Thursday, May 30, 2013


Via Akenside Press:
John Macquarrie on the doctrine of angels: it "directs our minds to the vastness and richness of creation."
The concept of the angelic stands for the unity and order of the whole creation in the service of Being; not merely at the level of cosmic process, but at the level of conscious and free cooperation. God has 'ordained and constituted the services of angels and men in a wonderful order' (BCP Collect). Man is sometimes afflicted with a sense of loneliness on his little planet, the only 'existent' upon earth, perhaps just an accident in the cosmos. But if the Christian doctrine of creation is true, then man is no accident, and presumably he is not alone. He must be one of countless races of beings on which the Creator has conferred being, and some of these races must, like man himself, have risen to consciousness and freedom whereby they can gladly cooperate with God. Some must have moved further in the hierarchy of beings, so that they constitute higher orders of creaturely beings. The doctrine of the angels opens our eyes to this vast, unimaginable cooperative striving and service, as all things seek to be like God and to attain fullness of being in him. One may recall here the story of Elisha's servant whose courage was renewed by a vision of supporting angels.
This incident is particularly relevant for understanding the significance of the angels in a contemporary formulation of the doctrine of creation. The doctrine of the angels directs our minds to the vastness and richness of the creation, and every advance of science opens up still more distant horizons. Any merely humanistic creed that makes man the measure of all things or regards him as the sole author of values is narrow and parochial. The panorama of creation must be far more breathtaking than we can guess in our corner of the cosmos, for there must be many higher orders of beings whose service is joined with ours under God.

(from Principles of Christian Theology, X.40.xi-xii)


Caelius said...

Or parallel orders of being for that matter. It's a big Universe with a number of planets, to say the least.

bls said...