Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Comparing Men And Angels

Here are the sort of crazy questions that often run through my mind.  “God made the angels, so why did He decide to make us?” “What is the difference between angels and humans?” “What qualities are found in man that are not found in angels?”

I've decided that when such questions arise, I should immediately write it down and then try my best to satisfy my curiosity.  I have also made the decision to blog about such things so that anyone else with the same questions can benefit.  Here is the information that I've managed to scrape together concerning men and angels.

As we all know, angels do the work of the Lord.  They fight battles in the spiritual realm, they deliver messages from God, they minister to those in need, they praise and worship God and they carry out the judgments of God.  They have great strength and continually fight against the enemy and his minions at God’s command.  They are another class of created being.  They are temporarily a little higher than mankind because they mainly operate in the spiritual realm, but one day we will be higher than the angels.  I say, “mainly operate in the spiritual realm,” because there are instances of angels appearing as men on earth (one example: Genesis 19).

I believe that one third of the angels were convinced “intellectually” to side with the Devil in opposition to God.  They couldn’t have been tempted in the flesh, because they don’t possess a fleshly body.  This reveals another difference between angels and man... 

Man is tempted in the flesh.  This is why we are told to crucify our flesh and take up our cross daily.  We must make a conscious effort to rely on the Holy Spirit, striving to live a righteous life, one pleasing to God.  Angels don’t have this fleshly battle (they fight against the enemy in the spiritual realm, though).  Our spiritual battle is raged on in the flesh and in our mind.  That’s where the enemy attacks us.  The scripture doesn’t mention the enemy’s attempt at trying to make more angels rebel against God, but scripture does show that the enemy is bent on preventing as many people as possible from receiving the promise of salvation.

Creating Adam
God personally ‘breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.’ (Genesis 2:7 MKJV)  We are both spirit and flesh, heaven and earth, in one.  Angels can’t comprehend what we experience in this mortal body.  We exhibit the same emotions that God does, albeit in a lesser degree.  I know that angels experience joy, love and compassion, but I’m not sure they have many other emotions.  We, on the other hand, experience not only positive emotions, but negative ones as well; grief, anger, jealousy, envy, etc…  Of course, the enemy has a way of twisting those emotions by using them to lead us into sin, but as we see from scripture, God gets angry (Numbers 12:9) and He is also a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). When those emotions enter our heart, they aren’t necessarily evil in and of themselves; it’s the condition of the heart and the intent of expressing those emotions that causes them to be judged as good or evil.  God tells us to, “Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath …” (Ephesians 4:26 MKJV)  I guess those emotions could be subjects of another blog…lol.

Adam and Eve walked and talked with God.  They had the perfect relationship with Him.  That’s the relationship we now have with Him if we’re born again believers in Christ.  We are considered His children and heirs to the Kingdom of God.  We have instant 24/7 access to God because of what Jesus did on the cross.    

Speaking of Adam and Eve, that brings me to the next point of discussion.  We were created male and female.  Due to our mortal nature, we are subject to physical death, so God gave us the ability to give birth and to multiply… to create new life so-to-speak.  The angels in heaven are of a finite number and do not reproduce.  “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in Heaven.” (Mat 22:30 MKJV)

Remaining in the Garden of Eden for one more moment, I’d like to also mention that mankind received a special honor from God.  Mankind was given dominion, power, and authority over the earth, an honor that the angels don’t have.  I believe we have been given dominion over a temporal world and all that is in it not just to be representatives of God here on earth, but also in preparation of ruling with Christ during His millennial reign; in preparation to become part of the royal family.  How can we effectively rule with Christ during His millennium reign unless we have experience in making decisions based on God’s word?  God gives us that basic training during our brief existence here on this planet.  That leads us to the next point of discussion…

God has graciously blessed us with the ability to reason… to learn and grow as individuals. We have the ability to create paintings and sculptures, to write music, to organize, to think abstractly and to grow in wisdom, knowledge and understanding.  We have a sense of humor.  We have a curiosity and a need to learn and experience new things.  I don’t remember reading anywhere in the bible that states that angels have any of these qualities.

Although we are able to receive salvation through the blood of the Lamb, fallen angels are not capable of being redeemed.  Why?  Picture this… the fallen angels had lived in the presence of their Creator, surrounded by His glory, His love and His righteousness and they still rebelled.  It reminds me of this scripture: “For it would have been better for them not to have fully known the way of righteousness, than fully knowing it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” (2Peter 2:21 MKJV)  If we, being mortal, receive a worse judgment by accepting and then rejecting the truth, then what kind of judgment would be meted out on those angels who lived in God’s presence and still chose to sin?

So, here’s a bullet list of how I believe we are different from the angels:
  • Angels are a different class of being created before mankind.
  • Angels have specific roles in God’s kingdom.
  • We are spirit and flesh in one; heaven and earth… just as Jesus became when He was born here on earth.
  • We are tempted in the flesh and experience things in the flesh that angels can’t comprehend.
  • Mankind has been given authority over all the earth and over all the creatures of the earth.
  • For the past 6,000 years we have been able to create life after our own kind and to increase in number.
  • We have an intellect and are able to reason; growing in wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
  • We have the ability to be creative and to invent new and wonderful things.
  • We experience all the emotions of God, to a certain degree.
  • Angels have been given the responsibility of protecting us, ministering to us and speaking to us at God’s command.  In serving God, they are serving us as well.
  • As heirs to the Kingdom of God, we have the authority by the blood of Jesus to approach the throne of God at any time.  We have continued and unrestricted access to our Father and to Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
  • We have been called heirs to God’s kingdom.  Brothers and sisters sharing in the authority of heaven.  Sons and daughters of the Living God!
  • We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, something that fallen angels are not capable of receiving.
This is by no means a complete and comprehensive list of all the differences between man and angels, but it does give me a good grasp of the differences between two of God’s creations.

Artwork - Creating Adam: http://annelism.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/chapter-3-naked-without-shame/

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  1. Very well thought out and provoking piece. You're going on my "list"

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Tom! This blog has been stirring in me for a week or so and I finally got around to writing it.