procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This Present Darkness

no, not my 3 month absence from blogging (however dark that might seem), but the 1986 bestseller (2.5mil sold) by Frank E. Peretti.

it's the book i chose to take on my honeymoon, mainly because it was a paperback and Calvin's Institutes was a hardback. but the recommendation for the book actually came from one of my lecturers, who billed it as:
"before there was Left Behind, there was Frank E. Peretti".

what i most enjoyed about this novel was the way it tried to minimise (erase) the distance between the earthly and the spiritual. it offers an example for anyone who's struggled to understand the biblical ideas of e.g. Ephesians 6:12; "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."

on the earthly, we see the godly pastor Hank (yes, it is American) with his small yet faithful flock, but also the popular megachurch pastor Oliver Young - perhaps so named because of his involvement with new-age stuff - who is part of a group who are taking over town after town to turn them into centres for their deeper spirituality.

but on the spiritual, we see this deeper spirituality is only what the demons convince their people it is - the reader knows better. the reader sees the demons with their talons stuck into people's heads, whispering lies to them. the saints of Hank's church we see are those who give power to the angels; as they gather more prayer support, the energy of the angels increases accordingly.

now, there are already some questionable things here, such as how reliant God is on our prayers to accomplish his work, but it's just so engrossing! as demons are defeated we see people released from their grip, freed from the prince of the air, and putting their life into God's hands. people become Christians, the wicked are struck down, God's saints are vindicated even though they are broken.

yes, the "new age spiritualities" are very caricatured, and the spiritual cause of things is realised in a way with no basis whatsoever (as when the car conks out because an angel has thrust their sword through the engine), but it is a novel.

it was a ripping yarn, a good holiday read. i'm still not sure whether i'll make it to the sequels (piercing the darkness and prophet). perhaps i now need to try one of the left behind series for a bit of comparison.

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Anonymous Fatima said...

Good to see you blogging again
I have missed you r discussions
I have a question that I would like some enlightenment on
1 Peter 1:8-12 (New International Version)
12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
My question regards the last sentence.
Who are the angels, but more specifically, why do they not already know “these things”?

5:11 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

cheers for dropping by
Calvin says:
The passage indeed admits of a twofold meaning; either that the treasure we have in the gospel fills the angels with a desire to see it, as it is a sight especially delightful to them; or that they anxiously desire to see the kingdom of Christ, the living image of which is set forth in the gospel. But the last seems to me to be the most suitable meaning.

'to look' is παρακύπτω in the aorist, so summarising their action of desiring to 'look through, lean into'.
Not sure if that helps, but there are 2 options:
1/ either they're feeling left out and really wanting to understand it (Cf. Hebrews chapter 1 where the author explains how Jesus didn't come for the angels, but for us); or
2/ they're wanting to see the fulfilment of the gospel, the final salvation of sinners.

how does that work with you? that's my quick thoughts anyway!

5:33 pm  
Anonymous Fatima said...

Thanks for your comments

I have been doing some more thinking, and have come across Romans 8:19 – “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed” - which both Calvin and your second thought seem to support – the angels being part of creation.

I thought that the angels would have known 'everything'. Ephesians 3:10 – “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”
However, putting this together with Romans 8 and 1 Peter 1, it seems that while the angels know many things, God has chosen not reveal everything yet – not even to the angels.

Does this work?

10:00 pm  
Blogger psychodougie said...

it's good to remember the angels' place in God's plan.

ό ἀγγελος simply means messenger. and that's all they are. which is pretty amazing - being God's messengers. but it doesn't mean they're privy to everything - it's a bit of a 'need-to-know' basis.

note Eph 3.10 says 'now' (so not previously) and 'made known' (they wouldn't know unless they were specifically told)

like your work.

10:05 am  

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