Angels, demons, the supernatural, and Heaven—whether perusing the YA section (or “the paranormal romance” section as I fondly call it) at a local bookstore, reading countless opinions on whether or not Rob Bell is a universalist who believes there is no hell, or watching Angel (“Buffy: The Vampire Slayer” spin-off starring “Bones’” David Boreanaz), everyone is searching for information on what else is “out there.” Author Anthony DeStefano attempts to put a Judeo-Christian spin on the supernatural world with his book, The Invisible World: Understanding Angels, Demons, and the Spiritual Realities That Surround Us. Unfortunately, DeStefano fails to back up many of his “biblical” assertions about angels and demons with actual Scripture and resorts to quoting sources like C.S. Lewis and even Shakespeare to make his points.
The Invisible World has a strong start with DeStefano convincing readers that there is truly “something more going on that meets the eyes.” He says that God is “totally other” and is therefore invisible to us because if He were visible, He would be forcing us to acknowledge Him. Therefore, God has created a world, a whole universe, which is pure matter, which screams of His existence. Crafting humankind in His image, people are spirit-matter (part spirit and part matter), while angels (and demons, which are fallen angels) are like God, pure spirit. (Though DeStefano does say that Jesus is God in human language, meaning He became spirit-matter.)
While some of DeStefano’s early assertions make sense, I kept wondering what evidence, aside from literary quotes, he actually had to defend his position. As I kept reading, it seemed clear that DeStefano may have adapted part of his “theology” on angels from watching too much “Touched by An Angel” on the Hallmark Channel, saying that we have personal guardian angels who whisper in our ears (he notes that this is “implied” in the Bible, but never offers an actual reference). Sadly, DeStefano assigns angels roles that are more appropriately assigned to the much-ignored Holy Spirit.
As the book continues, DeStefano also tackles demons again choosing to seek theological discourse from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and G.K. Chesterton, instead of from the Bible. When DeStefano actually makes use of Scripture, in a seeming Gospel presentation towards the end of the book, he is right on. But this doesn’t make up for page of unsubstantiated claims about the spiritual world. Sadly, The Invisible World is a pretty disappointing read.
*With thanks to The B&B Media Group for my review copy.*