November 16, 2022

Are Angels and Demons Real? (Part One) 

Inside This Episode

Join the Maybe God team as we dive into a world that is mostly unseen and can’t be explained by science, but a world that is undeniably real to the countless people who’ve experienced it. In part one, Eric Huffman and Dr. Dale C. Allison of Princeton Theological Seminary shed light on the supernatural world of angels, demons, personal encounters with God, and near-death experiences. Hear testimonies from people who claim to have experienced the spiritual realm first-hand, including our own disturbing encounter with another reality in the recording of this episode that left us wondering if we were making a grave mistake by opening the door to this other realm. 

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Episode Transcript

Eric Huffman: Hello, and welcome to Maybe God. Today on the podcast we're launching a multi-episode deep dive into spirituality and mysticism. For months now, the Maybe God Tim and I have been exploring themes that range from angels and demons to crystals and witchcraft. Needless to say, we've learned a lot. In fact, we've learned more than we ever wanted to know about the spiritual dimension, and now we're so excited to share with all of you the incredible testimonies and expert interviews that we've been compiling.

But before we begin, I just want to thank all of you who've taken the time to leave your review of Maybe God on Apple Podcasts. That is truly the easiest and most effective way to get the most people to find Maybe God. If you haven't done this yet, we would be so grateful if you would support our podcast by dropping your review of Maybe God on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to this show, also by sharing the content that we're putting out every week on social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook and YouTube.   

So thank you in advance for helping us to achieve Maybe God's mission of inspiring doubtful believers and hopeful skeptics to boldly seek answers to their most challenging faith questions through uplifting and powerful storytelling.

Thanks for listening. Now, let's get started.

[00:01:14] <music>

Dr. Dale Allison: One of the things many people don't know is how common mystical raptures are, how common it is to be enveloped by a sense of love when there's nothing there, or how common it is to be utterly terrified and feel like you're in the presence of some sort of evil force.

Eric Huffman: On this episode of Maybe God, we're diving into a world that is mostly unseen and can't be explained by science, but a world that is undeniably real to the countless people who've experienced it.

Katie: I remember panicking, and then not being able to breathe, and then I remember a light and like a hand coming into the water.

Alex: This thing is about to crush me and probably would have killed me, and all of a sudden, I'm surrounded by this glowing white light.

Eric Huffman: Firsthand testimonies and expert research on angels, demons, and even personal encounters with God.

Dustin: And I just collapsed on the ground. I'm just crying my eyes out just feeling God's presence. It's undeniable. His presence is so undeniable. There's no way I could doubt it anymore.

Guy Mahaffy: It's the real thing. It's absolutely the real thing.

Eric Huffman: ...including our own disturbing encounter with some other reality in the recording of this very episode that left us wondering if we were making a grave mistake by opening the door to this other realm.

[00:03:01] <music>

Eric Huffman: You're listening to Maybe God. I'm Eric Huffman.

Guy Mahaffy: My name is Guy Mahaffy. The person I'm telling the story about is a friend and an employee. [inaudible 00:03:16], he is a very shy person and he doesn't like public speaking. Plus, he breaks up tearfully when he tells it. And he has given me permission to tell it to many people.

[00:03:32] <music>

Guy Mahaffy: So what had happened, he was motorcyclist, and he's riding very late at night. And going back home, it was about 2:30 a.m., a vehicle kind of came into his lane and started bumping. He goes over to avoid him and actually hits the guardrail with his right foot, and his right foot completely twisted around backwards. The car keeps going.

He somehow was able to get off his bike, put the kickstand down, and then he collapsed. He was telling me that he knows he's gonna die. He's looking at his leg completely twisted around, bleeding profusely.

About that time, a lady pulls over and stops, grabs him. He's kind of in and out, and she starts taking his jacket off. And he said the first thing he thought of getting robbed, but she takes his jacket off and basically builds a tourniquet around his leg, stops the bleeding. She holds him and she starts talking to him, say, "What's your name?" He goes, "my name is Ray." He goes, "I'm gonna die." She goes, "No, you're not. You're gonna be okay. I've already called their ambulance. They're coming. Just listen. Talk to me, Ray. Talk to me."

He said that he was just totally freaking out. And she says, "Pray with me. Pray with me." Now, Ray is a believer but at the time he wasn't a heavy Christian. So he prays with her. And she goes, "Listen, Ray, I hear the sirens." And he goes, "I'm dying." She goes, "Stay with me, Ray. Stay with me. The siren. Do you hear it? Listen, listen for the siren. God's gonna take care of you." He starts hearing the sirens. And he goes, "Hold my hands." She goes, "I am holding your hand, Ray. I'm holding you. It's okay."

So the ambulance pulls up, the medics jump on him, start taking care of him, wrapping his leg, putting him on the gurney, they start putting him in the ambulance, and Ray is like, "I need to thank her. Where's the lady? Where's the lady?" And he goes, "What lady?" He go, "The white lady with a long blonde hair. She saved me." And then he go, "Ray, there's nobody here. You were on the side of the road by yourself. Someone called in about the accident." And he goes, "No, she's there." He goes, "Ray, there was nobody here. There was no person. There was no lady. There was no car." And that changed his life forever.

I believe that that was divine intervention, and so does he. Because there's no way that could have happened without an angel from God being there and taking care of this man. And she was never there according to the EMS that pulled up on the scene. No car. No person. No nothing. He's just laying there in a pool of blood.

[00:06:07] <music>

Eric Huffman: If you're a skeptic at heart like I am, you might want to poke holes in the story or you might want to try and explain it away. Maybe Ray was hallucinating the whole time. Or maybe there's some other logical explanation for what he experienced. But how do you explain the way that Ray's jacket was tied perfectly around his leg and how that was the one thing that saved him from bleeding to death? Ray's arm was broken in the accident. There's no plausible way that he could have removed his own jacket and tied it so neatly.

This episode is part one of a series on the spiritual world. We're going to be exploring topics like encounters with angels, demons, God, and Satan. You might be asking why we're doing this. And believe me, we asked ourselves the same thing a few times during production.

These topics are weird and uncomfortable and even a little scary. But I find that the harder something is to talk about, the more we probably need to talk about it. And so it goes with the spiritual realm. This stuff is mostly beyond our comprehension. And if any of it is true, we can all agree that it would be immensely important for us to learn as much as possible about it.

I mean, we're talking about the ultimate battle between cosmic forces of light and darkness being waged all around us all the time. But if all we have to go on are the ancient scriptures and the stories that people tell, how can we distinguish fact from fiction?

