Monday, June 17, 2013

Angels and Reproduction!

Is it possible that angels can reproduce?  It was a question asked during a spirited debate regarding a good understanding of Gen. 6:1-4.  It is an interesting question that was spawned out of when angels were created, how much do we really know, and can we know with any certainty.  I would like to look at this briefly in hopes of addressing the opening question.  Though it is not the intent of the article to clarify what Gen. 6 is communicating, I do hope that the answer to the first question will bring the reader to a better position of understanding.

First, when were angels created?  In all honesty, Scripture is unclear as to when they were created.  However, we do know that they were created during the six days of creation.  Reason: Genesis 1:1 speaks, “In the beginning, God created…”  There was nothing else but God before He created the heavens and the earth.  Notice that it did not say, “In the beginning, God and the angels were there and then God created heavens and the earth.”  The next time we see this language used is in John 1 where it is much clearer as to who was there and was not there prior to creation.  John 1:1-3 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (Joh 1:1-3 ESV)  Putting these two Scripture references together, one sees the picture that the only being in existence was God prior to the creation we see in the six days.  This leads to a follow-up question, “On what day did God create the angels?”  The Scriptures do not specifically address this issue.  However, there may be a few clues we can glean from the Scriptures.

As stated, all things were created by God, Col. 1:16 adds that all things were created by Him everything that is in heaven and on the earth including, “whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers…” (Col 1:16 NET)  The ESV is not as clear as to what Paul is talking about, but in the footnotes one does see agreement that Paul is talking about the angelical realm.  One more clue as to the timing of their creation rests in Job 38 where we find the “morning stars” rejoicing at the laying of the earth’s foundation.  This would infer that the angelical realm was created no later than day 3 of Creation.  At best, we can surmise that the angels are created sometime between day 1 and day 3 of Creation. 

Second, we need to understand that angels are spiritual beings that are not created in the image of God.  This is an important distinction that must not be forgotten.  The question comes into mind if spiritual beings can reproduce after their own kind.  Jesus clarifies this when asked by the Sadducees regarding a hypothetical question of the seven brothers each dying before producing a child with the woman of the first brother doing their Levitical duties.  They asked whose wife she would be at the resurrection.  Jesus’ response, “"You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mat 22:29-30 ESV) One of the main reasons for marriage is the sexual union that makes a husband and wife one physically and spiritually as well as pro-creation.  This is no longer needed at the resurrection and we will be similar to the angels that are not given in marriage.  Because angels do not marry, we can rightly conclude that they are asexual beings.  Meaning, they do not have reproduction capabilities that would warrant the need for marriage.

Let’s say that this understanding of angels is just out there and that most certainly they can reproduce.  When God created, He created everything to its kind and within its kind they can reproduce.  This is fundamental to our understanding of the created order.  For example, can a dog and a cat mate to reproduce?  No.  Why?  Because, they are not of the same ‘kind.’ There is no two kinds that can come together to produce a new “kind”.  Likewise, angels and humans (only humans bear the image of God) are of different kinds and therefore could not come together to produce a new “kind”. 

Finally, “sons of God” has more than one meaning.  The phrase is used seven times outside of the Gen. 6 passage.  Of those seven times, four times the phrase is best understood as being human followers of God.  The other three references are found in the book of Job that refers to the angelical beings.  With the contextual clues of the Genesis 6 passage, it is not out of bounds to think that the “sons of God” may in fact be men of the Seth line that did call on the name of the Lord.

Conclusion: Angels are created by God sometime in the first three days of creation, more than likely on day one.  They do not have reproduction capabilities since no marriage is found in Heaven and even if they could, they would only reproduce their own kind, which is different from Man who is made in the image of God.

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