ. You’re a pastor, you should be able to figure out if that’s what’s going on, we’re dealing with the fallen angels. Because that is what fits what the Bible tells us about the motivation of demons.
Does Life Exist On Other Planets?
Pastor Mike: As an astrophysicist, do you believe that it is possible for life to exist on another planet? We have this vast universe, and there’s gotta be something, right?
Dr. Ross: A couple of my colleagues and I wrote a book about the UFO phenomena called “Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men.” What’s unique about the book is it’s a scientifically testable hypothesis. We tell people who are having these UFO encounters to read the book. There’s a list of occult activities that invite the demons, the fallen angels, to invade your life. If you get rid of all the occult activities in your life, there will be no more UFO encounters.
But if you begin to practice these things, don’t be surprised if you have these encounters. Then the other point we put in the book is that UFO encounters vary across the globe, but are much higher in France and equatorial Brazil than it is in the United States. Why? Because there are many more people in France and equatorial Brazil that are involved in the occult.
Correlation With the Occult
There’s a direct correlation between the percentage of the population involved in the occult and the percentage of the population that’s having these UFO encounters.
The statistics even apply to the United States. Hawaii and Alaska have a higher incidence of UFO reports than what you see, say, in Montana and Idaho. But there’s a direct correlation between the percentage of the population that’s involved in the occult in those regions. So there is a scientifically testable explanation for the UFO phenomena.
Does Life Exist On Other Planets?
Pastor Mike: I hear all the time from people I pastor, “Pastor Mike, there’s got to be life in the universe, there has to be something!” What would you say to that?
Dr. Ross: Well I’ve written six books answering your question, and basically making the point that we astrophysicists have established what we call habitability requirements. And for a planet to be habitable it has to have a particular orbit around its host star, and its host star has to have particular characteristics. And so far astronomers have discovered 14 planetary habitable zones. We’ve also discovered almost 5,400 planets beyond our solar system, but as we look at those planets, none of them reside in even three of the 14 known planetary habitable zones. For a planet to be truly habitable it must simultaneously reside in all 14. And we only know of one planet that resides in all 14; it’s the one that you’re sitting on.
Everywhere we look we see conditions that are hostile not only to advanced life but even to microbial life. Now we haven’t searched the entire universe. On the other hand, as we look far away, we’re looking at galaxies and stars as they were in the past, but as we study the physics of these stars and galaxies we can predict what they’re going to look like in the future, and they’re going to take on characteristics that are not habitable for life.
Now there could be some far away location where God supernaturally designed a planet just like He did earth, and there’s nothing in the Bible that would forbid the possibility of God creating life elsewhere. (Well, there is one constraint, it’s in Hebrews nine and 10. Jesus Christ died one time, in one place for all sinners. However, that would not rule out God creating grass on another planet or fish on another planet, it would simply rule out the possibility of creating beings like us that are spiritual and in need of being redeemed from their sin and their evil.)
Now, having said all that, I’ve been on public records since the 1980s. We will find the remains of life on the moon and Mars and several other solar system bodies for the simple reason God has packed our planet with such a huge abundance and diversity of life, and every time a big meteorite strikes the Earth, Earth’s soil gets exported throughout the solar system. One ton of earth soil contains 100 hundred quadrillion microbes.
Going Back to the Moon
I’ve written an article basically saying we need to go back to the moon because on the surface of the moon is 20,000 kilograms of Earth soil for every a hundred square kilometers. In that Earth soil, we can see the microbes of Earth’s first life. And what’s fascinating is that Earth’s geology has destroyed the fossils of Earth’s first life. But we can go to the moon, find the fossils of Earth’s first life, and see who got the origin of life model correct, the atheists or the theists.
An Astrophysicist’s Journey To Faith
Pastor Mike: You have an incredible ability to put very complex things in terms that people can understand, and this has just been such a rich conversation.
Many people may not know that I considered myself a full-blown atheist, and I ended up “randomly” (and I say that tongue-in-cheek because I know this was not random) moving in with an Ivy League-educated theologian my junior year of college, and he systematically destroyed every argument that I had against God. And it was in that season that I was introduced to
It’s been such an incredible honor to even be able to have this conversation because he was a catalyst for my journey back to Jesus Christ. I remember reading your work, and I remember watching lectures almost 20 years now, and just weeping.
And it was because I didn’t know that you could marry faith and reason. I thought that you had to divorce the scientific part of your mind from the emotional part of your soul, and it was really you, Dr. Ross, who helped me bring all those worlds into full surrender to Jesus Christ, my entire being.
Can you take a few moments to share your journey to faith, Dr. Ross?
Dr. Ross: Well I was born, raised, and educated in Canada, but I got interested in astronomy when I was just seven years of age. In fact, from the age of seven onwards I was reading four or five books in astronomy and physics a week. And by the time I was 16, I realized the universe has a beginning, and if the universe has a beginning there must be a Cosmic Beginner. And I wanted to find that Cosmic Beginner.
