p.7a The divine council in Eden
What would you say, if your pastor told you that Satan is not the Devil, and that there was a headquarters for a Divine species of true Gods in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and that the Serpent was one of the True Gods in the Garden with them.
As you will see, Heiser teaches nearly the same things the Gnostics and others believe, that (Satan was a true God and faithful servant of God, even through much of the Old Testament time period.)
People must understand that Mr. Heiser is not teaching from a Hebrew /Jewish perspective but from the Ugarit pagan perspective that he blends with, syncretized with the Hebrew Scripture. His wrong approach has him focus on the Ugarit writings as the basis for understanding the Scripture.
How Eden went wrong according the new mythology of Michael Heiser. I say this is his mythology because there is little left of the Bible as he has synthesized the Ugarit teachings into the biblical record.
Heiser has made it into an unbiblical story where he inserts characters and events from outside the Bible into the Bible. His Bible story from Genesis is reconstructed that it sounds more akin to the myths and fables from Ugarit paganism than from the Bible.
Heiser states Yahweh, established his kingdom on earth in Eden, it became His home and the central operation of the other Elohim gods who lived there. That divine beings lived alongside human beings from the beginning. Where is that in Scripture?
Heiser presents “The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos.” (Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings)
Where does the Bible specifically show this? I know he finds a way to weasel it in but its just not there. There is no mention of any of this in Genesis but that’s not a problem for Heiser who searches elsewhere outside the Scripture from myths in the Ugarit or non canonical books (Like Enoch).
Furthermore, Heiser says God has a pantheon, a council of gods, which is still in existence today. that means many gods.
This would include God as the head of his heavenly council. So they are all active, except for one point, we can’t find their activity in the Scriptures. Where are they? It would be easier to find waldo blindfolded.
Heiser, tells us, “An ancient Israelite would have thought of Eden as the dwelling of God and the place from which God and his council directed the affairs of humanity… Eden is described in Ezekiel 28:2 as the ‘seat of the gods.’”
He says that gods ruled the earth from Eden, extended over the earth, what Bible is he reading? Its not there, but it is there in the Ugarit, apparently he thinks the Ugarit is divinely inspired which makes the Bible not divinely inspired.
Heiser believes the divine council lived and ruled in Eden before the fall,
that for a time the “gods” lived among the two humans Adam and Eve. (Sounds
like movie you may have watched) So we understand from his view, at least
superficially they were there before man was created. This cannot be
validated, the Scripture says that God (singular) visited Adam and Eve in
the garden each day, God is the only one they spoke to, the only being
among them. The only ‘other being ‘who visited in the garden was the Devil
who is called the Serpent, who is Satan (according to the Bible) The main problem with Heiser’s
theory is that there is no mention of this council in Scripture in Genesis
where it supposed to have began. It is God who visited the man and woman in the
afternoon, he did not dwell among them, nor is there any other mentioned
that did. This is all unbiblical theoretical assumptions. Especially that
the serpent is of of the elohim (gods, sons of god).
We do find in 2 Cor. 11:3 says “as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness” And in full context Paul says in v.14 “ For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” Is the same description of the serpent in Eden (one that Heiser himself uses).
Who is this serpent? The last book of the Bible written by the apostle John tells us the very thing Heiser insists is not there. Rv. 12:9 “That serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan…” Rv. 20:2 “the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan” They are all descriptive of the same being. But Heiser does not accept this.
Heiser writes, “Yahweh had announced his intention to create humankind as his imagers (Gen 1:26). The council members heard that these humans, new members in Yahweh’s family, would be tasked with overspreading the earth, advancing God’s kingdom rule. They were Yahweh’s choice to be stewardkings over a global Eden under his authority. We’ll soon see that one divine being dissented.”
That my friends is nearly identical to Mormonism, and he is making the same error.
“With Eden the divine had come to earth, and earth would be brought into conformity. Humans were created to enjoy everlasting access to God’s presence, working side by side with God’s loyal elohim.” (Unseen Realm)
Where do you find this mentioned in the Bible? You can’t, you must go to other non canonical books to use and reinterpret Genesis. This is where his myth making can get dangerous if accepted. Especially when using non canonical books like Enoch.