In search of some guidance for this episode, we reached out to Dr. Dale Allison, a New Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Allison earned his MA and his PhD from Duke University, and his academic research has primarily focused on the historical Jesus, which makes this well-respected academic and unlikely candidate to pen a book called Encountering Mystery: Religious Experience in a Secular Age.

Dr. Dale Allison: I'm a full professor and I'm tenured. I already have a fairly decent reputation in my field. So at this point, I don't really care what people think. And it's also, I guess, being honest. You know, if you read my books, even my hardcore academic books, if you read the footnotes very carefully, you could see the person who wrote this book lurking in the shadows. But at this point, you know, what do I care? Death is approaching. I've already done most of the things I want to do. So why not be honest?

Eric Huffman: I love it. I love it.

Dr. Dale Allison: But this is the stuff that got me going in the first place. The book actually begins with a personal episode of a mystical rapture when I was 16. And if you look at my history, that's why I ended up being a New Testament scholar. One thing led to another, but the beginning of it is this overwhelming mystical, whatever you want to call it, that made me just not be able to think about anything but God and religious subjects and so on.

Eric Huffman: Can you tell us about that experience just a little bit?

Dr. Dale Allison: I can try. I was 16 years old. I was in my parents' backyard. I was under the Kansas night sky. At that point in time, you could still see stars. You could actually see lots of stars. I do not remember what I was doing at that moment, except just sitting by myself in the dark and thinking.

And then out of the blue—I didn't seek this. I didn't expect it. I didn't prepare for it—it was as though... This is really important because I don't know what sense it makes. But the way I conceptualized it was that the stars came down and they were somehow around me. And then they announced somehow, I don't know how, the presence of this overwhelming power or reality or transcendent something. Of course, immediately afterwards I use the word God because that's what my culture had given me. That's the only word that matched this thing.

Whatever this reality was, it turned everything upside down. Because in the moment, which lasted 20 seconds, something like that, it was like this is what's really real and the rest of my life is somehow less real than this thing that I've just experienced. So it became the most important thing in my life. And I spent a lifetime in effect trying to come to terms with it.

But it was an overwhelming presence, it was transcendent, and yet it was eminent. It was terrifying and overpowering and yet loving. How all those things go together in one moment, I have no idea. I have no explanation for this.

[00:10:44] <music>

Dr. Dale Allison: Afterwards, of course, I wanted to talk to people about this. This is Wichita, Kansas in 1972 and I'm a high school student, and the only people that want to talk about God are evangelical Christians. So what happens very quickly is that I leave my parents' liberal church and I go hang out with Evangelicals for a while because they're the ones who have experiences that they can talk about, and they can actually hear my testimony, and then they can interpret it for me. They told me that I had been saved and that Jesus had come into my life, and that I was a new creature, and so on. So they put a conversion lens onto it.

Eric Huffman: Did that make sense to you? Did that compute?

Dr. Dale Allison: It did at the time. It doesn't now. Well, the problem is it was a sort of conversion experience. But I was already going to church and I already believed in God. I already said prayers. I thought the Bible was important, even though I didn't read it. I was not a wild kid. I was actually a very good, tame person. So in retrospect, there was no Christological element in it, no clear Christological element, but that's what they told me. and I did accept that at the time.

Eric Huffman: So when you say that there are, you know, more liberal churches, I guess, for lack of a better word, where people might have these experiences but they can't talk about them, what would have happened to you if you had first come out and shared it at your home church or with your tribe?

Dr. Dale Allison: I think people would have politely listened and then, as quickly as they could, move on to the next thing. I don't think they would have had a way to talk about it. So that's one of the things I'm doing in this book. I'm not just an academic in this book. I'm also a sort of journalist. And what I mean by that is, I'm reporting on things that people should know, but they don't know.

And one of the things they don't know, or many people don't know, including many people in churches, especially mainstream churches, is how common experiences like the one I just related to you are, how common mystical raptures are, how common it is to be enveloped by a sense of love when there's nothing there, it's just this invisible something that's wrapping around you, or how common it is to be utterly terrified and feel like you're in the presence of some sort of evil force or spirit or power or something like that.

So I guess the first point of the book would be to say, hey, look, these things are going on all around us. We actually have in parts of our culture a culture of censorship, that is people have things happen to them that are really, really important to them and they don't know how to talk to other people about them or they don't know how to express what's happened to them. I give multiple examples of this throughout the book. It's one of the themes. The theme and effect is, "This happened to me. It's the most important thing that's ever happened to me and I don't talk about it."

Eric Huffman: Wow.

Dr. Dale Allison: "And I would be embarrassed," or "People would think I'm crazy," and so on.

Eric Huffman: Yeah. Right. It's got to be agonizing to keep that to yourself for a lifetime. The experience when you were 16, was that the only time you had a sort of, let's call these the light side of these experiences? Were there others along the way?

Dr. Dale Allison: Yeah. One was this absolutely blissful moment when I was in graduate school. I'm walking by a window. This is the window in my apartment that overlooks the cemetery. And I looked out at the cemetery often. It was very peaceful. I liked it. But there was this one time when I was looking out the window and out of nowhere the scene just changed. And it felt like I was seeing beneath the scene or what's really underneath all these flowers and the grass and the trees. And it was, again, another sort of rapture, a few moments of bliss.

At the time in the experience, I thought, This is the Garden of Eden or this is what it must have been like in the Garden of Eden. I saw colors I had never seen before. The plants and the trees became like crystals, they became like jewels, they became like emeralds and rubies and diamonds, and they were glistening. And the sense was, "This is what's real and we're usually blind. We're always in the Garden of Eden, we're just blind and we usually don't see it." And that experience is really common. As soon as I had this experience, I went looking for parallels, and I found them all over the place. This is a really common experience throughout the world.

Eric Huffman: So when you went through these, what were your takeaways from these experiences about God? Because I've heard you twice now and both these instances immediately attribute these experiences to God. What did you come away thinking about Him or feeling about Him?

Dr. Dale Allison: Several of my so-called mystical experiences have to do with nature. So I have this very strong conviction that God is somehow present in nature and potentially present in nature maybe in ways that we can't tune into otherwise.

The second thing for me is that these experiences are just things to be received. I didn't feel like I produced them and it didn't feel like I earned them, and I wasn't expecting them, and I wasn't pursuing them. They truly came out of the blue. So I use the traditional Christian language of grace. These were just experiences of grace. I didn't earn them, I didn't deserve them. They just happened.

