Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Angels

I believe in angels. I just want to say that to start. Angels are real, created beings that are mentioned in the Bible. Angels have appeared to real people, foretold real events, and there is no reason not to believe that they are present in the world and God works through them.

But there are a lot of misconceptions about angels.
I don't know where they came from, but they didn't come from the Bible. We won't be angels when we go to heaven. We might be like angels, but we won't be angels. And there seem to be so many people who believe that children become angels, or worse yet, are reincarnated angels of some sort sent to Earth for a short time. There are way too many Christians out there calling their children who died early, especially before birth, "angel babies."

I understand the desire people who have lost children through miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in infancy or early childhood feel to give meaning to the short lives, to make there be a reason that they went through what they went through, and the child went through what he or she went through. But it just ain't good theology. Angels are supernatural beings. We have no reason to believe that supernatural beings get conceived in human form, for a short time or for a long one--with one exception.

I don't know whether I had children before Firstborn. But if I did, they were not angels. If I had been able to give birth to them, they would have screamed and misbehaved and sinned and pooped like other children. I don't know whether they are in Heaven, even, really--the Bible does not tell us. God may save them all because of their innocence; He may judge them based on the choices they would have made had they lived; He may have predestined only those who would not have chosen Him to die this way--or only those who would have followed Him. He may have taken them in because they are, of course, "like little children."

But while I may hope and pray they are in heaven, I don't think they were or are angels. (As an aside, I kind of don't know how to pray about that kind of thing, but I know that my God, Who is outside of time and space, understands my heart and knows what to do with these sorts of petitions). I know that they have "fullness of life," but I don't know what that means. Did they finish gestation, and are they growing up now? Did they appear there in adult bodies? Does someone care for them like I care for my born daughter, or are they just worshipping God with everyone else? I have to accept a lot of unknowns, but I would rather accept them than this strange little fantasy that they have grown feathery wings and are fat little sexless babies sitting on clouds--but then, I have to accept unknowns as to whether those children existed. Before Firstborn I was sure; now I'm not. I know that God is good, God is just, and God loves me and all of my children--and I have to be satisfied in that.

Today's sign of pregnancy: abdominal pain


Blogger Civilla said...

Good post. It is very hard to convince people that babies who die (or pets!) are not angels. Angels are a different creation that humanity. They are not simply evolved humans. Thank you for telling the truth and sharing your thoughts.

2:41 PM  

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