The Impossibility of God’s Ideal Without Angels

By Kathleen Burton

Why does Divine Principle place little emphasis on the topic of angels, yet our lives, in restoration history in what is now Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community, are based on the failure of a human/angelic relationship?

Furthermore, the Principle of Creation gives no guidelines for ideal interactions between the two worlds. True Mother (Mrs. Hak Ja Han) expects Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community to be the harbinger of world peace and God’s ideal, yet the contingency of that reality must manifest not only in our human world but in the angelic one as well.

This is God’s Original Design. We are not meant to have all the answers, yet Heavenly Parent does not usually use divine revelation in these matters. True Father had to work hard to understand the Fall. The same is expected of us. In a post-Foundation Day reality, we must work hard to ask the questions that lead to the “what should have been” in the first human/angelic relationship.

One reality is we do not have an even playing field. First, there are no experts on angels. Second, our Western membership has a great advantage with a Judeo-Christian foundation of over 300 references to angels in the Bible.  Nora Spurgin’s Circles of Angels remains untranslated, hence unavailable especially to our Asian membership.

Here, I examine the Christian tradition’s scholarship on angels as a base from which to work. I then compare it to the base of human growth in Divine Principle. If we were originally created to work together there must be a model. We begin to explore that possibility.

Christian tradition developed “The Celestial Hierarchy” of the angelic world. After my exploratory research, there emerged a relationship between this nine-level hierarchy and the nine levels of human growth from the Principle of Creation. Let’s look at each briefly and then consider this relationship.

Around the 5th century, a Christian theologian, Pseudo-Dionysius, through his study of biblical angelic references, described what is known as “The Celestial Hierarchy.” He inspired generations of theologians including Thomas Aquinas. Dionysius presents a schematic that organizes the nine orders of angels into three spheres with three levels each. The hierarchy itself is not considered church doctrine, but has been honored in Christian tradition throughout the centuries.

It is important to remember we are examining the angelic world order and how it relates to our human world order in the Principle of Creation. The angelic world was created to experience love: to love, serve, support, and to experience God’s love, and to care for God, as well as God’s Creation. This includes the universe, the cosmos and our world. It is evident here that our Creator uses similar organizational structures in our two worlds. It is also evident that God expects to share and receive love with the angels. God awaits a full return of the love of the angels. Restoration history describes it, and the action of our True Parents testify to it.

The first three levels, Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones, serve as the support of the Godhead and the Universe. These are God’s own angels. They serve directly our Heavenly Parent and have done so since their creation which was well before our own.

The Seraphim are the highest angelic beings. The word means “burning” as in the intensity of this level of divine angelic love. Biblical references, in Isa. 6:2-7 for example, describe the cleansing properties of the Seraphim’s mastery of the figurative fire in their love for God.  In Deut. 33:2, 10,000 angels came down on Mt. Sinai to confirm the holy presence of God as he gave the law to Moses.

References to the Cherubim in biblical narratives are numerous. They are heaven’s custodians and protectors. They blocked the Tree of Life when God’s commandment was not upheld and blocked the entry to the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24). Both of these acts were in relation to direct revelation from God. Cherubim were placed upon the Arc of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments, the direct revelation from God to Moses (Ex. 25:18). They are also referred to in the vivid imagery of Ezekiel’s vision in chapter 10. The Cherubim are divinely charged to protect direct heavenly intervention in all of God’s creation.

The third level of God’s exclusive angelic orders are the Thrones. St. Paul refers to them in Col. 1:16: “… in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him.” The Thrones practical position as the level closest to the second sphere reflects their mission.  Dionysius emphasizes the rapport between this group of angels and God. They must stay “receptive” to God’s desire. This call for intimacy supports the importance of their position closest in proximity to the next level. It is their mission to create the link.  Perhaps this is why they are called “Thrones” as they do not only serve God directly, but are the emissaries beyond the first sphere threshold, and therefore, must be closest in intimate understanding of “The Throne of the Godhead.”

Angels of this first sphere, in their exclusive service to God, were more than likely the celestial choirs that sang at Christ’s birth, “and suddenly there was, with the angel, a multitude of heavenly host praising God’” (Luke 2:13-14) and are well portrayed in Revelation: “and I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne” (Rev. 5:11). The greatest chance for human/angelic interaction is focused on the universe they helped create and to which their missions relate. Solutions to global warming could come from fruitful knowledge in this sphere not to mention taking us beyond our galaxy to God’s creation elsewhere.

