Ronald Gregg Dupree, Jr.
- Mike Heiser is a very gifted thinker, researcher, and communicator. The content of this book is not flippant or off-the-cuff. You can tell the ideas presented are forged from years of world-class study, peer-review, and work from both Heiser and the work of many others whom he has interacted with and references. Unseen Realm distills a lot of research work and information in a way that is very accessible to non-specialists. However, for those interested and motivated, he provides copious footnotes and breadcrumbs for people to go and research further for themselves. There are additional notes and bibliography on the companion website moreunseenrealm.com that are quite good. The target audience for the book seems to be people who take Scripture seriously and are motivated to understand it as best they can. I think this book is invaluable for this kind of person. As for me, I’ve been a committed Christian who has taken Scripture seriously for over thirty years. I’m not a formally trained biblical scholar or theologian (I have an engineering degree and make software for a living). However, I’ve spent a good bit of time interacting with many different people, ideas, and writing of various Christian theological traditions. I’ve followed Mike’s work for a while; honestly, this book, along with Mike’s other work, has opened up Scripture for me more than anything else I’ve come across. Those ‘odd’ passages are much less ‘odd’ now. Also, I’m inclined to see almost everything through a much more spiritual lens now. One other thing I really appreciate about this book is its lack of ‘cheerleading’ for any specific theological tradition or doctrinal distinctive. So much evangelically oriented writing includes the writer continually working in whatever their particular ‘hobby horses’ happen to be (Calvinism, egalitarianism, a particular eschatological system, etc.), even when it’s only marginally or not even relevant to the overall topic being written about. This book stays committed to its topic and really is committed to getting the best understanding of Scripture in its original context without having to annoy and distract the reader with an author’s ‘hobby horses’. Overall, I think this book may be a bit ‘ahead of its time’. I’m not sure a lot of Christians are seriously ready to interact with how the Biblical authors really conceived of the ‘Unseen Realm’. Over time, I think more and more Christians will have to decide if the can really, actually, believe the things the Biblical authors believed about divine beings and their role in the cosmos, and what bearing that should have on their life as a disciple of King Jesus.
- "One other thing I really appreciate about this book is its lack of ‘cheerleading’ for any specific theological tradition or doctrinal distinctive." Really? You thought so? I had rather the opposite impression of the book. It seemed that Heiser's entire conception of the Imago Dei, and his conclusion that angels are given the same status of image bearers, were predicated entirely on a basically Arminian (or Roman Catholic) doctrine of the free will of man.