What does it mean that God presides over an assembly of divine beings (Psa 82:1)?
How are we to understand when those beings participate in God’s decisions (1 Kings 22:1923)?
Why wasn’t Eve surprised when the serpent spoke to her (Gen 3:1-4)?
Why are Yahweh and his Angel fused together in Jacob’s prayer (Gen 48:15-16)?
How did descendants of the Nephilim (Gen 6:4) survive the flood (Num 13:33)?
What are we to make of Peter and Jude’s belief in imprisoned spirits (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6)?
Why is baptism linked to the flood and these imprisoned spirits (1 Pet 3:18-22)?
Why does Paul describe evil spirits in geographical rulership terms (thrones, principalities, rulers, authorities)?
Who are the “glorious ones” that even angels dare not rebuke (2 Pet 2:10-11)?
These, and other related questions, are all considered in Michael Heiser’s book The Unseen Realm.
The Unseen Realm
The Unseen Realm presents what the Bible says about the world of the supernatural.
In The Unseen Realm, Dr. Heiser shines a light on the supernatural world. His goal is not a trendy, new perspective, but a very ancient one. He wants to demonstrate how thoughtful people can read the Bible with the ancient eyes of the biblical readers and writers. When today’s pastors and scholars see the Bible through the ancient supernatural worldview of the original writers, the message of Scripture is unfiltered and comes into focus. Thoroughly researched and rooted in peer-reviewed scholarship, this study will benefit beginning student and researcher alike.
If you are like me, you might be a little tired of hearing about the supernatural realm, but this book was insightful and creative and helped me think through a few issues I have been wanting to study further for quite some time.
For example, I think Heiser is exactly right about what it means for humans to be made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27), and I really liked his discussion of the Nephilim in Genesis 6:1-4. I will be discussing these sort of texts in my podcast (Launching in about ten days!), so stay tuned.
One thing I also really liked about this book is how Heiser shows the numerous parallels between biblical literature and extra-biblical literature, especially in the creation story, the flood account, the building of the tower of Babel, and the various descriptions in Scripture about the abode of God. The Bible was not written in a vacuum, but shares many of the supernatural worldview elements of its Babylonian, Egyptian, and Canaanite counterparts.
Ultimately, Heiser’s book is a survey of the Bible from a supernatural perspective, and if you are interested in understanding the spiritual real more deeply, this would be a good book to read.
Here is a video which tells you more about the book: