Friday, March 05, 2021

Angelic Risk

I have been wondering why God created the angels, given that the Holy Spirit is all-powerful and therefore able to do everything needing to be done. It was quite a risky move because humans were given full freedom and authority over the earth, so they had the potential to rebel and oppose him and seriously harm his world. That would be bad enough, but if some angels rebelled too, then they could do terrible evil if they could get control of rebellious humans.

Creating powerful angels with sufficient freedom to rebel was a hugely risky move because this would massively amplify the evil that would occur if humans rebelled too. That is what has happened, and the spiritual powers of evil have been able to do terrible evil on earth since humans gave them the authority to work on evil. God must have had sufficient good reasons for creating angels to justify taking these risks.

The angels worship God in his presence, but that does not seem sufficient justification for their creation because it leaves God looking a little egotistic, if it was the only reason.

Angels have the ability to move between earth and heaven (Gen 28:12: Job 1:6; Psalm 103:20). Although they are spiritual beings, they can appear in the physical world and change physical things (Acts 5:19; 12:23). The angels also seemed to have a role in the creation of the world (Job 38:7) God would only need the angels working on earth if there were some things that the Holy Spirit could not do, but which angels could do. Reading the scriptures, I note the following things that angels can do that the Holy Spirit is unable to do, because he is pure spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit can speak to people, but he cannot appear to them because he is spirit. Human eyes can see the effects of his presence, such as people falling down, but we cannot see him directly. So, when God needs his messenger to be seen by humans, perhaps because they need to be shocked into hearing, he will send an angel. Angels can speak and appear, which helped human listeners like Moses, Gideon, Mary, Zechariah and Cornelius (Exodus 3:2; Judges 6:12; Luke 1:11;2:26; Acts 10:3).

  2. God uses angels to fight against the spiritual powers of evil. The Holy Spirit resists them by speaking, and his divine voice is so compelling that probably only the toughest government-spirits and world controllers would be strong enough to resist. They would whine that it was unfair and breach of their freedom if the Holy Spirit came against them with his full physical power, so God mostly uses angels when he needs to force them to stop doing something (Exodus 23:20; Rev 12:7; Dan 10:13).

  3. The Holy Spirit is always present in all creation, sustaining its existence, so he cannot always deal directly with people and things in the physical world. God seems to use angels for that purpose. Angels wrote the Ten Words on the stone tablets (Gal 3:19). An angel closed the lion’s mouth for Daniel (Dan 6:22). A donkey saw an angel (Num 22:24).

  4. For a similar reason, God often sends angels to strengthen people who are already full of the Spirit. Elijah and Jesus are examples (1 Kings 19:7; Mark 1:13; Luke 22:43).

The scriptures don’t give a complete outline of everything that angels can do for God because we don’t need to know. However, the reasons listed above are sufficient to justify the creation of the angels, despite the harm that some would do by rebelling against God and joining with human rebellion to do evil in the world.

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