(Investigator 148, 2013
Angel is a term used
in Jewish and Christian religions to designate a created spirit who
serves as a messenger, servant or an intermediary being between God and
the visible universe. Belief in angels is also an essential tenet of
First appearing in the
the Old Testament, angels are continuously mentioned throughout the New
explicitly defined by any solemn pronouncement, angels have been
variously described as pure spirits possessing the body of some
ethereal matter, (Augustine), or pure intelligence (Gregory the Great).
Thomas Aquinas concluded that angels were not composed of matter or
In the last decade
there has been a commercially based New Age interest in reviving the
idea of angels –
Angelic Healing, Tele-psychic
channeling of angels,
and personal communication with one's guardian angel.
winged spirits with otherwise human form do exist. That they can on
occasions, be seen and communicated with. That they are, in the main,
benevolent and can protect and heal.
Angels in the form
of apparitions are alleged to appear in response to prayer. Healing is
also alleged to have taken place after praying to angels. Healing
circles are popular among believers at which incantations, invocations,
prayers, candles and meditation playa major role.
Angels, like their
supposed creator, God, are products of man's imagination. No rational
person can accept that angels exist any more than Santa Claus, the
Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. The inclusion of angel entities in
Jewish and Christian theology simply allowed them to take the place of
a pantheon of pagan gods, and praying to them would be just as (non)
productive. A believer's perception of an angel takes the form of a
human being with wings.
This suggests flight
capability. However, from a practical viewpoint, any consideration of
the anatomical structure required for a human being to accomplish
flight renders the concept to the status of an aerodynamic aberration.
To enable angels to fly, they would require chest muscles twice the
girth of a full grown male gorilla, a hollow bone structure and legs as
thin as those of a flamingo. A realistic consideration of such a
concept paints a rather grotesque picture.
The spread of this
unfortunate belief system is reflected in the number of books, films,
associations, churches and commercial enterprises exploiting it. There
are, of course, as with most belief systems, those who will claim to
have been cured by praying to an angel, or who have been protected from
harm by one. However, when these claims are examined, they can be shown
to have been based on an erroneous understanding of cause and effect or
While some people
may find faith a satisfactory lifebuoy deriving comfort and security by
believing in angels, the evil lies not in the use of faith to cope, but
in the exploitation of vulnerable individuals. Faith in angels is cheap
when kept personal and not retail, provided it does not result in
Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic &
Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics