The Weirdest Conspiracy Theories About The Bible

Considered holy by a number of the world's biggest religions — including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism — the Bible has millions of adherents around the world who look to it for spiritual guidance. But of course, not all believers interpret the Bible in the same way. For example, Time magazine notes that both Christian and Jewish believers accept the earlier books of the Bible — the Old Testament and the Hebrew Bible in Christianity and Judaism, respectively — as the word of God. However, the two religions differ on the New Testament, or Christian Bible, which is not considered sacred in Judaism. Judaism does not teach that Jesus Christ was the Son of God as Christianity does, while Islam differs from Christianity and Judaism in teaching that Jesus was a prophet — one of God's five "elite" messengers (via The Christian Century). And in the present day, Biblical scholars of all faiths still hotly debate the true meaning of numerous Bible passages, debating potential errors in translation in the story of Adam and Eve and the origins of God's portrayal.

But the Bible is a big book with millions of potential meanings and many passages open to wild interpretations. Here are some of the strangest Bible theories out there.

The Christ myth theory

As previously noted, numerous world religions attest to the existence of a historical figure called Jesus Christ, even if his relationship to God is contested among different believers. Even within Christianity alone, there are those — such as Catholics — who attest that Jesus is God in that he is part of the Holy Trinity. Meanwhile, other denominations, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, do not, per the Pew Research Center. But for more than a century, another fringe theory about Jesus Christ that is particularly popular among atheists has taken hold: He never existed at all and is nothing more than a myth that got out of hand (via Kurtz Institute).

It isn't difficult to work out why some secularists would be happy to whitewash Jesus Christ himself from history. After all, without Christ, the largest religion in the world ceases to exist. But as the Christian New Testament scholar Dr. Simon J. Gathercole points out in an article for The Guardian, whether Jesus actually existed is rarely questioned by mainstream academics thanks to the great number of contemporary writings that reference him. Aside from the gospels, Roman politicians such as Tacitus recall Jesus' crucifixion, while even pagan chroniclers who reviled Jesus and his followers seemingly never doubted that he was a real-life figure — even if they challenged his divinity.

The Antichrist walks among us

Many Christians believe that the Bible tells us directly what the end of the world will look like and what events will take place in the run-up to this destruction. One of these preliminary events is the emergence of a figure known as the "Antichrist," who is prophesized in the Gospel according to John (via The Conversation). Notably, John is the disciple identified by many as the author of the Book of Revelation, which describes the end of the world in detail. Revelation similarly describes the arrival of a "beast" who will rule over the world before the Second Coming of Christ, which many theologians take to be a reference to the Antichrist (via the University of British Columbia).

Per The Conversation, the Antichrist is the pure evil opposite of Jesus Christ, Where Jesus is perfectly good, the Antichrist is perfectly bad; the Son of the Devil as opposed to the Son of God. As such, throughout history, numerous public figures have been identified by their political enemies as the coming of the Antichrist that heralds the end of the world. As noted by Nick Gier in the Idaho State Journal, Antichrist watchers have at various points claimed that Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Vladimir Putin fit the bill as bringers of the apocalypse. However, the same source also notes that none of these figures have sprouted the "ten horns and seven heads" that the Book of Revelation assures us the Antichrist will grow on their arrival.

The Bible is a code

Most believers arguably choose to take the Bible at face value, and most scholars base their readings on the words of the Bible as encountered on the page. But there is a long tradition in both Judaism and Christianity of investigating the text in yet another way: as a divine code ready to be broken.

Historical figures such as Isaac Newton — who was both a mathematician and devout Christian — have turned their analytical abilities to identifying "Biblical codes" that might indicate the exact timing of the end of the world (via Republic World). More recently, the 1990s saw a group of Jewish theologians present their belief that the Bible could be decoded using a system of "equidistant letter sequences" to show that the text was preloaded with hidden data concerning the lives of rabbis who lived hundreds of years after the book's composition (via Cite Seer). Such experiments have been widely challenged by mainstream religious scholars, but modern computers allow attempts to decode the Bible in such a way to continue (via Big Think).

God and the angels were aliens

Belief in extraterrestrial life has boomed in recent years, with more people than ever open to the idea that aliens may be a real scientific possibility. In fact, a 2021 study released by Pew Research Center revealed that nowadays, a majority of Americans believe that life exists beyond planet Earth. So it's no surprise that some people now argue that Biblical visitors to Earth — such as angels, Jesus, and even God himself — could be explained as extraterrestrial beings from another planet; aliens who "seeded" human life, according to History (via YouTube).

Pastor Barry Downing, author of the book "Biblical UFO Revelations," has long believed that the existence of aliens can easily be reconciled with the Christian faith, claiming (via Press Connects): "Maybe the angels were ETs or aliens in our understanding all along, but they wouldn't use that language in biblical times. The biblical people were way pre-space age. So, to solve the problem is how do we translate or interpret the Bible?" Downing argues that the whole of the Book of Exodus can be interpreted as a story of alien visitation, that the parting of the Red Sea and the book's "pillar of fire" may be explained as ancient instances of extraterrestrial technology. However, his ideas remain a fringe theory and have attracted little in the way of theological consensus.

The Earth is going to explode

One of the major differences between Christian and Jewish beliefs is that Christians believe that the end of the world has been prophesied as a necessary part of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As such, apocalyptic thinking emerges in numerous forms of Christianity, with individuals of all stripes occasionally making public their belief that the end of the world is finally upon us.

Pastor Paul Begley made the headlines in 2020 when he predicted that the world was coming to an end of his birthday — December 21 of that year, according to Lad Bible. People claiming to know the date of the apocalypse isn't exactly new, but what made Begley's prediction so noteworthy was his belief that the Earth itself was due to explode.

In a video shared by the Daily Express, Begley claims that evidence of earthly combustion may be found in 2 Peter 3, which contains the passage (via Bible Gateway): "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." Of course, Begley's prediction did not come true, and he now predicts that the apocalypse will come sometime between 2060 and 2090.