What could the supernatural world of Stranger Things have in common with the Bible?
The paranormal television series Stranger Things taps into the mysterious elements that have fueled spiritual questions for millennia. The otherworldly manifestations in Hawkins, Indiana offer compelling portrayals of important spiritual truths--and many of these truths are echoed in the supernatural worldview of the Bible.
For Michael Heiser, Stranger Things is the perfect marriage of his interest in popular culture and the paranormal. In The Unseen Realm, he opened the eyes of thousands, helping readers understand the supernatural worldview of the Bible. Now he turns his attention to the worldwide television phenomenon, exploring how Stranger Things relates to Christian theology and the Christian life.
In The World Turned Upside Down, Heiser draws on this supernatural worldview to help us think about the story of Jesus and discover glimpses of the gospel in the Upside Down. He argues that this celebrated series helps us understand the gospel in unique and overlooked ways. The spiritual questions and crises raised by Stranger Things are addressed the same way they are in the gospel, with mystery and transcendent power.
The World Turned Upside Down lies at the intersection of pop culture and Christian theology. If you liked the phenomenon that is Stranger Things, you’ll love how biblical scholar and fan of the series Michael Heiser draws out its meaning and application to our own lives in a way that aligns with Scripture. You can’t get enough of the nostalgic entertaining series and you can’t get enough of Heiser’s loving exploration of it.
–Brian Godawa, Hollywood screenwriter of To End All Wars and author of Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment.
Heiser shows little corners about the gospel we rarely think about very deeply. I am sure fans of the series Stranger Things will get a treat out of this comparison but all readers will have their eyes opened to reflect on the depth of the beauty and grace that is salvation.
–Darrel L. Bock, Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Uses the backdrop of Stranger Things to highlight the good news in relation to the conflict between the Dominion of Darkness and the Kingdom of light. Those of us who didn’t watch Stranger Things will still profit from his summary of its redemptive parallels as they illustrate the Christus Victor dimensions of the gospel. This fun read will grow your delight in God’s gospel working.
–Gerry Breshears, Professor of Theology, Western Seminary
Thorough biblical examination casts the old story in a wonderfully fresh light.
–C.J. Green, Managing Editor, Mockingbird Ministries
A paranormal problem requires a supernatural solution. Sin and the forces of darkness pull us into the “upside down,” but Jesus conquered the Demogorgon of evil to put things right-side up again.
–Patrick Schreiner, Assistant Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Western Seminary
“We need the gospel because we are estranged from God.” (Page 20)
“The image of God is an important concept in the Bible. Human beings—unlike any other created thing on earth—were created to be like God. This actually refers to a status and not a specific ability.3 Think of the ‘image’ of God as a verb, and you’ll get the idea. We were created to image God, to be his imagers—to represent him or be his proxy to each other and to all the earth.” (Page 19)
“Eden was where heaven came to earth. It was God’s home on earth. When God created Adam and placed him in Eden (Gen 2:15), God wanted his two families to live together with him. This means that, just like God’s heavenly children, humans were originally created as fit for the presence of God himself. God wanted his children with him. Creation was about family.” (Pages 18–19)
“The goal of this book is to discern elements of Stranger Things that make us think about the story of Jesus and which draw attention to God’s salvation plan.” (Page 10)
Dr. Michael S. Heiser was a former Scholar-in-Residence for Faithlife Corporation, the makers of Logos Bible Software. He then served as the Executive Director of the Awakening School of Theology and Ministry. His varied academic background enabled him to operate in the realm of critical scholarship and the wider Christian community. His experience in teaching at the undergraduate level and writing for the layperson both directly contributed to Logos’ goal of adapting scholarly tools for nonspecialists.
Dr. Heiser earned his PhD in Hebrew Bible and Semitic languages and holds an MA in ancient history and Hebrew studies. He was the coeditor of Old Testament Greek Pseudepigrapha with Morphology and Semitic Inscriptions: Analyzed Texts and English Translations, and he was able to do translation work in roughly a dozen ancient languages, including Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and Ugaritic cuneiform. He specialized in Israelite religion (especially Israel’s divine council), contextualizing biblical theology with Israelite and ancient Near Eastern religion, Jewish binitarianism, biblical languages, ancient Semitic languages, textual criticism, comparative philology, and Second Temple period Jewish literature. In 2007 he was named the Pacific Northwest Regional Scholar by the Society of Biblical Literature.