Many Christians, and many people living in predominantly Christian cultures, believe that people who die become angels.
This belief is reflected in numerous popular novels and movies, such as the classic 1946 American movie It’s a Wonderful Life, in which a guardian angel named Clarence occasionally refers to events of his life (and death) as a human being on earth.
And when someone has died, family members and friends of the deceased person commonly speak of him or her as being an angel in heaven now.
What is the biblical basis for the belief that human beings become angels after they die?
Emanuel Swedenborg on angels
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) taught that there are no angels pre-created as a separate race, nor did any such pre-created angels fall from heaven to become Satan and his angels. Instead, he taught that all angels and demons were once human beings who lived in the material world, and that Satan or the Devil is a collective term for hell.
As explained in the article, “What is the Source of the Belief that the Deceased become Angels?” Swedenborg is the primary source of the modern-day belief that people become angels after death. Swedenborg himself, though, saw this idea as firmly based on the Bible’s depiction of angels.
(For its ideas and Bible references, this article draws heavily on the piece, What the Bible Says: Where Angels Come From, which is also written from the perspective of Swedenborg’s theology.)
The Bible says nothing about angels being created
Genesis 1 describes the creation of “the heavens and the earth,” and everything in them. And yet, in the Creation story there is no mention of God creating angels. It seems unlikely that God would leave such an important created being out of the Creation story.
The creation of angels is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, either.
The passage about “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 is often cited as evidence for pre-existing angels. However, this prophecy was not interpreted as being about a fallen angel until centuries after it was written. In the original Hebrew, the word that is translated “Lucifer” in older and more traditional translations actually refers to the morning star (i.e., Venus), using it as a metaphor for the king of Babylon.
Though there are non-Biblical texts describing angels as a separate race of beings, the Bible itself never says that they are a separate race, nor does it make any clear statements about where they come from. The idea that angels are a separate race is based more on tradition and church doctrine than on the Bible.
And as covered in the remaining points, there are many indications in the Bible that angels are indeed humans who have gone on to heaven.
The Bible often refers to angels as “men”
The Bible commonly uses the word “man”—Hebrew אִישׁ (‘iysh), “man”; Greek ἀνήρ (anēr) “man” or νεανίσκος (neaniskos), “young man”—to refer to angels.
Here are some examples:
While I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. (Daniel 9:21)
Here Gabriel, who is seen by Christians as an angel based on Luke 1:19, 26, is called a “man.”
The two angels (see Genesis 19:1, 15) who visited Lot in Genesis 19:1-29 are called “men” in Genesis 18:2, 16, 22; 19:10, 12, 16, and in several other verses in Genesis 18 & 19.
When an angel appeared to Manoah and his wife (Samson’s parents) in Judges 13, they identified him as a “man of God,” and both they and the narrator also refer to him as a “man”—although he is also clearly identified as an angel. Manoah even calls the angel “a man” when he talks to him (see Judges 13:11), and the angel does not correct him. This suggests that the angel had no problem thinking of himself as a human being like Manoah.
In Zechariah’s vision of the horsemen in Zechariah 1:7-17, the lead horseman, who was “standing among the myrtle trees” is referred to both as a “man” and as an “angel.”
The angel(s) at Jesus’ empty tomb is(are) referred to as an angel in Matthew 28:2-7 and as two angels in John 20:11-13, but as a man in Mark 16:5-7 and two men in Luke 24:4-8.
In short, the Bible uses “angel” and “man” almost interchangeably when speaking about angels. If angels were a separate race, the Bible would not refer to them as men, or people. That would be like calling a horse a sheep, or a pig a donkey.
The fact that there is no separate word for “angel” in the Bible (see below), and that angels are commonly referred to as “men,” strongly suggests that angels are humans.
Angels look like people
As seen in the passages quoted and referred to just above, when people on earth encounter angels, they commonly think that they are meeting a human being rather than an angel. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews even says:
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)
Although angels are sometimes described in the Bible as having shining faces and clothes, this is not unique to angels. Moses’ face also shone after he had spoken with God (see Exodus 34:29-34). And in the final verse of the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat in Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43, Jesus says:
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:43)
So Jesus himself says that people who are righteous will shine in God’s kingdom—just like the angels.
“Angel” means “messenger,” not a separate race of beings
In both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, the word for “angel” simply means “messenger.” It does not refer to a separate race of beings. The Hebrew word is מַלְאָךְ (mal’ak), “messenger”; the Greek word is ἄγγελος (aggelos), “messenger.”
Although angels are sometimes described as great, holy, powerful, and so on, the same descriptions are also used for people. For example, both angels and people are called:
- “holy ones”: Daniel 4:13, 17; Daniel 8:13-14 (angels); Psalm 30:4; Psalm 16:3 (people – and many other places traditionally translated “saints”)
- “sons of God”: Job 1:6; 2:1 (angels); John 1:12; Romans 8:14; 1 John 3:1-2 (people)
- “gods”: Psalm 8:5 (the word used here is elohim, “God”), quoted as “angels” in Hebrews 2:7 (angels); Psalm 82:6-7; John 10:34-35 (people)
In fact, human beings are also called “messengers” many times in the Bible, using the very same words, both in Hebrew and in Greek, that are used of angel messengers. For just a few examples, see Genesis 32:3; Deuteronomy 2:26; Joshua 6:17; Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24; James 2:25.
In short, “angels” or “messengers” in the Bible can be either human beings on earth or angelic beings in heaven. Both of them are described using the same words.
Angels themselves reject the idea that they are superior beings
Not once, but twice in the book of Revelation John fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who was speaking to him. Both times the angel stopped him, making himself equal to human beings under God:
At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” (Revelation 19:10)
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!” (Revelation 22:8-9)
Jesus says that we become like angels after death
In the incident of the question from the Sadducees about the Resurrection, recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels, Jesus says we will be “like” or “equal to” the angels. See Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35-36. And people who are saved are described as having powers similar to those that angels might wield. See, for example, Mark 16:17,18; 11:23; Luke 10:17,19; John 14:12.
Yes, it could be objected that just because people can be just like angels, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can become and be angels. But if it looks like an angel, walks like an angel, and quacks like an angel . . . .
We will become angels
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that angels are a separately created race of beings.
Everywhere in the Bible, angels are described as being human, as having characteristics and powers similar to those possessed by great human beings, and as engaging tasks similar to those that human beings engage in.
Further, both angels and Jesus himself make humans—especially humans who have died and been resurrected—equal to and in every way like angels.
The main difference between humans and angels is that humans live on earth while angels live in heaven. Other than that, it’s difficult if not impossible to find any real differences between them. And since it is commonly believed by many, if not most, Christians that we will live in heaven after death, that would leave no differences at all between angels and humans.
Why would God create two different races of beings that look the same, speak the same, think the same, and act the same as each other?
Based on all of this, it is very reasonable to conclude, based on the Bible’s stories about angels, that they are indeed human beings who have gone on to the spiritual world and become angels. After all, Jesus himself said to one of the thieves on the cross:
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
(Note: This post is a slightly edited version of a question and answer I recently wrote and posted on Christianity StackExchange. You can see the StackExchange version here.)
For further reading:
It would seem that, as angels, we humans walked among each other more frequently during the biblical ages than today. Though I cannot personally attest to actual encounters, then or now, there appears to be more disconnect in today’s age.
Perhaps it is the disconnection with faith which exists more prevalently now based upon the greater number of self-proclaimed free-thinkers. Maybe it’s just that our eyes do not ‘see’ based on our lack of faith, or maybe the level of interaction between lives here in the human plane and those in the spiritual world has indeed become less than during ages before.
Are there angles among us? Do they look like a man, walk like a man, and quack like a …?
I, for one, would certainly appreciate an encounter with one! It would definitely settle some issues I am having, and I’m sure such an encounter would be helpful to countless others as well.
Yes, we have reported accounts of people seeing someone who suddenly was not there, or even speaking with one who offers insight or comfort in times of apparent great need but usually, though, it is a lost loved one or relative. However, in previous writings you expanded upon the concept that spiritual interaction with our physical lives would typically happen via more mental processes rather than physical ones. Some spiritual beings would be, or are, exposed to our thoughts or feelings at times, and then carry those experiences back to the spiritual world to add to the collective experiences. There is no direct physical spiritual interaction specifically between, say, family members and a lost loved one, since the spirit of the departed would be busy adjusting to its’ new life in the World of Spirits and has no connection to the physical plane of existence left behind – for years, if not decades or more. And, exposure to the level of pain and angst of the ones left behind would be unfair to, and counterproductive for, the transformed spirit.
How, then, do we account for the reported apparitions of angels, or of lost loved ones which occur most frequently?
We rarely, if ever now, hear of such open interactions and conversations between angelic humans and physical humans as reported so frequently in the scriptures. Realizing, of course, our population is significantly larger, more diverse, and certainly more widespread than in the days of old, wouldn’t this also imply though, by sheer numbers alone, we would have more reports of such encounters and interactions? Yet this doesn’t seem to be the case.
In fact, as the religions of the world continue to drift further apart from one another and become more secular and steadfast in their own doctrines, stories of such encounters have become fewer and fewer.
In our age of such diverse religious convictions, I would think more interaction is needed if the goal of mankind is to become more unified with God, for those who have such beliefs. If the level of angelic interaction during the ages of scriptures was based upon helping man out from dark times and into a more cohesive existence with each other, having a common basis for faith and defining ways of life, I think that level of importance is even more relevant now.
Where are today’s physical angelic encounters, and why aren’t there more?
Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your thoughts, musings, and questions.
For the general picture on angels, humans, and their interactions, please see the article:
Who Are the Angels and How Do They Live?
About the apparent lack of angel encounters today, I do think it is a function of our more materialistic mindset. It’s a corollary of spiritual law that angels generally cannot show themselves to people who do not believe in, or heavily doubt, their existence. Doing so would tend to force belief, which is contrary to the divine law that we must be left in spiritual freedom.
In Bible times, before present-day science and scientific materialism developed, people had no such mental blocks against encounters with angels. Nearly all people believed in the reality of the supernatural. Encountering an angel or spirit would therefore pose no challenge to their spiritual beliefs or freedom.
Having said that, it’s good to keep in mind that the Bible story spans a period of several thousand years–and it gives the highlights of the story rather than a blow-by-blow account. The Bible is a record of our interactions with God and spirit over a particular period of human history. It therefore naturally focuses on those extraordinary encounters with angels that changed the course of human spiritual history. Based on the Bible’s story, it would be hard to conclude that every ordinary Joseph and Miriam walking around in Bible times had regular chats with angels.
However, in the earliest spiritual era of humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we do seem to have had open communication with God and spirit. God “walked in the garden” with Adam and Eve, and chatted with them as if it were an everyday occurrence (see Genesis 3:8-10).
Based on this, Swedenborg says that the earliest people on earth did indeed have regular, open communication with angels in the spiritual world–a contact that was lost as humans became less focused on inner spiritual things and more focused on outward material things. It’s only natural that our primary experiences will be where our minds are most focused.
So today, when scientific materialism rules the main institutions of our culture, including the government school systems in which most children are raised in Western countries, it is not surprising that angel encounters have become rare.
And yet, many people whose minds are open to spiritual things do still encounter angels–if not always as clearly and articulately as in the angel stories of the Bible. We still have the capability of encountering angels through the opening of our spiritual senses even if it is not a common occurrence for the average person on the street.
About encounters with lost loved ones, this, as you say, is probably the most common encounter people have with the spiritual realm. And though it is still not common, I myself have heard stories from several people I know who felt the presence of loved ones who had died.
Yes, when we die we do begin our journey toward our ultimate home in heaven (or the other place). However, we’re still the same person we were here on earth. Our feelings for the people we loved and lived with are still the same. And we are still close in spirit to those whom we were close to on this earth.
This is why encounters with lost loved ones are relatively common. These are the people we were and are close to in spirit. So if the veil that temporarily separates us from the spiritual world is briefly lifted, we are most likely to encounter the people we were close to who have moved on to the spiritual world. We are thinking of them; they are thinking of us. And in the spiritual realm, thinking of people brings us into their presence.
I do sometimes wonder why many people who wish for an angelic encounter never experience one. These days, some people actively seek out such an encounter through spirit mediums or other spiritual guides. I’m a bit skeptical of that, as explained in the linked article. However, it’s not my job to judge other people’s spiritual lives and seeking.
In general, my thought is that most of us must struggle with these questions on our own, and find our own answers through our own experience. If answers are handed to us too easily, they do not become our own, but are only a veneer pasted over the surface of our life and character.
