Christmas and Extraterrestrials  

Alien Invasions  From Greek tales of gods  visiting  us from Olympus to the movie Alien, the idea of extraterrestrials has captured the human imagination. Some, like “The Martians Have Landed” are just plain nasty, but is kind of funny.

The movie, “K-PAK” however, is about a friendly invasion. Kevin Spacey plays prot (uncapitalized, short for prototype man?), who claims to be from a distant planet, K-PAX. He is quickly ushered off to a mental hospital. There, Dr. Powell hopes to cure him of his delusions. But the good psychiatrist is puzzled by many things, including the unshakable faith the other patients put in him and how his scientific insights baffles experts.

Prot causes quite a sensation when he announces that on a certain date and specific time he will take one soul with him back to K-PAX. All the patients are eager to go. The day arrives and, with hospital staff looking on, at the precise moment, the camera in prot’s room cuts to static. All rush in to find Prof’s catatonic body on the floor. Bess, one of the inmates is gone, never to be found, a kind of rapture.

Dr. Powell comes to believe in prot and his message which indictes humans for the way we treat each other and calls us “to use what little time left we have wisely.” Dr. Powell wisely reconciles with his estranged son.

The  parallels with the gospel account are striking.  You may find some I’ve listed far fetched, but who’s to say?

  • Disciples—are the patients, and eventually the doctor who accept prot and his message
  • Persecution and rejection—of prot by the authorities who were sure he was crazy.
  • A “gospel” –his message of judgment and a possible salvation.
  • Ascension–prot’s sudden departure
  • Rapture–Bess, being female could be a kind of bride of Christ
  • A Church (Prot’s actual “body” (?of Christ?) and the disciples who are left behind
  • Repentance and conversion—Powell’s change of mind and heart.
  • Reconciliation –of the doctor and his son

Since Christmas is upon us, let’s explore two seasonal ingredients of the story:

Christmas as an Alien Invasion  Imagine the headlines if visitors from another galaxy were to turn up at the White House. Yet Christmas is a much bigger deal than that. The whole earth celebrates, often unwittingly, the greatest event of all history: the arrival on earth of Emmanuel, God himself with us. Wonderful! But can we call Christmas an invasion?

Consider that an invasion is an act of entering enemy territory to take it over. The Scriptures teach that Satan is an usurper, “the god of this world”. whom Jesus Christ came to overthrow and establish his new reign, the Kingdom of God. He also comes to frees those held in bondage. Compare this to the allies’ invasion of Normandy to displace Hitler’s wrongful occupation of France and to free the European people from the tyranny of Nazism.

But consider yet another perspective of Christmas being an invasion. You might know the account in Daniel of how God sent him an angel in response to his prayer. This angel tells Daniel it took him 21 days to get through, because he was “opposed by the angel prince of Persia.” (Dan 10:13) St. Paul tells us that there are forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12 NIV).and that Satan is the prince of the air. For Jesus to get to earth and be born in Bethlehem, wouldn’t he have had to pass through this enemy territory?

But can we call Christ an alien? Consider that…

  • Jesus flatly said he was, “I am from above…I am not of this world. (John 8: 23, KJV)
  • He differs from us, being both fully God and fully man. Paradoxically, he embodies and exemplifies the perfect man, the second Adam, God’s prototype, if you will, of how we should live and treat each other.
  • He was rejected as a misfit. (Read Isaiah 53) Herod tried to kill him; the Jewish elite labeled him a heretic; many  demonized him and finally he was executed by the authorities. If he made his claims today, like prot and many Christians in the Soviet Union, he would surely be put away in a mental hospital;.

Are Believers Aliens? Are we? Consider these words of St. Paul, But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we eagerly wait for his return .(Phil 3:20 NLT). Peter writes,  You are a chosen race, a holy nation, God’s own people…who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light. (I Peter 2:9).