(Investigator 148, 2013 January)


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 Islam.

First appearing in the writings of the Old Testament, angels are continuously mentioned throughout the New Testament.

Although not 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 form.

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.


That invisible 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 coincidence.

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 derealisation.

From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics