I’m finally putting this down on the keyboard! To my regular readers: I’m sorry for leaving you hanging with no word of warning. I’ve been in Japan for the last two weeks – 97% involved in my volunteer work/life, 2.5% involved in keeping in touch with home, and 0.5% involved in this blog. To be fair, I’ll take this opportunity to let you know that I will probably not post again until Saturday next week. Please bear with me; I’ll be home in Cambodia soon and my schedule should return to normal.
I like when a book has something about it that I can pinpoint and say, “this sets it apart from all others I’ve read.” The unique qualities of a story are what make it memorable. As I write this, I’m reading This Present Darkness, and the one thing that sets it apart from other books I’ve read is obvious:
Angels and demons.
I don’t just mean mentions of the spiritual beings here and there. Rather, author Frank Peretti has included entire scenes that center on the discussions and activities of those beings. We see them as they work to intercede for their human charges and manipulate their surroundings to alter the course of events.
These scenes include the names of individuals (both angels and demons), hierarchal orders of command, descriptions of their physical appearance, wings, swords and smoke/light trails. It also includes details which I question; a powerful demon casts a weaker demon into “the abyss,” angels have different nationalities according to the countries of the earth, an angel questions the orders received from a higher ranking angel.
First of all, I hope that we all understand a lot of it is the author’s interpretation. If you and I are going to read his novel on spiritual warfare, I think we ought to give him the freedom to express his understanding of these things to the extent that they don’t contradict Scripture.
I’ve begun to draft this post multiple times, each draft centered on the question, “is this book noble and right to address the topic of angels and demons with so much of the author’s personal interpretation.” But with each draft, I felt the need to try again. My question sounded judgemental and unreasonable to my own ears.
Was it my place to determine whether or not the book is noble and right? I already believe it doesn’t affect our salvation, so am I being too particular or too harsh in concerning myself with secondary and tertiary matters to such a detailed extent? When is enough enough?
On the one hand:
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.
-1 Corinthians 4:3-4
On the other hand:
The person with the Spirit makes judgements about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgements, for,
“who has know the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
-1 Corinthians 2:15-16
In the end, there are some things we’ll never know for sure here and now. So how tightly ought we to hold to some of these things? After all, David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he wrote:
My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
What do you think?
- Have you ever read Piercing the Darkness or its sequel?
- When should we insist on theological correctness or objectiveness in the novels we read?
- When should we just relax and enjoy a good Christian book?