Since there’s nothing written on this in Scripture we are into a fantasy story (a myth) that he has synthesized into the Bible. “myths taught that a Ugaritic council met in a garden similar to Eden (p. 49). In other words a myth says this so the bible must mean this too.
According to the Bible Adam and Eve were told to rule over the animals and care for the area of land given to them (Eden). When they fell they were removed from the garden by God and their dominion command was over. No other being was consulted in this act. The only other creature there was Satan and he was already fallen.
“ancient near east people alleged that animals could speak which is why Eve was not surprised when the serpent spoke to her” (p. 73).
Heiser admits this teaching is from the pagan cultures that God himself forbade Israel to copy. However, Heiser does not believe this is a creature in the garden so his point is moot. Heiser states of this action of the serpent, “The truth is that an ancient reader would not have expected Eve to be frightened. Given the context— she was in Eden, the realm of Yahweh and his elohim council—it would have been clear that she was conversing with a divine being. As we’ve seen in earlier chapters, the biblical author has telegraphed that Eve was on divine turf.”
The Bible clearly shows the serpent is fallen, a liar and an opposer of good, the Gnostics thought of him as a divine being. The serpent is not divine. Israel who were faithful would consult from Gods word, Heiser is making this up.
The first one to ever sin was Satan, and the first sin was the sin of pride in heaven. If the serpent is not Satan, then the serpent becomes the originator of sin through Eve on earth, and not the Day star falling, becoming Satan in heaven. Biblically, Satan is the originator. He was followed by one third of the entire angelic host (Rev. 12:3-4. In this way, the daystar, son of the morning, became Satan, the adversary.
Every portion of his theory has Biblical problems as he tries to fit it with the Biblical text. God pronounces it all good, it was without sin. So why would he commission Adam and Eve to bring perfection elsewhere on earth when there was no sin? Where can Heiser point to in Scripture for his postulations that they would become Gods as part of a divine council? This is all fantasy.
“Eden can only be properly understood in light of the worldview the biblical writers shared with other people of the ancient Near East. (p.44)
He proposes you cannot understand it from the Bible, no, you need the pagans myths to help just like Heiser used.
“An ancient Israelite would have thought of Eden as the dwelling of God and the place from which God and his council direct the affairs of humanity. The imagery is completely consistent with how Israel’s neighbors thought about their gods.” (Unseen Realm)
Says who? God directs from heaven not earth, Heiser is making this up. Who cares what Israel’s “neighbors” thought about their Gods, The true God has spoken on these other gods and has said to have nothing to do with them. Israel’s neighbors (their enemies) were pagans, and Israel was not, unless they backslid. So Heiser is actually telling people that the Genesis account is like the pagans?
“What we’ve seen in this and earlier chapters about Eden, God, and his divine council prepares us for the answers. … We need to lay our theological systems aside, answer these questions like an ancient Israelite would have, and embrace the results.” (Unseen Realm)
There it is, abandon the truth you hold on this and follow his ?Myth. And so we begin to address the real problem, Heiser’s ‘new’ Christianity. To answer like an ancient Israelite, we would go to the Bible, not other books like he suggests.
On his website His statement of faith, showing what he believes is not fully honest because of what he teaches. https://inquisitivechristianity.org/index.php/blogs/blogs-michael-s-heiser/13-ministry-philosophy/117-statement-of-faith
For example he teaches elsewhere that Adams sin is not passed on but he says in this statement, “the whole race was plunged into condemnation and death so that now all human beings are born with a sin nature.”
Heiser rejects the doctrine that the sin nature was passed on from Adam. So where does it come from?
