1. Lisa says:

    Interesting article – great summary of angels in the Bible. I think you are right in saying that most Christian fiction portrays angels in a fairly Scriptural fashion although not as “scary” and awe-inspiring as the Bible does. However I think we need to think a bit outside the box as writers. Peretti’s angels were so compelling I tend to see a lot of those in Christian fiction, which I guess is understandable, as who doesn’t want to read about a cool warrior type being who is protecting you?

    I read a really interesting book by Dean Koontz (The Taking) which had a very startling portrayal of angels that was actually quite Biblical once I understood what he was doing. Really cool. And I have just finished reading CS Lewis’ Space Trilogy and have been reminded once again of his portrayal of angels, which was also Scriptural but quite different.

    There’s lots of room for different portrayals of angels that are still Scriptural, I think. I hope I see more of that!

  2. HG Ferguson says:

    Excellent, thorough post, and food for thought on biblical portrayals of angels!  Then there are those that are not so biblical.  Angels do not bear children, for example, or have sexual natures as we understand them.  Even Tolkien’s Valar, an interesting take on angels, are not sexual beings per se, and Tolkien took great care in suggesting that.  The truth is, we do not know the details of the angelic world, nor are we meant to.  God has pulled a heavenly veil of discretion over that.  Works like Peretti’s and others are sheer fiction, utter fiction, and should not ever be revered as “cracking the veil,” as if these stories are “the way it really is.”  We do not know “the way it really is,” beyond what scripture tells us, nor are we meant to.  Lewis wisely wrote a disclaimer for his Screwtape Letters, as he did also for The Great Divorce.  Worship of angels was a very real danger in New Testament times (even John was rebuked for falling down at an angel’s feet, remember), so in our day let’s refrain from regarding angel novels as a second form of scripture, particularly in the pictures they paint.  That being said, as long as a story conforms with what we know of angels as revealed in the Word of God, we should have no issue and commend it to God, and to our enjoyment.

  3. Walter Cantrell says:

    They are also capable of assuming physical bodies. Jesus, when He wanted to prove to His disciples that He wasn’t a ghost, ate in their presence and told them to touch Him: “A ghost does not have flesh and bones.” (Luke 24) By these tests, the angels who visited Abraham and Lot also proved they were, however temporarily, flesh and blood. Hebrews’ famous declaration that some people entertain angels without knowing it means that there have been similar angelic visits, albeit with far less dramatic endings.

    Not trying to be picky, but the way this paragraph is worded, some might think you’re suggesting that Jesus is an angel and proved he could take on a physical body.  I don’t think that’s what you’re saying.  I think you’re trying to make the point that angels aren’t ghosts, and they proved this in their interactions with Abraham.

    I just bring this up because some like JW’s teach that Jesus is an Arch Angel instead of the Eternal God the Son.

  4. Julie D says:

    The angels/sexuality thing is ignored ALL THE TIME. Want your character to have special powers? Make them half-angel. It’s the ‘religious’ version of paranormal romance, a filler for vampires or werewolves.

What do you think?