What started as one of my game design ideas has led me to this: writing an entire book. Previously, my experience at story writing were school assignments, a few homeschool co-op writing competitions, and pure simple fun. Thus, I knew from the get-go that jumping from short stories to a full length novel would be a massive undertaking. Little did I realize just how massive. It’s tough enough to balance characters, plot threads, and descriptions. Focusing on a subject matter like angels only made things especially difficult. Angels can be a pretty touchy subject for some people, and portraying them in a Biblically accurate light was bound to take some doing. Thus, writing Celestial was probably one of the biggest challenges I ever faced. I wanted it to be honoring to God, so if my portrayal of angels were to be as close to the real deal as possible, it required nothing less than my full commitment to the study of God’s Word.
Now, as I worked on Celestial, there were those who offered their opinions. Some asked me why I seldom relied on other resources outside the Bible, and some even suggested certain books to me for guidance. They all had good intentions. I appreciated how earnest they were to help too. However, the reason why I chose the Bible as my strict foundation for Celestial was because I couldn’t consider human knowledge on these cosmic beings reliable enough on their own. Sure, there are people who claimed to have met a real angel, and maybe they have. I can’t deny that, but it’s rare for an eyewitness to be able to viably prove it. I’m sorry, but appealing to how real an encounter or a moment ‘felt’ isn’t solid evidence - at least not to anyone else besides the person who experienced it. Besides, people’s senses are often fooled every day. Our own memory retention has even been proven faulty on a daily basis, so how can we be so sure that we’re capable of grasping the invisible by our senses alone?
Again, allow me to emphasize. I’m not saying someone who claims to have seen an angel is inherently lying. It’s totally possible. What I am saying is that with so much uncertainty in mankind’s understanding of angels, my safest and surest resource for Celestial was the Bible: the one and only book written by the one and only being who actually made angels. It’s a very good thing I did too. Because after a long three months of intense study, what God’s written Word revealed stunned me. Most of us in the church (including myself) got so much about angels and the spiritual world wrong. We grew up with the winged ladies with halos, harps, and outdated attire. However, perfectly perfect bird people and their serene half-smiles couldn’t be further from the truth. Without realizing it, we had accepted cultural assumptions as fact and missed a lot of important truths as a result. Not just truths about angels but truths that magnifies God’s glorious name in ways we nary thought of before!
I started conducting that Biblical study in pursuit of plausabilty. The goal was to write a story that, given what we know in Scripture, could be possible in real life. What I walked away with, though, did far more for me than set the record straight. It redefined my view of the world and my faith. God used it to forever strengthen my understanding of just how wonderful and unique our relationship with Jesus really is. It’s what sets us humans apart from the rest of creation, both visible and invisible. Angels enjoy the presence of their loving Maker. They view life through the lens of eternity and are active in God’s daily miracles. Yet, for all their glorious gifts and privilege, there’s something so wondrous about God’s gift of salvation to us, they can’t help but marvel at it (1 Peter 1:10-12). Not only that, but God orchestrates the physical and spiritual worlds in such perfect tandem that it’s not just our realm that benefits. Both realms benefit by His glorification. He not only glorifies Himself to us through His angels. He glorifies Himself to His angels through us. There’s a tight relationship there, and one day the visible divide will no longer exist. The physical and spiritual worlds will reunite with Jesus as King.
During the oncoming months, as we await an official release date for Celestial, I’ll be releasing a new series here on FlyingFaith called Bible Mysteries. In these articles, I would like to invite you all to take the same deep dive into the angelic world with me through the Scriptures. We’ll unearth the truths long buried under the cultural myths and rediscover what the spiritual realm really is like as the Bible described it. Some of the questions we’ll tackle will range from presumably simple to heavy and deep, but it’s my hope that this series will broaden your understanding the way it did mine. We truly live in a fantastic universe. Yes, we love our favorite worlds like Middle-earth, Marvel, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Star Wars. However, none can compare to the one we live in. How? Because, unlike all the others, it’s twice as wondrous, and we are living it out right now. We are part of an ongoing epic written by the ultimate Author that spans the centuries. The trick is recognizing our world and our God for how marvelous He truly is. Our reality bests all fantasies, and it . . . is . . . real.
Look forward toward the first entry of ‘Bible Mysteries’! Coming Soon!