Friday, September 23, 2005

UFOs: The Early Years

The UFO (unidentified flying object) phenomenon generally is dated to 1947, when businessman Kenneth Arnold, flying a small plane over Washington State, observed nine saucer-shaped objects in the sky (seemingly) nearby. But Arnold wasn’t the first credible witness. A spate of strange “airship” sightings were reported by numerous Americans in 1896-97. Assuming these were extraterrestrial visitors, they apparently went away for half a century—then came back in prolific force and variety, if the many thousands of latter-day accounts are to be believed.

Serious UFOlogists actually point to Bible times for historic evidence. Specifically, they ponder the mysterious “wheels” in the sky described by the prophet Ezekiel. Some likewise have raised questions about the exact nature of the “chariot of fire” and the “whirlwind” that carried the prophet Elijah away into the sky. (See II Kings 2:11.)

We of the Christian faith will be little surprised—transfixed, I’m sure, but not surprised—to see heavenly wonders when they appear as promised. As for what may already have come down, I for one allow that unexplained, unearthly flying objects are possible. I seriously doubt they’re transporting Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Earhart and other missing celebrities hither and yon, and I’m not too worried about their crews deviously propagating alien lineages throughout the human population. But I do believe in “miracles.”


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