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Just A Question That Has Always Bugged Me...


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Okay, this question has always bugged me, even when I was a christian. Now, I'm no scholar, so maybe I'm just ignorant, but my problem goes like this:

 

I was always taught that the angels were different to us humans, as they didn't have free will, unlike us. They just did whatever they were told by god to do. But Lucifer rebelled against god, and was cast out of heaven along with his followers for trying to overthrow god. Now, wouldn't the very act of rebellion indicate that ALL of the angels had free will?

 

Does that seem just a bit contradictory to anyone else? I know it might seem like a weird sticking point, in light of all the other contradictions in the bible and various religious dogma, but it really bugged me. It just never seemed to make sense to me, yet no-one else ever seemed to question it.

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There is no good answer to that question because there is not good consistent doctrine of angels or the spirit world. Most of the demonology and angel-ology being taught is a combination of cherry picking from the scriptures, borrowing from pagan religions and just plain fantasy. So it is no wonder you are confused.

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From what I was told (and I don't think there's anything in the Bible to back it up), one third of the angels were kicked out of heaven when Lucifer rebelled, and then the other two thirds were "locked" into obedience. So, supposedly the angels did have free will before Lucifer's uprising.

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There is no good answer to that question because there is not good consistent doctrine of angels or the spirit world. Most of the demonology and angel-ology being taught is a combination of cherry picking from the scriptures, borrowing from pagan religions and just plain fantasy. So it is no wonder you are confused.

 

This makes sense. I don't know why I care so much, nor why it still annoys me. I somehow managed to miss every other major flaw in the bible, and yet this one was my sticking point. I was satisfied with every other answer to every other question regarding the bible from the apologetics, but this one, stupid, little point bugged the hell out of me! How crazy is that?! lol

 

From what I was told (and I don't think there's anything in the Bible to back it up), one third of the angels were kicked out of heaven when Lucifer rebelled, and then the other two thirds were "locked" into obedience. So, supposedly the angels did have free will before Lucifer's uprising.

 

Nice to know the christian god is into taking away free will. What a top bloke he sounds like!

 

Thanks for your input, guys :)

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Okay, this question has always bugged me, even when I was a christian. Now, I'm no scholar, so maybe I'm just ignorant, but my problem goes like this:

 

I was always taught that the angels were different to us humans, as they didn't have free will, unlike us. They just did whatever they were told by god to do. But Lucifer rebelled against god, and was cast out of heaven along with his followers for trying to overthrow god. Now, wouldn't the very act of rebellion indicate that ALL of the angels had free will?

 

Does that seem just a bit contradictory to anyone else? I know it might seem like a weird sticking point, in light of all the other contradictions in the bible and various religious dogma, but it really bugged me. It just never seemed to make sense to me, yet no-one else ever seemed to question it.

 

.... there are countless other sticking points and differences in this christian message. The very reason there are officially over 30,000+ demoninations of the christian religion on this planet! Does that point to it being the word of god or any god?

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.... there are countless other sticking points and differences in this christian message. The very reason there are officially over 30,000+ demoninations of the christian religion on this planet! Does that point to it being the word of god or any god?

 

No, of course not :) I don't know why I even care, aware as I am now of all the other flaws.

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Okay, this question has always bugged me, even when I was a christian. Now, I'm no scholar, so maybe I'm just ignorant, but my problem goes like this:

 

I was always taught that the angels were different to us humans, as they didn't have free will, unlike us. They just did whatever they were told by god to do. But Lucifer rebelled against god, and was cast out of heaven along with his followers for trying to overthrow god. Now, wouldn't the very act of rebellion indicate that ALL of the angels had free will?

 

Does that seem just a bit contradictory to anyone else? I know it might seem like a weird sticking point, in light of all the other contradictions in the bible and various religious dogma, but it really bugged me. It just never seemed to make sense to me, yet no-one else ever seemed to question it.

 

Never question the word of God!!!! {pause for Thunder and lightning} Everyone has their sticking point and yes that is contradictory. But if you ask a theologian they will invent some absurd reason why it makes sense. Something like "actually the angels did not have free will until satan was given free will by god" or "when you look up the ancient Aramaic, the word 'does' really means 'does not'." Or if they are under pressure and can't think of something they will refer you to some other scripture.

