Thoughts

The Alien & The Presence

Do aliens exist? It’s a question that is often asked. The possibility that they do has given rise to all kinds of fantastical as well as some more persuasive theories. In addition, the subject has spawned hundreds of books, films and television programmes. That ‘the truth is out there’ is beyond doubt – but whether we will ever know the full extent of it I dont’t know.

So do Aliens exist? I most certainly believe so. For me, from all the evidence, it is undeniable that there are beings who belong to a different dimension living among us – sometimes even materialising in human form and interacting with humanity in ways we never see or perceive. In addition, I believe every human being is a masterpiece of intelligent design. That the eye, to take but one example, is the product of accidental evolution seems much more fantastical to me than the belief in an alien intelligent designer.

I also believe in aliens in another sense – that we ourselves are such by virtue of the fact that we live in alienation from our Creator and Designer, who I will refer to here, for reasons I hope will become evident, as ‘The Presence’ – the Life Force through and by whom we were created.

The amazing thing to me is that the original inhabitants of planet Earth lived in communication with The Presence – but, tragically, in their own wisdom chose to sever the umbilical cord which connected them to their Creator. On that fateful day, such was their remorse that they hid in fear from The Presence.

The Book of Beginnings records, in religious language, which, due to its familiarity, so often blunts its meaning and impact –

‘They (original humans) heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.’

Genesis 3:8

A short time later the second incarnation of our original forebears committed murder. The Book of Beginnings again records of him –

‘Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.’

Genesis 4:16

Some take the records contained in the Book of Beginnings literally – some figuratively. I suspect our conviction on this point does not really matter as far as the fact that the book faithfully records, as do other ancient myths and stories, that the severing of communication and communion with The Presence left humanity, as it were,  lost in space, flailing helplessly in an alien environment with no sense of up or down.

Interestingly the word ‘Nod’, the place Cain made his postcode, means, in the original language of Hebrew – ‘a wanderer, an exile, or a fugitive’. This then is what life looks like when exiled from The Presence – lost, alone and with no place to call home.

But then in the history of time, something strange happened. The Presence took a fresh initiative. He chose one man and then one people group to represent his original purpose. These were chosen to be a people who would show the world what kind of being The presence truly was. Of course, subsequently, they utterly failed – but that’s another story. However, what The Presence did to inaugurate and mark this new state of being is very interesting. Of course, many symbols, signs and metaphors were employed – for who can truly describe the indescribable – but some of these things stand out.

First of all, The Presence recreated, in symbolic form, a place to represent his original intent and called it – ‘The Tent of Meeting’ – a location where  interaction and communication with the creature he had created could take place. The parallels of our perfect beginning in Eden were also included, at least some of them – the east-facing entrance guarded by cherubim, the gold, the tree of life (lampstand), and the tree of knowledge (the law). All of these are, of course, mystical and figurative.

But, very significantly, The Presence also instructed that his very Being and intent be represented in the Place of Meeting. This is what was instructed –

‘And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.’

Exodus 25:30

This is a symbolic representation of the restitution of the continual presence of Presence among His people. And the symbol is bread. Literally translated, the Bread of the Presence means – ‘Bread of faces.’ The faces of Presence are symbolic of the fact that the longing of The Presence was, as it had always been, intimacy, communion and relationship with his created ones.

And yet, ultimately, as we have said, all this failed spectacularly for, in reality, the heart of man had never truly changed. But the story does not end there.

What we call in the West ‘Christmas’ has been so clouded and twisted by hundreds of years of human manipulation and misrepresentation that we have lost sight of the fact that the story could, in more modern times, have been lifted straight out of a sci-fi novel.

A teenage girl who lives in some form of communication with another dimension is ‘overshadowed’ by The Presence and gives birth to a human child without the intervention of a human father. The child she bore is, in a very real sense, the Son of The Presence in human form – yet this Divine/Human is helpless, poor and dependent on the whims of a human mother and the hatred of an unwelcoming community. Such a story sounds almost, if not completely, incredible and fanciful.

But fast rewind for a moment. Imagine now if you were one of the people sitting on a hillside one night in the Middle East 2000 years ago when suddenly the dark sky above you burst into blinding light and thousands of alien life forms suddenly appeared before you. Then these alien beings announce, in your own language, the birth, nearby, of the Son of The Presence.

Again – all of this sounds very fantastical – but each of these shepherds, steeped in their culture and traditions, were, I suspect, well aware that one of their most famous prophets, Isaiah, who had lived some 700 years before, had predicted –

‘The Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’

Isaiah 7:14

When you break down the constituent parts to the two Hebrew words used in the title ‘Immanuel’ – it reads literally – ‘With us is the mighty one.’

It is then, to break it down a little further, an assertion of The Presence being ‘with us’. And so the Divine Presence was to be, and is still today,  encountered through the one identified as ‘Immanuel’. The alien visitor who appeared in a dream to the man who would be know as the earthly father of Immanuel, Joseph,  was instructed to call his name, in Hebrew,  ‘Yeshua’ (Jesus). Yeshua  means to ‘to rescue or ‘to deliver’. And so Yeshua/Immanuel  would become The Deliverer from alienation from The Presence for all people. Alluding to the Bread of the Presence, Yeshua also says of himself –

‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’

(John 6:32-35).

According to the late Albert Edersheim, an expert on Judaism – ‘Ancient symbolism, both Jewish and Christian, regarded “the Bread of the Presence” as an emblem of the Messiah.’

That Jesus considered himself to belong to another dimension, one  beyond our space and time continuum, is very clear from his own words and teachings –

‘I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.’

John 8:23

‘My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.’

John 18:36

You can’t be much clearer about your true identity than that! But all this  truly is, I believe, the good news of Christmas! All of us can know The Presence – for he is both with us and, according to the ancients,  in us, through  the Spirit of the one now revealed in Yeshua/Immanuel.

‘The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.’

Job 33:4

So, if the desire of The Presence is for union and fellowship with his creation, what will the end result of his desire be? Put simply, according to the Bible, there will come a time when The Presence will be ‘all in all’. (1 Corinthians 15:28) – a time of the universal restoration of all things and a return to the perfection of Eden. Immanuel will truly be, in consummate perfection, – ‘God with us’! The good news today is – we can know that in the here and now!

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11 (c700BC)

 

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