Sunday, September 28, 2008

Angels in the Attic

Today's lessons and service focused attention on the subject of angels as we celebrated Michaelmas Eve. I thought Charlie did an excellent job talking about the good angels. He did ignore the bad ones, but I will let that be an opportunity to open the floor for comments about my question, "is there a doctrine on angels?"

I looked up old Thomas Aquinas and Summa Theologica, and I found that there was an awful lot of thinking about the subject back in the day.

As an example,
"Article 1. Whether an angel is altogether incorporeal?"
Objection 1. It would seem that an angel is not entirely incorporeak. For what is incorporeak only as regards ourselves, and not in relation to God, is not absolutely incorporeal. But Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that "an angel is said to be incorporeak and immaterial as regards us; but compared to God it is corporeal and material. Therefore he is not simply incorporeak."

Objection 2. Further, nothing is moved except a body, as the Philosopher says (Phys. vi, text 32). But Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii) that "an angel is an ever movable intellectual substance." Therefore an angel is a corporeal substance.

Objection 3. Further, Ambrose says (De Spir. Sanct. i, 7): "Every creature is limited within its own nature." But to be limited belongs to bodies. Therefore, every creature is corporeal. Now angels are God's creatures, as appears from Psalm 148:2: "Praise ye" the Lord, "all His angels"; and, farther on (verse 4), "For He spoke, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created." Therefore angels are corporeal.

On the contrary, It is said (Psalm 103:4): "Who makes His angels spirits."

Now this does not make for good sermons, so I think Charlie did a good job bringing things down to a personal level. To answer his question, do Episcopalians keep "angels in the attic?" The answer is "no" when it comes to our service and music, but the answer may be "yes" when it comes to our daily lives.

My point is if Episcopalians put even good angels in the attic and generally ignore their presence, what have Episcopalians done with the bad angels? Have they been placed in the basement? Do Episcopalians have a doctrine on angels? Do Episcopalians believe in demons? Do I hear Screwtape at work?

No comments:

Post a Comment