Aliens vs. Angels & Demons
The line between what the world would call a space alien and what others would call an angel or demon is blurry. Angels share imaging status with humans of God the Father, and while we represent God in the visible realm, they represent God, as spirit beings, in the invisible spiritual realm (Heiser, 43).1 So when the question is asked “is there extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI)?” the answer is patently yes. Scripture is full of interactions between the two realms where agents of Heaven come to our realm: to Isaiah, King David, John, the disciple of Jesus, etc. Also, Enoch, Elijah, and the Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2) are brought to their realm. There’s a spiritual quality to the reports of alien encounters2 which supports the notion that maybe we’re dealing with the same creatures described in the Bible. Could it be that alleged alien encounters are actually modern interactions with angels or demons?
There’s one case where an alleged space alien by the name of Valiant Thor claims the name of Jesus Christ. Alien and UFO experiences are not known for their wholesomeness (McNally & Clancy),3 so this is an outlier that captures my attention. Dr. Frank Stranges co-authored a book in 1967 called Stranger at the Pentagon where he makes a number of claims about Valiant Thor, a fabled figure that ufologists are likely familiar with.
Stranges was a minister, chaplain, federal marshall, author, and President of the International Evangelical Crusades denomination as well as the International Theological Seminary of California—organizations I’ve never heard of. Stranges also had degrees in criminology, theology, and psychology, but I could not find where he earned his PhD or if it was valid. Stranges died in 2008.
Extractions from his book are found on numerous sites, but this one (Bibliotecapleyades.net)4 is the easiest to find. I have watched two talks by Dr. Frank Stranges from two different speaking engagements, which can be seen here and here. The first video was recorded sometime after 2001, but before his death in 2008. The second video was recorded in 1993 and is mainly about the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I will get to later, but does have a few crumbs related to Valiant Thor. Below I have condensed Stranges claims from these sources.
Valiant Thor According to Dr. Frank Stranges
- There is a group called Central Control, also called The High Council, which is a group of leaders who preside over the commissioning of off-world missions to other planets, from Venus
- Central Control, as well as all Venutian civilization, is located in the subterranean hollow of the planet Venus. Valiant Thor (Val) was chosen by this group to make contact with earth
- On March 16, 1957, Val and three others land their ship, Victor One, in Alexandria, VA and eventually Val has audience with President Eisenhower
- Val can perform thought-transference
- Either Val or a document from Venus has the power to enable humans to translate the unearthly language
- The document indicates a plan that would enable the earth to function without war, sickness, or even death, but it was rejected because it would disrupt the American economy
- Val and team have indestructible clothes
- Val lived in the Pentagon for three years, advising people
- Stranges obtained a photo of Val (shown above), was doing talks around the country in churches, and was eventually brought into the Pentagon to meet Val
- Val knew things about Stranges’ past that even he didn’t know until confirming with his parents and grandparents
- Val had no fingerprints and said that earthly people were given fingerprints after the fall in the Garden of Eden (keep in mind Dr. Stranges has a degree in criminology)
- Val is 6 feet tall, 185 pounds, brown hair, with very soft baby-like skin (see photo above). This photo was taken at a New Jersey residence for a small UFO convention/gathering
- Dr. Stranges asks Val what he thinks about Jesus Christ, this is what Val says:
“I know that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of yours and everyone else’s faith. He today has assumed His rightful position as the ruler of the universe and is preparing a place and a time for all who are called by His Name to ascend far above the clouds to where His Power and Authority shall never again be disputed. I believe that Jesus Christ is the wonder of wonders and changes not. No, not forever and forever.”
Setting aside the extraordinary claims, I was moved when I first read that quote. It sounded really nice, except for the statement “and everyone else’s faith.” This potentially indicates belief in the universalism heresy. Maybe the intended meaning was everyone else in the universe except humans. But then Val also states:
“There is life on many other planets of which people on Earth know nothing. There are more solar systems for which man has not even given God credit. There are many beings that have never transgressed the perfect laws of God. Man does not possess the right to condemn the whole of God’s creation because he himself has broken the perfect laws of God through disobedience.”
This sounds like Valiant Thor is claiming that God roped off humanity from the rest of creation so as not to pollute the rest of the universe. However, Romans 8:19-22 indicates that “the whole of creation” was subjected to futility and will be freed from its corruption. For a figure that claims Christ, Valiant Thor is missing the mark with Scriptural understanding. Let’s pause for a moment and consider the nature of Valiant Thor.