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Never question the word of God!!!! {pause for Thunder and lightning} Everyone has their sticking point and yes that is contradictory. But if you ask a theologian they will invent some absurd reason why it makes sense. Something like "actually the angels did not have free will until satan was given free will by god" or "when you look up the ancient Aramaic, the word 'does' really means 'does not'." Or if they are under pressure and can't think of something they will refer you to some other scripture.

 

It must be quite a headache, having to constantly stretch and twist and bluff your way through to make a contradiction make sense. I wonder how theologians keep their faith.

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There is no good answer to that question because there is not good consistent doctrine of angels or the spirit world. Most of the demonology and angel-ology being taught is a combination of cherry picking from the scriptures, borrowing from pagan religions and just plain fantasy. So it is no wonder you are confused.

 

Absolutely. I don't remember much about a rebellion in the bible, but it seems like people take Paradise Lost as one of the biblical books.

 

For the original question, I'll tell you what I was taught growing up: The angels have and have always had free will. One day, Lucifer got full of himself and tried to usurp God (no one mentions how he intended on accomplishing this...), and some of the angels joined him. Michael and the others defeated Lucifer while God watched, and then Lucifer fell from both grace and heaven, earning him the name Satan. His rebel forces were also cast out, becoming devils/demons. The rest of the angels were brought fully into God's divine presence after this, so, although they retain free will, they have no desire to choose to reject God's grace.

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The angel issue is problematic for Christians and also for Jews. The entire Book of Enoch (which was very popular at the time) was tossed out by rabbis because it suggests angels are flesh and blood. For Christians, the Book of Enoch is even more problematic because it is quoted in Jude 1:14 (*gasp* the "infallible" scripture quoting apocrypha?!). Angels are supposed to be entirely spiritual entities and completely subservient to God. However, we have in the Old Testament "watchers" who breed with women who then give birth to a race of giants (Gen 6:1-6 and Num 13:30-33), the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God (Gen 32), and the story of Lucifer with some of the heavenly host rebelling against God (Isaiah 14:4-17). So the official doctrine for most Christian churches states that angels have no free will and are completely spiritual beings, but the Bible itself contradicts this belief in places in spite of attempts to purge scriptures of any such contradictions.

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...So, in essence, everyone's got a different point of view on the subject, too, depending on their religious background. Religion seems to be one big headache!

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Everyone has a different point of view on everything. That's not religion. That's just people.

 

lol, very true :)

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It just goes to show that god can't do anything right. He creates angels as his messengers and servants, and one third of them rebel. He creates human beings and they rebel. Then after he kicked Adam and Eve out and the world was populated, people acted so badly, that he had to destroy all living creatures except for Noah's family and the chosen animals on the ark to start over. And, wouldn't you know it, as time passes people rebel even further. Such a failure.

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It just goes to show that god can't do anything right. He creates angels as his messengers and servants, and one third of them rebel. He creates human beings and they rebel. Then after he kicked Adam and Eve out and the world was populated, people acted so badly, that he had to destroy all living creatures except for Noah's family and the chosen animals on the ark to start over. And, wouldn't you know it, as time passes people rebel even further. Such a failure.

 

When you put it like that, it's so obvious how imperfect the perfect god really is. Did he get ANYTHING right??!!

 

P.S.- just wanted to say how much I appreciate everyone's input. I always prided myself on my ability to think for myself (contradictory statement, I know, being a former christian, but hey, I still got here!), but it is becoming very clear to me that my critical reasoning ability is lacking. I am really enjoying the process of having my mind sharpened, and I thank you all for helping that process :)

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However, we have in the Old Testament "watchers" who breed with women who then give birth to a race of giants (Gen 6:1-6 and Num 13:30-33), the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God (Gen 32), and the story of Lucifer with some of the heavenly host rebelling against God (Isaiah 14:4-17).

Just a couple of comments...

 

In Genesis 6 it mentions that:

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

The nephilim, or giants (gigantes in Greek), were already on the earth then and "afterward." The "sons of God" are the ones that had sex with human females and that is what created ancient heroes and not giants. So really the text should say something like "Once upon a time, in the days when giants still roamed the earth, the sons of god and the daughters of men came together and had children." And so on. We are now going to hear their stories. Or are we? Who knows if they get edited out of existence and we resume with the flood or if Noah is the first of that line? Or if what we have is their stories creatively weaved into what we're reading? Seems odd to mention these well known heroes then cut to a flood without a single heroic action by anyone. "There were many amazing heroes...and they all drowned because they were evil. The end. And now for something completely different...<cue Monty Python theme>"

 