When we have faced the darkness and the struggle and the deep questions of life, and have pressed forward with dogged determination to seek and find answers that elude us, then when we finally find those answers they enter into our soul deeply and become truly our own.
I hope this gives you a little more fuel for your musings and questions.
So, the on-the-fence, jury-is-still-out position, and scientific-based material mindset I currently have and am trying to work through is the primary cause for my inability to see angels? Haven’t there been plenty of situations whereby one who does not believe is shown, and vice-versa?
I would think that not believing, or struggling with one’s belief would be even more reason angel interaction SHOULD take place to help sway the uncertain mind, and I don’t considered that to be forced belief, per se. Even for those who outright don’t believe. Rather, I feel it would give them more opportunity to better assess both sides of the concept with facts presented from each side, in much the same way we process legal trials.
And, if one is already receptive to the position that God exists and all the concept includes, then an encounter would simply solidify that position as opposed to harm it.
I would welcome the opportunity of an angelic encounter to solidify my hesitant position rather than potentially forever wondering which side of the argument is more real. Just because we struggle with dogged determination to seek and find answers which elude us, it doesn’t mean we actually do eventually find those answers and call them our own. Many have tried and failed, others die still trying.
Perhaps the greatest cause of my own unrest is the uncertainty of it all. Those who staunchly hold to their position of there is no God nor afterlife sleep well at night. Likewise, so do those who hold fast their religious convictions buried in true faith without proof. I, on the other hand, don’t sleep too well, and often wish I could find firm rooting in either position. An angelic encounter would certainly help me, without affecting the beliefs in science I currently have. Instead, it would allow me to view science and our materialistic world with greater scope and understanding from a slightly adjusted perspective.
But, that’s me.
My own journey, fraught with forlorn emotion, is just that. My own. But, knowing with certainty that a lost loved one does indeed still exist, albeit in a way and place which I cannot perceive, would cast away such a burden I carry and allow me to make good with myself and all of my own flaws, and allow me to look forward to transitioning into the next phase of my life as I doggedly struggle down the path.
And, I’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way.
Of course, I’m not in your shoes. And I’m also not God, so I can’t say what would or wouldn’t work for you. Life is complex. And if anything, our spiritual life is even more complex than our life in the material world.
Your current “scientific-based material mindset” is likely a major factor in your lack of direct spiritual experience. But that is only on of many factors. Many people who do fully believe in God and spirit never have experiences of angels while here on earth. Others whose belief is shaky or even nonexistent do have such experiences. God’s ways are complex and mysterious to our limited human minds. I would not want to make any hard-and-fast statements about your particular experience or lack thereof.
I do also understand–though probably not with your depth of emotion–about your forlorn feelings and your longing to have some assurance and peace that you are not forever parted from the one you love. I would not presume to make light of that with some doctrinal formula about having faith.
However, given that you do approach the world from an intellectual and scientific mindset first, and your rational mind must have some sense of satisfaction that you are not falling for irrational and baseless ideas for emotional reasons, I might suggest a course of action that, while circuitous, could eventually get you to your goal of some sense of assurance.
That course involves taking the time and making the effort to learn about spiritual reality, the afterlife, and God, even if you do not at this time seem to have any direct experience of them, or any real assurance of their existence.
Any subject will be fuzzy and semi-coherent in your mind if you do not fill it in with the systems, laws, and details that make up the substance of that subject.
Those who study zoology must learn many facts about the various genera and species that make up the animal kingdom.
Those who study nuclear physics must learn about the many and varied subatomic particles and the many and complex laws that govern them.
This is all very specific, idiosyncratic information that must be learned and understood through study over time before any clear picture of the subject can emerge in the mind of the one seeking to gain a full understanding of the subject.
The same is true of spiritual reality.
Without a systematic understanding and knowledge of the details and contours of spiritual reality, your thinking about it can only be vague and incoherent. But with a firm knowledge of the laws and the details of spirit, you can begin to form a more solid understanding and sense of it, even while your mind may still be in a state of unconfirmed hypothesis and doubt as to its reality.
Of course, being a teacher of Emanuel Swedenborg’s theology, I would suggest that you pursue that course of study by delving into Swedenborg’s works on these subjects, along with some collateral literature that might be helpful to you. (If I am repeating previous recommendations to you, please bear with me.)
I am not aware of anyone else in history who has even claimed to have had the length and depth of experience with spiritual reality that Swedenborg reports having had. And though I have kept my eyes out for other accounts of the spiritual world, and have read a number of them, I’ve never found another one with the depth and breadth of description and detail of the spiritual realms that the one found in Swedenborg’s theological writings offers.
Since your primary wonderment and hope has to do with angels and the afterlife, I recommend that you read Swedenborg’s book on the subject: Heaven and Hell. It may even take two or three readings to fully familiarize yourself with and grasp the concepts and descriptions he provides in this book. But once you are through, you’ll have a solid grasp of at least the general principles of how the spiritual world works, and what it is like there.
Since your forlorn emotions involve your relationship with a loved one whom you have lost, the next Swedenborg book to read, as challenging and problematic as it is for many modern readers, may be Love in Marriage (traditionally titled Conjugial Love, and in a forthcoming edition, Marriage Love). Though this book has various trappings of the social status of women and the traditions of marriage common in the 18th century, its presentation of marriage as a spiritual and eternal relationship that comes from the very nature of God is, to my knowledge, unique among books about marriage–even ones written from a Christian and spiritual perspective.
There are other books down the line, such as Divine Love and Wisdom and Divine Providence, which will provide your thinking mind with more of the principles of God and spirit, and how God governs and oversees our lives here on earth.
Yes, these books were written over two centuries ago. And yes, some of their arguments may look a little old-fashioned by today’s scientific and rational standards. However, the underlying spiritual principles have still not been surpassed–at least, not to my knowledge.
It will take some time and mental effort and discipline to work your way through these books. But in doing so, you will equip your mind with the knowledge you need to satisfy your rational and scientific self that the existence of spiritual reality might just be able to hold water intellectually. After all, Swedenborg himself was a scientist who later turned to the exploration of spiritual reality. If any theologian could speak to your spiritual questions and searches, he would be the one.
And once you have satisfied your intellectual mind that spiritual reality could actually be real and sensible in how it works, then some of the blockages to the more direct knowledge and assurance you seek would be weakened or removed. It’s quite possible that you will live out the remainder of your days here on earth still uncertain. But there are steps you can take to reduce that uncertainty, and increase your faith that life continues beyond the grave, and you will see your beloved once again.