The other thing, which is maybe the hardest of all, is that on several occasions I've run into something or had this mystical experience, and inside of it, I'm thinking, "This is what's really real." And my ordinary mundane life, while terribly important, and that's where I have to live and follow the golden rule and all that stuff, somehow it's not as real as these transcendent things that I've bumped into a handful of times in my life.

So I come away with the lesson things really aren't what they seem. I decided that below, beneath, beyond, outside, whatever the right word is, the world that we normally experience through our ordinary senses, behind and beyond that, our other worlds and other realities. And I think that actually underneath this all is transcendent love and bliss.

Eric Huffman: This reminds me of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where Frodo slid the one ring on his finger and immediately he could see what was really going on around him the whole time in the spiritual realm. But outside of books and movies, that's not really how we're taught to see the world.

In most secular schools and universities, students are encouraged to view reality through the lens of reductive materialism. Strict materialism holds that matter is all that matters. All that exists is what can be observed and seen and touched or lab tested. Nothing exists outside of that material world. The only logical conclusion to this worldview is that there is no objective, intrinsic meaning or value behind the universe. There is no destiny, no God, no afterlife, and certainly no angels and demons. That was Dale's experience attending a public university.

Dr. Dale Allison: I was actually trained how to think about myself and life and religion and philosophy and everything important I was trained to think about these things without any transcendent categories.

[00:18:59] <music>

Eric Huffman: In recent years, many churches and denominations have adopted a more secular, materialistic view of the spiritual realm by explaining away all things supernatural, such as miracles and Angel encounters. In many seminaries across America, future men and women of the cloth are being instructed to reinterpret key events in the Bible.

For example, when Jesus is said to have cast out demons, sophisticated professors are encouraging the next generation of pastors to read between the lines and see what Jesus was actually doing. And that was treating mental illness. Just that those primitive people who wrote the Bible were simply too uneducated to see it for what it was.

But Dale's book pushes back against Western Christianity's fascination with reductive materialism because he knows that a life that's limited to the material realm, never to really know or intimately feel the transcendent love of God, can lead people to experience patterns of shame, anger, and even depression.

Try as we might to reduce God to a distant, impersonal entity, or to an academic intellectual concept, the biblical claims about God, along with the testimonies of millions of other people across the world all point to a divine person who invites human beings to experience Him personally. Catherine's story is the perfect example of how experiencing transcendent love can change our lives almost overnight.

[00:20:27] <music>

Catherine: I was in my early 20s. I was in a committed relationship with a man and I was not married, but I got pregnant. At the time, I had a full-time job, a very successful career for my age. I was making pretty good money. My parents lived nearby. So I kind of had every reason why I could have supported a baby had I had one.

But when it all happened, I think I panicked and I did not consult with anybody. I only told the man involved, and we both decided it would probably be the easiest thing to just have an abortion and never have to speak of it again and it would just take care of the problem is what I would have called it at the time.

So the abortion experience is probably one of my worst memories. It took me a decade before I could really talk about it or tell anyone about it. The experience itself, I just remember going into the clinic. I remember it being very stale. And there's like a counselor there. So I went to sit with the counselor and the counselor pretty much was probably hired to tell me that I was making the right choice and that this was all going to be quick and painless and easy.

The worst memory that I will carry with me always is you are sedated for the procedure. And I can remember laying on the table and starting to go under and I heard the words, "She's seven weeks." And it was the first time I had really associated my pregnancy with a baby. I couldn't tell you for sure if I tried to scream or stop it. I feel like in my memory it was everything in me wanted it to end. Then I woke up in a recliner in another empty room in pain, but also just felt so sad and empty and already instantaneously filled with regret.

It was the realization that, "Oh my goodness, that was a human being. That was my child." And you can't take it back. You can't change that choice. I think the majority of the time an abortion is chosen out of fear and panic. And even if just I had slowed down for a minute and consulted one person or anything, I just feel like I would have preferred to have the struggle of figuring out how to care for a child than just the pain of having to carry this decision that's irreversible with me.

I was devastated. But also just very early on decided the best solution was to never talk about it. And so I did. I stuffed it down and shoved it down, and I never said anything. I would get kind of triggered sometimes by a Facebook post or a bill was coming up for you to vote on and it would just bring back all of these negative emotions that I would just have to quietly and by myself figure out how to deal with.

Eric Huffman: Catherine and her boyfriend broke up shortly after the abortion. Two years later, when she was 27 years old, she met James, her husband.

Catherine: It was something I shared with him when we were engaged. And I shared it with him at the time because I thought it would be the thing that would end it, he wouldn't want to be with me if he knew what I had done. I told him and he modeled forgiveness and that "you are not who your sin is and this is What Jesus is for and why He came."

Eric Huffman: James was a strong Christian who modeled the love and forgiveness of Jesus in a way that Catherine had never experienced before. Still, even after welcoming their three children into the world, Catherine couldn't bring herself to embrace the forgiveness of God. No matter how hard she tried, she struggled to leave all of her guilt and shame behind.

In 2015, she and a friend went to a Women's Ministry Conference in New York City, thinking it would be a fun weekend away with the girls.

Catherine: So this would have probably been about 10 years past the abortion. And right before the trip, I found out that I was pregnant with my fourth child. And we go to the opening night of this conference and all the things you would expect at a women's ministry conference. There was a speaker, there was music, the whole thing. And there was nothing in the message or ministry moments that had anything to do with shame or abortion. Nothing was touched on like that. But at the end, they started playing worship music.

The song No Longer Slaves, they played that song. I love that song. And I tried to sing that song and my voice was not producing any sound. I kind of almost started to panic because I wanted to sing along plus, just why isn't my voice working?

There was just something that kind of whispered to me, "You can't sing this because you don't believe this." And I just knew in that moment that I was supposed to sing those lyrics until I believed them. So I just kept trying to say the words "I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God" and it was still a struggle. I was sobbing at this point. I'm in a room full of hundreds of women but I felt like I could have been the only person in there.

And then the song Good Good Father came on. I just listened to those words. I can't tell you if my eyes were open or closed. But while that song played, I saw a vision of a woman in the distance. And she was kind of standing in what I would say it wasn't really clouds but it was a glow, and she was holding a baby. And I knew that that was the baby that I had aborted. I also knew in that moment that I was forgiven. In fact, I heard a voice say, "I have forgiven you, but you have not forgiven yourself."