Only the Latin mentions "Lucifer" in Isaiah. This corresponds to the Greek "Eosphorus" which was the morning star so they are equals. The text also mentions that he is the son of "dawn" which would have been "Eos" (in Greek) if they followed the tale. This would mean he was fathered by a Titan. It seems strange that this Jewish text is using these Greek references to curse a Babylonian king. But that seems to be the case. The morning star was the last beautiful "star" to leave the sky, after all the other stars, before dawn and Helios came. It's pretty common knowledge that Venus only rises so far then falls back down again so it's a good analog for their taunt. Especially when they would tend to think like the Egyptians (and others) that when day started here that night began in the underworld so the taunt mentions the rise, the fall and entrance into that place. I don't see a reference to any "heavenly host" though. This must be brought in from somewhere else (the Revelation?).

 

mwc

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However, we have in the Old Testament "watchers" who breed with women who then give birth to a race of giants (Gen 6:1-6 and Num 13:30-33), the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God (Gen 32), and the story of Lucifer with some of the heavenly host rebelling against God (Isaiah 14:4-17).

Just a couple of comments...

 

In Genesis 6 it mentions that:

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

The nephilim, or giants (gigantes in Greek), were already on the earth then and "afterward." The "sons of God" are the ones that had sex with human females and that is what created ancient heroes and not giants. So really the text should say something like "Once upon a time, in the days when giants still roamed the earth, the sons of god and the daughters of men came together and had children." And so on. We are now going to hear their stories. Or are we? Who knows if they get edited out of existence and we resume with the flood or if Noah is the first of that line? Or if what we have is their stories creatively weaved into what we're reading? Seems odd to mention these well known heroes then cut to a flood without a single heroic action by anyone. "There were many amazing heroes...and they all drowned because they were evil. The end. And now for something completely different...<cue Monty Python theme>"

 

Only the Latin mentions "Lucifer" in Isaiah. This corresponds to the Greek "Eosphorus" which was the morning star so they are equals. The text also mentions that he is the son of "dawn" which would have been "Eos" (in Greek) if they followed the tale. This would mean he was fathered by a Titan. It seems strange that this Jewish text is using these Greek references to curse a Babylonian king. But that seems to be the case. The morning star was the last beautiful "star" to leave the sky, after all the other stars, before dawn and Helios came. It's pretty common knowledge that Venus only rises so far then falls back down again so it's a good analog for their taunt. Especially when they would tend to think like the Egyptians (and others) that when day started here that night began in the underworld so the taunt mentions the rise, the fall and entrance into that place. I don't see a reference to any "heavenly host" though. This must be brought in from somewhere else (the Revelation?).

 

mwc

 

This "sons of God" reference intrigues me. Christianity teaches that jesus was god's "one and only begotten son". Yet the verse is quite explicit- god had multiple sons, and differentiated them from the "daughters of humans". So, for all intents and purposes, these "sons" were not human and bred with human women. I find it interesting that these sons of god had no women of their own kind to breed with, either. This all sounds very polytheistic to me, and I can't shake the feeling that I have heard this story before... Wait a minute, isn't this the story of Hercules?

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However, we have in the Old Testament "watchers" who breed with women who then give birth to a race of giants (Gen 6:1-6 and Num 13:30-33), the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel of God (Gen 32), and the story of Lucifer with some of the heavenly host rebelling against God (Isaiah 14:4-17).

Just a couple of comments...

 

In Genesis 6 it mentions that:

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.

The nephilim, or giants (gigantes in Greek), were already on the earth then and "afterward." The "sons of God" are the ones that had sex with human females and that is what created ancient heroes and not giants. So really the text should say something like "Once upon a time, in the days when giants still roamed the earth, the sons of god and the daughters of men came together and had children." And so on. We are now going to hear their stories. Or are we? Who knows if they get edited out of existence and we resume with the flood or if Noah is the first of that line? Or if what we have is their stories creatively weaved into what we're reading? Seems odd to mention these well known heroes then cut to a flood without a single heroic action by anyone. "There were many amazing heroes...and they all drowned because they were evil. The end. And now for something completely different...<cue Monty Python theme>"

 

Only the Latin mentions "Lucifer" in Isaiah. This corresponds to the Greek "Eosphorus" which was the morning star so they are equals. The text also mentions that he is the son of "dawn" which would have been "Eos" (in Greek) if they followed the tale. This would mean he was fathered by a Titan. It seems strange that this Jewish text is using these Greek references to curse a Babylonian king. But that seems to be the case. The morning star was the last beautiful "star" to leave the sky, after all the other stars, before dawn and Helios came. It's pretty common knowledge that Venus only rises so far then falls back down again so it's a good analog for their taunt. Especially when they would tend to think like the Egyptians (and others) that when day started here that night began in the underworld so the taunt mentions the rise, the fall and entrance into that place. I don't see a reference to any "heavenly host" though. This must be brought in from somewhere else (the Revelation?).