If you do decide to undertake this course of self-study, I would be here to respond to questions you might have along the way. Perhaps once Annette and I have completed our move, I’ll resurrect some of my old online classes and begin offering them again. That would provide an ideal forum to explore these issues.
Rich, there are answers to your questions. I don’t think it was an accident that you found your way to this blog, and to the views of God and spirit that it represents. If you keep searching and do the homework, you will find the answers to your questions, and some sense of peace for your aching heart.
Thank you for the reply, Lee.
Through frequent introspection, I often identify the source of my torment to not be from never knowing whether I will meet up again with a loved one, but rather to be from deep empathy and not knowing if all of life’s trials and pains, fears and anguish, were simply for naught as some atheists would have it. If there is no afterlife, then all we have is what we’ve achieved during out frail human life, and all suffering along the way, in its many forms, is merely inconsequential in the end.
For some, that is a comfortable belief. Not so, with others.
I would like to believe otherwise. I truly would. I would find great comfort knowing that someone’s fears, pains and suffering, though terribly significant and potentially long lasting when experienced, were nothing more than insignificant blips in the grand scheme of life in its’ entirety, miniscule events during our physical lives on our way to our existential spiritual lives. Experiencing a true spiritual encounter in the flesh or having a glimpse into the supposed world beyond would, without question, fortify that desire into solid foundation for belief. And faith.
Of course, having such knowledge, if irrefutable, would make me only the second human to have peered into the depths of chaos itself and see true reality in its place. If that were the case and in today’s society, there probably would already be a nice white armless jacket with my name embroidered neatly across the front and back, waiting to be worn upon my arrival at a nice ‘cushy’ country club estate far from any densely populated area. And we both know, with absolute certainty, that has not happened. Yet.
Based upon your previous recommendations, I have looked into ‘Heaven and Hell’ and ‘Love in Marriage’, read through excerpts in both, and have had discussions with you regarding certain passages. I have not acquired either of them yet. You are right, in that they are some heavy reading, and reminds me of trying to wade through Tolstoy or Sun Tzu! I’m not sure I have proper waders for the task at hand so it might take me a while before I am comfortable enough to tackle such a project. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and embarking on said journey takes time and commitment. And the proper frame of mind.
BTW – I did enjoy your most recent posting about Faith Alone. Regardless of my religious position (or potential lack thereof), I wholeheartedly agree with what you presented. Too many hide behind the cloak of such belief while leading a life completely contrary to ANY faiths’ correlating values. It’s such a contradiction. I can’t comprehend how so many seemingly intelligent people fail to see the obvious missing common sense there.
But, it keeps people like you tasked with the responsibility to help them see the light – Keep up the good work!
My reading of your driving purposes for this spiritual quest seem to have been mistaken. However, my general recommendation would remain the same–although the specific books might shift. They’re there whenever you’re ready and willing. And incidentally, Heaven and Hell is really not a difficult read–especially once you get past the first few chapters. That’s assuming you read it in the translation I recommend in the linked post.
Unfortunately, faith works the opposite of the way you wish it would. You have to commit yourself to it first, and then comes the evidence for it.
It’s not blind faith because there is evidence. But until you commit yourself to at least a positive doubt about it, you’ll never see it as evidence. It just doesn’t work the way scientific knowledge does. (Though even in science it’s generally necessary to have a working hypothesis that you think is probably true before you find the evidence to support or refute it.)
In my own experience, it was not an intellectual decision at all. It was committing my mind to the belief system that I believed would bring about the most good in the world.
From my perspective, belief in materialism has no particular edge over belief in spiritual reality. If anything, it’s the reverse. This is the main point I made in the article, “Where is the Proof of the Afterlife?”
Materialists seem to think that a belief in the real, and sole, existence of material reality is the default. But we really have no direct knowledge at all of material reality. It is all mediated at minimum through the senses, or more radically, by the mind itself.
The only thing of which we have direct experience is our thoughts and emotions. Those are the only things that we can be certain are real. Everything else is secondary, mediated knowledge.
And those things we have direct experience of–thoughts and emotions–are things that are generally seen as spiritual rather than material. You can’t measure a thought, or weigh love.
So I’m afraid that if you wait for some convincing experience first, before throwing your hat in the ring, you’re most likely going to be waiting forever.
Sorry to throw cold water on the parade, but it seems that the parade is already rather dark and cold anyway. Might as well do it now, before you waste any more time hoping for something that has about a .01% chance of happening in the way that you’re hoping for it to happen.
Of course, there is a time at which you’ll get the experience if you are at all open to it: the day of your death. But I hope you don’t have to wait that long.
Meanwhile, I’m glad you liked the article about Faith Alone. In the end, it will be what you make of your life here by what you do with it that will matter. All of these issues of belief and knowledge will fade away compared to that fundamental issue of the character you have developed here on earth.
Please don’t be so quick to dismiss your original perception and analysis of my particular reasons for reaching out to you on this blog, nor for my personal quest to understand that which I do not and find difficult to accept without material substantiation.
It is true that my most powerful and focused driving force in recent times has been the traumatic sudden loss of my wife, and constantly wondering if her life, and all it encompassed, both good and bad, was simply a transitory phase or just was what it was, and there is no more. I have always questioned faith, not denounced it, nor ever dismissed the existence God in any form. I simply challenge the concept of faith, and I apparently care more for her everlasting soul than my own, at the moment. Perhaps that is another definition or demonstration of real love. i would like to think so.
As I stated back in July last year when I originally responded to your posting, “How can we have Faith when So Many Bad Things happen to So Many Good People? Part 3”, I don’t consider myself to be an Atheist, but more Agnostic, believing in some higher power I could not rationalize and, like my wife, believing we are all part of a greater collective. I was baptized Catholic and confirmed Lutheran. (i know, that’s a mixed bag to work with – don’t hold it against me!) However, had I experienced the opportunity to be given Swedenborgian points of view, I may certainly be in a different place, spiritually, right now.
But, as it stands, the further I excelled in math and sciences, the further I found myself from any church and its’ teachings, simply because they lacked logical, systematic proof of concept in my opinion. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have thought differently had I been exposed to more logical and meaningful, approaches to the religious concepts that were thrust upon me. On the contrary. Being an ‘individual thinker’, I may have embraced the right concepts had they been presented to me in a fashion by which they tickled my enthusiasm and intrigue, and made sense in light of the senseless chaos around me.
