The Post-Enlightenment Vacuum
Whenever a culture abruptly leaves something to enter something else, the reactionary pendulum swing always creates a vacuum; a silhouette of what once was. In this case, it was departing the spiritual for the sake of the scientific. Prior to the age of secular science, there were spiritual affirmations woven into the cultural DNA. Western humanity has always affirmed the idea that we are not alone in the universe, yet somehow this has become a new concept. Here is how I think this may have happened:
The age of secular science has, as part of its identity, a rejection of all that which cannot be seen. This was where everything changed. When you reject everything but the observable material world, you reject parts of a past societal framework, such as the belief in the incorporeal spiritual bodies of other realms. When you do this, you cannot but believe that we are alone in the universe, because nothing else can be observed. However, because there is an inward vacuum (remnants of a belief that we are not alone in the universe) within the secular person, one cannot help utilizing this new materialist perspective to prove what we inwardly know to be true. Thus, the search for extraterrestrial life begins anew. This leads to the idea of aliens, and why they are the way they are in the modern psyche. And what about the time travel trend, where one can encounter these pseudo-human beings from the future?
The Biblical Aliens
I think it is possible that the concept of the ‘alien’ is merely the materialistic secular approach to broad, distant, but uniquely Christian memories of the past. It is a modern approach to past memories like:
- The inward knowledge that we are ultimately not alone.
- Mankind is a cosmic microcosm.
- Testimony to mysteries of the paranormal.
- Religion and anthropomorphic deities.
- Manifestations of the Christian saints within the material world.
- The liturgical relationship to the nature of time.
All of these things are simply part of who we are as humans, and to try escaping them is always futile. In other words, we as Christians already know aliens exist, we just use words like God, saints, angels, and demons.