Ezekiel 1:5–28—Is this a manifestation of UFOs and extraterrestrial intelligence?

Problem: Ezekiel speaks here of “living creatures” whose faces were in “the likeness of a man” which moved “like a flash of lightning” (v. 14). They were “lifted up from the earth” (v. 19) and their “wheels were lifted up together with them” (v. 20). Some have taken this to be a reference to UFOs and extraterrestrials. Are there human-like UFO creatures in outer space?

Solution: This is not a reference to UFOs, but is a vision of the glory of God. This is evident for several reasons. First, the text states clearly that “This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (Ezek. 1:28).

Second, these are called “visions” in the very first verse. Visions are usually given in highly symbolic form (cf. Rev. 1:9–20). Hence, the “likeness” (v. 28) given of things should not be taken literally, but symbolically.

Third, the “living creatures” were angels, since they had “wings” (v. 6) and flew in the midst of heaven. They compare to the angels mentioned in Isaiah 6:2 and especially to the “living creatures” (angels) which were around God’s throne (in Rev. 4:6).

Fourth, their message was from the “Lord God” of Israel to the Prophet Ezekiel (cf. 2:1–4), not from some alleged UFO beings. The context was a message from the God of Israel through the Jewish prophet Ezekiel to His “rebellious nation” (2:3–4; cf. 3:4).

Fifth, there is no real evidence that any UFO, human-like creatures exist anywhere in the universe. There are, of course, demonic spirits which the Bible calls a “lying spirit” (1 Kings 22:22) and “deceiving spirits” (1 Tim. 4:1). These demons or evil angels may deceive people into thinking they are extraterrestrials. But they can be known by their false teaching and the evil practices they encourage, such as idolatry, witchcraft, astrology, divination, fortune telling, and contacting departed spirits (cf. Deut. 13:1–9; 18:9–14; 1 Tim. 4:1–3).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.