I’m not waiting for any ‘in my face’ experience to put me upon the right path, though I wish it were that simple. My daily angst stems from my deep feelings of empathy and sorrow for what my wife went through, both long term and, at the end, short term. I relive those times daily as if they happened just yesterday. And, I struggle with the concept of whether it was all in vain or there is indeed a greater and more joyous life she is experiencing now, that I somehow cannot bring myself to accept because my material world brain prevents me from doing so. It literally rends my deepest core apart some days.
I admit I am on the fence with my beliefs, and have been for more years than I was ever with my wife. I am also smart enough to know and recognize that which I do not know. That leaves me few paths to take, and I fear for my own peace of mind I choose the correct one to embark upon.
Extenuating circumstances have certainly influenced, to a great extent, motivating factors to expend time and energy delving into the principals of faith. But, those factors have always been present, and I recognize that.
You are here, and we are talking. That would not be happening if you did not have a sincere desire to seek answers beyond what your rational mind is currently willing to let you accept. Love and pain can be powerful forces driving us beyond where logic and rationality can carry us. God plants them in us precisely for that purpose. You have a difficult path to walk.
If I may go out on another limb, what you are experiencing is what Swedenborg calls “temptation,” or “trial.” Temptation is not simply a matter of being moved by a desire to do or choose something evil, and resisting it from one’s conscience and better self. Rather, it is a sifting of the soul, a trying and testing of the very fiber of our being, to see what it is made of, and whether, when we reach the point where there is no more perceived benefit for ourselves–in fact, when our life seems all but forfeit–we will move toward the light or toward the darkness.
Though your reason must be engaged in the process, it will not be your reason or your scientific mind that will make that decision. It will be your heart. The trial is always of the heart. The mind simply becomes a tool or a weapon in the hands of the heart as it fights that battle and faces those ultimate, wrenching questions of spiritual life and death.
And meanwhile, we must get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and go to work. That, at times, is the only thing that keeps us anchored, and out of those special suits that are worn in special rooms.
And the mind itself needs proper tools, or weapons, with which to fight the battle. That is why I suggest that you set aside the time and mental energy to engage your mind in learning the spiritual ideas and principles and laws, as well as the concrete descriptions and experiences and testimony, that form the basis for an understanding of the nature of God and spirit. Without that, you will be unequipped and unprepared to face the sifting of the soul and heart that you have already been thrown into.
At first, belief, or credence, is not required. The process begins simply with building up knowledge until it coalesces into a systematic understanding. Only then do you even have the basis on which to make any decisions of faith or belief. Real faith is not some sketchy credence in something that is not understood. Rather, real faith believing something simply because it is true. And the only way to even make that evaluation is to acquire a knowledge of the reality (if that’s what it is) whose truth you are evaluating.
It may sound circular, and from a purely logical perspective, it is. But as good and necessary as logic and science are, there is more to life than science and logic. If that were not so, our life would be flat indeed.
At some point, we must step onto the vehicle that begins carrying us on a path that I would prefer to call spiral rather than circular. It does progress in circles, but on each circle we progress farther forward, or upward, until we find ourselves knowing and experiencing something greater than our mind was formerly willing and ready to entertain.
Now before I go into even greater spirals of abstraction, I’ll simply say: Get the book. Preferably, get a physical copy of the full paperback or hardcover (not the Portable). That will come with the introduction and notes to help you along the way. Let it sit on your table, and pick it up when you are ready to pick it up. Then it will be there for you whenever you are ready.
I already plan to, Lee. Already plan to.
Thanks for the response!
My mother passed away July 10, 2015. I have proof, well at least an amazing story with a photograph to back it up, that shows my mother as an angel on the sixth day (seventh day if you look at the hours and not the weekdays) in heaven. My true story is so amazing, I’m concerned those who don’t know me will find it hard to believe. However, every word of it is true. Every word. I have no doubt there is life after death and I have a photograph to prove it. It is my mother in heaven, as an angel.
Thanks for stopping by, and for your story. It may not be convincing to anyone else. But the important thing is that you know your mother is alive and well in heaven.
[…] Continue reading at source: What is the Biblical Basis for Humans becoming Angels after they Die? | Spiritual Insights for Every… […]
Hi Y Duplessis,
Thanks for the reblog!
Hi, Lee; interesting article, and yes, I have seen angels – and also my mother, about two years after her death; however, just a couple of questions:
Proverbs 8 speaks of Wisdom being with God during the creation, and assisting him in the work. In the chapter, Wisdom actually says that she helped Him with the Creation. Yes, I did say ”she’, because the context of the whole chapter is feminine, and the Greek word Sophia [= wisdom} is also specifically feminine. How do you relate that to the idea that angels are actually people, because at that point, there do not appear to have been any people [assuming Wisdom is an angel].
Similarly, angels appear to have existed before the Creation of the Earth, when there were no people… if the Earth actually refers to our planet. My understanding is that everyone alive at the time that the Bible was written believed that the Earth was flat, and at the centre of the Cosmos; but that was their cosmology, not ours in the 21st Century.
I would identify “Wisdom,” not as an angel, but rather as one of the core attributes of God. In John 1 we read these similarly poetic words:
The “Word” here is, I believe, the same as what Solomon speaks of poetically as “Wisdom” in Proverbs 8.
According to Swedenborg, the basic “Trinity” in God is divine love, divine wisdom, and divine power. The wisdom of God always comes from and is one with the love of God, not as a separate “Person” or being, but as the form and direction of God’s love. For more on this, see Swedenborg’s book Divine Love and Wisdom. And see also: “Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?”
So although Solomon does speak poetically of “Wisdom” as if it were an entity distinct from God, in reality Wisdom is part of the basic being and reality of God. We can personify it as a distinct being poetically, but we should realize and understand that wisdom is simply an attribute or essential component of God.
Didn’t Jesus say in the Bible that he was there when Saten fell due to pride?
No, Jesus didn’t say that. The idea that Satan was an angel who fell from heaven is based on old traditions and on some old non-Biblical writings, not on the Bible itself. For more on Satan, the Devil, and demons in the Bible and in Swedenborg’s teachings, please see: “Is there Really a Devil? Why??”
