Angelic Testing

By Peter Darcy | On Sep 3, 2015 | No Comments | In Angels

By Peter Darcy

We cannot fully know the exact content of the test that was given to the angels on the day they were created, but many bright minds have come up with some plausible theories about it over the centuries. As free beings, angels had to undergo a test of moral character, in order to prove whether or not they would freely accept God’s truth with their minds and conform their wills to God’s Will. St. Irenaeus, a 2nd Century Greek Father of the Church, believed that some angels sinned when they were shown an image of Adam, a being made in the “image and likeness of God” and told that their exalted spiritual nature would eventually serve the lowly human nature of God’s children. Another writer captures the reaction of the proud angels this way: “When Adam was first presented to the hierarchs of God, Satan, who was at that time the greatest of the Seraphim and Regent of Heaven, refused to bow before the new creation. ‘How can a Son of Fire bow to a Son of Clay?’ was his response.” It was a prideful reaction of the first order.

Furthermore, confronted with the truth of the future Incarnation of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the rebellion was complete. Would perfectly sublime spiritual beings serve a God who took the form of a “Son of Clay”? It was a very personal question for each angel. Legend has it that Satan rose up in the midst of the divine assembly and announced that he would not submit to God’s plan. His rebellion was captured as a sort of snapshot in the famous phrase of the Latin Vulgate Bible, “Non serviam”, that is, “I will not serve” (Jer 2:20). Other angels followed in his train, and with that act, the mystery of iniquity was born.

Others speculate that the angels rebelled through the sin of envy because they coveted the privileges that men would receive because of God’s adopting a human nature. In fact, since God is Spirit, it would have had little significance for Him to adopt the purely spiritual nature of the angel. Envy also manifested itself in another form. The angels were shown that God, when adopting human nature, would be born of a woman, who would be so united to God and so perfectly created that she would surpass even the angels in holiness and beauty. This woman would subsequently become their Queen. Would they accept such a wondrous plan? That too was a deal-breaker for many of them. Some angels failed that test because of their envy of the Virgin’s privileges and their prideful refusal to lower themselves in obedience to a creature – and to a woman at that.

My personal theory is that the angels’ envy of the woman was due to the gift of fertility that is coded seamlessly into the male and female bodies. Angels can never share in the miracle of reproduction because they lack a body, but women are the cradles of life and co-creators with God of new human beings. This is a gift that the angels will never have, and their envy of the Virgin Mother of God was so perfect as to drive many of them out of Heaven. It’s no wonder, then, that the first act of Satan’s malice was directed against Eve in Genesis 3 or that he is shown trying to devour the Woman’s Child in Revelation 12. His first recorded genocidal population control program was carried out by Pharaoh in Exodus 2 and again by Herod in his slaughter of the innocents in Matthew 2. The war on female fertility is a hallmark of Satan’s game plan, and many worldly powers such as the United Nations, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and population control groups help him fulfill his age-old rage against the gift of fertility.

Much depended upon that test of moral character. The angels that passed the test were confirmed in grace and thereafter enjoyed the Beatific Vision. The angels who failed the test fled, or were flung as if by an inevitable centripetal force, to the farthest reaches of the created universe, as far from God as possible, into the Hell of their own creation. Their disobedience constituted an act of defiance so ferocious that it is impossible for a human intellect to comprehend it. They preferred to languish in a conjured, rival kingdom of horrific, monstrous darkness, from which they will never emerge into the light rather than submit to the authority and plan of a loving God. The famous 17th Century English poet John Milton adequately characterized Satan’s heinous pride in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Satan, he averred, thought that it was “better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven”. It was all downhill for the rest of us from that point on.

(Excerpt from Angel Belief, by Peter Darcy, to be published in 2017.)

Written by Peter Darcy

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