The Bible and Angels Part 2
Their Creation and Nature
Modern culture today has influenced the understanding many people have about angels. For example, it is a popular myth that when people die, they become angels. The truth is, angels are a separate creation from humans, and we will never be an angel, and angels will never be human beings. In this addition of what the Bible has to say about these unique creatures, we will look at their creation and their nature.
I. The Creation of Angels
Although it is not explicitly stated in Scripture that angels were created, and none are mentioned in the creation account of Genesis 1 and 2, the fact that they were created is clearly implied. Psalm 148:1-5 tells us:
Praise the Lord! Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him all His Hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him , all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heaven of heavens, And you waters above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created.
Also, if we look at Colossians 1:16 Paul says: "For in Him (Christ), all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities-all things were created through Him and for Him."
Some scholars believe that Genesis 2:1, which talks about the completion of the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, is a reference to the creation of the angels. And they would add Job 38:7 to that as well, where it speaks of the morning stars singing together and the sons of God shouting for joy, witnessing the creation. But there simply isn't enough evidence in either of these passages to prove this. In fact, Job 38:7 seems to indicate that they were already created before this time.
It would appear that the angels were all created at the same time, since they don't have the power to propagate themselves (Matthew 22:30). Also, we are told of no new direct creations of God after the creation account in Genesis.
II. The Nature of Angels
A. They have Personality
These beings are not mere automatons. They can express emotions, such as praising God. They can exercise their will, as with Satan when he stated that he would be like the Most High. Also, Satan, like all of the other fallen angels, will be held accountable for these actions since they will be condemned for this in the future (Matthew 25:41). And of course, we can see from Scripture various places where angels are carrying on intelligent conversation with human beings. For example, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1:20.21 to tell him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. This is all evidence of their personality.
B. They are Spirits
In Psalm 104:4 the Scripture says that the Lord: "makes His angels spirits.." Also we see that the writer of Hebrews says of them: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth for those who will inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). Our Lord said to his followers when talking about himself after the resurrection: "A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see me have" (Luke 24:39). From this it can be inferred that the angels don't have the types of physical bodies that we have. They are spiritual, and normally unseen to the human eye.
Some theologians would go so far as to say that, being spirit, they cannot possess any body at all. However, some Scriptures teach otherwise. For instance, the cherubim, which are a class of angels, are carefully described in Ezekiel 1:5-24. It says they have faces, wings, hands, feet and the appearance of a flashing light. The seraphim are another class of angels. Isaiah 6:2 also describes them as having bodily parts. Hebrews 13:2 speaks of some people having entertained angels unawares. At least in this instance, they were not distinguishable from man in their appearance, although granted they may have taken on human form temporarily.
An interesting incident in Scripture is found in II Kings 6. Elisha the prophet prayed that his servant's eyes be opened to see the hosts of the Lord. And the young man's eyes were indeed opened so that he saw a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. There is no doubt that angels are spirit beings, but from the above facts, it is hard to state that they have no bodies of any kind. It would seem that when the human eye is opened to the spirit world, these beings, normally invisible to the human eye, can become visible. We can conclude that, while they don't have physical bodies, they nonetheless have real bodies of a different nature than our own.
C. They Possess Super-Human Power
Man was made a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:7). If we look at II Peter, 2:11 it says that angels are greater in power and might than men. In II Thessalonians 1:7 the Apostle Paul speaks of our Lord as one day coming with His mighty angels. Christ, in His incarnation, was made, temporarily, a little lower than the angels. This points out the superiority of angels over humanity. These creatures indeed are quite powerful beings.
D. They are Sexless
Contrary to modern depictions, angels aren't good looking women with wings. Angels are sexless. This is evident from the fact that they neither marry nor are given in marriage (Matthew 22:30). It is also understood from the fact that there is no procreation among them. There is no need for this since they are immortal. They don't die (Luke 20:36). The interesting thing is, that whenever they do appear in human form in Scripture, it is never as a female. They always take the form of a man.
E. They were Originally Holy
Though the Bible gives little specific evidence about the original state of the angels, we know that when God finished His work of creation, He pronounced everything good (Genesis 1:31). Jude 6 also indicates that angels were originally holy creatures. Some were elect (I Timothy 5:21) and others sinned (II Peter 2:4). A Holy God cannot create that which is unholy and sinful. Like men, it was their rebellion and sin that made some angels evil and subject to the judgement of the Lord.
We have merely scratched the surface of what the Bible has to say about angels. But suffice it to say for now that these creatures are unlike what you see on T.V. and in the movies. They are a wonderful creation of Almighty God that play an important part in His eternal plans for God's people and His universe. They give us one more good reason to give praise to the One who is the Creator and Sovereign of the Universe. Praise His name!