Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Of biblical aliens

A friend commented that the bible mentions aliens. I was skeptical, so he made a comment about Jesus saying he was leaving Earth and going to tend his "other flocks". I pointed out that that was a rather vague reference if it did in fact mean aliens.

However, I was intrigued, and went to look it up. I think this is the passage he was referring to:
John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
The Skeptic's Annotated Bible links this with an almost identical Book of Mormon passage, and says that there it refers to the Nephites. Not entirely convinced of the conclusion there, but it is certainly a fairly general statement, and could mean almost anything.


  1. From bible.cc

    People's New Testament

    10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold. Not Jews, of whom his followers then were, but Gentiles who would soon be called to him. These would hear his voice, enter through the door, into the same fold as the Jewish Christians, so that there would be one fold and one shepherd. There is only one Church and one door into it, and one Shepherd over it.

    Wesley's Notes

    10:16 I have also other sheep - Which he foreknew; which are not of this fold - Not of the Jewish Church or nation, but Gentiles. I must bring them likewise - Into my Church, the general assembly of those whose names are written in heaven. And there shall be one flock - (Not one fold, a plain false print) no corrupt or divided flocks remaining. And one shepherd - Who laid down his life for the sheep, and will leave no hireling among them. The unity both of the flock and the shepherd shall he completed in its season. The shepherd shall bring all into one flock: and the whole flock shall hear the one shepherd.

    So both these believe it refers to the Gentiles (goyim?), the non-Israelite tribes (as wikipedia defines the term. Google define, on the other hand, has several alternative interpretations, the first being "heathen - one who does not acknowledge your god". I suppose that would also cover aliens, should they exist.

    Of course, that would also mean that aliens would have to have been made in god's image, wouldn't it? Be a bit of a bugger if they turned out to be like those in the film Alien, wouldn't it?

  2. re Nephites:

    Wikipedia - Nephites:
    'The Nephites are the de facto protagonists of the Book of Mormon. According to the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were a group of people descended from or associated with Nephi'

    'The Book of Mormon describes the Nephites as an initially righteous people, who eventually fell into wickedness and were utterly destroyed by their brothers the Lamanites'

    (So, if we go with SAB's interpretation - based on the correlation of the two texts, the people who are referred to by Jesus' comment are already wiped out by the time he makes the comment...)

    Wikipedia - Nephi:
    'Nephi was the fourth of six sons of Lehi and his mother, Sariah.'
    'Not long after arriving in the Americas, Lehi died, leaving the leadership of their colony in Nephi's hands. His brothers Laman and Lemuel rebelled shortly thereafter, and the colony split into two. Nephi's followers named themselves "Nephites", while the others were dubbed "Lamanites".'