The second sphere of the order of the angelic world is also composed of three levels: The Dominion, the Virtues, and the Powers. They are “The Support of the Cosmos” and have been called “The Heavenly Governors of the Creation.”

The Dominion are the first level of the Cosmic sphere and are included in St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians quoted above. They are said to regulate the duties of lower angels. Since their position is closest to the first sphere, they are positioned to receive from above. They are the emissaries of the upper realms assuring proper functioning of the cosmic responsibilities that are commissioned to this second sphere.

It is the second level of the Virtues that communicates the miracles and signs of the high realms to earth.  St. Peter mentions Angels, Powers and Virtues (I Peter 3:22). Angelic miracles of the Virtues are found throughout the Bible such as accomplishing God’s will in the miracle of the fall of the walls of Jericho (Josh. 5:13-15).

The last level of this custodial cosmic sphere is “The Powers or Authorities.” They are mentioned in St. Paul’s list. The Powers are thought to supervise the movement of the heavenly bodies to ensure order in the cosmos. They are also traditionally seen as warrior angels who oppose evils spirits in the cosmic arena. An example of the force of this angelic level may be found in David’s psalms where he testifies to the chariots of angels leading away captives from Mt. Sinai (Ps. 68:17).

Once again it is important to note that this level of the Powers has the pivotal position of transition to the three levels that follow.  They are responsible for the wisdom of God to be known to the Principalities on the next level. Both the Virtues and the Powers, more so than the emissary role of the Dominion, relate, albeit remotely, with the human world. Their remote positions and missions within the hierarchy will not protect these angels from the troubles that ensue after the Fall. St. Paul mentions the Powers in this regard in Eph. 3:10 and 6:12.

A contemporary Catholic theologian, Peter Kreeft, referred to this sphere as “middle management personnel,” an excellent parallel as the Dominion regulates to the second sphere and communicates upper level needs. The Virtues receive the directives and perform God’s miracles and phenomena on earth. The Powers also receive their directives from the emissary angels in the Dominion. They establish remote interaction between the solar system and the earth’s functionality. Furthermore, as the Powers’ inter-angelic warrior duties diminish post-restoration, these angels and humanity could explore earth’s solar system and its relationship to human character and our place in our galaxy, giving greater credence to the popular expression, “as above, so below.”

The third sphere is the one most engaged with humankind. The majority of the 300 biblical angelic references concern these three angelic orders.  The Principalities is the last of the levels in Col. 2:16. These angels guide and protect the nations and groups of people.  They carry out orders of the upper sphere angels and educate the guardians of the realm of earth. Their presence can be seen in many references to Israel in the Old Testament, for instance, in Dan. 10: 10-14 where Israel and Persia clash or in the beauty of the promise of security for Israel in Psalm 91:11. However, as Paul points out in Ephesians, all is not well with their mission as will be explained.

The Archangels are well known in scripture if not agreed on in title. The Catholic Church recognizes three: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (in the Roman Catholic Bible, the book of Tobit).  There are many variations as to who is an archangel, usually depending upon which orthodox church is quoted.  In the apocryphal writings, Uriel is mentioned as an archangel and, of course, Divine Principle recognizes the original position of Satan as Lucifer, the Archangel.  Dionysius notes specifically that the archangels, in this middle position, hold a dual role as to their responsibilities. In relation to the Principalities they serve as emissaries from them. They also have messenger responsibilities like the final level of angels.

The Archangel Michael is well known in the history of Israel.  He is mentioned three times in Daniel where he is designated the protector of Israel (Dan. 13:10-21). Michael is also considered the defender of the Christian Church and is referred to in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Archangel Gabriel carries the salvific heavenly message of The Annunciation to Mary in Luke 1:6-38.

The appellation “angels,” meaning simply “messengers,” is the final level of The Celestial Hierarchy, and the most experienced by humankind.  The New Testament validates the efforts of these personal spirits, for instance in Luke 15:10, “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” These “ministering spirits” of Heb. 1:14 are sent forth to serve. Nora Spurgin’s book, Circles of Angels, seeks to help our relationship with these most personal of angels.  They are with us always as a personal sign of a loving God.  In Western culture, books, films, and articles abound relating to this level of human/angelic interaction. An overarching sentiment of gratitude seems to link them all.

