Michael Heiser begins his book “Supernatural” with the question, “Do you really believe what the Bible says?” This is a very important question for us to answer. Most of us would answer quickly in the affirmative. However, in all humility we also understand the Bible says many things that we are not really very aware of. Jesus told us that we need to have eyes to see and ears to hear. This book is one that will open your eyes to see and your ears to hear things in the text that have been there all along but were too easily missed or dismissed. In fact, some of these things were plain to see but we passed right over them. What are some of these things and how did we miss them?
A few of the topics that Dr. Heiser covers in this book (and covers in greater detail in another one of his books The Unseen Realm which I reviewed here) include the the Garden of Eden as the home of God, being made in God’s image, the heavenly hosts/angelic beings, spiritual warfare, salvation as spiritual warfare, the name of God and so much more. Why is this important? This is more than just filling our idle curiosity about the Bible. This is helping us get to know God better and God’s purpose for humanity in a fuller way. This is about gaining a better understanding of God, yourself and the world you live in. I think you will find reading this book not just enlightening but also exciting.
A lot of this book deals with the divine sovereignty. God is a creator and creative God. He is also a God of love who choose to make humanity in his image. He also created non-hman spiritual beings who exist to do his will in the heavenly realms and occasionally in the earthly realm as well. God created these beings, both human and angelic with the ability to choose. This decision on the part of the God of the universe has many implications for the way he rules in the world and the things that he entrusts to his created beings to be his ambassadors in the spheres of creation that God has placed them over. This is part of being made in God’s image and yet with the ability to choose things that mar and distort that image.
Now, this has enormous implications about the way we live our lives. We are not living for ourselves. We are living for God. We are living out his purposes for humanity in the world as his image bearers. That comes with a lot of blessing and a lot of responsibility. That means that we don’t just avoid sin to be a better person. We live a holy life, as best as we are able (and have faith God will take care of the rest and our faults and frailties) because of our divine mandate and mission. So that means we have a sin problem which is the consequence of living in a fallen world and participating in fallen ways of existing. However, we are not left without a solution. God, by his own sovereign authority, provides the solution to us through Jesus Christ. Through Christ we have redemption and we also have the beginning of a renewal of God’s creation back toward it original intention. This is the restoration of a heavenly abode (as Eden had been in the past) where God once again dwells with humanity in perfect harmony.
That isn’t even just true of humans, in a very real sense that is true of the members of the heavenly host as well. They are also able to rebel as we see in the garden with the serpent as well as in the Noah story with the “sons of God”. This book spends a lot of time on divine beings both good and bad. So get ready to learn more about wars in heaven to wars on the earth and the problems of evil, rebellion and sin on both a practical level and a cosmic level. That is quite a hard feat to pull off. Usually people who are able to get their head in the clouds have a hard time pulling it out to talk about real life stuff. Michael Heiser spends a significant amount of each chapter talking about real life implications these things have for us today. I believe you will find that helpful intellectually but also practically.
Here is an interview I recently did with Dr. Heiser where we discuss digging into scripture and how that affects our teaching along with morality and apologetics. If you want to hear more details about this book check out what Dr. Hesier says about his new book. I will also be posting an interview with Dr. Heiser tomorrow.
I’ve read the book and every page was amazing. I’ll need to read it two or three more times to get a true grasp of details I have overlooked or didn’t understand for years. Highly recommended reading for everyone.
Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did! In case you are interested, here is an interview I just did with Dr. Heiser – https://mattdabbs.com/2015/12/15/interview-with-michael-heiser/
Sorry Matt, I was all prepared to order a copy of his more detailed book, ‘Unseen Realm’, that you recommended, when I took a peek at an Amazon snippet of his comments on the Book of Job. His comments on the Adversary (Satan) show that Heiser has totally lost the plot. Evil, stemming from rebelling Guardian angels had existed on Earth since the time of Jared [Genesis 5: 15-20], according to the Book of Enoch, and God had ordered the imprisonment of these rebel Guardians to await future judgement, attested to also by Peter [2 Peter 4] and Jude [Jude 6]. As the Adversary was amongst their ranks, why would God have used him to be His eyes on the ground, seeing He knew what that fallen one was like? It looks, instead, like the Adversary was invited i up to God’s Assembly in order to show that he was powerless to undermine the righteousness of a man whom God had secured for His own (“My servant Job”), and also to reveal his self-condemnation in his attempting to test God [Jesus’s reference to Deuteronomy 6: 16 in Luke 4: 12]. Does it make any sense that God would have an ‘adversary’ functionary, like the mediaeval kings had king’s jesters, if it was forbidden to test or tempt God? A God who understands all things, and from Whom nothing can be hidden, would not need such a being.
As with any book, I did not agree with every point. Still I found much to commend about the book and think it is worth considering and getting familiar with.
Three years later, and I have just come across this comment. Very interesting. I do not follow the objection but would like to understand it better. Regardless, I hope you’ve read The Unseen Realm by now. There is much more gold than dross in that book, and Heiser’s scholarship is impeccable. It would be a pity to miss it over a disagreement over a small point.
Even though Peter/Jude quoted Enoch, his writings are not inspired. You also state: it looks like. This is simply your opinion, which might be right, but maybe not also. Heiser would agree from inspired material. We all should do so as well.
His writings? Enoch’s? You know he didn’t write Enoch.