Exploring Philosophy & World Religions
I didn’t really know where to look, because I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. And so I began to study the great philosophers. Emmanuel Kant is considered to be the father of cosmology, so I read his “Critique of Pure Reason,” and said “This really isn’t fitting what I understand about the universe.”
I read Rene Descartes, and I went to a high school where we had refugees from all around the world, and so my fellow students were encouraging me to look at the Hindu betas, the Buddhist commentaries, and the Quran. So I began to study the world’s holy books and recognized that what they were saying about the universe was provably incorrect.
But I did get to have significant contact with two Christians when I was 11 years of age. And these were two businessmen that came into our public school. They didn’t say a single word, but they put two boxes on our teacher’s desk, and those boxes were filled with Gideon Bibles. So I began to read that Gideon Bible at age 17, and right away recognized that the opening pages of the Bible describe an account of creation. And what amazed me is how perfectly it followed the scientific method. Years later I discovered why. The scientific method comes from the pages of scripture. But saw the scientific method, went through the account of the six creation days, and realized everything is correctly described in the correct chronological order.
The Bible got this right.
The Accuracy of the Bible
As I continued reading the Bible, I realized it got all the astronomy right. I spent 18 months studying the Bible for one or two hours a night. When I finally got to Revelation 22 I realized I’d not been able to find a single provable error or contradiction, and I found over 200 places where the Bible accurately predicted future scientific discoveries. And I still remember the night, it was like one in the morning, and I went through a calculation of what’s the probability that these Bible authors could have predicted all these scientific discoveries accurately without the God of the universe inspiring them to write what they wrote, and that probability was less than one chance in 10 to the 300 power.
To put that chance in perspective, my physics professor gave us the assignment to calculate the probability that one of us in the class would be killed by a sudden reversal of the second law of thermodynamics. That probability is one chance in 10 of the 80th, which is so small, no one needs to worry about ever being killed by the reversal of the second law of thermodynamics.
Making That Commitment
And I have to give credit to the Gideons, because the Bible they gave me had two pages at the back explaining what you need to do once you become convinced you’re reading the inspired, inerrant Word from the One who created the universe. It explained to me that I needed to live up to the Bible’s moral standard, and I was very attracted by that moral standard but realized I couldn’t live up to it.
The Gideons explained that the creator of the universe, Jesus Christ, came to planet Earth, lived a life of moral perfection in front of us as an example, but then made an offer to trade his moral perfection for our moral imperfection. And the Gideons don’t let you off the hook, they have a place for you to sign your name and date it, committing your life to receive Jesus Christ as the Savior from all of your sins, and to making Him the boss of your life.
So I made that commitment at 1:07 in the morning in my sophomore physics university year, and right away began to look for opportunities to share my faith. And God gave me amazing opportunities literally within weeks after I signed my name in the back of the Gideon Bible.
What Happens When We Die?
Pastor Mike: Wow, what a powerful story of coming to faith in Christ. I’ve got one last question for you, and I’m asking you partly as a genius-status scientist, but also as a humble servant of Jesus Christ. What happens when we die?
Dr. Ross: I’ve been asked that by several people that have been at death’s door, and if they are a committed follower of Jesus Christ I tell them if they’re lucid at the time of death you will hear your name being called, and you’ll get a personal escort from this realm and into the next realm. Psalm 23 says, “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” and God will take you across the threshold.
I’m on a pastoral staff of a church, and one of our pastors has stood beside 300 Christians who were lucid at the time of death. And he says in every single case they say, “I have to say goodbye, He’s telling me it’s time.” And then they hear their name and they cross that threshold. They go from the realm of this universe, with its space/time dimensions into a completely different dimensional realm to be with Jesus Christ, and to be with all the dead in Christ that have preceded them. And in every case, they’ll be welcomed by all these people congratulating them on their life.
Now the same pastor told me he’s also had experiences with people that denied God and wanted nothing to do with Him at the point of death. He says that if they’re lucid at a time of death, he has witnessed them screaming obscenities at God, and rejoicing that they get to go to hell.
God gives you a choice of where to spend eternity. You can spend eternity with Him or eternity without Him. If you want nothing to do with God, He’s got a place for you. But if you wanna spend eternity with God, He’s got a place for you. In both cases, the place has got nothing to do with this universe. When the universe fulfills its purpose that God has intended it for, He’ll replace this universe with a brand new realm.
And so as He spoke the universe into existence, He’ll speak it out of existence. And the Bible tells us when that happens both heaven and hell survive, which means they’re not part of the dimensional realm of our universe, they’re beyond.
Pastor Mike: This conversation was so absolutely profound. Dr. Hugh Ross, this has been one of my favorite conversations of my life. I cannot thank you enough on behalf of the entire channel. Thank you for your life!
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