Q&A on Angels, Demons, Nephilim and the book Hush, Hush
Q&A on Angels, Demons, Nephilim and the book Hush, Hush
I was invited to join a book club that is reading Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush. Before I had gotten the book myself, many of the girls emailed and said how much they loved the book and how they just couldn’t put it down. OK, I’m curious. Then as I was reserving the book via my local library website, I discovered it was written by a Mormon (or at least, a Brigham Young graduate), for “young adults”, was compared to the Twilight series, and had something to do with fallen angels. Hmmm…interesting for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that at 35 I’m pretty much the youngest member of the book club that has chosen to read this.
I’ve done a little “work” on Twilight, summarizing some of the Christian books written in response to it. I can see some of the positives and some of the negatives with the series. I get it. I see why it was (and is) so popular, even though I often wonder if the rabid popularity of such sensational writing has more to do with the fact that readers haven’t read enough literature with true depth and value.
I mean, if I compared it to food… Spam may be quick, easy, convenient, affordable and you may even think it quite tasty, until you feast on a truly great filet. It’s not to say Spam loses all its merits at that point, it may still have its place. But to call it great meat is laughable to anyone who has ever tasted a fine steak. It lacks both the flavor and the texture, though it is undoubtedly easier to chew. Great lit is like a great steak. It may take a bit of work to chew (read) it, but it’s so superior and tastes so much better you surely never mind the work.
Anyway, like I said, I kind of understood some of the fascination with Twilight. And I see why Hush, Hush is compared to Twilight. The storyline is almost identical. High school girl living in rainy Northwest corner of US (near Portland) with, for all practical purposes, no parental guidance or involvement, meets dark, mysterious boy in (Twilight fans should be able to guess this…) Biology class. She knows he’s bad, knows he’s trouble, but is curious and somewhat uncontrollably drawn to him. She says, “He was the worst kind of wrong. He was so wrong it felt right and that made me feel completely out of control.”
Previously responsible and forthcoming, Nora begins to do all manner of irresponsible things, not the least of which is lying to friends and authorities (parents, police, school, etc.), breaking and entering, and putting herself into very compromising and dangerous situations (often specifically forbidden).
Nora does a little internet research and finds out Patch (said dangerous love interest) is a fallen angel, aka a demon. But, if we can believe vampires can be good, kind and loving, morally upright beings who can earn their salvation through good behavior, then it’s not such a big leap to also believe a demon has the same capacity for goodness and salvation.
Ultimately, Nora gives her life for this guy (also very Twilight like, right?), but gets it back. How? Patch. He’s an angel, a fallen angel, but still an angel – who can redeem himself and become a guardian angel by saving her life – which he does.
So yeah, it’s basically a remake of Twilight with fallen angels in lieu of vampires.
But, despite whether or not I might find this story original, it is sensational, it is sexy (WAY too sexy for its target audience, if you ask me – the teens are all very much and very casually about sex—and frankly, I question the actual benefit it brings to any age audience, but that’s just me), and it is already wildly popular. Just to give you some idea, here is a list of its awards:
- Debuted at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller List
- A Publishers Weekly bestseller
- A bestseller in England, France and Brazil
- YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten pick
- Included in the 2009 Association of Booksellers for Children Best Books for Children Catalog
- Winter 2009 Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten pick
- Barnes & Noble’s Best Teen Books of 2009 selection
- 2009 Barnes & Noble Dark Romance for Teens Holiday Gift Guide selection
- CBC Favourite Children’s Books Top Ten Pick
- First YA title selected for Barnes & Noble’s First Look Book Club
- Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Series
Rather than delve into how appropriate or inappropriate I think the book may be on a basic content level (like the way it treats teen sexuality, teen relationships with authorities, wisdom, how you handle temptation, the stupidity of flirting with danger, thinking you can always trust that just because you like him he’s really good deep down…and that that goodness will overpower any evil desires he may have…etc.), the thing which I think deserves some special attention is the concept of fallen angels and Nephilim (off spring of fallen angels and humans).
