Title: Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons
Author: R.C. Sproul
Publisher: Christian Focus
Publishing Year: 2011
My Rating: 4 out of 5 (1 meaning I hated the book, 5 meaning I loved the book)
If I had a top ten lists of favorite authors, Dr. R.C. Sproul would be somewhere in the top three. The man is simply brilliant. By that I mean he is both simple and brilliant. The guy just has a great way of breaking down complex theological issues into understandable pieces that people like me can digest.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to review one of Dr. Sproul’s latest books, Unseen Realities. In this small paperback seeks to explore the spiritual realm of things unseen. Normally, I am not really attracted to such topics, but anything by R.C. is normally worth a try. I was not disappointed.
The book is neatly divided up into four parts – Heaven, Hell, Angels and Satan.
The first part on heaven stood out to me the most. Quoting a few select passages just won’t do it justice because its not so much the content or the exact wording that stands out, it is the tone. Sproul writes as a man reminiscing about his moved beloved memories. He writes as a man genuinely intrigued by a place to which he’s never been but so longs to be one day.
From a wistful talk about heaven, Sproul dives into the uncomfortable subject of eternal damnation, hell. This section artfully deals with some of the common questions people have about this subject. Are there literal flames? How can a loving God send people there? Does everyone face the same type of punishment in hell? The reader is also treated to some keen insight on more in-depth subjects like the existence of the soul and annihilationism.
In the next section dealing with Angels, we are given clear descriptions of the role angels play in God’s creation. So often we are tempted to downplay this role so that we don’t seen too weird, so I found this section refreshing and informative. We also see discussion of related topics such as angel veneration and the exaltation of Mary.
The final section deals with Satan himself. Summarizing the basic misconception people have of our adversary Sproul writes, “In church history, there has been two serious distortions about the person and work of Satan. The first common distortion is to minimize his reality, or to even deny he exists, and to fail to take him seriously as a real spiritual adversary. The second distortion is to attribute to him greater power and significance than he actually enjoys. So often the church has been influenced by dualistic perspectives that see forces of good and evil, light and darkness, as equal and opposite powers, vying for supremacy. But the Biblical view knows nothing of such dualism, because the contest between God and Satan is no contest at all. Satan is a creature, and a created being. He is always and everywhere under the sovereign power and authority of the Creator.” Sproul also discusses Satan’s fall, limitations and ultimate destiny.
What I found missing from this book was much of a discussion about demons/fallen angels. When you mention the word “demon” on the cover, you expect more of an appearance in the pages thereafter.
This book is definitely worth your time to read. It’s a short and easy read, but by no means is it a fluff piece that only skims the surface. Sproul does a great job in providing in-depth theology at a layman level. Go out and buy the book today.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.