Doctor Who: Stories From The Scrapheap - THE PSYCHONAUTS

Christopher Morley visits the fields of the Nephilim for another story from the Doctor Who scrapheap.

In this week's rummage through the scrapheap of the many junked adventures for the Doctor, we'll be treading the waters of theology! For we turn our attention to the Nephilim, as mentioned in the Hebrew Bible- writer David Fisher adopting their name for his intended alien race traversing time in sarcophagus-like vessels. The Psychonauts- as the story was titled- would have seen the Fourth Doctor dipping a toe into religious matters in much the same manner as his next incarnation would in Kinda, which can be read as a sort of Biblical allegory in that a serpent ( the Mara) corrupts an Eden-ish paradise. Indeed the name of the Mara itself also belongs to a Buddhist demon....not surprising considering writer Christopher Bailey 's interest in such themes!

And but for the complete lack of interest on the part of new producer John Nathan-Turner, who preferred The Leisure Hive in its intended Season Eighteen slot, much the same thinking might have been applied by Fisher. He'd already written The Stones Of Blood & The Androids Of Tara for Season Sixteen as well as The Creature From The Pit for the next, but it seems even that couldn't change the mind of the man in charge!

What was it that made the Nephilim such an interesting potential subject? There are several possible interpretations of their exact role in the Godly narrative from which Fisher sourced them- one being that they were the offspring of unions between angels of a sort, or ''sons of God'' & mortal women- ''daughters of men'', as set down in Genesis 6:4 of the Hebrew holy text the Torah.
''The Nephilim were in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; the same were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. ''
And yes, that does mean what you think it does! Stop sniggering at the back there. Or as the King James Bible puts it in a more prudish manner:
''There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare[children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which[were] of old, men of renown. ''
This has led many scholars to speculate that the Nephilim were the children of fallen angels, tempted by the charms of good Biblical ladies.
"When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose."
Those naughty boys. Would you Adam & Eve it?

It seems there might have been a bit of confusion going by their second & final mention, in which they've become giants- which the Doctor has of course happened across in Planet Of Giants! The action shifts to Canaan now:
''And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.''
And a little further research reveals that the proper translation of their name is indeed ' giants'.

But there is yet another school of thought, rejected by creationists according to
''There is a popular unbiblical view that the Nephilim are space aliens. ''
They absolutely refute any suggestions that the Nephilim could have been alien in origin, which is exactly what might have intrigued David Fisher enough to propose The Psychonauts in the first place!

Just why is it that they reject the idea outright?
''The notion of alien life does not square well with Scripture. The earth is unique. God designed the earth for life. The other planets have an entirely different purpose than does the earth, and thus, they are designed differently. In Genesis 1 we read that God created plants on the earth on Day 3, birds to fly in the atmosphere and marine life to swim in the ocean on Day 5, and animals to inhabit the land on Day 6. Human beings were also made on Day 6 and were given dominion over the animals. But where does the Bible discuss the creation of life on the “lights in the expanse of the heavens”? There is no such description because the lights in the expanse were not designed to accommodate life. God gave care of the earth to man, but the heavens are the Lord’s. From a biblical perspective, extraterrestrial life does not seem reasonable. ''
Spoilsports! Further rain is then poured on our parade.
''Problems are multiplied when we consider the possibility of intelligent alien life. Science fiction programming abounds with races of people who evolved on other worlds. We see examples of Vulcans and Klingons —pseudohumans similar to us in most respects but different in others. As a plot device, these races allow the exploration of the human condition from the perspective of an outsider. Although very entertaining, such alien races are theologically problematic. Intelligent alien beings cannot be redeemed. God’s plan of redemption is for human beings: those descended from Adam.''.
Bad news for Spock & Worf, then! And come to think of it, the Doctor too!

Warped Factor
Daily features, news and reviews from the world of geek!