The Da Vinci Code made a lot of statements about the Bible which Christians weren’t quite sure how to handle. And they weren’t sure what was true and what was fabricated for the sake of telling a good tale. Twilight didn’t really open a can of worms like that, because we all know vampires are mythology. While Hush, Hush may shamelessly borrow its story line from Twilight, it didn’t stick to mythological creatures, it went to the Bible for its villainous hero. And like with the Da Vinci Code, Christians aren’t so sure what to do about it. They don’t know what is true and what is fabricated for the sake of a good tale.
In fact, though I have heard of the Nephilim, I suspected other Christians I knew may not have (indeed, I only heard of them from a particular Bible teacher back in high school and have never heard mention since). So, I asked the women in my Bible study – all are women I look up to as believers and are well-versed in the Bible and their faith. Not a one had ever heard of the Nephilim (which is a fairly critical part of the book).
And the Nephilim are just one of the many spiritual, Biblical questions that the book is likely to raise as it takes great liberty to give flesh (so to speak) to angels, fallen angels and Nephilim and to show their relationships with each other and with humans.
The following Q & A is an effort to shed some light (and some correction) on the many questions and misrepresentations about angelic beings arising from a reading of Hush, Hush.
Nora, the main character, did some research on fallen angels, and this is what she found:
Fallen Angels: The Frightening Truth
At the creation of the Garden of Eden, heavenly angels were dispatched to Earth to watch over Adam and Eve. Soon, however, some angels set their sights on the world beyond the garden walls. They saw themselves as future rulers over the Earth’s population, lusting after power, money, and even human women.
Together they tempted and convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, opening the gates guarding Eden. As punishment for this grave sin and for deserting their duties, God stripped the angels’ wings and banished them to Earth forever.
Question: What’s your response to the book’s “frightening truth” about fallen angels?
Well, the “truth” of this is a bit questionable. We don’t actually know when the angelic rebellion occurred. I’ve often wondered if Satan’s fall and the temptation of Adam and Eve were actually simultaneous…in other words, if Satan’s attempt to get them to follow him was actually his first act of rebellion… but there really is no clear evidence. In any event, the rebellion seems to have more to do with power than lust. And angels don’t have wings, not in their natural state. Angels are spirits, though they can manifest on occasion as physical beings. They are often portrayed as having wings, but very few of the biblical accounts of angelic manifestations actually include wings.
The “frightening truth” continues…
… Fallen angels are the same evil spirits (or demons) described in the Bible as taking possession of human bodies. Fallen angels roam the earth looking for human bodies to harass and control. They tempt humans to do evil by communicating thoughts and images directly to their minds. If a fallen angel succeeds in turning a human toward evil, it can enter the human’s body and influence his or her personality and actions.
However, the possession of a human body by a fallen angel can take place only during the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. Cheshvan, known as “the bitter month,” is the only month without any Jewish holidays or fasts, making it an unholy month. Between new and full moons during Cheshvan, fallen angels invade human bodies in droves.
Question: This passage talks about possession. It implies that anyone can be turned towards evil and ultimately possessed, but only during Cheshvan. Is there any distinction between Christians and non-Christians when it comes to the influence a demon can have with them? And what role does Cheshvan really play in regards to demonic interaction with humans?
First off, the Bible doesn’t speak of “demonic possession” in the original languages. The phrase “possessed by a demon” (or similar language) translates a Greek phrase that is more literally translated as “afflicted by a demon”. This affliction can take several forms, the highest of which is when the spirit is capable of controlling the victim’s body to a great degree. There’s nothing in the Bible to say that this can only occur during a particular time of the year or can only happen when someone is turned towards evil. If anything, demonic oppression leads towards evil rather than deriving from it. Presumably Christians have some “natural” resistance to the influence of these kinds of spiritual afflictions, but the Apostle Paul speaks of being afflicted by a spirit to the extent that it caused him physical illness (2Co. 12:7) and he warned Christians in Eph. 4:26 that unresolved anger could provide a foothold for demons to gain some degree of influence over Christians, so we’re certainly not immune. However, Christians have the authority delegated from Jesus himself to cast out such spirits when we become aware of their presence.
