Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

Advent 4

Soft and Fluffy

Today's angel is made of plush and felt and lace, to be cute and cuddly.

Or Strong and Mighty?

Real Angels are, of course, not soft and huggable. The Bible gives some definitive information about angels, including the attributes of strength and power and might and authority, beyond the confines of a physical body subject to the physical laws of nature. They are spirits. They are confirmed in their bliss, perfectly good, living in the presence of God, and living to do His bidding. They don't marry, they don't die, they can't be hurt. But they do rejoice, specifically when a sinner comes to repentance. They praise God continually. They are often noisy. In fact, many Biblical references speak of them as they shout, proclaim in a loud voice, trumpet, and make a great sound.

oooops. Maybe not.....

Ancient pictures of angels show strong males, often with swords in combat with the devil, from the reference in Jude to the archangel Michael when contending with the devil in a dispute about the body of Moses. Or they would show the angel Gabriel in any of his Biblical missions, to Daniel, to Zachariah, to Mary, and in the vision of the apostle John.

In the last couple of centuries depictions of angels have been romanticised as being beautiful ladies or cute babies. Angels are neither. They are perfect, so they are ageless. All Biblical references to them are male. At the same time, they do appear on occasion to mankind and evidently there is no restriction on the form they can take, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they could also come in the guise of a woman or child. It would be, however, without wings. Still, for arts sake, we can take liberties with reality and make angels how we like, so long as we are not blasphemous.

It is worth noting that the term angel is also used in the Bible for anyone who gives a message from God or proclaims His word, or carries out His judgments, and also is used as as title for Christ Himself. So, in a generic sense, anyone can be an angel.


Tomorrow starts the December countdown to Christmas for all the Advent calendars. Enjoy.


  1. Thank you for the meditation on angels. Maybe we had this discussion last year, but my thoughts are that because we are in this time of apostasy and unbelief (the End Times) we Christians should take extra care to always confirm the truth about angels, even in our art (not taking so much license). So many people (including those who are Christians and should know better) think of angels wrongly. Certainly movies and stories and such have perpetuated wrong ideas, such as the one that people become angels when they die. Another offensive idea is that angels are serving everyone, including unbelievers, instead of serving God.

    The Christmas angels are messengers and heavenly choral members. I think I want to focus on those types for the season.

  2. It'd be wonderful to see more strong, masculine, warrior-type angels in art again.

  3. Pam, we didn't, as far as I remember, discuss this last year, but the points are pertinent. We do need to take care not to mislead, or play into the fallacies of the ignorant. So outright error should not be a part of art: people do not become angels when they die, nor do angels protect the wicked or serve anyone but God Himself.
    That being established, my point was that the word angel has a couple of definitions, so we can't outright condemn all non-grown-male depictions of angels. We should be careful what we present, yes, but having a winged lady in a ball gown on top of ones Christmas tree is not really false doctrine, pre se. I myself am not entirely enamoured with such tree toppers, and our annually displayed angel is male, but art allows some flexibility, with care not to offend the weak.
    The ones that will be here in the coming days are more neutral than not, so shouldn't be too problematic. I do like shrubs though, as you may have noticed. In yesterday's post I refrained from the teddy bear in dress with wings and trumpet, when showing how far astray angel depictions have gone. As the church has been feminized and romanticised, with Jesus now being called our Lover, and men departing in droves, so have angels come to look more and more like the fantasies of teenage girls. Look up pictures of the archangel Michael on your computer and compare to old icons or mosaics.

  4. Seriously??!! While I do like shrubs, I meant to write CHERUBS.

  5. Haha! Your iPad probably has an autocorrect feature and is to blame for that. Always hilarious and often annoying.

    We could have a whole discussion on the maleness of angels too. They are not human and have no bodies so are not "male" in the sense we would normally think. I have always thought more androgynous but it is hard to conceptualize that for art.