“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon”
“There was war in heaven,” John tells us in the lesson from The Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine. While it might seem to be at the opposite end of the biblical spectrum this reading from the very last book of the Bible complements the opening chapters of the very first book of the Bible, The Book of Genesis. Angels are very much a feature of creation.
Angels cannot be seen. They can only be thought. In a way, that is the whole point. They are pure, intellectual and spiritual beings. Creation is not just about the visible world; it includes things unseen and invisible. Light is distinguished from the dark before there is even a sun and a moon. There is the whole idea of the invisible reasons for the visible things of the world. Angels are an important part of the theological reflection upon Genesis.
They are an inescapable feature of the biblical landscape for Jews, Christians and Muslims. For Muslims belief in Angels is a fundamental part of the Islamic faith. For Jews and Christians, they are associated with the invisible things of creation.
Angels help us to think about our humanity and our place in the world. They are an important reminder to us of our being as spiritual creatures, creatures who think and love, activities which are invisible yet real. In the theological tradition, angels are pure intellectual and spiritual beings; like us except they are incorporeal. They are, we might suggest in ways that connect to Plato and Aristotle and their successors, the thoughts of God in creation. So they remind us of an aspect of our being as spiritual beings.
They remind us that we are not alone. We are at once attracted to and fearful of the idea that we are cosmic orphans adrift in an indifferent universe. The angels remind us of a great and innumerable company of spiritual and intellectual beings of which we are a part.