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Angels: A Book Review and Commentary

Updated on May 8, 2011

Common belief is that all angels have wings.

Image copyright 2011 Royal Flamingo Works, LLC
Image copyright 2011 Royal Flamingo Works, LLC | Source

Still in print!

Graham's best seller.
Graham's best seller. | Source

Do you want to believe?

“The apparent increase in satanic activity against people on this planet today may indicate that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close at hand.” Those words were written by Billy Graham over thirty-five years ago. They echo just as clearly today in 2011. It seems that every generation has predictors and would-be prophets announcing that the end may be near. Just as the time is about to come for events predicted by the Mayan calendar, one radio evangelist is giving a specific date for the end time -- in 2011. Even atheist scientists admit a belief in spiritual beings -- at least 20% of them do. Elaine H. Ecklund of Rice University says in 2011 that “There’s spirituality among even the most secular scientists.” and “Spirituality pervades both religious and atheist thought. It’s not an either/or.” Graham’s research revealed that “The history of virtually all nations and cultures reveals at least some belief in angelic beings.”


My original review sparked a couple of questions from readers. Here they are, with my answers:

Question 1:
Your review begins with Graham’s recounting of a Reader's Digest anecdote in which "a celebrated Philadelphia neurologist is summoned to the bedside of a woman suffering from pneumonia—by a child that appeared normal to him, but had, in fact, been dead for a month." Your hyperlink suggests that the neurologist was Silas Weir Mitchell, who died in 1914, meaning this story has some mighty grey whiskers—perhaps nearly 100 years old. Moreover, neurology—then as now—deals with disorders of the nervous system. Pneumonia, however, is an inflammatory condition of the lung, which is part of the respiratory system. It is treated by pulmonologists, not neurologists. Since the mother was, according to Rev. Graham's book, "desperately ill with pneumonia," why do you suppose the angel (who assumed the form of a child but was not necessarily limited to a child's understanding of medicine) summoned a neurologist? Surely there were pulmonologists in Philadelphia who, while less celebrated than the eminent Dr. Mitchell, would've brought greater diagnostic expertise to the mother's bedside.
I have no idea why Dr. Mitchell was chosen. And you're right, that's an old story. Remember, this book is over 35 years old itself.
Maybe Dr. Mitchell was a non-believer. I'm not sure of his religious leanings. If he was a non-believer and this mission was in fact meant to be an experience to help him believe, then his medical specialty would be of no consequence.

Question 2:

As Irene Athena comments on your review, "There are people who wonder though, when they hear these stories, why miracles didn't happen to THEM when they needed them."
From your readings, can you say whether or not angels appear only to believers? Presumably Irene's point is that angels have failed to help countless believers, desperate as they may have been. But what about nonbelievers? I can't think of a better way to dispel someone's doubt or disbelief than by having an angel deliver a firsthand miracle, yet this seems to seldom occur.

From the review: "Graham asks many thought-provoking questions, provides some answers of his own, and offers a solution to the age old question,'Why do bad things happen to good people?'" My take on his answer is also my answer to your question. Graham describes a war raging between angels of heaven and of hell. Sometimes the angels of darkness win. I'm no theologian, but that's my take on it. I believe that angels do indeed appear to non-believers. Aren't there some Biblical references to this? Graham mentioned a story from WWII with British bombers being flown accurately even with dead pilots -- of unknown creeds. Maybe there aren't many contemporary sightings with enough publicity for me to be aware. Well, there's always an interesting cover story on the National Enquirer !

Graham speaking just after book is published.

Is there an angel on your shoulder?

Do you believe there are angels active among us today?

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