Nora’s research also turned up this passage on the Nephilim:
… Fallen angels who have a sexual relationship with a human produce superhuman offspring called Nephilim. The Nephilim race is an evil and unnatural race and was never meant to inhabit Earth. Although many believe the Great Flood at the time of Noah was intended to cleanse the Earth of Nephilim, we have no way of knowing if this hybrid race died out and whether or not fallen angels have continued to reproduce with humans since that time. It seems logical that they would, which means the Nephilim race is likely on the Earth today. 
Question: What does the Bible have to say about the Nephilim? And, what kinds of powers and traits might they inherit from their extraterresterial parent?
Answer: OK, this is fuzzy. The word “Nephilim” only occurs twice in the Bible, once in Gen. 6:4 and once in Num. 13:33. The word seems to mean “giants” and some translations actually render it that way rather than transliterating the Hebrew word into “Nephilim.” Gen. 6:4 does say that they were conceived when the “sons of God came into the daughters of men”, but this is almost certainly NOT a reference to angels. First, angels are non-physical beings who can’t conceive children with human women. Second, Gen. 6:2 says that this wasn’t just a one-time thing but that the “sons of God” took the “daughters of men” as wives…in other words, this was a permanent living arrangement, not a one-night stand, so to speak. So these were beings who didn’t just manifest for a time but lived as physical beings for their whole lives…again, not something that is true of angels. Third, the phrase “sons of God” is only used to refer to angels in Job. Elsewhere in scripture this phrase refers to a variety of people, but always as a special class with some remarkable characteristic. For instance in the New Testament it refers to Christians. It could well be that this phrase is used in the Old Testament to refer to people who sought to walk with God. However, the fact that the children of the “sons of God” and women were giants suggests that the phrase refers to their physical attributes.
Question: Is it possible that the Nephilim survived the flood?
Answer: Since “Nephilim” probably just means giants, there’s no particular reason why the Genesis and Numbers references have to be referring to the same group.
Question: Is it possible or likely that there are Nephilim or Nephilim descendents (the book talks about descendants of Nephilim) on the earth today?
Answer: Probably not.
Patch, the fallen angel, had previously (before he fell) had a romantic relationship with another angel, Dabria (she was an angel of death). She wants Patch back and is extremely jealous of his new earthly love (Nora)…so much so that she tries to scare and even harm Nora to keep her away from Patch. Eventually she spends too much time on earth (which seems to be at least as big of an issue as her deviant, un-angelic behavior) and she loses her wings and joins the ranks of the “fallen” angels.
Question: Do angels have romantic relationships with each other? (The book implies quite a bit of sexuality between the angels.) Additionally, are angels sometimes jealous of humans?
Answer: In Matthew 22:30 Jesus said “For in the resurrection they [humans] neither amarry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” This suggests that angels are not sexual beings.
Question: This brings up the question that maybe I should have asked sooner: What makes an angel fall? Do angels really fall because of lust and/or love for humans as the book suggests? I thought pride was the reason for the fall, but pride is never mentioned in Hush, Hush and Patch’s fall is very distinctly related to his romantic interest in a woman. In fact, Nora asks why he fell. “Lust.” is his simple answer.
Answer: We don’t really know why they fell. In Isaiah 14 there’s a passage about someone who wanted to ascend higher than God and was cast down. This is probably a reference to a human king, but it contains some language that suggests it may also be a reference to Satan who was both behind the king’s pride and served as a model for it himself. If this is the case, then pride was the key issue, not sexuality.
Question: Patch wants a human body so that he can feel what humans feel (the implication is mostly centered around sexual pleasures). Is there any evidence that angels are limited in their senses and that they desire to experience what humans do?
Answer: There’s no biblical evidence for it. Their desire to take control of human bodies may be related to their desire to inflict harm upon humans…and they seem to harbor some deep-seated resentment towards us. It may also be a simply act of spite: we are God’s image, so what better way to spite God than to do harm to His representatives?
