But is calling the beings spoken about in these mythologies 'extra-terrestrials' instead of 'gods' really make them any different? Or, perhaps the better question to be asked is if events would have happened differently if the ancients used the term 'extra-terrestrials' instead of 'gods'? If we are to believe that some kind of intelligent beings with advanced technologies visited ancient man from another planet, then what difference would it have made in what you called them? What difference would it have made if you thought their flying machines flew by magic or science? If you didn't understand it, then, well, you didn't understand it. And that would have been an advantage or privilege these 'gods' had over men...regardless of whether it was science or magic.
The next question is, if these alleged extra-terrestrials were to return, what would be different now? If we called them extra-terrestrials and their mode transportation "spaceships" instead of 'gods' and flying chariots (or whatever), would anything really be different? If they were malevolent, then they may demand worship. If they were benevolent, they might not demand worship, but people might worship them anyways. They may not bow before them and offer sacrifices, and the term 'worship' might not even be used, but people would still probably look upon them as being higher beings. People would want to know about them, they'd want to ask them questions about the mysteries of the universe, and perhaps ask for solutions to their own problems. They'd sort of be like the new celebrities...but celebrities with advanced knowledge. So I'm not sure that things would really be all that much different if the 'gods' of the past turned out to just be extra-terrestrials.
And I'm not sure why those who profess the ancient alien hypothesis seemed to be so convinced that those aliens have to be flesh and blood aliens. My guess is that they are just interpreting it in a way they are familiar with...sci-fi. But why would they have to be flesh and blood aliens? Why couldn't they just be supernatural beings? Do they think that only flesh and blood beings are capable of sentience? That seems kind of narrow minded to me. I think they ignore the possibility of spiritual beings existing, and may also be ignoring the possibility of lifeforms we don't even recognize existing.
So what are some other possibilities about who these 'gods' of the past were?
- The stories of the 'gods' were entirely fictional stories made up by charismatic men who were able to convince people that they were the intermediaries between the 'gods' and men. In doing so, they were able to elevate their own status among men, and live lives of luxury and wealth due to people coming and making offerings to the 'gods'...who were really just statues in a temple. These priests maintained power by keeping people in fear of these 'gods'.
- The stories of the 'gods' were based on real people. Real, human, people that is. Throughout recorded history, many men have been worshipped as gods, such as Roman Emperors and Egyptian Pharaohs. So who's to say the mythological gods weren't once real people who's stories got passed down over time? Obviously the stories had some fabrications, but maybe there was some truth to them. Perhaps the 'gods' were just an early ancient or even prehistoric nobility. Various royal families throughout recorded history have been known to intermarry and have a lot of drama, which bears some similarities to the stories of the mythological gods. So maybe that's really all the 'gods' were -- strong, charismatic families who were able to get other people to follow them. Maybe they weren't really all that advanced...maybe they were just charismatic and told good stories (or had good stories told about them).
Or maybe they were advanced. Here we can invoke another myth...the myth of Atlantis. Perhaps the 'gods' were just a more advanced and sophisticated people from Atlantis or somewhere else. I've written before about the possibilities of lost civilizations being submerged after the flood/ice-age. It's possible there were some advanced civilizations in those predeluvian days. Even today, there are still people who live in tribal societies much the way their ancestors did. In some cases, after World War II, some tribal cultures who saw airplanes dropping off cargo came to think they could obtain the material wealth of the advanced culture through religious rituals and practices. These came to be known as "cargo cults" (read more about those here and here).
So who is to say this couldn't have happened before? Could an advanced prehistoric human civilization visited less advanced people who though they were some kind of 'gods'? Considering how long anthropologists say humans have been around, it seems like we have advanced rather quickly. But maybe people have advanced to high levels of sophistication before, and we have just forgotten about it?
I'm not sure which possibility is more likely. My mind isn't completely closed to the possibility that the 'gods' of the past were flesh and blood extra-terrestrials, but of the possibilities listed, I consider it the least likely. I think it is more likely the mythological stories are fictional, or based on real humans or some type of supernatural beings.
Maybe one day we will know for sure. But would they show themselves to us, or would we just have to take the word of some intermediaries?