UFOs, Aliens, the Occult, and New Age Religion
A number of Christian sources have pointed out the connection between UFO/aliens and the occult. A more notable one is Dr. Hugh Ross. He has a background in physics and a PhD in astronomy, and co-authored Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men (NavPress 2002). In an interview with the Toledo Blade, Ross describes his process for narrowing down the connection.
“Dr. Ross has made his claims about residual UFO encounters and their relationship to occult activity on television and radio over the last 20 years. ‘Every time I do, I get a lot of angry letters,’ he said. ‘When I do, I say let’s calm down here. I’ve got a checklist of what qualifies as identifiable UFOs. I take the experience and go down the list. It gets rid of 99 percent. For the 1 percent that don’t make it through, I have a second checklist.’ That one lists occult activities. ‘Typically what I discover is if it’s a residual UFO encounter, the person will be checking off four or five things on the list. The more involved in occult activities they are, the more likely they are to have encounters and the more likely they are to have repeat encounters,'” (toledobalde.com).5
In addition, the occult practice of adopting spirit guides is moving towards extraterrestrials (ETs) as the mediums. “Extraterrestrials have come to represent for many Spiritualists the successful achievement of the ultimate Spiritualist goal: the union between spirituality and science,” (Porter).2 The peak of naturalism and modernism in our culture had elevated Science to the highest method of knowing truth, but as our culture shifts away from strict naturalism and traditional religion, we are left hungry for new existential meaning. The next natural progression is a blend of science and spirituality. “But because beliefs about U.F.O.s and aliens do not explicitly invoke the supernatural and are couched in scientific and technological jargon, they may be more palatable to those who reject the metaphysics of more traditional religious systems,” (Routledge, New York Times).6
I’m reminded of Galatians 1:8. These ETs are promoting a false gospel, just as a demon would. Perhaps UFOs and aliens are the new wrapping paper for old idolatry and false religion. Demons have been inciting humanity to worship them instead of the triune God for millennia. Wikipedia lists 21 UFO religions, but I would imagine there are more.
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Back to Stranges' Claims, Valiant Thor, and New Age Gnosticism
An alien that claims Christ, therefore, is a different kind of alien encounter, but is Valiant Thor really claiming Christ? Val chose Stranges as one of several people to entrust superior knowledge to, those that have "proven themselves". This sounds Gnostic, which is an old heresy. In essence Gnosticism is the belief that special, esoteric knowledge is required for salvation and that only one's spirit is redeemed. Juxtapose this with the Gospel of Jesus: Go, proclaim, preach the good news. It's for everyone, of high and low stature (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 9:16, Romans 10:14-15). In Christianity, one is justified completely by the work of Jesus on the cross. In Gnostic belief, one is justified by their own spiritual work of growing in secret knowledge, a special knowledge revealed by "Christ" or other supernatural or special persons.
Keep in mind all these claims appeared in 1967. After the book's publication, Stranges started an organization called The Inner Circle of which he states in the first Youtube video linked above "The Inner Circle is not for everyone, but only those who are Spiritually advanced enough to appreciate the spiritual teachings given by the Comamnder [sic] (Val)." That statement was sometime between 2001 and 2008 and is clearly Gnostic in substance. Stranges also released a monthly newsletter with Val's teachings and information about the Inner Circle called The Inter-space Link, which espoused Gnostic ideas. Stranges' New Age Gnostic leanings were growing stronger by the mid 90s. Here are some claims from 1993:
- There are more Dead Sea scrolls in secret chambers with secret knowledge that threaten current world power structures
- The Bible we have today is far from complete
- Claims Bible translation is purposefully reordered and content added by scribes, but he knows the truth about it
- Secrets of longevity will be shared with the faithful
- Deliverance from world catastrophe will be through space craft, if you are in the know
- Some members of the Inner Circle who have proven themselves get invited to visit Val on his space ship
- Surprisingly, Stranges does say Jesus Christ was more than a man, he was God incarnate
By the time we get to the 2000s, this is what he was writing:
"In order for humans to develop harmoniously in the physical world it is essential that they study, develop, and balance the five departments of Life. Once every department is developed and balanced with every other department, the individual is ready to expand all departments and thus moves into higher vibrational worlds to eventually become one with the Immortals. This is the teaching which incites an individual to move 'from a clod to a god.'" (Alschuler/ISUIS).7
The above is an excerpt from Outwitting Tomorrow by *Valiant Thor* and Frank E. Stranges Ph.D. Upon Stranges' passing, all of his teachings and content was given to The Institute for Spiritual Unfoldment and Interworld Studies (Alschuler/ISUIS).8 There's hardly anything left of the Christian undertones that permeated his early works and the organization that he entrusted his (and Val's?) message to is squarely a New Age / UFO spiritualism organization.
