Michael S. Heiser: How Do Sacred and Natural History Entwine?

Michael Heiser pursues his exegetical work on its own terms, engaging watchfully with science. How do sacred and natural history combine?

Michael S. Heiser is an exegete who has authored several widely read books on Genesis and the Old Testament. Notable in Heiser’s work is his commitment to break down scholarly work to serve the public. He hosts long running and widely listened to podcast, The Naked Bible, several websites, is all across YouTube, and is launching a talk show of sorts on odd ball ideas.

I recently read his book, The Unseen Realm, where he explores the meaning of Genesis on its own terms. The Unseen Realm is the inspiration for Brian Godawa’s remarkable series of novels on the Watchers and the Nephilim.

Heiser’s book is a book full of insights, and it dovetails closely with my own work. I wish had read before I wrote The Genealogical Adam and Eve. The next edition will surely engage more closely with him.

Over the last few months, I have had the privilege of interacting with Michael in several venues.

Most recently, I appeared on his podcast the last month for two episodes. The first episode tells the story behind the book. The second episode gets into the scientific, theological and exegetical details. This was one of the best interviews over the last years, so don’t miss it. Both are transcribed as well, if you prefer reading to listening.

I am impressed with how solidly Micheal does his exegetical work on its own terms, but he also engages watchfully with science. He is willing to let scientists like me do science on our own terms. But he is not ignoring science altogether. He has been following the conversation about human origins for a long while. Though measured, perhaps because of it, his thoughts here are worth hearing.

In early December, Michael responded to my book at the AAR conference. We will be releasing the video soon. As teaser, here is a quote from the paper he submitted,

To front my ultimate conclusion about the book, I don’t see any biblical passage that is fatal to the thesis. On the other hand, I also don’t see—and the author admits this openly—any explicit data in the text to support the thesis. Swamidass is therefore not making a biblical argument. He is instead offering a hypothesis that presumes (really, insists) that general revelation, the information gleaned from the study of our biology via the tools of science, be allowed to tell one story, while Scripture be allowed to tell its story. The two stories follow similar trajectories and ultimately entwine, but they are nonetheless different. They are also both coherent and true on their own terms, with respect to the truth claims they describe and put forth.

We have discusses “concordism,” along with racism and polygenesis. I am looking forward to seeing this article published in the future too.

In our conversations, I have always learned from Michael, even as our conversations range over a large range of topics. I am looking forward to this interview. Let’s find out together where the conversation goes.

In the end we are wondering to together about a grand question. How do sacred and natural history entwine? Could understanding them together tell us something meaningful about our origins?

Jan 12, 2021
Jan 12, 2021
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