The Third Heaven is a Christian literary work of fiction that is meant to provide a form of wholesome entertainment primarily for a Christian audience. It is designed to speculatively answer how/why Lucifer (God and man’s chief antagonist) fell from his position in Heaven. The book is one of four (originally 5) in a series that will cover the major epochs in Biblical history up until the end of time.
The term, “prequel to the Bible.” is not meant to be sacrilegious, but to serve as a catch marketing phrase to provoke interest. The events depicted in the novel precede man’s origins. The word ‘prequel” according to the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 is defined as ,”A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes place before that of a preexisting work or a sequel.” The author believes this tale warrants that moniker even if some might consider this controversial, and is not meant to convey personal prophetic insight, gifts or otherwise.
The series is told as a series of several flashbacks. Each book is a flashback that covers a certain span of time. The events of the book have already occurred from the perspective of the storyteller. (Michael) References to events and or language that precede the creation of man should be understood in this context. I attempt to assist the reader in accepting this by establishing the timeline in the prologue. (Our future) The time of the story’s ruminations takes place while Michael addresses Lucifer at the conclusion of all things.
The book is about war, as such some might find it too violent. If you enjoy movies like Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, etc, then you should expect this level and or type of “violence” in the book. I find this level of action and violence trends better (in general) towards male readers than female readers.
An overarching theme exists within the book; that events depicted in Heaven were precursors to certain biblical events on Earth. The idea behind this concept is taken from Ecc 1:9,10, and , Mt 6:10, 1Co 15:45
Ecc 1:9,10 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Mt 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
1Co 15:45 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.”
The writing of the Third Heaven does not require one to have a great knowledge of the whole Bible. However, those who are more versed with scripture will have a greater chance of seeing the many allusions to scripture mentioned within the novel. It was purposely written using the language of the King James to help provide that “feel” or something that is akin to reading that version of the Bible. The Bible makes use of the passive voice and is highly descriptive in its prose. That tone is also heavily reflected within the novel. Some scriptures were used to help convey imagery that well read Christians would appreciate, and are not attempts to make the Bible for example say something it does not.
Challenges in creating the world of the Third Heaven:
Creation: There are several doctrinal issues that were difficult to depict. (The GAP theory for example.) The idea of ‘Time’ was a challenge as the events of Genesis are shown to be literal (24 hour) days. I took liberty with this concept in the novel that in the sphere of the third heaven there is no time. There is nothing but the ageless present.
The origins of concepts like war, death, and how the citizens of Heaven would be introduced to such concepts and their reaction. Where would the genesis of certain words arrive? For example, could angels know what sarcasm was?
The Trinity was a phenomenally difficult concept to pen. Using the experience of Jesus’ baptism where the Father spoke from Heaven, the son was spoken to or about, and the Holy spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove; served as my literary template to assist in describing the Trinity in this series. All attempts to physically describe the Trinity or Godhead were in attempt to remain true to that biblical picture in Mark 1:10, and Lk 3:22, and should not be taken as the authors belief or doctrine in the existence of three gods.
Eternal life. In the Third Heaven, I had to deal with the idea that if angels could go to war against each other then they could be hurt or even worse die. This has lead me to believe and insert into the book, that angels have no natural enemies that could harm them and would be immune to such things as disease, age and illness. However, they could be harmed by members of their own kind. Therefore, it was possible for angels to “cease to exist”. Otherwise war the ultimate expression of physical violence would be moot. For example in several scriptures, angels are shown with swords. Conceivably they would not need such contrivances against men. Acts 12:21 But such could NOT be said of their own kind. Dan 10:20
The work does presume certain doctrinal beliefs and is not meant to be a point-by-point exposition of biblical truth. Nor an exact attempt to create a chronologically correct depiction of creation and the events depicted in the Bible.
Mythology is purposely utilized in some portion of in the book. The rational here is that ancient or modern mythological creatures and gods have their basis in some level of “fact”, or are the result of the actions of fallen angels
Doctrinal affirmations in the book.
That Lucifer was an angel who sinned and fell to become who we know today as Satan.
The book assumes that God is a Trinity
The existence of angels
The existence of Heaven
That creation is the work of God
Man was created by God and did not evolve and is in his image.
It affirms the historicity of Moses, the burning bush experience, the crossing of the red sea, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David, Jesus.
Jesus’s death on the cross.
That angels at some point had or possess free will.
The belief in the Lake of Fire and eternal judgment
That Lucifer will at some point be cast into the lake of fire.
The existence and belief in Hell and Tartarus
The book DOES NOT affirm that Lucifer and Jesus are brothers.
The book DOES NOT affirm that Lucifer was or can be redeemed.
The Book contains several allegorical images of God
As a Lamb
As a Lion with wings
It contains several references to mythological persons, symbols, or places
The Elysian Fields
There are terms or places that predated the time period the novel was being written. Mankind typically assumes things from his own perspective or vantage point. Since the Bible refers to the city of God as the “New Jerusalem”. There is nothing unbiblical to say that this name is exclusive to man’s knowledge i.e. the name “Jerusalem” originated with men.
Elomic commands. I took great care to not move into witchcraft or spell like images for angels. The idea here is that like prophets of old, these beings have been given the word of the Lord over certain elements and may invoke the Lord’s will over creation as his delegated authorities.
Extraterrestrial life/Dinosaurs: The book alludes in several places that in God’s creation of the universe he has indeed created other forms of life on other worlds.
Preexisting civilizations: The book depicts an earthly city populated by angels that exists prior to and during the time of man’s initial creation.
That I am “romanticizing” Lucifer. You can feel free to check out my blog response so such a question here. http://donovanmneal.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/controversy-is-christian-am-i-romanticizing-lucifer/
The book contains several controversial elements (especially about the Trinity) that were written to add drama and or conflict to the story telling and should not be taken to affirm the author’s personal belief or to promote a doctrinal belief, but are purely speculative in nature.
You can read the prologue here!