ANGEL 478 ANOEL Maimonides (Directorium Perplexorum, iv and vi) is quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theol., I, Q. 1, 3) as liokliiig tliat the Bible frequently terms the powers of nature angels, since they manifest the omnipotence of dod (cf. St. Jerome, In Mich., vi, 1, 2; P. L., iv, col. 1206). Though the angels who appear in the earlier works of the Old Testament are strangely impersonal and are overshadowed by the importance of the message they bring or the work they do, there are not wanting hints regarding the existence of certain ranks in the heavenly army. After Adam's fall Paradise is guarded against our First Parents by clierubim who are clearly God's ministers, thougli nothing is said of their nature. Only once again do the cherubim figure in the Bible, viz.' in Ezechiel's marvellous vision, where they are described at great length (Ezech.. i), and are actually called cherubim in Ezechicl, x. The Ark was guarded by two cherubim, but we are left to conjecture what they were like. It has been suggested with great probability that we have their counterpart in the winged bulls and lions guarding the Assyrian palaces, and also in the strange winged men with hawks' heads who are depicted on the walls of some of their buildings. The seraphim only appear in the vision of Isaias, vi, 6. Mention has already been made of the mystic seven who stand before God, and we seem to hae in them an indication of an inner cordon that surrounds the throne. The term arch- angel only occurs in St. Jude and I Thess.. iv, 15; but St. Paul has furnished us with two other lists of names of the heavenly cohorts. He tells us (Ephas., i, 21) that Christ is raised up "above all principality, and power, and virtue, and dominion"; and, writing to the Colossians (i, 16), he says: "In Him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, or principalities or powers." It is to be noted that he uses two of these names of the powers of dark- ness when (ii, 15) he talks of Christ as "despoiling the principalities and powers . . . triumphing o^•er them in Him.self ". And it is not a little remarkable that only two verses later he warns his readers not to be seduced into any " religion of angels ". He seems to put his seal upon a certain lawful angelology, and at the same time to warn them against indulging superstition on the subject. We have a hint of such excesses in the Book of Enoch, wherein, as already stated, the angels play a quite disproportionate part. Similarly Josephus tells us (Bell. Jud., II, viii, 7) that the Essenes had to take a vow to preserve the names of the angels. We have already seen how (Dan., X, 12-21) various districts are allotted to various angels who are termed their princes, and the same feature reappears still more markedly in the Apocalj'ptic "angels of the seven churches", though it is impossible to decide what is the precise signification of the term. These seven Angels of the Churches are generally regarded as being the Bishops occupying these sees. St. Gregory Nazian- zen in his address to the Bishops at Constantinople twice terms them "Angels", in the language of the Apocalypse. The treatise "De Ccelesti Hierarchiil ", which is ascribed to St. Denis the Arcopagite, and whidi exercised .so .strong an influence upon the Scholastics, treats at great length of the hierarchies and orders of the angc'ls. It is generally conceded that this work was not duo to St. Denis, but nuist date .some centuries later. Though the doctrine it contains regarding tlie choirs of angels has been received in the Church with extraordinary unanim- ity no proposition touching the angelic hierarchies IS binding on our faith. The following passages from St. Gregory the Groat (Hoin. 34, In Evang.) will give us a dear irlea of the view of the Church's doctors on I he point : " We know on the authority of Scrii)ture tliat there are nine orders of angels, viz., Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Domina- tions, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. That there are Angels and Archangels nearly every page of the Bible tells us, and the books of the Prophets talk of Cherubim and Seraphim. St. Paul, too, writing to the Ephesians enumerates four orders when he says: 'above all Principality, and Power, and Virtue, and Domination'; and again, writing to the Colos- sians he says: 'whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers '. If we now join these two lists together we have five Orders, and adding Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, we find nine Orders of Angels." St. Thomas (Summa Theol., I, Q. cviii), following St. Denis (De Ccelesti Hierarchia, vi, vii), divides the angels into three hierarchies each of w'hich con- tains three orders. Their proximity to the Supreme Being serves as the basis of this division. In the first hierarchy he places the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; in the second the Dominations, Virtues, and Powers; in the third, the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The only Scriptural names furnished of individual angels are Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel, names which signify their respective attri- butes. Apocryphal Jewisli books, such as the Book of Enoch, supply those of I'riel and Jeremiel, while many are found in other apocryphal sources, like those Milton names in "Paradise Lost ". (On super- stitious use of such names, see above and Hefele, loc. cit.) The number of the angels is frequently stated as prodigious (Dan., vii, 10; Apoc, v, 11; Ps., Ixvii, 18; Matt., xxvi, 53). From the use of the word host (Sabaoth) as a sjmonym for the heavenly army it is hard to resist the impression that the term "Lord of Hosts" refers to God's Supreme command of the Angelic multitude (cf. Deut., x.xxiii, 2; xxxii, 43, Septuagint). The Fathers see a refer- ence to the relative numbers of men and angels in the parable of the hundred sheep (Luke, x', 1-3), though this may seem fanciful. 'The Scholastics, again, following the treatise " De Ccelesti Hierarchia " of St. Denis, regard the preponderance of numbers as a necessary perfection of the angelic host (cf. St. Thomas, Summa Theol., I, Q. 1, 3). Good and B.d Angels. — The distinction of good and bad angels constantly appears in the Bible, but it is instructive to note that there is no sign of any dualism or conflict between two equal principles, one good and the other evil. The conflict depicted is rather that waged on earth between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Evil One, but the latter's inferiority is always supposed. The exist- ence, then, of this inferior, and therefore created, spirit, has to be explained. The gradual develop- ment of Hebrew consciousness on this point is very clearly marked in tlie inspired writings. The ac- count of the fall of our First Parents (Gen., iii) is couched in such terms that it is impossible to see in it anything more than the acknowledgment of the existence of a principle of evil who was jealous of the human race. The statement (Gen., , 1) that the "sons of God" married the daughters of men is explained of the fall of the angels, in Enoch, vi-xi, and codices D,E,F, and A of the Septuagint read frequently, for "sons of God", ol iS^^eXoi tou Seou. Unfortunately, codices B and C are defect ie in Gen., vi, but it is probable that they, too, read oi a77coi in this passage, for they constantly so render the expression "sons of God"; cf. Job, i, 6; ii, 1; xxxviii, 7; but on the other hand, see Ps., ii, 1; Ixxxviii, 7 (Septuagint). Philo, in commenting on the passage in his treatise "Quod Deus sit immuta- bilis ", i, follows the Septuagint. For Philo's doc- trine of Angels, cf. " De Vita Mosis", iii, 2; " De Somniis ", VI; " De Incorrupta Manna", i; "Do Sacriiiciis ", ii; "Do Lege AllegoricA", 1, 12; III, 73; and for the view of Gon., vi, 1, cf. St. Justin, Apol..
Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/538
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