Bart’s Blog

More on Divine and Human Angels

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In chapter two of How Jesus Became God, I have some more things to say about angels who are sometimes called “God” and sometimes appear as humans (in addition to what I’ve already said about the  “Angel of the Lord”).   This is only a draft, but it should give an idea of what I have in mind.

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Other Angels as God and Human

There are numerous other examples both in the Bible and in other Jewish texts where angels are described as God and, just as importantly, where angels are described as humans.  One of the most interesting is in Psalm 82.   In this beautiful plea that justice be done to those who are weak and needy, we are told, in v. 1, that “God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.”  Here God Almighty is portrayed as having a divine council around him; these are angelic beings with whom God consults, as happens elsewhere in the Bible – most famously in Job 1, where “the Satan” figure is himself reckoned among these divine beings.  In the Job passage the divine beings making up God’s council are called “sons of God.”  Here too they are called “children of the Most High.”  But more than that, they are called “Elohim” (82:6) – the Hebrew word for “God” (it is a plural word; when not referring to God it is usually translated gods).   These angelic beings are “gods.”   And here they are rebuked because they have no concern for people who are lowly, weak, and destitute.  And because of the failures of these “gods,” God bestows upon them the ultimate punishment: he makes them mortal, so that they will die and cease to exist (82:7).

Thus angelic beings, children of God, can be called gods.   And in a variety of texts we find that such beings become human.   Here I might turn to some instances outside of the Bible.  In a Jewish text that probably dates to the first Christian century,….

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