More specifically on your question, what you are probably thinking of is this verse:
However, if you read the whole story in Luke 10:1-24, you will see that Jesus is not talking about Satan falling from heaven many ages ago as traditional Christian mythology holds, but rather Satan falling from heaven at that present time due to the power over demons that he had given to the seventy-two disciples whom he had sent out to preach and heal ahead of him in the towns and cities where he was about to go himself.
What do you make of the Cherubim and seraphim talked about in the Bible? Their given description in the Bible doesn’t sound vary human looking. “Six wings, many eyes”.
Cherubim and seraphim were mythical creatures seen in visions. Christian tradition to the contrary notwithstanding, they are not the same as angels, which are never described as having wings, many eyes, and so on. The many eyes represent the all-seeing and all-knowing nature of these mythical beings. The wings represent their ability to see things from the heights of spiritual understanding. The rest of their description also has symbolic meaning.
Speaking of Heaven and the Bible, does Revelations 21:1 mean there will be no more oceans in Heaven? Some of us like the beach and stuff like coral reefs.
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”
The book of revelation is not a literal description of future events, or even a literal description of scenes and events in the spiritual world. It is written in correspondential or metaphorical language, not literal language. Therefore its statements should not be read as descriptions of any visible scenery or events either in this world or in the other world.
The statement that “there was no more sea,” in particular, is about an area in the spiritual world where superficial Christians had been living before the Last Judgment took place in the spiritual world in 1757. That faux heaven was dispersed, and its inhabitants were moved on to their permanent home in either heaven or hell. See Apocalypse Revealed #878.
Swedenborg does describe rivers, lakes, and oceans in the spiritual world. As here on earth, seas, or oceans, are at low elevations, and are therefore generally inhabited by relatively low-level angels and spirits. However, there’s no reason angels living in higher elevations couldn’t take a day trip to the beach if they so desired.
Hello Lee. I previously submitted this question as a spiritual conundrum, but upon further reflection, think it might be better answered as an auxiliary to this article. My question, as you may know from my previous submission, is how a “soul” is defined in Swedenborgian theology and cosmology. More specifically, I’m curious about the spiritual “mechanics” in the afterlife of people who suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder or Schizophrenia, as well as those who, by their own free will and sound mind, choose to create another “consciousness” in their brain through focused meditation, the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tulpamancy. I went into more detail in my spiritual conundrum, but I’m curious as to whether or not each “personality” of someone with DID, having its own thought processes and understanding of the world, constitutes its own unique soul that would split off in the afterlife, especially if no personality were “dominant”. Similarly, if someone were to create a tulpa, a separate humanlike entity in their brain with its own sense of awareness and sentience, would the tulpa and creator effectively be two different souls, or one?
Thank you for your thoughts on these metaphysically unique questions, and please stay healthy!
These are indeed great—and complicated!—questions. I can’t do them full justice here, but I’ll give at least a basic response.
First, in Swedenborgian theology, each human soul is a unique, newly created distinct emanation from a human father’s soul—though I have come to believe that it is derived from both the mother’s and the father’s soul in a process corresponding to the biological process of reproduction, in which unique sets of DNA from both the mother and the father unite to form the blueprint or a unique new individual.
Swedenborg does state that no new human beings are born in the spiritual world, but that it is necessary for us to be born in the physical world, and to have an initial life in a physical body, in order to have eternal existence as a human angel or spirit. This would rule out any tulpas attaining a distinct and eternal soul or existence of their own, since they are purely mental creations.
I do not believe any tulpamancer could create a physical body for a tulpa, though tricks of the spiritual senses might make it appear to them that they have. And as for tulpas attaining an autonomous identity, if this seems to happen, it is most likely a case of people becoming dimly aware of the spirits and angels that accompany us all the time, and thinking that these spirits and angels are mere elements of their own mind or spirit, when in fact they are distinct minds and spirits of other individuals who have also lived their own life here on earth.
This, I also believe, is what’s going on in Dissociative Identity Disorder and schizophrenia. But because modern psychology and psychiatry are secular, of course they cannot entertain this idea.
For more on this, see the writings of the late Wilson Van Dusen, particularly a chapter he wrote on “The Presence of Spirits in Madness” in his book The Presence of Other Worlds. (That chapter has also been reprinted as a separate booklet.)
Two offTheLeftEye videos also deal with this, in guest appearances by a Licensed Therapist named Jerry Marzinsky. They are linked in a comment by one of my readers here.
The short answer to your question about this is that no, the distinct identities in the mind of a person with DID or schizophrenia would not become separate souls in the afterlife. Either they already are separate souls, meaning spirits in the spiritual world who are with the person, or they are simply aspects of the person’s own individual spirit, which has become unfocused and fractured. In the spiritual world after death, these issues will be resolved, and the person will come to have a united mind, as part of the process that takes place for us in the world of spirits after we die, explained in this article:
What Happens To Us When We Die?
That oneness of mind will be based on whatever the person has adopted as his or her “ruling love.” And if the person is too shattered in spirit to have developed a distinct ruling love, he or she will be healed and will grow up as if from childhood into an adult with a unitary mind.
I hope this helps you with your good questions.
Thank you very much for your response, Lee. I appreciate the insights you’re able to offer on this complicated topic! Part of the appeal of tulpamancy, for many people, is the idea of having a companion that knows every nook and cranny of their mind (after all, they theoretically share both a brain and body) and still likes and accepts them, because let’s face it, some people can be incredibly fickle and mean. I personally think this speaks to our spiritual nature, that we long for the kind of “accepting us for every part of who we are” relationships that, as I understand it, angels have. I would like to think that, for tulpamancers, their growing into a unitary mind in the afterlife will be a joyous thing, because assuming they go to heaven, there they will be with angels, real people who love and accept them for who they are.
You’re welcome. And what you say makes a lot of sense. There are many people on this earth who feel that no one understands and accepts them. Of course, God understands and accepts them. But even there, many people have been told by their preachers that God is angry with them and condemns them because they’re not perfect. They have been robbed of their relationship with God, and robbed of God’s love, by these corrupt churches and false preachers. And so they turn to imaginary friends to have some sense of love and acceptance.
And yes, I agree with you that when they find their homes in heaven, they will also find the love, acceptance, and deep friendship that eluded them here on earth.