In Hush, Hush, heavenly beings have some interesting options. Once fallen, Patch is faced with two choices: He can save a human life and become a guardian angel, or he can kill a Nephil vassal (a Nephilim descendant – often one whose body a fallen angel possesses during Cheshvan so that he can experience humanity on any number of levels, but primarily a sexual level) and become human. I guess the third option is that he could remain a fallen angel, (he has apparently been a fallen angel for hundreds of years) but that option is never mentioned. Patch clearly and desperately wants to be human.
Question: Do heavenly beings have the freedom to move between realms like this? Fall and be a demonic spirit, do a good deed to become reinstated as an angel? Or kill a human and take their place as a human (vs. just possessing them one month a year)?
Answer: Sounds like pure fantasy. We know nothing of any redemptive options for angels. This doesn’t mean that such options don’t exist, but the Bible makes no mention of anything of the sort.
Ironically, his love interest is also a Nephilim descendent whom he had planned to kill so that he could become human. But of course he loves her and, he’s really a good guy, after all. So, he saves her life instead, giving up his chance for humanity and reluctantly becoming a guardian angel (her guardian angel, so it’s not so bad). He didn’t want to be a guardian angel, but, you know, one makes sacrifices for love.
Question: The book refers to Patch as a fallen angel, not as a demon. I feel like this is manipulative, we will allow an angel to have goodness inside, even a fallen one—the emphasis is still that they are angelic. But if he was called a demon, we might not be as willing to believe in his better nature. Good guys used to wear white, bad guys wore black. But then, in our quest for “realism” we had to be honest that good guys made mistakes and bad guys sometimes had moments of transcendence and we began to make stories about the flawed hero and the loveable villain…even in our children’s tales (did anyone see Megamind?). Some of that was a good thing. But has it gone too far? Have we lost our ability to recognize evil, or to call it what it is? Are there some things which are just purely, truly good, and others which are truly, purely evil? Where do angels and demons fit into that?
Answer: Interesting question. Human beings, at least, are a mixture of good and evil. As the image of God we have an inherent capacity for good, but since Adam that capacity has been twisted by our sin nature so that we never do anything that is purely good. But that doesn’t mean everything is purely evil, either. However, the Bible, which is our only reliable source of truth about this subject, doesn’t say that fallen angels are anything but evil, so hypothesizing some possible good in them seems risky to me.
Along with the twisty issues of Patch being a good fallen angel, Dabria who is still an angel is cold, calculating, deceptive, manipulative, threatening, possessive and lusty (for Patch). There is nothing warm or inviting or trustworthy about her.
Question: Shouldn’t angels be holy? And aren’t demons supposed to be deceivers? What can you tell us about the true nature of both angels and demons?
Answer: Well, the word “angel” (or the Greek and Hebrew terms which are translated as “angel”) literally means “messenger”. In fact, the Greek word “angel” often refers to human messengers. Given this, the primary nature of angelic creatures seems to be to do God’s will, often serving as a messenger between God and humans. They seem to have various powers, or degrees of power, so that some are quite powerful entities called arch-angels and some seem to be much less powerful. The non-fallen angels remain holy, but the fallen ones are sinful..both seem to keep their essential powers, however, just like fallen humans retain most of their basic capacities.
The Book of Enoch is mentioned several times as a reference guide of sorts for angels who wish to become human, (among other things).
Question: Is there a book of Enoch, or was it just contrived for this story? If it does exist, what is it?
Answer: The book of Enoch does exist. It is an apocryphal text written sometime during the intertestamental period (between the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament period). It was never considered inspired by God. It has some strange things in it, including some mentions of angels and such.
Dabria is disgusted with humanity. She tells Nora , “[Patch] fell because he wanted to be human, like her! He had me—he had me! … At first I was hurt and angry, and I did everything in my power to forget about him. When the archangels figured out how seriously he was attempting to become human, they sent me down here to change his mind. I told myself I wasn’t going to fall for him all over again, but what good did it do?… He didn’t even care that the girl was made from the dust of the earth! You—all of you—are selfish and slovenly! Your bodies are wild and undisciplined. One moment you’re at the peak of joy, the next you’re on the brink of despair. It’s deplorable! No angel will aspire to it!”
