Ask someone to describe what an angel looks like and invariably there will be some mention of wings. Angles are often described as “winged messengers.” In both Hebrew and Greek, the words translated into English as “angel” mean “messenger.”
Close your eyes and picture some of the Bible stories where angels appear. The two angels who visit Abraham in Genesis. The angel who warns Lot to flee Sodom. The angel who wrestles with Jacob. In the New Testament there are the angel who visit Mary, the one who visits Joseph, the angels who sing to the shepherds and the angels who appear at the open tomb. In your mental picture, do these angels have wings? Mine generally do.
But are winged angels Biblical?
The Bible makes no mention of wings on these messenger angels. In fact the angels who appear often look very much like humans, yet not exactly like humans. There is always something identifiably different about the angels of the Bible.
In Christian art, wings on angels did not appear until the late 4th century CE.
Why did angels “sprout wings?”
Angels frequently come from the heavens. How else could they get here except by wings? Artists began showing this “obvious” fact in their work.
The Greek and Roman messenger of the gods (Hermes and Mercury respectively) are always pictured as having wings. It was an easy and obvious adaptation to put wings on the angels of the Bible.
And, of course, there are the “angels as aliens” theorists. They claim that Biblical accounts of angels are actually describing inter-terrestrial aliens who use some form of winged transportation to get around.
In the end, it is man who has stuck the wings on the angels, for whatever reason. It is our attempt to explain and understand things that are just otherwise beyond our comprehension.
Alive in The Word
Thank you for visiting this blog. ChristianBlessings has a group of faithful Christian authors who present a wide spectrum of views and experiences. While here, please take a moment to review our latest offerings listed on the right side of this page or visit ChristianBlessings Home Page.
We would also love to hear from you. To respond to a blog, you need to be registered at WordPress.com. It’s FREE and EASY. If you want to register, visit here: WordPress.com registration.