Angels who touch

Pretty much on a weekly basis, I used to be moved by the TV show “Touched by an Angel.”  Letting alone that Monica, the “angel” character (below, middle), is blessed with genuinely beautiful eyes and countenance, there were many more inspirations than those based in physical appearance.

These days, I think I would find too much of that series hokey; still, the poignant situations that found people in trouble–making positive steps toward belief, or toward healing, or toward overcoming a serious life-problem, or toward reconciliation with others … all those things would still be inspirational to me.

Still, the whole “angel” thing is troublesome, isn’t it?  There’s one short utterance in all the NC scriptures that I can call to mind that supports the idea of a “guardian angel.”  Jesus Himself said it.  But I’m not so sure that everything we put in the angel “package” is really angelic.  Like Archie Bunker, who attributed “Silence is golden” to the Bible, we are sometimes mixed up as to where ideas and phrases originate.

In Genesis 32, Yakob encounters someone who is apparently supernatural in some respects but human in others.  Yakob recognizes something special and demands a blessing, and the other figure agrees (acquiesces?).  It seems to me that inasmuch as this being is delivering a word/message from God, he might be considered an “angel.”  I’m not familiar with the Hebrew word, but the Greek word aggelos (pronounced, roughly, “ahngl-auhss”) means “messenger.”  The word has simply been transliterated into English and probably doesn’t connote as much holographic mystery as TV has led us to expect.

The man-messenger- wrestler-blesser of Genesis 32 brought a message from God—and, as such, was an “angel,” although the scripture never calls him that, per se. Sometimes, “angel” might be a term applied figuratively, and s/he might or might not be “sent from God.”

It’s remains quite remarkable that Yakob/Israel is said to have “won” in the struggle “with God.”  With eyes wide open to the richness of relationship between God and His people, the original iteration of which was named after this very man, this aspect of the story strongly implies God’s openness.  He will deal with His people, and He will struggle with them, and He will be influenced by them.


3 thoughts on “Angels who touch

  1. scharms 10/25/2011 / 4:03 pm

    I always have had a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that God is able to be influenced. It seems as though a perfect God with perfect plans wouldn’t ever change his mind about anything. If he did does that mean that perfection somehow isn’t exclusive? That there can be more than one way of “perfect”? On facebook a week or so ago, a friend commented about this very issue in scripture relating to Moses pleading that God spare the Israelite people. Another friend commented that perhaps it ought not be thought of as God changing his mind about destroying the nation, but that God was in a way offering a chance for the people and Moses to repent.


    • Brian Casey 11/05/2011 / 11:01 am

      I can appreciate, and do resonate with, the struggle you describe. I don’t know if you were reading back a year and a half ago, but the the best I can manage, I’m afraid, is a referral to three posts on the Openness of God, which referred to a book by a similar title. OpenGod 1; OpenGod 2; OpenGod 3.. When I first came across the concepts of that book through people who were influencing me spiritually at the time, it was pretty groundbreaking. Since then, I can’t honestly say I’ve pursued the whole thing all that much, but whenever it comes to light, I still seem to be moving in that direction. Of course, the very idea of an open God flies in the face (dive-bombs?) a commonly understood Calvinists conception!


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