I got asked this today. I’m not sure how you respond except along the lines that anything God says is important. As for whether I am overemphasizing angels, emphasis arguments are tricky, subjective, and almost always impossible to prove. So enough with that.
On Facebook I had been posting Bible verses on angels and nephilim. Just the verses, mind you. It’s funny to watch the reactions on what people *think* I *really mean* by that. While my meme skills are legendary, this is an example of God-tiered levels of trolling.
But I suppose I should answer the question, and it is a good question, if misdirected. I suppose I could get one of those black highlighters the CIA uses and use it every time the Bible says “angel.” Here we go:
- I read Hebrew and Greek, and what I read in there doesn’t match with pop culture.
- I have evangelized people in the occult and New Age on this topic.
- I want to correct any unexamined pop-culture-It’s a Beautiful Life conceptions I might have on angels.
I thought I had more reasons, but those are important. To be fair, I did once think about creating the “Enoch Intelligence Agency,” but the funding fell through. That might, just might have been an over-emphasis.
The link above has my conclusions on the spirit realm. People aren’t trying to challenge the logic of those. They usually just say, “Heiser uses the Pseudepigrapha .” Um. Okay. Not sure what that has to do with me. I’ve actually never read Enoch, and I deliberately don’t pin any arguments on whether the Watchers descended on Mt Hermon.
I hold to inerrancy, but here is the problem: Jude quotes Enoch. Jude quoted the Pseudepigrapha . That doesn’t bother me, and most would say, “Well, Paul quoted a pagan.” True. But Jude said Enoch said that. Jude is thinking that Enoch wrote it. We have some problems:
- Jude was simply wrong, even if he was under the inspiration of the Spirit.
- Enoch did actually say that six thousand years ago and the Book of Enoch conveniently echoed that.
- Enoch did say that and there was an identifiable Enochian tradition which formed the worldview of 1st Century Jews. And since inspiration usually isn’t God employing a trance-writer, but naturally using the faculties, we can only say that God used the (correct) worldview of Jude (and Peter).
(3) is the only option. (1) says God lies. (2) is interesting but impossible to prove. Even worse, it is a logical fallacy.
Not my favorite text, actually, but quite readable.
William Stringfellow and Walter Wink did a good job, in their own ways, of recovering demonology/angelology in the wake of the social science revolution. There’s no reason, in my mind, why talk about structural forces, at the local, nationa, and supra-national level, and spirit beings cannot overlap or even be synonymous. Why do we assume sociological phenomena are, by default, without intellect or agency, or why do we assume spirit beings work at the same level of bodily, earthy creatures, at the level of Saved by an Angel. There’s even spooky work on the psychological permeability between people(s). American Individualism not only has attempted to hide or ignore broader sociological and structural forces, but, conveniently, functionally deny spiritual forces, or (as you point out) turn them into spoofs, in movies, halloween costumes, and pop culture etc.
If I may allude to something Agent Scully once said, “Wink did a good job showing the pieces but he never grasped the connection.” Wink is absolutely correct that the OT doesn’t talk about a Satan figure that we do. Wink misses the rest of the boat, but he did get me thinking. It was up to Heiser to properly draw the connection.
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