“the person Adam is mentioned only two times in the entire Old Testament . One reference is a genealogy (1 Chron 1:1). The other is Hosea 6:7 which reads: “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.” Not surprisingly (to me anyway ), there is no mention here of Adam’s original sin being transmitted to the rest of humanity. Instead, Adam’s transgression of his relationship to God is used as an analogy to covenant violation of Israel. Eve is never mentioned in the OT after Genesis 4:1. (Adam’s Sin and Old Testament Theology Posted by DrHeiser | Aug 2, 2009) underline mine
Here we have Heiser challenging the Scripture itself and putting blame on Paul who giving us a direct revelation from God. Heiser questions this like true skeptic ignoring the continuation of revelation.
Heiser rejects the doctrine that the sin nature was passed on from Adam. So where does it come from?
“Eve is never mentioned in the OT after Genesis 4:1. (ibid.) underline mine. Eve may not be mentioned but Adam certainly is (he is mentioned 3 times elsewhere apart from Genesis and 10 times altogether). The seed is through the man, this is why the begot’s have the men mentioned, not women.
To also say Adam’s original sin being transmitted to the rest of humanity is not found in the Old Testament is just more bad bible teaching. He seemed to miss what is said, in the same manner he profusely used the book of Job to prove his teaching that Satan is not the Serpent, nor the Devil.
However we find this said in Job 31:33 “If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom”
Hmm, that seems to directly mention Adam and his sin.
2 Peter 3:15-16 “our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. ”
This is not an analogy of Adam but a hard look at the reality of what changed man and the world. Paul gives a more theological explanation than the law as a mirror that addressed man’s sinfulness from his fallen nature. It’s not guilt but a sin nature that through ones conscience produces the guilt of doing wrong. It is shame and guilt people want to avoid so they can enjoy life freely unhindered in doing wrong.
So why did Cain and Abel bring a sacrifice if there was no sin for them to deal with, (it does not say they sinned specifically), and why does it say in Gn. 4:4 “The LORD respected Abel and his offering” (see Heb.11:4). Because it was the living blood sacrifice of Abel that made it acceptable.
Gen 4:5-7 “And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
God was saying to Cain If you do well, will you not be accepted? (Gen 4:7), in other words do what is required. Clearly Cain was sinful before he was a murderer.
This goes back to when God sacrificed the first animal and covered Adam and Eve in its skin, giving a physical illustration that their sins were to be covered by the death of animal. We find later the principle of all living creatures, as God reveals more Lev. 17:11 for ...the life of the flesh is in the blood...it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul .”
When Adam and Eve had children, Adam’s image and likeness was passed along to his offspring (Genesis 5:3). Along with His image of God contained the contamination of sin. This is why Paul and others refer to Sin entering the world through the first man, and with sin came death, both spiritual and physical. The nature of sin always leads to death (see also Romans 6:23) Romans 6:6 speaks of “the body ruled by sin. So I guess you might as well rip these pages out of your Bible.
So it may be justified to ask, does Michael Heiser understand the doctrine of sin, the sinful nature of man.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. ” (1 Corinthians 15:22, KJV) True or false is what is needed to be answered on this Scripture.
Heiser does not accept the doctrine of Adams sin nature passed down to us through Adam and that we do not share Adam’s nature passed on. This is of the utmost importance because if one does not have Genesis right then the rest of the Bible built on it cannot be right either. So Cain who committed murder did not have sin within him when he disobeyed what to bring as a sacrifice? Scripture teaches He did not become a sinner when he killed Abel, for he already was one.
Heb. 12:24 ‘Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” What does Jesus’ blood do, it forgives sins, animals blood only covered sin temporarily. Consider that Abel brought a live sacrifice that was accepted by God, Cain did not, he brought the work of his hands which was not accepted. The irony is that he was so he filled with guilt and shame he killed his brother, spilling his blood (instead of a sacrifice of an animal as God required.)
Now that we have established from the Bible a sacrificial system was for sin, let’s look at specific statements of the residing sin nature in all men.
Jeremiah says, “the human heart is desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), Jesus expanded on the heart being deceitful and explained this Old Testament scripture. Matt 15:18-20:
“those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man “ (Mk.7:21)
Sin is not just something you do physically, it is within you.