Now, let’s consider the relationship to the nine-level period of growth of human beings in Divine Principle and the nine-level hierarchy of the angelic world. Let’s also contemplate the repercussions of the Fall on both structural elements of God’s Original Design, allowing us to ponder questions in this important human/angelic relationship.

To introduce this comparative study of the angelic hierarchy and human growth period, it is important to mention that Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica recognizes the concept of a probation period in the angelic realm.  This affirms the concept in Divine Principle that all of God’s creation must undergo growth.  Nothing is created in perfection. A further point also needs to be made.  Neither Dionysius nor Aquinas put Lucifer in the level of Archangel. The two theologians disagree. The former considered him from the Cherubim, as in Ezek. 18:2, while the latter chose his place to be among the Seraphim. This article defends the Divine Principle view because of the role of the archangel in the Celestial Hierarchy.  He is working in the third sphere devoted to humankind as is appropriate for the angels of the third sphere. Lucifer, as an archangel, would have no mission in the first sphere of the angels of the Godhead.

One effective way to advance our comprehension of God’s Original Design is to try to imagine what could have been the ideal relationship between the angelic world and the human world. It is formed in understanding the ideal relationship between God and the angels. Love commands both.

Both worlds, human and angelic, have to achieve the perfection level of their creation. Each sphere of the angelic world has its probationary period in function of the responsibilities of their respective levels. Divine Principle explains that the archangels level has the responsibility to oversee the education of the human growth process. The human world had to transition their three levels of growth by fulfilling their responsibility which was in conjunction with the help of the angelic world.

Divine Principle explains that Lucifer was already in a state of angelic maturity at the time of the Fall whereas Eve was in the position to receive wisdom from him as she was immature. Lucifer was obviously in his probationary period while Eve was at the top of the growth stage in the second level of human growth. Eve and Adam had successfully worked with the angelic world to bring about this progress. What would have happened if that progress had continued?

These five levels of angels were caring for the human world. The perfection of these angels in symbol was dependent upon the responsibility of human perfection in image. This was God’s Original Design. As a consequence of the Fall, according to the biblical references above, the fallen angels all came from these five levels. Had the progress of Adam and Eve’s interaction with the archangelic level been achieved, the probationary period of the angels of the five levels would have been completed.

There is a precedent of success in growth of humans in this process that surely involved angelic presence. The formation stage for Adam and Eve was a success. The growth stage toward human perfection was completed successfully in both its formation and growth stages. Unification teaching puts the emphasis on the Fall of Adam and Eve at the top of the growth stage. This is correct; however, it is necessary to recognize the equally true fact that there is a precedent of successful interaction between the angelic world and the human world in the entire formation level and two levels of the growth stage.

Affirming the deviation of Lucifer’s education of Adam and Eve confirms his probationary period as an archangel. What of the other angelic spheres? Another parallel exists in the two worlds.  It became evident in my research that within the angelic hierarchy, a correlative effect on five levels transpired in the angelic world. The biblical references to the fallen angels come from I Kings 22:19 and Jude 1:6 in general and specifically from St. Paul in Eph. 6:12 and I Cor. 15:24. How many angels fell is uncertain. Christian theologians have reasoned from scripture that it would be one in three.

Similarly, the biblical references to fallen angels only speak of angels of five of the nine levels of the angelic hierarchy. That is to say that the lowest five levels of the Celestial Hierarchy suffered infiltration of evil and one third of these angels fell as a result. Having occurred in human growth at the top of the growth stage in the growth level, the Fall propagated sin among the angels. The correlation would be the three levels of the third sphere and the two lower levels of the second sphere.

When we compare the two diagrams above, it is clear there is a parallel in the two worlds. What does it mean for the historical relationship between humans and angels? It would mean that the probationary period was not yet complete for the angels of these five levels as human responsibility in human growth was a requirement.  Contrarily, the upper four levels were not affected. The reason most probably was that they successfully completed their probationary period in relationship to the respective responsibilities of their level in the hierarchy.

If this is indeed true, the necessary element of gender balance in the Principle of Creation may have been achieved at that time in those levels with female angels created, and possibly even procreation of the angels, in order to face the expanding numbers of the guardian angels of level 9. In a compilation of True Father’s words from 1965 (“On Prayer and the Spirit World,” Today’s World, November 1998) one could defend this possibility as he consciously choses to speak of “restored” angels thereby allowing for there to be others without need of restoration. “When the restored angels have a perfect relationship of give and take with God and become positive (plus), then the negative (minus) is to come about naturally. Whether this will be from the existing angelic world or from a new creation, we don’t know.”

