Wednesday, January 26, 2005

More Angels, God's Throne and Mary Worship

A couple things in 2 Samuel 14 influenced my view and "infatuation" with angels. I read these verses as a fundamentalist when they struck me and I read them still in the same vein.

2 Samuel 14:20
20: To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

It's hard to comment on this because I haven't explicitly thought about this in a long time. However, I view angels as Elohim, part of the divine court and divine counsel. I gladly ascribe to the notion that they are gods. I love the fact that Jesus promises that in the Resurrection would be like angels (isangelos):

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. Mt. 22:30

I know many view the above in terms of marriage, but I think signifies something much deeper. I think it points to the fullness of a glorified nature, like Christ's.

It always fascinated me that Jesus said that if we denied him in the presence of our fellow humans that he would deny before his angels.

26: For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Lk 9:26

I don't have a Greek translation with me and even if I did I'm not sure what I'd do with it, but that "of the holy angels" is significant. Jesus is speaking of coming in his own glory, plus the glory of the Father, and or plus the glory of angels. Now, I've always been convinced that there is something Trinitarian going on here and there is deeper connection we should be making with the third divine person and the angels. But I love the love Jesus gives the angels.

"And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. Lk 12:8,9

Here again, it works like this. We deny Christ in the presence of our friends and companions and Christ will deny us in the presence of his friends and companions, the angels.

And then there's this verse, one of my favorites Heb 1:7-9

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Hebrew's author is making the point about Christ's superiority to angels, but what is not lost on me is that fact that the prophecy does speak of Christ's "fellows" or "comrades" and these are angels I think.

I think what has irked me for years is that Christians are locked into this idea that angels are there for us. Well there's, a bunch of scriptures that support that, for example Heb 1:14 "Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?" Or where Christ speaks of little children and that "their angels" are in the presence of God. Fair enough.

But without descending into a point argument, I am one of those who believes that angels were made for Christ as his "companions" from the "beginning." And that they are his friends. Now this idea is in the tradition, in fact it used to be quite a debate. If I recall correctly, St Anselm had the same view point that angels were it and then some fell and then we were created to replace the angels in the community of Heaven. In fact, St Augustine may have a similar position in City of God, I have to check that out.

I feel it gives angels more integrity if we understand them for who they are, i.e, as Christ's companions, etc. Anyway, speaking of Heb 1:8 which says "Thy throne O God is forever . . ." which is quoting Ps 45:6 struck me back in the day. But also I note, going back to 2 Samuel 14:9
And the woman of Tekoah said unto the king, My lord, O king, the iniquity be on me, and on my father's house: and the king and his throne be guiltless.

What struck me back in the day was the distinction between God and his throne in the Hebrew Scriptures. It was clear that same breath of worship and deference given to God was given to both God and his throne and that to denigrate the throne was to denigrate God because it was an ultimate symbol of him without being him. Voila, that's when the Mary thing began to click. All of a sudden it was no longer offensive to direct worship at something "ancillary" to God if that thing's sole reason of being was to symbolize God. This is why I chuckle when I see Catholics in knots explaining that we do not worship Mary.

We do worship Mary and it is nothing to shy away from. Forget that whole hyperdulia disctinction, worshipping Mary is not anti-thetical to worship of God, it is worship of God. (I hear ouches). I know the hierarchy shies away from such characterizations. It is funny though, in Lumen Gentium, document on the Church in Vatican II, chapter 7, I think, is dedicated to Mary. In a translation I used to use, someone used the word "worship" for Mary. I loved it and loved seeing other's squirm when it was pointed out. Anyway, as always, IMO.


Blogger Talmida said...

Alright! Excellent thoughts! I'm not usually an angel fan because I'm not very girly and I hate all that victorian fluffy stuff -- but give me a John-Travolta-Michael-the-Warrior-angel any day.

I like your take on it - the plurality of God - it fits with so many things! In Joe's meditation on the story of Abraham no one mentions that the ANGEL says...."because you obeyed ME"... after staying Abraham's hand. I went to several different versions to check it out. I think it happens in other places in the story too. The Angel speaks to Abraham, but the words are spoken as if The LORD is doing the speaking.

On an aside about the heavenly court - the first bit of Torah interpretation I ever read was about God creating the world. Genesis 1:26, "Let us make a human, according to our likeness....". Some think that this use of the plural is God addressing a court of angels and seraphim. It only occurs in the opening chapters, no where else. I like to think that in this case, because it is first used when God creates humans that it refers to God's male and female natures.

About Mary? Maybe she is God in a way. (I'm in deep trouble for saying that, no doubt). I believe that prayer sanctifies - that if people pray somewhere long enough, that the place itself acquires a kind of holiness (shrines, churches, holy wells, etc. -- is this my inner celt coming out?), God chooses to dwell there in a special way. Maybe since zillions of people have turned to Mary over the centuries she has evolved into the female face of God. Not that she ever was that, but that she's become that.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Ono said...

I had forgotten about the "because you obeyed me" quote. Also, it is consistent with Gabriel and Zechariah. Gabriel was irritated that Zechariah doubted him.

You say something interesting in your Mary comment and I think I'll think more about it and post something.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Mary is not God. Never was, never will be. What you state is akin to Mormonism.

David B

2:48 PM  

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