So it occurs that the same Hebrew word מַלְאָךְ (mal’ak) also used to describe human servants, as is the Greek word ἄγγελος (aggelos)?
Does the Bible ever specifically say that humans become angels?
Revelation 12:3-4 does not refer to the same thing as Isaiah 14:12-17, does it? Was Isaiah talking about things occuring in his present day, or prophesizing the fall of the King of Babylon?
Luke 23:43 doesn’t say forever. It doesn’t contain the Greek word Aion, does it? Aion can mean either age or world, right?
You didn’t mention 1 Corinthians 6:3. What does it mean?
That’s a lot of questions!
Yes, both the Hebrew and the Greek words commonly translated “angel” are also translated “messenger,” though this happens much more often in the Old Testament than in the New Testament. “Messenger” (not “servant”) is the primary meaning of both words. When it’s a messenger from a human being, it is translated “messenger.” When it’s a messenger from God, it is translated “angel.”
The Bible never specifically says that humans become angels. Then again, the Bible really doesn’t give much detail about the spiritual world and how it works. But in general, the distinction between “angels” (really, messengers from God) and humans is not very clear in the Bible. As the above article points out, angels are presented and described in the Bible as men, even if they are sometimes resplendent men. If angels were thought of as a whole different order of being, how could the Bible have told a story of Jacob wrestling with an angel, and being evenly matched with him? And how could Abraham’s angel visitors have sat down and eaten a meal that Sarah prepared?
Translating the Hebrew and Greek words two different ways based on whether it is a messenger from a human being (as in, for example, Genesis 32:3 and Luke 7:24) or a messenger from God obscures the reality that in the Bible, “angels” are simply seen as people, not as some separate order of being, such that the very same word is used for human messengers and divine messengers. This strongly suggests, as covered more fully in the above article, that “angels” are simply people who have moved on to the spiritual world.
Am I correct to say that angels are not a separate race of people, any more than prophets are? Or not race, or species, but order or something, because angels don’t procreate, and it is generally believed that angels don’t marry, that would mean they didn’t have a common ancestry.
“Angel” is a role, not a race, species, kind, or whatever. Angel/messenger is a role, just like “prophet” is. is that what you’re saying?
Biblically, yes, “angel” is a role: messenger. This is true whether the messenger is a physical being or a spiritual being.
However, over time, starting even in the New Testament, since messengers from God were seen as heavenly or spiritual beings, they came to be identified as a separate order of being. Hence using the word “angels” instead of “messengers” to translate the Hebrew and Greek words when the messengers are bearing messages from God, and when they seem not to be ordinary physical people.
The question of whether angels are a separate race from humans is an entirely different issue. As covered in the article above, there is no particular warrant in the Bible for identifying them as a separate race of beings. They are presented as human in every way, except commonly with messages from God and with powers that ordinary human beings still living on earth do not have.
In short, the most sensible way of understanding “angels”/”messengers” in the Bible is that they are human beings who have died and gone to heaven, and who have been sent by God to carry messages to humans still living on earth.
As for angels not procreating, there does seem to be some biblical support for this. But as for their not being married, the Bible just doesn’t say that. See:
Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?
About Revelation 12:3–4 and Isaiah 14:12–17, both are metaphorical, not literal. Both deal with similar themes, but they are not exactly the same. Stars falling from heaven, for example, refers to spiritual truths, represented by stars, being falsified and destroyed by being used for selfish and materialistic purposes. This is something that happens when a religion, such as Judaism or Christianity, gets corrupted by leaders (and followers) being more interested in worldly wealth and power than in spiritual enlightenment and salvation. But a full explanation of these passages would take far too much space for a comment. Swedenborg explains them in more detail in various parts of his writings.
No, in Luke 23:43 Jesus doesn’t specifically say that the repentant thief will be with him in paradise forever. But elsewhere Jesus does say that good people will receive eternal life.
Some biblical literalists who have odd ideas try to argue that the Greek word translated “forever” doesn’t really mean that. It means only an age. But as with any language, words in Greek can have more than one meaning, and the context generally tells us which meaning is meant. Sometimes the word means “an age,” and sometimes it means “eternal.”
The “world” translation does not mean “world” as in “earth, globe,” but “world” as in “culture, era.” For example, we speak of “the ancient Roman world.” This obviously does not mean Earth at the time of the Romans, nor even Roman lands physically speaking, but the entire culture and realm that existed during the time of the Roman republic and empire. When in the older translations the Bible speaks of the world coming to an end, it’s talking about the end of a culture and an era, not the end of a piece of physical geography.
I don’t know what Paul was referring to in 1 Corinthians 6:3. It’s a strange verse. Perhaps it should be translated “messengers” here. I’d have to look into it more.
Are you a hypocrite? You may be literal yourself by not reading the Bible in context. in how you read James 2:24 for example. The way you do it is more literal than you say you want to read the Bible.
Are you paying attention?
As I’ve said here many times, all the basics of Christian belief, especially about God and salvation, are right there in the plain literal sense of the Bible. If it’s not stated plainly in the Bible, it doesn’t qualify as essential Christian belief. That’s why most Christian churches today aren’t actually Christian: because none of their key doctrines are taught in the Bible.
At the same time, the entire inspired Word of God has deeper spiritual and heavenly meanings that speak of our process of being born again, and of the Lord’s process of “glorification,” or becoming fully divine and one with the Father.
Also, the context of James 2:24 makes it clear that verse 24 means exactly what it says: we are justified by our works, and not by faith alone. Only by “works” here James means “good works,” whereas by “works” Paul almost always means “the works of the Law”—i.e., being an observant Jew.
Well, not just James 2:24. I’m talking about genres. What is the genre of each book? Like Ephesians, Galatians (or whatever it is, faith and not by works), and James.
I don’t know what you mean by “genres.” They’re all letters, meaning that the genre of all of them is correspondence, in the sense of letters, on spiritual subjects. But I don’t think that’s what you’re asking.
You seem to be taking things out of context.
I also wonder if you have confirmation bias. I am getting ready to disengage with you. We are entitled to our own opinions.
That’s entirely up to you. I still don’t know what you mean by “genres.”
I’m not sure how to explain it.
Okay. If my response wasn’t what you were looking for, it’s because I didn’t know what you were asking about. If you figure out a different way to say it, let me know and I’ll respond as best I can.
I know that Bible books are grouped by genres, e.g. “prophets” in the Old Testament and “gospels” and “letters” in the New Testament.