I also knew that the baby in my belly was kind of God's reminder of "you are worth this, you've always been worth this and this is another baby for you." Not to replace that baby but just as a reminder that He is a good good Father, and He wants good things for me. It was just a reminder that the baby is being taken care of. And not only that, but I still will have the joy of reuniting with that child someday. Even though it was my choice, I will still have the gift of meeting him.

God is just so good and so amazing in the way He works. I feel very, very, very lucky that He would go to such great lengths to heal my pain in the ways that He did.

And then, one of the neat things was that we had chosen the name Vivian for our fourth child. We had chosen it before all of this happened. And when we looked up what her name meant, it means full of life. Even in her name, God just redeemed the life that I felt like I had given up. He gives it all back.

[00:30:05] <music>

Eric Huffman: Dale Allison says the most consequential chapter in his book deals with angels. He starts with a story of a legendary Hollywood actor from the mid-1900s, who was dealing with substance abuse and financial issues.

Dr. Dale Allison: Mickey Rooney, who's in a restaurant, and a busboy comes by and he's blond, and he's dressed in white and he says some things to Mickey Rooney.

Mickey Rooney: "And he leaned over the table directly to me and he said, "Jesus Christ loves you very much and He knows what you're going through. I'm in shock."

And these words get to Mickey Rooney and they actually help change his life and help turn things around. After he thought about these words for a few minutes, he wants to go thank this busboy, right? And of course, the whole point of the story is he talks to people, searched around, there is no such being there.

In our culture, when you are helped by someone who appears out of nowhere and then disappears, that is an angel story. I actually decided to write this chapter because there are lots and lots and lots of books on angels and academics or people in my field don't take them seriously at all.

Now, I think they're interesting because most of these books are collections of firsthand stories. They're actually people saying, "This happened to me." So what I think goes on in our culture is that there are eight or nine or ten things that when they happen to people, they think Angel. That is, we have a category Angel.

So sometimes when people hear a voice in their head and it turns out, it tells them to do something, and it's important, and they did it and you know, good things happen, they will look back and say, "Oh, well, that must have been an angel." Or when a stranger shows up and helps somebody, especially if that person is dressed in white and then just disappears, that becomes an angel story.

You remember, in the Bible, angels sometimes mysteriously show up, and then they disappear. They often don't have entrances or exits. They're just here and gone. Or one of the really interesting things I found about these books are the antigravity stories.

Eric Huffman: Oh, wow.

Dr. Dale Allison: And these are stories where somebody is falling and they feel hands on the back, and instead of falling on the ice or falling in front of the traffic, something like that, they're stood up and in effect rescued and they turn around. And of course, nobody's there.

By the way, the antigravity stories are Angel stories, I think, because of Psalm 91 and Luke 4, and Matthew 4. There is a passage about how the angels will lift you up. And Satan says to Jesus, "Throw yourself off the temple and the angels will catch you." So already in the Bible, you have the notion that angels can perform anti-gravity.

Eric Huffman: Sure. That's one of their calling cards.

Dr. Dale Allison: So the anti-gravity thing, you say Angel. But how do you evaluate these stories? Because look, we can't be credulous. People do miss perceive, people do misremember, people do exaggerate in the telling. These are all things that that we know, right?

Eric Huffman: Sure. Absolutely.

Dr. Dale Allison: So what you have to do here is you have to do at least two things. One, is you have to look for patterns in the stories. If I see the same sort of story repeated many times, then I can say, maybe we have a phenomenon here, right?

Eric Huffman: Yeah.

Dr. Dale Allison: And then the question is, if we have a phenomenon, do I go back to my college professors who knew how to explain away everything? Or do I occasionally say, "You know what, this looks really interesting. I'm not sure that it can be explained away if it happened as recounted."

So one of the stories in this book has to do with a woman who comes out of her back door, and there was a railroad track behind her house, and a train is coming and her child who's very, very young is playing on the railroad tracks. And the woman realizes, "I don't have time to get there. So my kid is going to be killed." And then she says... Now, this is her story. I wasn't there. I don't know this person. I'm just telling you the story.

Eric Huffman: Sure.

Dr. Dale Allison: Her story is that as she was watching her child on the tracks and the train was coming and she was terrified, she saw a beam of light, a luminous figure lift her child off the tracks to the other side of the tracks, and then the train went by. And when the train was gone, she ran over and there was her child unharmed.

Eric Huffman: Oh, wow.

Dr. Dale Allison: I was taught in graduate school that when angels show up in the Bible they are a literary motif. On the other hand, people do see figures of light a lot. It's not an unusual circumstance. So you're going to have to do more than just say it's a literary motif. You're going to have to show that it's a literary motif. Right?

Eric Huffman: Right.

Dr. Dale Allison: And I think myself that so many beliefs we have are experientially based. So I think we believe in evil spirits because people in effect run into them. And I think we believe in angels because things happen to people and that's the interpretation that they offer.

Eric Huffman: In our research for this episode, we came across countless angel stories that fit the sequence of events that Dale spells out in his book. First, an individual is in some sort of mental or physical distress, then there's an unexpected appearance of a stranger or light form that seems to have consciousness. The distress is then relieved with help from that being. And then finally, there's an inexplicable disappearance of the stranger or light form.

Most of the first-hand accounts that we share in this episode have only been shared on social media, not in books or in interviews. When we asked people to share their stories with us, in many cases for the first time publicly, we were amazed by how crystal clear the details were as if these encounters had just happened to them the day before when in most cases it was decades ago.

[00:36:45] <music>

Eric Huffman: This is Alex.

Alex: I live in Nashville with my family. I have three kiddos with my husband, and we love it here.

Eric Huffman: And this is Katie.

Katie: I have two boys who are four and seven, and I married my high school sweetheart.

Eric Huffman: Both claim they were visited by an angel when they were about eight years old.

Alex: I had a twin-sized bed in between two giant arm wars, the knees were solid wood. And the top part was not attached to the bottom part. Just the top part alone was probably 200 pounds. And so I stood on top of one of the drawer parts of the dressers, the bottom part, to try to grab a stuffed animal off of the top part. And I yanked and I was pulling and pulling and it was stuck. And all of a sudden, the top part started tilting back.

Katie: My parents would take us to the beach pretty regularly. I was a decent swimmer but in the ocean, there's like a lot of rip tides, you never know how the ocean is going to be. So anyway, we were swimming in the ocean. My dad took me and one of my friends out on like a little raft kind of thing and a big wave came and knocked us over like out of the raft.

