On the Continent, and in France especially, Claude Vorilhon is well known. For one thing, he was a former French racing driver and sports magazine editor. During the 1980s and 1990s, Vorilhon travelled extensively in order to race in his Mazda RX 7 Turbo.
What made him even better known, however, was an experience he claims to have had in 1973. Travelling to his office on the morning of 13 December, he decided on impulse to visit a remote but extinct volcano site near Clermont-Ferrand in central southern France.
While there, he claims to have seen a saucer-shaped UFO descending towards him. Vorilhon insists that he saw the door of the UFO open and a short alien figure — with a black beard and long black hair, and dressed in a green suit — walking towards him.
The fantasy continues. Vorilhon was informed by the visitor that the aliens had been monitoring him and, through telepathic means, had drawn him to the site. Their intention was to invite him to view the interior of the craft and also appoint him as their messenger on earth.
According to Vorilhon, it was a brief conversation and encounter. After he had alighted, the craft disappeared.
The following day, Vorilhon revisited the site. And guess what? Yes, the spacecraft returned and he was given information concerning the alien planet with its exceptionally high level of scientific and technical achievement.
In fact, Vorilhon claims that the alien gave him extensive information concerning the creation of humans in laboratories!
He was then allegedly told by the alien: ‘only the parts of the Bible that I will translate are important. Other parts are merely poetic babblings of which I will say nothing … the deepest meaning [of the Bible] has remained intact throughout the ages…’ (The Message given to me by Extra-Terrestrials: at last science replaces religion, Raël, Claude Vorilhon, Canada, The Raëlian Foundation, 2001, p.20).
Vorilhon asks us to believe that, over the following days, he received information on ‘the most significant parts of the Bible’. This information was published by Raël in The Messages given to me by Extra-Terrestrials.
The name Raël, meaning ‘light of God’ or ‘ambassador’, was supposedly given to Vorilhon by the alien and it is this new name which now tends to be used to refer to him.
Convinced that he was ‘the last of the forty prophets’ and ‘the shepherd of shepherds’, Raël was extremely zealous in spreading this incredible teaching for public consumption.
For example, two of Raël’s books have been translated into over twenty-five languages and more than a million copies were sold. These books represent a denial of biblical truth and impose an indefensible extra-terrestrial hermeneutic on the Bible.
Examples of this irresponsible hermeneutic abound. For instance, the Genesis Flood is explained in terms of nuclear missiles exploding — while Noah’s ark was a spacecraft!
The Tower of Babel is deemed to have been a space-rocket, and the parting of the Red Sea was achieved by a ‘repulsion beam’.
Raël claims that the creatures in Ezekiel’s vision wore antigravity suits with small jet engines attached to them. Just as absurd is his suggestion that our Lord’s miracles were achieved by means of powerful laser beams.
Later, in 1975, Raël is supposed to have met the space visitors again, but this time we are invited to believe he was taken to their planet for a brief visit.
The point I am making is that Raël and his teaching are becoming very well known — and not only in France. He has established an international movement with between 40,000-60,000 members in about 90 countries.
In 1997, Raël founded Ufoland, the movement’s extensive theme park, near Montreal. It is ‘a tourist centre that claims to inform 10,000 visitors each year regarding the UFO phenomenon’ with ‘the biggest replica in the world of a DNA chain and a life-size replica of the UFO which Raël climbed into’ to make his supposed trip to the alien planet.
Cloning on offer
However, Raël has hit the headlines with a bang more recently, and I need to explain.
Following the cloning of ‘Dolly’ the sheep in 1997 by scientists in Scotland, Raël formed the Valiant Venture Company in the Bahamas in order to research and then market human and animal reproductive cloning.
French media attention, coupled with pressure from the French and Bahamian governments, forced Raël to relocate to the United States and change the name of his company toClonaid.
Brigitte Boisselier now leads the company, which boasts of a team of geneticists, biologists and an expert in the area of in-vitro fertilisation.
Various services are offered by Clonaid to the public. In addition to human therapeutic and reproductive cloning, Insuraclone will preserve genetic material for possible use in future cloning, while Clonapet offers to clone the pet animals of wealthy people.
Ovulaid is a service designed for infertile women who want their own child. Not only can these women have donated eggs from other women, but they can also meet prospective donors in an attempt to choose the type of child they want.
Clonaid is certainly a commercial company and customers pay substantial amounts of money for their varied services. But can Clonaid deliver on its promises?
Well, the company claims that between 26 December 2002 and 4 February 2003 it successfully cloned five human babies.
But there is a problem. Clonaid refuses to provide firm evidence, and will not allow scientists to verify the claim.
Why is cloning so important for Raël and Clonaid? Beyond the commercial and financial aspects, there is one major reason why they emphasise human reproductive cloning.
Raël explains: ‘Cloning will enable mankind to reach eternal life’.
1The idea is bizarre but, sadly, Raëlians accept it, together with a number of other related beliefs.
One thing is clear — Raël opposes biblical Christianity vehemently, rejecting the creation of the universe by an omnipotent, personal God, and its divine government, direction and preservation.
Raël’s blindness to God’s Word makes him reject other foundational, biblical doctrines also — such as the sinfulness of human nature, God’s wrath upon sin, and the substitutionary, penal sacrifice of Christ for sin on the cross.
In place of these divinely revealed truths, Raël fantasises that extra-terrestrial beings created all the varied forms of life on earth in their own laboratories.
Using superior knowledge of genetics and cell biology, and their own selected DNA, these beings (called Elohim) supposedly invented all life-forms, including humans, about 25,000 years ago.
Cloning for Raël is the only way to achieve immortality. One reason given is that humans have a genetic code with the potential for technological reincarnation. Because he believes ‘there is nothing’ after death, only cloning can guarantee endless life.
How is it achieved? By transferring one’s memory and personality into a cloned body which is younger and healthier.
The gift of God
Fantasy? Certainly. And the reality is radically different. Even if it proves possible to clone humans and pass on all the memories, the ‘cloner’ would still die.
And that is not the end, for at death the soul of the individual goes either to heaven or to hell.
That is precisely what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, taught. In Luke 16:23-28, the Lord describes an unbelieving rich man who died as ‘being in torments in hell’ — permanently confined to that place of darkness, punishment and separation from God’s mercy.
By contrast, believing Lazarus enjoyed unending bliss and glory in heaven.
To the rich farmer, who lived only for work and pleasure, God spoke the chilling words: ‘You fool! This night your soul will be required of you’ (Luke 12:20).
Early in his ministry, the Lord spoke concerning these two destinations of heaven and hell and the two roads which lead to them (Matthew 7:13-14).
Yes, eternal life is possible — but not through human cloning. It is instead ‘the gift of God … in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). It was Jesus Christ who voluntarily became our substitute on the cross and took on himself all the punishment due to us as guilty sinners.
And the staggering fact is ‘that whoever believes in him [Jesus Christ] should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).
For further reading, see the author’s booklet,
Human Cloning: right or wrong?Evangelical Press’ 2003.
1. See website www.rael.org/int/press_site/english/pages/clonaid.htm