 

mwc

 

Like any section of the Bible, there are a variety of ways to interpret the passages. I was attempting to simplify standard church doctrines in comparison with passages that are historically problematic. Obviously, I had to over simplify in order to make a point without treading on the dreaded TL;DR (too long; didn't read) grounds. If we delve into the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text and the ongoing theological debates starting around 400 BC including early Kaballism and the presence of gematria in Hebrew scripture and toss in the evolution of Angel and Demonology from the first century church to the Middle Ages to the doctrines of present day churches, we could write several dissertations on the subject and both get our PhD's in the process.

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Like any section of the Bible, there are a variety of ways to interpret the passages. I was attempting to simplify standard church doctrines in comparison with passages that are historically problematic. Obviously, I had to over simplify in order to make a point without treading on the dreaded TL;DR (too long; didn't read) grounds. If we delve into the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek text and the ongoing theological debates starting around 400 BC including early Kaballism and the presence of gematria in Hebrew scripture and toss in the evolution of Angel and Demonology from the first century church to the Middle Ages to the doctrines of present day churches, we could write several dissertations on the subject and both get our PhD's in the process.

I was commenting not criticizing. But I did so using BibleWorks 7 so I did have various English translations, as well as Greek and Hebrew in front of me so take it for what it is worth.

 

mwc

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I agree with your commentary. I think a major hole in standard church doctine is to convert every apparent supernatural being or being we don't understand into some sort of angel or demon. Seraphim, cherubim, archangels, watchers, nephilim, talking serpents, angelic fear induced talking donkeys, Gabriel, Michael, sons of God, Baal, Beelzebub, Satan, Apollyon, the dragon, et al being simplified into the very black and white world of angels and demons is like trying to stuff 100 shekels into a 1 mina bag.

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This "sons of God" reference intrigues me. Christianity teaches that jesus was god's "one and only begotten son". Yet the verse is quite explicit- god had multiple sons, and differentiated them from the "daughters of humans". So, for all intents and purposes, these "sons" were not human and bred with human women. I find it interesting that these sons of god had no women of their own kind to breed with, either. This all sounds very polytheistic to me, and I can't shake the feeling that I have heard this story before... Wait a minute, isn't this the story of Hercules?

The "sons of god" is applied loosely and essentially said to be members of the court of god or not very well behaved angels. There's no reason for this in the text but if this doesn't happen then god has to have literal sons and that isn't allowed to happen. It might follow the Canaanite religion where El had offspring or, as you noticed, the Greeks where their gods had offspring as well (whether this is Uranus, Cronus or Zeus is hard to say but with giants roaming around it almost seems like a titan and I believe El and Cronus were the same at some point...don't quote me). Heracles was a hero, obviously, and required to kill to the Titans. He killed more than the gods themselves. They would have been defeated without him. I don't know where this story lies related to the flood however. I think it comes after since he's loyal to Zeus (the Olympians) and I'm thinking that is after the Greek floods. The hundred handed ones, the cyclops were also involved but I don't know the role of the giants (which were created from the blood spilled when Cronus killed his father).

 

mwc

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That's an interesting analysis, MWC. Do you see Genesis as being linked to the mythology of the mystery cults of Classical Greece or to the temples of Hellenistic Greece? I always assumed it was Chaldean / Assyrian in origin condensed from the larger account of Genesis that archeologists found on broken tablets in the library of Nineveh. Perhaps the mythos of all of these cultures are more closely interlinked than most people realize?

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I always got the patent god/angels/jebus/theheavens work(s) in mysterious ways answer/non-answer.

 

Me too. And it was very unsatisfactory to me, because it never fully answered my question. Annoyed the shit out of me- in the scheme of things, it wasn't a huge theological deal, so how come no one had a satisfactory answer?

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mwc and Foxy, is there any chance you could provide me with some references so I could look further into what you are both saying above? And I'd like to look into this flood tower, I haven't actually heard of this before, so please forgive my ignorance, but I am not entirely comprehending the point you are trying to make :)

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