Today I’m scheduled to record a lecture on angels for a class this fall. As I prepared my notes two thoughts became clear to me: angels are remarkably mysterious beings and I wouldn’t want to be one. Yes, the Bible teaches that they have amazing “superhero” abilities that would be really cool to possess, but there is so much missing from their lives that you and I enjoy as redeemed humans. Being embodied has its advantages. A comment by C. S. Lewis makes the point that I’m trying to get at:
‘The angels…have no senses; their experience is purely intellectual and spiritual. That is why we know something thing about God which they don’t. There are particular aspects of His love and joy which can be communicated to a created being only by sensuous experience. Something of God which the Seraphim can never quite understand flows into us from the blue of the sky, the taste of honey, the delicious embrace of water whether cold or hot, and even from sleep itself.’ (God in the Dock, chap 7)
In 2004, Rodney Clapp wrote a bestseller entitled Tortured Wonders, which he intended as a description of the human condition. In many ways, because of the Fall, his portrayal is surely right. To experience the world as flesh and blood has its travails and sorrows. It also has its joys. We are not merely embodied creatures; we are also bearers of the divine image. We possess both spiritual and physical components. This gives us a capacity to experience creation in ways not available to either animals or angels.
Angels are marvelous, but I think humans are even more so.
Cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com