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Humans Who Become Angels

Here is the final bit on angels in the Jewish tradition, from chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God. Again, this is only in draft form, and it is nowhere near a complete treatment. There are entire books written on angels from a scholarly perspective – and a couple of very significant books on Christ as an angel or angel-like being. Here I have been able only to scratch the surface. But on the upside, if you scratch a surface well enough, it is possible to see what is underneath. This discussion will be significant later in my book since I argue, as you may recall, that Jesus was thought sometimes to have become an angel when he was taken up into heaven. ****************************************************************************** There are Jewish texts that not only speak of angels (or even God) as becoming human, but also of humans who become angels. Many people today have the view that when people die, they become angels (well, at least if they’ve been “good”). That is a very old belief indeed. In [...]

More on Divine and Human Angels

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. ********************************************************************************************************************* 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, [...]

Angels as Divine

I received an inordinate number of responses to my post discussing Christ as an angel in Paul, many of them suggesting to me that I had not provided enough background to make sense of this identification (Christ as angel), in light of ancient Jewish beliefs.  So here a discussion from early in the book about that, taken from my chapter 2.   There is more to be said about angels as both divine and in human form, and I’ll say more later in other posts.  But this at least gives some background – that to some may be a bit surprising.  If the followers came to think of Jesus as an angel, they may have had passages and views like the following in mind. ******************************************************************************************************************  Angels in ancient Judaism were widely understood to be superhuman messengers of God who mediated his will on earth.  It is striking that various angels sometimes appeared on earth in human guise.   More than that, in some ancient Jewish texts there is a figure known as “the angel of the Lord,” [...]

Paul’s View of Jesus as an Angel

Let's look at Paul's view of Jesus as an Angel. Here's a bit from chapter 7 of How Jesus Became God where I talk about why I think Paul understood Jesus, before coming to earth, to have been an angel. There's more to the argument than just this, but it's a start. As you'll see, this isn't just a crazy idea I had. I learned this from some very smart colleagues in the field, who have convinced me. It's one of the HUGE surprises that I've had writing this book, coming to this realization. It affects a LOT in terms of New Testament interpretation. Did Paul Think Jesus was an Angel? Many people no doubt have the same experience I do on occasion, of reading something numerous times, over and over, and not having it register. I have read Paul’s letter to the Galatians literally hundreds of times in both English and Greek. But the clear import of what Paul says in Galatians 4:14 simply never registered with me, until, frankly, a few months ago. [...]

2022-06-13T11:14:57-04:00April 11th, 2013|Book Discussions, Paul and His Letters|

Incarnation Christology, Angels, and Paul

In my posts on Christology so far I have argued that different Christians in the early decades of the Christian movement maintained that Jesus had been exalted to a divine status at some point of his existence – at his resurrection, at his baptism, at his birth. I have called this a christology from below, or an “exaltation” christology; it is sometimes called a low christology because it understands Jesus to have started out as a human (down here with us) and to have been raised to a divine status. In this view he was not God from eternity past or a pre-existent being. He was a human being who was taken up to the level of divinity at some point (or, in the case of the Virgin Birth, that he came into existence at a point in time as a person who was partially human partially divine). But there was another kind of Christology which was also very early – earlier, in fact, than our earliest surviving Christian writer, Paul. This is the view [...]

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