Since September, I have been steadily feeding you – in triweekly morsels – the opening chapter of my most extensive written project. That work of course is a book, Remnants of Eden: Evolution, Deep-Time, & the Antediluvian World. Beyond that chapter, the book dives deeply into the debate between naturalism and creation, peeking in all the dark corners and asking the questions that are often overlooked. I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse at what’s to come, and I am excited about the potential unveiling of the whole work sooner or later. …
Last week I asked the potentially volatile question, Should the Bible be proven? This week we continue with that question.
As human beings, we go through life with a desire, a yearning even, for something tangible, something solid upon which to anchor our positions. Worldviews are born from this search. In fact, the quest for tangibility fueled the Enlightenment of centuries past, whereby many endeavored to cast superstition out of the way in order to perfect our understanding of reality. That quest ultimately led whole populations to repudiate the Biblical truths they had, for generations, embraced. It continues even now. Our modern world, more so than any other period, has conditioned many of us to such an extent that the old mantra of “seeing is believing” has become a condition of acceptance.
Cynics will assure you that nothing is free; everything, they contend, has a cost. That sad fact, I’m afraid, is one that even the very Creator of our reality had to face Himself. What was the cost of ultimate creation?
Believers should have no doubt that angels are real, and that their presence in our world is one that can, and certainly does, have powerful ramifications. Even so, how often do we stop and consider their presence around us? Right now, no matter where you are, no matter what you find yourself doing, take a moment to ponder if you are truly alone. Is it possible that much activity is actually swirling around you in that quiet room? Could a battle of sorts even be underway? What are we missing right beneath our noses, just outside our range of perception?
Beyond the archangels, there are a number of other celestial ranks that the Bible seems to note. Among these are the Principalities, the Powers, the Virtues, the Dominions, and the Thrones. While nothing is actually attributed to these ranks Biblically, commentators¹ have over the years inferred a number of responsibilities for each by looking to the scriptures for clues.²
In the world of mankind, we find that all well-organized gatherings have within their fold an established order of leaders, or otherwise a hierarchy of organization through which each individual knows his place. It appears that angels share this characteristic. While it may be simple enough for many believers to fall into the somewhat dismissive attitude of “an angel is an angel,” in truth the scriptures give us a bit of insight into their actual class or ranks.
Knowing that they came before us leads to a particularly disheartening conclusion for some: Angels are not deceased people! I have encountered many individuals who have spoken of how loved ones who have gone on are now angels (oftentimes these people say they are in fact guardian angels, watching over them), and though the notion may be comforting, it is simply wrong. We do not ascend into the heights of heaven at death with silvery wings, halos, and golden harps. No, our future role is distinct and far different from that of angels, but that is a discussion for another time. What else do we often confuse concerning these creatures?
I suppose that, stepping right off into it, we should first address when the angels were created. It may surprise you to know that they are in fact created beings, just like us, that were made by God at some point for His purposes. After speaking with a number of people on this matter, I was astonished to find how many actually believed (perhaps having never really considered the matter much at all in the first place) that Angels, like God, were eternal and have always existed! While it is true that those angels which now exist will indeed exist forever, just as our own souls shall, the fact that they had an actual point of creation should not be overlooked.
Essentially every culture has beings that are equivalent to the Judeo-Christian notion of angels. Though by and large they are often believed to be spiritual beings of great power and knowledge, we in the west, thanks to generations of artistic license and marketing strategy, tend to think of angels as beautiful women with wings, or conversely pudgy cupid-like infants. Scripturally though, how does this hold up? What does the Bible have to say specifically about angels, and is there an insight to be gained about them from other sources as well? Check back Friday as the new series begins. God bless!