Alex: I started falling backwards with it. And I looked over to the other side of my bedroom because the other top part of the other dresser was falling off, which makes zero sense. So this thing is about to crash me and probably would have killed me. And all of a sudden, I'm surrounded by this glowing white light, this flash.

Katie: It was deep enough that my dad couldn't touch the bottom. It also happened to be a day with a riptide. So he was trying to get to us and he was panicked in that moment. He kind of had to make the decision between whether to get me or my friend who was there. And he told me in his mind, he thought, "Okay, well, I need to get her friend because that's not my child." So he grabbed her. And then I actually remember pretty vividly drowning.

Alex: As I was about to hit the floor and get smashed by this thing, I'm swept out from under it and flown to my bedroom door which is closed. My feet did not touch the ground. I kind of like hit my door, ran into my door. And I fell down to the ground. And pretty much immediately my dad comes running and he like swings open the door and he's like, "Oh my gosh, are you okay?" And he sees both of the tops of the dressers on the floor and he's like, "What happened?" And I was like, "Dad, an angel just saved me."

Katie: I remember panicking and then not being able to breathe. And then I remember feeling very peaceful like kind of accepting it sort of like, "Okay, this is what's going to happen." And then I remember a hand coming in, like a light and like a hand coming into the water. That's all I remember of the experience.

But then my dad told me later on that this guy came out of nowhere, there was nobody really around and he rescued me. And he was just so relieved that he was there. And then they got us both to the shore. And then when my dad went to thank him, he was gone. He wasn't anywhere to be seen.

Alex: It was one of the most crazy experiences for me and it definitely solidified my belief in God and Jesus and angels. Definitely life-changing and solidified my faith in a way that not anything else could.

Katie: I believe it was my guardian angel who saved me that day. I believe that there is more out there than what we even realize.

[00:40:57] <music>

Eric Huffman: One of the thin places that you've talked and written about is the deathbed, so to speak, where there seems to be a lot of this sort of activity and a lot of this experience happening around death. Do you have any idea what purpose those angelic experiences or appearances serve at the deathbed?

Dr. Dale Allison: I think the thing we can learn now... And this is from everybody, this isn't just from Christians, it's not just from religious people. This is from the psychologists and therapists in the hospice people. What they'll say is that these experiences are almost always beneficial and they are comforting.

People are also comforted at second hand. Now, not everybody is, but usually when somebody says, "I just saw Uncle Fred," or "I saw my husband, and they're smiling, and they're looking forward to reunion," the people around the deathbed are cheered, even if they think it might be an illusion, right?

Eric Huffman: Yeah.

Dr. Dale Allison: But these experiences are positive. Now, they can also be puzzling. One of the weirdest things I discuss in this book is the motif of light around the body at the moment of death. It's really strange. But if you read the literature, there are hospice workers, a lot of them, who say, "Once or twice, when I was with somebody who was dying, the face glowed, or some kind of light left the body." And I found a number of these cases where multiple people are in the room and they're actually trying to figure out where's the light coming from.

So those sorts of experiences can puzzle people but for the most part, people come away reassured and feeling like, you know, the dying one is loved and is going on to some better place.

Eric Huffman: So is it just about the emotional comfort or is it, you said, going on to someplace. Are they being guided somewhere by these figures and these visions? Are they being safe-passage sort of? Is that what this is?

Dr. Dale Allison: Yeah. Yeah. That's always the interpretation. That's the interpretation going way back. You might remember the Gospel of Luke 16, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

Eric Huffman: Love it.

Dr. Dale Allison: When the poor guy dies, the angels come for him. That's already a motif in literature way back when... You can find it in Greek sources. You can find it in Roman sources.

Eric Huffman: You can find it in the movie Ghost. I don't know if you're familiar with that too. The old Patrick Swayze movie, same thing. They had light.

Dr. Dale Allison: Yeah. Yeah. I saw it many years ago. But the point is I think people are having a similar experience actually different cultures. And then, of course, it gets interpreted differently. But the thing that seems constant is that when you see figures, the interpretation is, "They're coming to help me. They're coming to assist me. They're coming to take me."

In line with this, one of the fascinating things that we have learned recently is that at least in the modern Western world, people who are dying, leading up to their death, they often use travel metaphors in very strange ways. They will say, "I need to catch the bus," or "I need to get my suitcase." So there's this is sort of... I don't know if you want to call it natural revelation or something. There's this sense that I'm going somewhere else but I'm not doing it. I am the-

Eric Huffman: Passenger.

Dr. Dale Allison: I'm not the driver. I'm the passenger.

Eric Huffman: I love it.

Dr. Dale Allison: Right?

Eric Huffman: So interesting.

Dr. Dale Allison: I read one book, and this was written by a hospice nurse and she said, "I've never heard of anyone saying, "I'm putting on my tennis shoes and not going for a run." They're not doing it. It's always somehow, "I'm waiting for the bus to come." That kind of metaphor.

Eric Huffman: Right. There's a system at work that they're not in control of that they want to latch on to somehow and guess where they're going?

Dr. Dale Allison: "I'm hopping on the train."

Eric Huffman: Amazing.

Dr. Dale Allison: Or "I need to get my ticket."

Eric Huffman: Yeah. "I gotta get to the station. I've heard that one." Like, literally someone's saying, "I've got to get to the station before they died."

Dr. Dale Allison: Yeah. Really?

Eric Huffman: Yeah.

Dr. Dale Allison: Okay. It turns out that's really common. But again, this is something that, you know, folklore knows, but only recently have people actually been collecting this stuff and doing analyses and so on. And at least from what I've read, there is a sort of implicit theology in these metaphors that people are using.

Eric Huffman: So you have said angel stories, since they supply evidence of God in a largely secular world, are implicit attacks on atheism. So could you just help us understand what you're getting out there and why that's important?

Dr. Dale Allison: Well, so that's one of the things that you find in these angel books constantly. I think that everybody lives in the secular world. So not everybody had my secular education and not everybody went to college and had philosophy professors telling them that they were atheists. But if you live in our culture, there's not a lot of God in Amazon, there's not a lot of God in big government, big education, big entertainment, and so on. It's just secular.

Eric Huffman: Absolutely.

Dr. Dale Allison: And we live our lives in them, whether we want to or not. So we in effect, live secular lives. And if we want to push back against that, or if we think there's something more, we're always cheered by stories that say maybe there is something more.

