Monday, December 8, 2008

How Much do Angels Know?

Someone recently asked me an interesting question about angels: How much do they know? Were they/Are they automatically privy to information about God's salvation plan, since they "reside" in heaven with God?

The context of the question is Luke 2, when the angel of the Lord appears to the shepherds and announces the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem. Obviously the angel has some information that had been divinely granted to her (or him). That story raises the question as to whether the angels are always in the "inner circle" of information, or whether they, as divine messengers, are granted just the knowledge that they need at the time to pass along God's message. I'm very much inclined toward the latter option. The apostle Peter tells us that "even angels long to look into these things" (1 Peter 1:12). "These things" are the story of the Gospel, including the salvation that the Messiah would bring to the world and the "Messianic woes" he (and his people--Israel/the "suffering servant" and the church) would have to undergo. Perhaps, then, the angels receive just enough information about God's salvation plan to do God's bidding as messengers to humanity--and just enough to be intrigued about what God is up to next.


must_decrease said...

I like to think of Angels like God's divine hitmen if you will. When they need to deliver a message they deliver a message, when they need to go take care of business they take care of business, and when they need to give a guy a pair of concrete tennis shoes and take him for a swim they are happy to oblige.


Kyle A. Roberts said...

Yikes. I'd prefer an analogy that was, shall I say, a bit less violent. Something more consistent with the Jesus story, maybe. A "mafia God" is a bit hard, for my taste, to stomach in the light of gospels and the Gospel.