Michael Heiser’s– The Unseen Realm– Part Nine

BEN: Another good text, which as you say is a crux, is worth some discussion--- Gal. 3.19. You suggest that Gal. 3.19, suggests that the intermediary is God in human form. This explanation doesn’t work. An intermediary, whoever he is, is a go between between two parties, in this case between God and his people. The very contrast in the sentence ‘now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one’ makes clear Paul is ruling out God as the intermediary, all the more so if, as you argue … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s– Unseen Realm– Part Eight

BEN: Let’s talk about the baptism scene of Jesus in Mark 1 for a moment and about Israel in the NT. I was surprised that you simply followed R. Watts take that what was going on there as the new Exodus and you say nothing about the use of apocalyptic language to describe the scene. For instance, it’s the sky which cracks, not the water, and not even while Jesus is under the water, but when he’s coming out of it, and only then does he see the Spirit and hear the heavenly voice which ident … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s– The Unseen Realm– Part Seven

BEN: Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the book----- —“If God foreknows some event that happens then he may have predestined that event. But the fact that he foreknew an event does not require its predestination if it happens…. Since foreknowledge doesn’t require predestination, foreknown events that happen may or may not have been predestined.” (p. 65). So which events do you think are predestined by God? Presumably not sin and evil.MIKE: Agreed. I don’t think God causatively predest … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm— Part Six

BEN: One of my favorite ideas from this book is the notion of the mosaic when it comes to how the OT images the future in prophecy and other sorts of literature. I think you are absolutely right that the OT prophecy and the psalms etc. are opaque when it comes to speaking about the future--- the prophets are deliberately general or cryptic when talking especially about the more distant future, or they choose highly poetic and hyperbolic language that shouldn’t be over-pressed. I agree with you … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm– Part Five

BEN: Unpack for us why a righteous God would abandon the sinful nations (i.e. the non-Israel nations) to lesser elohim rulers. This doesn’t seem much like either the righteous or merciful God whose original intent was that all his creatures would be part of his family. This seems to be one of your major ideas in the book, and I agree that there is some evidence for it, for example the discussion of the princes in Daniel or angels of nations. Doesn’t this raise questions about God’s chara … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm– Part Five

BEN: Another thing that puzzled me was you don’t ever discuss the Hebrew concept of shaliach, or agent--- “a man agent is as himself”. The agent of a person who sends him out as a messenger or active emissary has authorized the agent to speak for him and as him and act for him, but his is clearly a derived authority. It seems to me that this better explains the places where the ‘malak’ who is clearly not God in any sense, speaks and acts for God, for instance in the Abraham and the three visit … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm– Part Four

BEN: In various places in the OT, seeing the idea and presence of the divine council seems a no brainer. But I must confess I have a hard time seeing it in the Garden in Genesis. God’s appearance in the Garden after the sin, doesn’t really tell us what things were like before then, and the angels who guard the back door when Adam and Eve are expelled, do not seem to be in evidence before then. And to press one more point, nothing in Gen. 1-3 suggests that a mountain is in view, only a gar … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm– Part Three

BEN: Much of your case depends on the starting point of what’s going on in Eden. I completely agree with your repeated argument that God created those in his image with a measure of freedom of choice, indeed the power of contrary choice. This is unlike what Jonathan Edwards once suggested, namely freedom of choice means one doesn’t feel compelled to do X or Y, even though your choices were decided in advance by God’s predeterminations. In other words, God programmed risk into his plan from t … [Read more...]

Michael Heiser’s– The Unseen Realm Part Two

BEN: Let’s address a difficult issue. You are arguing, rightly in my view, that we must understand the OT in light of its ANE contexts. Fair enough. But what happens when we realize that the OT writers are borrowing ideas and terms from mythological literature in these other cultures. Are we supposed to simply embrace the mythology as if it was reality? For example, as you point out, the ancients thought stars were heavenly beings, the heavenly host, not merely pieces of inanimate m … [Read more...]