Question: Do you think angels could/do really feel that much disdain for humanity?
Answer: Angels who didn’t fall never indicate this kind of disdain. Rather, they seem to be respectful of humans, probably because we are made as the image of God. How fallen angels (i.e. demons) feel is more complicated. They seem to hate us pretty powerfully.
Question: I found it odd that in a book whose primary subjects are angels and fallen angels, there is no real mention of God or Satan. Of course, there is almost as little mention of parents, which is also odd to me when the other main characters are high school students. I realize that this may be in some part telling about our society’s response to authority figures. But, how realistic is it that God and Satan would be so absent in the daily doings of angels and demons respectively?
Answer: God’s omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, so I imagine He’s pretty involved! Satan, however, is none of those things so he can’t be as involved. Still, I would imagine he’s as involved as his limited capacities allow, not absent like some disinterested anti-deity.
A Nephilim, Jules, the one Patch possesses every year for his free-for-all in human form, has the demonic ability/power (inherited from his fallen angel father) to influence people’s thoughts—and he has been messing with Nora’s head. He tells Nora, “Do you want to know the best part? You could have blocked me out. I couldn’t have touched your mind without your permission. I reached in and you never resisted. You were weak. You were easy.”
Question: Is there a difference between demonic possession and oppression? Can you explain?
Answer: We’ve addressed this a bit already. All demonic attacks are “oppression”. How severe these attacks are and what they can accomplish vary by situation and, probably, by the powers of the demon involved. I suspect there are some demons who couldn’t “pull off” full control of a human body no matter how ideal the circumstances were. In any event, oppression is a spectrum, with full-blown control or “possession” simply an extreme form.
Question: Is it true that demons try to influence our thoughts? And if so, how do we give them permission to do so and how can we resist?
Answer: Basically, we grant these spirits opportunities to get hold of us by our sin. Think of sin as sticky gunk that allows spirits to grab us and get a firm grip. Can they read or influence our thoughts? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect that influence is at least possible.
In the end, Nora sacrifices her life for Patch and Patch saves her life, thereby sacrificing his hopes at being human, ergo “succumbing” to, settling for being her guardian angel instead. But, he tells her, “What good is a body if I can’t have you?” His consolation is that he is going to get to “guard [her] body” and, as he says, “I take my job seriously, which means I’m going to need to get acquainted with the subject matter on a personal level.”
Question: Do guardian angels walk among us and talk with us, appearing human? And if so, do they ever reveal to their wards, “Hey, I’m your guardian angel!”? The closing scene of the book is Nora and her guardian angel, kissing. Would a guardian angel ever act this…human and hormonal? What is your response to this passage?
Answer: Matthew 18:10 speaks of children and “their angels” which is the closest thing we get in the Bible to “guardian angels”. No details are given of their activities, powers or how widespread this phenomenon is. Most of the kind of thing you’re talking about in this book is a kind of anthropomorphizing…attributing human traits to non-human creatures. I don’t think angels act that way at all.
 Fitzpatrick, Becca. Hush, Hush. New York: Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2009, 341.
 Ahhh!!! See my claws emerge and hackles rise at the number of times it makes a recommended reading list for young adults. I know it’s tame by comparison to so many things people read and watch these days. But just because they don’t have sex, doesn’t mean it isn’t ultimately all about sex. What happened to Nancy Drew? They were good mysteries and they were clean, and actually about the mystery, not about sexual tension. And forget about the sensuality, the characters in this story are just plain self-focused. Their world, their focus is terribly small. What happened to books like Louisa May Alcott used to write in which the heroines are truly concerned with being good and noble and making a positive influence in the world? Whether or not you want to say the book is “bad,” can I at least propose that it just isn’t good? Is this really the best literature we have to offer our teens?
 Ibid., 250-251.
 Ibid., 251.
 Ibid., 252.
 Ibid., 314.
 Ibid., 325-326.
 Ibid., 362-363.
 Ibid., 382.