The nail in the coffin was this image above (left) which Stranges showed on a slide in his 1993 presentation. It was a fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls of which he said: "This fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls speaks of flying objects from beyond this planet. Don't ask me how I came into possession of this photo." I took a screen shot of the frame in the video and performed a reverse-image-lookup (search by images) and found the exact same fragment on the University of Chicago's website. This is what is said about the fragment:
"This Dead Sea Scroll fragment is written in Hebrew using the Hebrew alphabet, which was read from right to left. The fragment preserves part of a non-biblical Hebrew text that included various liturgical pieces, similar to many other Qumran scrolls and scroll fragments. It also bears similarities to the Psalms found in the Bible. In this small fragment the poet first praises the virtues of Torah study and humility, and then decries the contrary vices," (Woods).9
Stranges' claim is pure fabrication.
Valiant Thor As A Projection of Spiritual Digression
His writings sound like a fiction novel. Could he have met someone unique by the name Val Thor? Maybe. Is this Val Thor who Stranges says he is? No. What I know is true is that Stranges is a false teacher espousing a false gospel. The harmful and Biblically contradictory doctrine surrounding Stranges and Val Thor is significant and increases over the years. In his presentations, Stranges would make a wild claim, then seamlessly shift topics and avoid backing up his claim with any substance. He was a good storyteller and would frequently ask the audience "Don't you agree?", arguably an effort to drive falsehoods into the hearts of his listeners (Romans 16:18).
I think Stranges is Valiant Thor, a persona he created as a platform to deceive others for his own gain. The video I just linked to is made by an amateur enthusiast, but demonstrates some helpful sleuthing. The Youtuber found a photo of Frank Stranges as a young man in the North Central Bible Seminary yearbook which carries a compelling resemblance to the "Val Thor" photo. Left: yearbook, right: "Val Thor".
Stranges' unhinged fascination with aliens and UFOs appears to be the gateway that led him towards negative spiritual exposure and eventually into Gnostic spiritualism. The name "Val Thor" is also curious. It sounds like a science fiction figure from the sixties, like the sidekick of Buck Rogers. I imagine he heard the name from a piece of science fiction or another conspiracy theorist. Either way, Val Thor was a carrier authority that Stranges could appeal to with circular logic.
Stranges' spiritual digression may have been the result of never understanding the Gospel. Maybe the Church's courtship with hyper naturalism in the mid 20th century left him rightfully hungry for a more holistic view of Biblical cosmology, but then allowed himself to be led astray. Whatever the case, the web of lies spun around Stranges is significant and untangling them has been demanding. Mankind is hungry for meaning and we will go to great lengths to create meaning for ourselves, even if that means perpetuating falsehoods. For those of us that know Christ and him crucified, we are given the grandest of cosmic meaning, stature, and purpose in all the realms.
- Heiser, Michael S. "The Unseen Realm." 2015.
- Porter, Jennifer E. "Spiritualists, Aliens and UFOs: Extraterrestrials as spirit guides." Taylor & Francis Online, Jun. 2008.
- McNally, Richard J and Clancy, Susan A. "Sleep Paralysis, Sexual Abuse, and Space Alien Abduction." Sage Journals, Mar. 2005.
- Stranges. Excerpt of "Stranger at the Pentagon.", 1967 from Bibliotecapleyades.net, 2003.
- Tarjanyi, Judy. "Astronomer Links UFOs to Occultism." Toledo Blade, Jan. 2003.
- Routledge, Clay. "Don’t Believe in God? Maybe You’ll Try U.F.O.s." The New York Times, Jul 2017.
- Alschuler, Zoe. "The Teaching of the Five-Pointed Star of Life." Institute for Spiritual Unfoldment and Interworld Studies, 2008.
- Alschuler, Zoe. "About Commander Valiant Thor - Biography." Institute for Spiritual Unfoldment and Interworld Studies, 2008.
- Woods, Christopher. "Dead Sea Scroll Fragment" Teaching the Middle East, University of Chicago, Dec. 2010.