[00:46:51] <music>

Eric Huffman: Twenty-eight-year-old Dustin grew up going to Catholic Church with his family. In high school, he decided that God didn't exist. His atheistic worldview led him to some very dark places after college.

Dustin: I fell into doing a lot of cocaine. I found myself doing it sometimes 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. with homeless people, by myself just because I hated the thought of being sober. I hated the feeling of being sober. I didn't believe life had any purpose. I was just trying to be as successful as possible in the corporate world, trying to make as much money as possible, trying to find meaning and fulfillment in any avenue I could.

And I hit the point where I was the number one sales rep in my company. That was like my biggest goal, number one rep out of 3,000 reps. And I hit this point where once I hit that level of success I didn't feel any more fulfilled than I was before. And that's when I started to really think about things deeply because I thought, "Man, there has to be more to life than just success." For about nine months after that, I was extremely depressed. That's when the Lord decided to show Himself to me.

So on September 4 of 2017, my best friend Justin and I were at breakfast one day, and he told me that he wanted to commit suicide. We had been best friends since high school. And he had struggled with depression, you know, multiple different seasons of life but this time felt more real. He told me he had a plan, he was ready to do it.

And I was trying to explain to him like, "Hey, you know, just just try to help people, try to be a good person, try not to focus on yourself." I didn't have much real hope to give him because I didn't have God in my life. So the wisdom I was giving him came from a good place, but it was ultimately fruitless.

So that night I had a dream. And in my dream, I was in the Olympics and Jesus Christ kept coming to me, and He said, "Do you believe in me," and I kept saying to Him, "I don't believe in you. Leave me alone." He kept coming back over and over.

And in my dream, I was in a little airplane about to go skydiving. And I jumped out of the plane, and I'm skydiving toward the earth, I have my parachute on everything, and my parachute breaks. So now I'm free-falling toward the ground. And as I'm about to hit the ground and die, my best friend Justin's sister from real life came as an angel sent from God. And she said, "Do you believe in Jesus?" And I said, "Yes." And she goes, "You'll be saved but I want you to show my brother what I showed you, and he'll be saved also."

And I woke up from the dream and I felt the pure love of God, and it changed my life forever. It felt like this warm love that was just so strong in my room that it was like I couldn't even move my body. I was just crying and crying and crying and sobbing.

The Bible talks about to know the love of Christ is to be filled with all the fullness of God. And that's how it felt. I felt like I was full, like there was nothing else I needed in that moment. And my first thought was I wanted to quit my job, sell everything I own and tell the world about this love I feel right now. And my second thought was God's real.

So finally I quit my job. And at this point, I was very confused because all my life I didn't believe in God. But I had this encounter with this amazing love and it was undeniable. It bypassed my head on my intellectual questions and it got right to my heart.

And this image of a parachute kept popping back and back in my head. So I bought a one-way ticket to go to Europe. I just needed some time off. I had been working for a while. And before going to Europe, we flew into Boston for a wedding.

So we're driving to a wedding with my aunt who's a born-again Christian, in the car—and this is about a month after my dream—and I'm telling you about my dream and how this parachute is like a sign from God. But I'm still having a lot of doubts that God's real. I knew it in my heart but in my head, it was hard to wrap my mind around.

So I'm like, "Man, I just need more proof that this parachute is a sign from God." And as I'm saying that my little cousin looks up in the sky and he says, "Look up." I look up and there's a skydiver parachuting at the exact angle as the one I had seen in my vision. So we just start to cry and just praise God in worship.

I ended up going to Europe. I went to 18 countries, had a great trip. And now every night I'm praying, and now I'm like, "Okay, God must be real," but I still felt this doubt. It's good to be analytical, but you don't want to get so analytical to the point of talking yourself out of faith. That's like the fall of man in a nutshell, right?

So anyway, my grandpa had passed away a year before all this had happened. And I was in the plane from Sweden to go to Copenhagen, Denmark, and I said, "God, if you're truly real, give me a sign that my grandpa's looking over me from heaven."

So I get off the plane, I'm walking through the streets of Denmark, and I remembered there was a song my grandpa used to always think about heaven, how we'll meet again. And it's not a song had ever heard before. It was something that I thought he had just made up. And I hear this little voice say, "Turn into this museum." So I turned and there was a museum there and I'm like, "Whoa." This is an hour after paying for that sign that my grandpa was looking over me.

And I walk into the first room and that song my grandpa used to always sing I had never heard before was playing. And I just collapsed on the ground. I'm just crying my eyes out just feeling God's presence. It's undeniable. His presence is so undeniable, there's no way I could doubt it anymore.

Eric Huffman: Dustin walked out of that museum and right into a tattoo parlor across the street where he got an image of a parachute, the one that he'd seen in his dream tattooed to his body as a reminder of God's existence and love.

When he returned to the US shortly thereafter, he and his best friend Justin got into a huge argument. Justin, who was now sober, wouldn't let Justin drive under the influence. Both were very angry with each other, and they stopped communicating for over two months.

Dustin: I started a new job in the tech world, and I was having a lot of social anxiety at that point and I was feeling like an outcast from the rest of people on my team. And I was leaving work one day after an experience that made me feel really alone, and I was going to church on a Wednesday night. And I was actually on the train really sad and actually almost depressed because I felt so excluded and so alone, and I heard the voice of God say, "That's how Justin feel all the time. Text him and apologize for the fight."

And so I did. I was expecting him to get mad at me or argue back or something, and he sends a long paragraph and he goes, "It's crazy that you just reach out to me. You were the last person who was in my life. Even my own parents have distanced themselves from me because I pushed everybody away. I was literally going to commit suicide tomorrow. I have my note written out."

Eric Huffman: Dustin told his friend that he was on his way to church. To Dustin's surprise, Justin asked to meet him there.

Dustin: I'm getting in my car at that point, and I hear this voice, I would say it's from God in my heart, saying, "Pray for his salvation." So I'm just calling people say, "Hey, pray for Justin. Pray he encounters God tonight." He shows up at the church. He was about six feet tall, 200 pounds before, and now he's about 150 pounds. He had lost so much weight. He looked horrible. He looked like he wanted to die.

The worship band comes on. And all of a sudden during the song, I hear this voice in my heart says, "Get on your knees." So I get on my knees, and all of a sudden the light, because I had some lights in the church, the light was purple, it got really, really bright as if I was looking into the sun.

