Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Angels Do Not Have a Second Chance
Those who have come to understand God's abundant grace toward man often marvel at what God has done for man despite our utter and complete unrighteousness. While God has chosen to bestow grace upon man, the scriptures are noticeably silent as to any provision for fallen angels. While the author does not pretend to know all of the reasons in the mind of God as to why such provision was not made, a few insights can be gleaned from how the scriptures describe angels.

We begin with the observation that angels hold a higher rank and position in the universe than man does but that man's position is only slightly inferior.

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Ps 8:4-5)

A key difference between men and angels is that angels are incapable of dying while all men die.

But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:35-36)

In fact, the very reason that Christ was made a little lower than the angels was so that he could suffer death.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb 2:9)

Since one of the key differences between men and angels is the ability to suffer death, it is important to understand what it means to die. Death is not, as commonly thought, the cessation of existence because a man's soul is eternal.

What transpires at death is the separation of a man's soul and his spirit from his physical body.

And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (Gen 35:18, Jam 2:26)

Death is simply the departure of the soul and the spirit from the physical body. Thus, when scripture indicates that angels cannot die, it is an indication that the nature of the heavenly bodies given to angels is such that the bodies cannot be separated from their souls and spirits.

Prior to the saints of this dispensation occupying their positions of service in heavenly places they must be given new incorruptible bodies (Rom 8:23, 1Cor 15:42-44). The explicit reason given for these change is that our corrupt bodies are not suitable to receive our inheritance in heavenly places.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1Cor 15:50)

The corruption in our physical bodies is a reference to sin dwelling in our flesh.

Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Rom 7:20, 23)

Our corruptible flesh in which sin dwells is unfit for heavenly places. If, after removing fallen angels from heaven, God were to allow us to enter our heavenly positions in our sinful flesh, soon the heavenly places would again be filled with sin just as the earth is today. Therefore, God has provided new spiritual, incorruptible bodies for us to avoid contaminating heaven.

As discussed above, angels were created as a higher class of being and are incapable of dying. Thus, angels that have sinned inhabit bodies where sin resides and from which the angels' souls cannot be set free. As a result, if God wishes the new heavens and the new earth to be free from sin, he has no choice but to prevent fallen angels from entering into it since they cannot be given new bodies. It is for this reason (and perhaps others) that scriptures do not record angels as having a second chance.[1]


[1]The author recognizes that God could have designed angels' bodies differently and does not imply any limitation on God's power to have done so other than those limitations imposed by His own character (e.g. God cannot lie - Titus 1:2). However, since the scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35), once God has spoken something, He is bound by it due to the faithfulness of His character.God does not act inconsistently with His word.

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