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Friday, April 24, 2009

Can Angels Sing?

We all know the Christmas carol:

Hark the Herald Angels sing "Glory to the newborn king..."

The carol comes from the passage in Luke 2:8-14:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the L-rd came upon them, and the glory of the L-rd shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


I'm making this short because it's late tonight. This question is maybe mostly for Philangelus if she decides to come by, but let me ask all of you: Can angels sing? In a larger vein, are they capable of creating things, the way that humans can? How are angels the same, and different, from us?


Philangelus said...

Jesus said on Palm Sunday that even the stones would have cried out if the people had been silent. If rocks can shout with joy, then I see no reason why angels can't sing. Especially since the Bible says they do.

*How* can they sing? Well, since they're pure spirits, they can't push air through their vocal chords with diaphragmatic pressure, but surely you've felt that soul-timbre sometimes during prayer when you feel your heart singing even though you're totally silent.

Some theologians speculate about angels having "subtle bodies," in which case, there would be no impediment to singing.

Creating things: we don't have any Biblical precendent in either direction for that, but I'm going to say yes. Why? Because creating things is something God does, and it's a joy to be like God. Why would God deprive them of that joy, when what they want is (like us) to be more like Him?

Moreover, the devil is a fallen angel and his evil is a perversion of the goodness he should have possessed. What is his evil? He's a liar and a murderer, a destroyer. Perversion of truth, and perversion of creation.

Does that sound good to you, or should I blather on? :-)

Philangelus said...

A couple more thoughts:

Since we see angels in Revelation blowing shofars, we can presume they made those themselves.

Since we hear angels in both Daniel and Revelation singing hymns, singing the holy-holy-holy, and reciting formula prayers, we can assume they wrote both poetry and music.

Those would both be examples of things angels created. I'm sure I could come up with more, but for right now, those could be proof-of-concept.

Amy Deardon said...

Philangelus, I am the first to admit I understand little about angels. Thanks for your input! I will think on these things.

Amy Deardon said...

I'm still not sure angels SING, though. Blowing a shofar is not musical; it was used as an alert signal. Rev 4:8 says:

And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME."

Again, the verb is SAY not SING.

There are other refs as well that I haven't checked yet. As far as creating, we are made in G-d's image, whereas angels are not. Fallen angels may pervert creation, but can angels (fallen or otherwise) actually create? I'm not sure...

Anne L.B. said...

Do angels sing? There's no doubt of it in my mind, based on the Bible. I believe it is a primary ministry (maybe even THE primary ministry) of angels. The "host" of heaven is both starry host and host of angelic armies.

God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ... When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

I'll be keeping an eye out for more references, because there's plenty of them and I don't have time to search them out at the moment.

Philangelus said...

Where does the Bible say angels aren't made in God's image? They're higher up the ladder of creation than we are: "For you have made man a little less than the angels." If were in God's image and likeness, it's clearly not our bodies; it has to be our souls made that way, and therefore angels would have the same image on their souls. We know they have free will because some of them chose to leave God.

BTW, why is singing so different from speaking? Bodiless creatures wouldn't have the ability to speak, either, and yet we see them speaking all over the Bible.

And regardless of the shofar being a non-pitched instrument, it had to have been *made.* It wasn't a part of the angels or the text would have said "With the voice of a shofar" or "Sounding like a shofar."

Philangelus said...

Oh, here it is, your answer:

Job 38:
4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?

6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone-

7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

Voila: at the very beginning,when God made creation, the angels sang together (that's a parallel there, as with all the verses prior and after.)

Billy Coffey said...

Angels absolutely fascinate me. They're present in almost all faiths, and they're one of the few things that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam agree upon.

Whether they can create or sing, I'm not sure. But I remember reading of a man who'd suffered a near-death experience (now THERE'S a subject for you, Amy, with that spiritual and scientific mind of yours. I'd love to see what novel you could come up with that).

This man was clinically dead for twenty minutes and found himself in heaven. The sights he described were beyond any he ever thought possible, but it was the music that truly boggled his mind. It was unlike anything he had ever heard. It had no beat.

He recalled asking someone how such a thing was possible.

The person answered that in order to have a beat, there had to be time.

And there is no time in heaven.

Amy Deardon said...

Billy, you read my mind! I've been kicking around a story premise with a NDE for awhile now; I'm thinking of illustrating my Template book with it as an example of how to develop a story, but may just hold back and write it on its own.

Time... I've often thought there is no time, at least not sequential, in Heaven. Would love to read the book you mention! The problem is it's so easy to fabricate these experiences.

I don't know about angels, although have notions about them. I haven't done an in-depth Biblical study, and therefore am so appreciating everyone's thoughts because I'm sure they know much more than me on this topic!

Philangelus said...

Amy, I have a whole s helf full of books about angels. Literally: wall to wall, one shelf.

The book he referenced is 90 Minutes In Heaven.

If you read the archangel Gabriel story in my weblog, I had the answer to a prayer three months before I prayed it, so I think there's some kind of fluidity to time between here and in heaven. In other words,angels here must be subject to time but in heaven they're not, none of us are. Makes sense? :-) So we may actually be in Heaven right now watching ourselves. Won't that make your head explode?

They're such a fun subject that I had to write the Seven Archangels novels, just to explore them as much as I wanted to. There really is so much in the Bible, but you have to piece it together for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Please know the "morning stars" reference is actually referring to the celestial bodies. Be fore the flood of Noah, the earth was under the firmament, spoken of in Genesis. This firmament was a protective layer kept the atmospheric pressure at about 31 p.s.i. We now live in about 14 p.s.i. The protective layer provided things beneficial to the human race. It helped certain wounds heal quickly. It did so by saturating the body with oxygen. You'll notice we do the same thing now with hyberbaric chambers in hospitals. It cause us to se stars in different colors, due to their age and distance. Stars give light. Light is a frequency. When Adam would be coming to the morning, the frequency was at the correct angle to vibrate the firmament. It was a natural, beautiful sounding alarm clock for him. Again, stars in this particular context are the bodies in space you see.