And all of a sudden, all the sounds and the whole church got completely silent. It was almost like God muted my brain for a second to get my attention. And my spirit lifts out of my body. And next thing you know, I'm like physically bird's eye view, looking down over the church, like probably 50, 80 100 feet up in the air. And I heard the audible voice of God. And this time, it wasn't a still small voice in my head, it could be mistaken. It was like roaring thunder. And it was like a tsunami crashing on the beach in the middle of the night in dead silence. And he said, "Mission complete, your friend's been saved." And it was like, "Boom!" Like roaring thunder.

And at that moment, I'm back in my chair and the Spirit of God came on Justin, and he starts to cry and cry and weep with joy, just the love of God just pouring over him. And he said, "God's real."

Eric Huffman: Today Justin is doing mission trips in Hawaii, Kenya, and South Sudan. Well, Dustin continues to tell everyone that he knows about God who he met for the first time in a dream.

Dustin: If anybody's out there wondering if God's real, if you truly seek Him with your whole heart, if you genuinely want truth, if you genuinely want to know who He is, and you just drop your pride, He will show Himself to you. If you have that desire in your heart to seek Him, that's because he's put a desire in your heart. So just go with it and don't fight it and don't resist it. Seek Him with your whole heart.

[00:56:37] <music>

Eric Huffman: Dustin's encounter with Jesus and how it changed his entire worldview overnight, reminds me of a man in the Bible named Saul, who in the early 30s AD was responsible for persecuting Jesus' followers. It was his job to do so. And he was good at it. Until one day when he experienced what Dustin called the tsunami of God.

The book of Acts chapter 9 says, "Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to Jesus, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' 'Who are you?' Saul asked. 'I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting, He replied. 'Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'"

In an instant, everything changed. This man whose one job had been to exterminate the Christians suddenly became one instead. And Saul, who's better known to us today as the Apostle Paul, went on to become one of the most important leaders in the early church, traveling across Europe and Asia Minor, planting new churches everywhere that he went, while somehow also finding time to write 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. And then, around the years 65 AD, Paul was beheaded by order of the Roman Emperor Nero for refusing to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

In what way do you feel like these experiences that we're talking about support biblical claims about God and the Christian God in particular? And how do you see these sorts of experiences leading people to deeper faith in God?

Dr. Dale Allison: Speaking first as a sort of Bible guy, what they do is they add plausibility to what I would call the biblical world. So the biblical world is a world of religious experiences. It's a world of visions. How many visions are there in the Bible? It is a world of angels and so on.

So for me, it's not as though these experiences prove specifically Christian doctrine. What they do is they show you that the distance you can sense between the biblical world and your world is not so great. It's not. So I'm the opposite of a Protestant cessationist. A Protestant cessationist in effect says lots of things happened in the biblical times but nothing happens since then that you can't explain, or is anything more than some weak version of providence?

No, I think that the biblical world in which Amazing things happen and weird things happen and there are unexplained healings and so on. I think it's the same world. All right. It's the same world. It has different people. And you know, some of the biblical stories are important in ways that nothing else is now, but I think it's the same world. Maybe it's apologetics that way. Okay?

Eric Huffman: Yeah.

Dr. Dale Allison: And one point I say, for example, that this experience of transcendent love is consistent with Christian doctrine. It's consistent with the proposition that God is love. Just a New Testament statement. So that doesn't confirm specifically Christian doctrine but it's consistent with Christian doctrine.

Eric Huffman: So you said that there are certain people who just seem to have these experiences while others don't. And you have some theories about why that is. Could you open up that box for us a little?

Dr. Dale Allison: Here's the thing. I have had a number of experiences. I also think that I've seen the future vividly twice before it happened. My wife has similar experiences to me. And we've produced three children who have experiences similar to us. They have mystical experiences.

So I think that maybe, maybe... this is just a hypothesis, so yeah, I got to emphasize the maybe thing. But I think that some people are thinner than others. What I mean is that there's a spectrum for everything. So some people are really tall, some people are short. Some people are born with out-of-the-box IQs and some people just aren't. It's just how biology works.

You can think of any characteristic. Some people have big noses, some people have little noses. Some people have big hands, some people have little hands. So everything runs a spectrum. So why not this?

If there is another world where there are invisible realities, usually we are closed off from it or them but once in a while, something breaks through. It makes sense to me to think that some people's, I don't know what you want to call it, membranes to the other world, or their doors or whatever, sometimes they're thinner. And some people have really thick doors or thick membranes, and they'll just go through life and say, "Nothing, unusual at all has ever happened to me or anybody in my family." I mean, my family is just full of these things.

Eric Huffman: Yeah, I can relate to that. My wife's family is the same way. Everybody's had these experiences. My side of the family, not so much.

Dr. Dale Allison: The question then is, how do you work God into this? I don't know how to think about that theologically. I just don't. But I like the old, Celtic idea that there are thin places that are... They are just these places where it seems that people more easily run into God or feel the divine presence or something like that. Thin places. So maybe there are thin people. And maybe there's a spectrum.

Maybe some people's membranes are too thin and they actually cause problems for them. I actually think I know somebody who sees too many things and has too many experiences and I think it gets in the way of ordinary life. I'm perfectly happy just to have something unusual-

Eric Huffman: Yeah, once every few years.

Dr. Dale Allison: Once in a while, right? So yeah. So that's my speculation.

[01:03:16] <music>

Eric Huffman: We wanted to learn more about people who have these thin membranes. So we reached out to a woman who says she's channeled information from the angelic realm every day since she was three years old. My wife, who is very much in touch with all things spiritual, warned me not to have this conversation, even in the name of research, but I couldn't help my curiosity.

You had a couple of experiences early in life, if I'm not mistaken, that opened your eyes to these realities. What were those?

Woman: My mother became pregnant with me. She was valedictorian in high school, and she wanted to go off to college, so they had put me up for adoption. At that time, she would have never laid eyes upon me. I was in the hospital after I was born and my mother had a C-section. It was a very difficult birth, and I would stop crying, crying, crying.

And a red-haired nurse walked into my mother's room, and they were coming to pick me up at the agency the very next morning, walked into a room and said, "You've got to hold your baby. You have to feed your baby." And my mother was very young and says, "I was told I couldn't see my baby." And she said, "No."

So she put me into my mother's arms, and I stayed there. So the next morning when they came in the charge nurse was horrified that my mother had me, number one, and number two, there was no nurse on duty that evening with red hair.

Eric Huffman: Oh, wow.

Woman: So she bonded with me that entire night. The next morning, my grandmother was feisty, said we're keeping the baby and that was that.

Eric Huffman: She first communicated with an angelic being when she was just three years old.