But I was also referring to taking things into context.
Perhaps you mean writing style?
Paul has a rather fancy and intellectualized writing style, as Peter noticed right from the start (2 Peter 3:15–16), including a lot of wordplay. This has tripped up many people ever since—including Luther and his followers, who have completely misunderstood and twisted Paul’s statements about being saved by faith without the works of the Law.
Peter, James, and John, on the other hand, write in a much simpler and more direct style, such that it is not so easy to misunderstand what they are saying. Only a willful effort to ignore and change the meaning of their statements, as Protestants do with James 2:14–26, can cause people to “twist” these Apostles’ words “to their destruction,” to use Peter’s phrase.
In the Psalm that says “a little lower than the angels,” the Hebrew word translated “angels” is Elohim, not the usual malak. Elohim is usually used to refer to God. in spite of that, Greek “angelos” is used in the Septuagint, and not “theos.” The Psalm therefore doesn’t mean “a little lower than the messengers.” The psalm in question would be better translated as “A little lower than the heavenly host.” Right?
It’s hard to say exactly what the Hebrew word אֱלֹהִים (‘ĕlōhîm) means in Psalm 8:5. It could mean “God,” which is the most common usage of that word in the Old Testament. But the same word is also used to mean “divine beings” or “heavenly beings,” commonly thought of as “angels.” And in fact, the Septuagint translates it ἀγγέλους, the Greek word for “angels,” in Psalm 8:5 (as seen here). That’s likely the source of the NT’s translation of elohim as “angels” when it quotes Psalm 8:5.
Would Hebrew Malak and Greek Angelos really be used for “messenger” as in “Facebook messenger”? What’s the Hebrew word for “face” and the Hebrew word for “book”, and how would they be combined as prefix and suffix into a compound word? Wait! Remember Windows Live Messenger? That’s a good topic for another post maybe on another blog. If that was translated into Hebrew, whatever the Hebrew word is for “Windows” and the word for “live” and malak for “messenger”, and whatever the Greek words, including Angelos for “messenger”?
And what about Cherubim and Seraphim? They are both plural, right? Are they literal? Maybe Cherubim is in the top level of Heaven and Seraphim in the next level down? An archangel in the top level?
Lucifer was not an archangel, you say. The Devil was not a fallen archangel, because there is no such thing. Right? Lucifer means “morning star,” not a personal name. Right?
Yes, the word sometimes translated “Lucifer” means “shining one.” It is a reference to the planet Venus, which is known as the Morning Star. But it is also used as a metaphor for the King of Babylon. From there it came to mean Satan, but that was not its original meaning.
Cherubim and Seraphim are plural, yes. They are not angels, as commonly believed, but are symbolic creatures sometimes seen in visions. They are never called “messengers” or “angels.”
As for Windows, Facebook, and so on, I can assure you that these are not prophesied in Scripture! 😉 These are words about human/angel messengers.
Does Jesus ever say we will have eternal life in “paradise”? Whatever the Greek word is.
The Greek word παράδεισος (paradeisos) is used only three times in the New Testament. Here they are in the KJV:
As you can see, there is no place where Jesus, or the New Testament generally, says explicitly that we will have eternal life in paradise. However, the quote from Revelation strongly suggests this. It says that those who overcome will be able to eat from the tree of life in the middle of God’s paradise. Eating from the tree of life would presumably give us eternal life.
The original meaning of the word “paradise” in the languages that it came from is a large and beautiful walled garden placed near or surrounding the royal palace of the realm, in which there were rare ornamental and fruit trees, as well as game animals. From this it took on the metaphorical meaning of “paradise” or “heaven.”
But there is no hunting in heaven, right? We won’t kill and eat animals. We might chase game animals though.
Heaven is a very big place, with many different regions and areas for different cultures and types of people. For some cultures at some times and places, hunting animals and eating their meat is an integral part of their culture and of their religion. I don’t think that will be taken away from them in heaven.
Does the Bible ever say that angels rejoice in salvation but cannot receive salvation? Or is that an unbiblical man-made doctrine?
No, the Bible doesn’t say that. Most of the doctrines of traditional “Christianity” are unbiblical human-invented doctrines.
What about 2 peter 2:4? I wonder if “angels” there would better be translated as “messengers.” Is that verse meant to be taken literally?
Given that 2 Peter 2:4 is followed in quick succession by references to the story of the Flood and the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (see 2 Peter 2:5–8), I suspect that “angels/messengers” there is a reference to the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:1–8. Who exactly these “sons of God” are has been a matter of great debate among Christians for many centuries.
From a Swedenborgian perspective, none of the stories in the earliest chapters of Genesis are meant to be taken literally, including the ones in Genesis 6. Peter was using these stories as examples of the principle and assurance that God will punish the wicked, while protecting and preserving the righteous from their torments.
Does the Bible ever say that angels obeyed God? Are Michael and Gabriel sinless as angels?
There is only one being whom the Bible says is sinless, and that is Jesus Christ himself:
Only God is perfect and sinless. Michael and Gabriel, as angels, were once humans on earth just like you and me, and just as prone to sin as you and me. They fought the good fight, from God’s power, and found their way to heaven.
Suppose a world like Genesis 1 and 2… “very good,”… if no human has sinned… No one dies, either physically or spiritually… doesn’t that sound idyllic?
Is it idealic or idyllic?
Except that would doom us to living on this physical earth, with all its imperfections and sorrows, forever. God’s plan of our living forever in the immeasurably brighter and more beautiful spiritual world is infinitely better.
I don’t want imperfections and sorrows. I want perfection. Is God an absolute perfectionist?
God is perfect, but God is not a perfectionist when it comes to us. No human being is perfect. Even though we are to strive for perfection, which is the same as striving for God, we will never reach perfection.
I always thought we will be vegetarian in Heaven and that all creatures will eat plants.
Lions cannot eat plants (the Isaiah verse of a lion eating straw like an ox maybe should not be taken literally), they must eat meat… but is anything impossible for God?
That prophecy in Isaiah is not meant to be taken literally. As in many fables and children’s stories, the animals are meant to represent human beings, not literal animals.
As for everyone being vegetarian in heaven, it’s a nice thought, and one that I would like to see as well. But there are many different types and cultures of people, some of whose lives revolve around hunting animals or raising livestock and eating their flesh. I do not think God would take this away from them in the afterlife.