This is why Jesus taught 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' (Matt 22:37)
The heart the innermost part of man, his soul/ spirit is desperately wicked
1 Sam 16:7 For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. For it is the inward man is what matters
And this is why one must have Genesis correct or they will not have anything else after correct.
King David says in Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me .” This is why we All die because all have sin (Rom.3:23), even before birth as a child being formed he had sin, All sin because they have the nature of fallen Adam passed on with Gods image. David concludes his being was made with sin.
In Job 15:14 (the oldest book of in the Bible) he asks “What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous ?”
Job 25:4 “ How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?”
The answer is obvious if one thinks biblically. This is why Paul wrote from the Old Testament there is none righteous.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” You would think that if one did not have sin within they would not sin.
As far back as in Gen.8:21 “. . . the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” This is including his childhood back when his thoughts begin.
Does one have to make an argument that it’s not found in the Old Testament when it is found numerous times in the New Testament? Does Heiser want us to reject the New Testament revelation on this? Does he?
If we do not inherit the sin nature from Adam then where sin and death come from? Do we just decide to do what is wrong, or do we all have an inclination to disobey.
The answer is in Romans 5:18 -19 says, " through one man's trespass, judgment came to all men, for by one man's disobedience all were made sinners .” Thus we are all condemned and need salvation (Jn.3). Only Adam became a sinner by sinning (Eve was deceived into sin). This is written because the gospel is to both Jews and gentiles, to show the whole of humanity is sinful, guilty of disobedience before a holy God.
I have said Mr. Heiser is NOT a good theologian, he’s showing us that he is NOT even a good Bible teacher. To take this position goes against everything in the Bible. This would be classified at best as postmodernism.
Sin is why we all fall short of the glory of God, we have sin residing in us from Adam. Man is born to sin, but he is not born a slave to sin. He becomes this by habitually yielding himself to his sin nature.
Rom. 7:15 Paul describes his condition after he was saved. Rom. 7:17 “ it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” V.18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing."’ Sin is not just something we do it is within us and we act on it. We still have it residing within us, it doesn’t go away, but with the Holy Spirit we have power to resist it and obey righteousness.
There is only one Person born in the history of the world who did not have a sin nature: Jesus Christ. He had to have a virgin birth to bypass this nature passed down from Adam. Born of the seed of the woman (Gn.3:15) he bypassed the sin nature of man for him to have sinless blood. For the life of man is in the blood. This is why Jesus could live a sinless life, he who “had no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was “the Holy and Righteous One” (Acts 3:14) I John 3:5 says, “And you know he appeared to take away our sins, and in him, THERE IS NO SIN. Jesus could be sacrificed on the cross as our perfect substitute, because he was “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19). Col. 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Eph. 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood.”
What is Heiser saying? That no one was born with a sin nature, so anyone could live to be sinless just like Jesus. Exactly how does one become sinful? Does sinning become spontaneous?
If Jesus could not sin, not inheriting a sin nature, do others? Yes, according to Heiser. Does Heiser understand what sin is to take this position? This would mean we are all born innocent, perfect and good, to be sinless.
If humanity does not have sin, would we not find at least one person out of the billions of people born other than Jesus that never sinned?
Eph.2:3 we are all “by nature children of wrath.” If we are all “by nature children of wrath,” then we are born condemned and need salvation. This can only be because we are all by nature are sinful. If all are born perfect (without a sin nature) why would everyone sin. And could Jesus have sinned since he was not born with sin? Think about it.
Consider this as an all qualifying statement not by Paul but John, I Jn. 1:8 “If we say that we have NO SIN, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is NOT in us.”
It’s not saying if we say we never sinned, but have no sin, not now, not
“in 1 John 1:8 we have the denial of the principle of sin. David Smith observes that the claim to personal perfectionism has two causes, one the stifling of conscience in making God a liar pseusteen (NT:5517), the word used of the devil by Jesus in John 8:44), and the other ignorance of God's word, which is not in us, else we should not make such a claim." (from Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament)
for more on our sin nature: http://www.letusreason.org/Doct21.htm