I have decided to divert the topic to avoid boredom and predictability in my blog. Previously, I have discussed about popular manifestation of Torah’s violation especially 7th (celebrity narcissism), 8th (usury and paper money), and 9th (advertisement and positive thinking). Now, I think I want to discuss about mysticism, extraterrestrial beings, and psychic phenomena.
The irony for easy accessibility for any information is that you will have a hard time determining which information is true or most accurate and which one is false. It happens during discussion and debate. It seems that many people have spoken good points but their views are contradicting with each others.
To make it more complicated, it is well-known that human have something called cognitive bias. Cognitive bias means that we consciously or unconsciously filter information that we got and only receive or remember what we want to hear for it does not violate our beliefs, values and experiences. Although probably opposing views are true but we are repeatedly ignoring it, ridiculing it, or trying to forget it until we are convinced that our view is right.
It also happened in the case of Bible, Christian’s sacred scripture. For example: In the previous decades, Pentecostalism and Charismatic movement grew in unprecedented rate. It is quite common to encounter people which told congregation he got divine message from God or have been brought to heaven and/or hell. In some cases, their description of heaven and hell is even clearer than Bible.
So how should we treat these revelations? Is it as authoritative as Bible? Since Bible also consists of past miracles and revelations, what make it superior compared to current ones?
Another debate is about whether non-canonical ancient sources (like Gnostic Gospels, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha) should be viewed as reliable. Can we use these materials to support our theological stands? If there are several views for a particular topic in Bible (like angels and demons), is the view that have corroboratory evidence from these sources considered stronger than other views that are only supported in Bible verses but contradicting these sources?
I will not pretend that I have known the answer. As for my stand, I am open to possibility of extra-biblical revelations and truth outside canon. But I still have difficulty to decide which one should be accepted or rejected.
In this post I will post my summary and commentary for Book of Enoch. It is one of most popular pseudepigrapha that contains information about angels, demons and Nephilim (the result of intercourse between woman and angels – which are giants). I choose this book because of its heavy mystical contents (I decided to talk about mysticism, remember?). I will leave readers to decide themselves whether it is true or not.
All quotation and information presented in this post is originated from Books of Enoch by Joseph B. Lumpkin. The front screenshot is shown below:
Most scholars date the Book of Enoch to be written around 2nd century BC. It was considered inspired by certain Jewish sects on 1st century BC and remained popular for at least five hundred years. A lot of first century Christians also accepted Book of Enoch as inspired, if not authentic. They relied on it to understand the origin and purpose of many things, from angels to win, sun, and stars.
The Bible itself also made a quote from Book of Enoch, namely Jude 1: 14-15 (NIV) which is direct quotation from 1 Enoch 1: 9:
14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
The content of the book is mainly about how God’s angels was lured by their lust to have sexual intercourse with women on earth and made them pregnant. Their descendants, called Nephilim, become huge giants which seem to be cannibalistic and oppressed humans. After knowing this, God sent His angels to execute punishment and made fallen angels bounded on earth. Their leaders were captured and sent to prison on earth.
Actually, the Bible also mentioned this event in Genesis 6: 1-2 but in less clear way:
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.
Now, there are two views regarding the identity of ‘sons of God’ in second verse. First view which is popular now is that ‘sons of God’ simply unrighteous descendants of Noah who married to daughters of righteous people. Another view is more straight forward: Since the term ‘sons of God’ in Old Testament always refers to angels it is more reasonable to conclude that they were really angels.
In addition, majority of church fathers also believed that it referred to angels instead of humans. For further details, you may see the post by this guy. He gave series of good argument about why the view that they were angels are more defensible than humans.
Many church fathers also supported Enochian writing. Justin Martyr ascribed all evil to demons whom he alleged to be the offspring of he angels ho fell through lust for women. Second and third century church fathers like Irenaeus, Origen and Clement of Alexandria seemed to have accepted Enoch as authentic. Tertullian even called the Book of Enoch as Holy Scripture.
Considering that Book of Enoch is quoted from Bible and accepted by many church theologians around first and second century, I think this book deserves more examination which I will do in my next post.