Woman: And that angel showed up because I was actually being terrorized by an energy outside my bedroom door and it was scaring me very much. And every night it would come to my daughter wanting me to let it in, let it in. Even at three years old, I was very aware that I can't open this door. I cannot open this door.

And I was a pretty aware little girl. So I thought this was a little boy that somebody had brought over to my house. And why is he in my bedroom bothering me? And then I started working with this... he is very much an angel, and he has been with me my entire life.

Eric Huffman: So this angel that has been by your side ever since, when he showed up that he made his intentions clear that he was there to protect you?

Woman: Absolutely. "You're very young," he told me. "I'm here to help you understand what you're going to do to help." And that was what the word was "what you're going to do to help." That angel has walked with me every day of my life. So I used to joke as a teenager that I'm being raised by an angel because I was learning things maybe that normal teenagers weren't experiencing, but I was learning about the love of God very, very early on. So this angel kept me on my path. He very much guided me.

Eric Huffman: So the average person, you know, who doesn't feel that in touch with that realm, this sounds absolutely extraordinary. And I'm sure you probably have been met with a fair share of skepticism from some people, right? Like they just don't believe you.

Woman: Oh, absolutely. Because we're not taught that we walk with angels in our lives daily, but we all walk with angels.

Eric Huffman: Everyone?

Woman: Everyone.

Eric Huffman: In addition to sharing what she learns from the angelic realm with others, she also works as a naturopath, using natural remedies, including meditation and hypnosis to ostensibly help people heal their bodies from physical and emotional distress. She says she's a Christian, which led me to ask:

So I guess my question is, I say this honestly just out of total respect and curiosity, but it's like your teaching doesn't line up entirely with the Scriptures as we have them today. Where does the other stuff come from? Like, what's the origin or the root source that can be trusted, like for someone like me who's looking for the foundational teachings? If it's not scripture, what is the source of it?

I lost her.

Julie: Oh, oh.

Woman: Hello.

Julie: Let's give it a second.

Eric Huffman: This is where, about 20 minutes into our call, things got really weird. Imagine you're on a video call on an app like Zoom and the other person suddenly disappears. You can't hear them or see them. Naturally, you assume they're gone. That's what we assumed about our guests. Except she wasn't gone. We couldn't hear or see her but she said she could still see Julie and I in the Maybe God studio, and that she could hear every word that we were saying to each other.

Woman: Hello.

Eric Huffman: We've done dozens of video call interviews over the years, but I've never seen anything like this. It was odd, to say the least. But that was nothing compared to what happened next. As our team tried to troubleshoot the problem, I heard Julie gasp from across the studio. And when I looked at her, she was staring into space just behind me.

What did you hear?

Julie: I thought I saw something behind you.

Eric Huffman: For real? Like in the video?

Julie: Yeah.

Eric Huffman: Creepy. We were able to get our guests back on the call by hanging up and reentering the program.

Woman: I can see you.

Eric Huffman: Hey, I hear her.

Woman: Oh, can you see me?

Eric Huffman: I don't see you. But as long as we can hear you, I think that's what we need. Right?

Woman: Oh, I didn't lose you, guys. You were there.

Eric Huffman: Oh, weird.

Woman: Yeah, I can see you and hear you.

Eric Huffman: I was like, "Did I say something offensive?"

Woman: Oh, not at all. Because I thought that was a really great question. I was like, "That's a really great question."

Julie: I saw something really weird.

Eric Huffman: I was worried. Then Julie saw something behind me but I'm not sure what that means. Oh, we just sort of pick up where that left off.

Woman: That question was a really great question.

Eric Huffman: I just lost her again.

Julie: This is so bizarre.

Eric Huffman: So we attempted to log out and log back in one more time to finish our interview.

Woman: I'm right here. Can you hear me?

Eric Huffman: I hear you.

Woman: Okay.

Eric Huffman: We're recording?

Julie: Yeah.

Dr. Dale Allison: So the question is, how can someone who is a little skeptical about what you're saying or doing with your life and how you're helping people, how can we trust that you are a credible source of this knowledge and you got this knowledge from some other credible source? Where does it come from? She left again. I think maybe we just tried to do this another time.

At the very moment that I asked her for the third time about where her authority to speak on angels comes from, the call dropped out again. As strange as it may sound, it felt to Julian me, and even to our guest like someone didn't want her answering that question.

We have no idea what happened that day in the studio, neither do the experts over at Riverside, which is the Zoom-like app that we use to record interviews for this podcast. We reached out to them to diagnose the issue and they insisted that what we're describing has never happened on their platform.

Whatever it was, Julie is sure of one thing, when we thought that we'd lost connection, she was looking down at her computer screen at the video shot of me on set. And that's when she saw:

Julie: This very clearly defined dark shadow figure about four feet high, and it crossed right behind Eric on the gold curtain that we use as his backdrop. And there's absolutely nothing in the studio that could have caused the shadow. Our team can't come up with any explanation for it. It was just terrifying.

Eric Huffman: And to be clear, Julie isn't the jumpy type and I've never once seen or heard her be afraid of anything. It really led me to wonder if this is the sort of thing that my wife was trying to warn us about. Of course, I believe in the angelic realm. I believe that there are angels, like the ones that we've heard about in today's episode who are guarding us and even saving people's lives. The Bible is pretty clear about that and I've heard enough credible testimonies to be convinced.

But that doesn't mean that the angelic realm is all sunshine and rainbows. Angels are fearsome beings. Even the good angels were scary in the Bible. Almost every time an angel appeared, their first words were, "Don't be afraid," presumably because everybody who saw them was freaking out about it. Which really raises the question: if God's angels can be scary, how monstrous could Satan's angels be?

We were warned not to dabble too carelessly on this topic. And now I think we know why. Our curious attempts to peek behind the curtain can inadvertently open us up to things that we're not ready for—dark forces that seek our destruction.

Stay tuned for part two of this episode as we take a closer look at the other side of angels, the sinister beings known as demons.

Announcer: This episode of Maybe God was produced by Julie Mirlicourtois, Andrea Gentle, and Eric and Geovanna Huffman. Our talented editors are Shannon Stefan and Justin Mayer, and our social media guru is Kat Brough.

A special thanks to Mark Calver and Brian Edwards for their amazing work filming Maybe God's interviews for our new YouTube channel. For more information about Maybe God and to sign up for exclusive updates and content, head to today. And don't forget to follow and engage with us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Thanks for listening, everyone.