In conclusion, God’s Original Ideal mandates angelic/human cooperation.  It’s in the Original Design. We are not undertaking this exploration ex nihilo. The foundation of successful interaction goes back to the very beginning. Furthermore, Jesus established the proper order, and True Parents’ accomplished the way to restore Lucifer.  They achieved Foundation Day, opened our hearts to Heavenly Mother, established the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community and paved the Royal Road. True Mother’s vision of the future of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), with human/angelic cooperation, could aspire to a level never considered before. Furthermore, the World Clergy Leadership Conference (WCLC) could be the forerunner of this cooperation as we draw upon the rich scholarly Judeo-Christian foundation as we have done here.

Adam and Eve, Jesus and True Parents have their own claims to progress interacting with the angels. Where is ours? Our mission is not an impossible one.  It contains the requirement of humans and angels understanding each other and working together successfully. Leaving behind the rocky road of restoration, it is now the exciting journey of the Royal Road. Humans and angels, let’s get going together.♦

Dr. Kathleen Burton (UTS Class of 1990) is a Senior Lector in the Department of French at Yale University, and previously taught at the University of Bridgeport and UTS. She received her doctorate in theology from L’Université Laval in Québec, Canada. Her husband, David, teaches chemistry at the University of Bridgeport. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Photo at top: Stained glass depicting the four archangels, from left to right: Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and Raphael, Holy Trinity Church, Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.

18 thoughts on “The Impossibility of God’s Ideal Without Angels

  1. Dear Kathleen,

    Thank you for this interesting and stimulating research work.

    Here are a few related questions: During the years before his transition, Father stated in the early morning HDH sessions that Lucifer was God’s younger brother. He went on to talk about God’s promise to Lucifer where Lucifer would have his own lineage. I am not sure whether records of these talks exist officially, but I clearly remember this content and some other rather stunning statements Father made from someone who took notes and then translated them into English.

    How would that fit into your diagrams of the angelic world? And why would God choose an angel of the lower layer as His brother, and not one of the upper echelon? And why would God single out only Lucifer as “His brother” and not other angels as well?

    • Dear Johann,

      I am grateful for your comment and I would like to address the point on angelic lineage. As to your reference to True Father’s use of “brother,” I must say that I have no idea. I would also like to stress that I am not an expert on angels, and I mentioned in my article that, to my knowledge, astoundingly, there aren’t any experts.

      That having been said, I am excited by any and all the questions that this human/angelic dynamic will inspire as I believe that nothing inspires God more than active discussion in our post-Foundation Day reality. God knows that we do not have all the answers. God does expect us to go seeking them. This article is only a small beginning, but with over 300 biblical references to angels, we do have a base from which to work.

      In that vein, I believe that an angelic lineage would be a logical assumption according to the angels fulfilling their purpose of creation. They are loved by God and will find joy when they can fully love humanity. For example, as a woman, I would long for the interaction of a counterpart in the angelic realm that is feminine. If she was part of an angelic couple and had a lineage, how wonderful would our sharing and support be. Giving birth is a very feminine experience full of wonder and apprehension. The love and support of the angelic world would need to have a similar experience to be able to fully love, support and comprehend human women. In God’s ideal I believe it would be so.

      Let’s keep exploring together.

      • Dear Kathleen,

        Your initiative to bring up the question of human/angelic relationship is important and in my opinion pending for a long time. I am sure there are some brothers and sisters around, who have invested in this subject and may share their findings here. Johannes Stampf, a brother from Austria, has published a book in German with the title “Lebensraum Ewigkeit” (“Life and Eternity”), which will be published soon in English, I guess available through Amazon. It has a chapter on angels, their function and role in relationship to human beings and God.

        Reading your article and the comments to it, I feel inspired to contribute to this starting “active discussion in our post-Foundation Day reality”. Referring to Johann Hinterleitner’s comment I found this link, where you can read TF’s “strange” comments about the Elder and the Younger Brother (a second version of these notes made by Tossa Chromwell is also available):

        In the years since TF’s seongwha I thought about these comments many times and discussed it with others occasionally. One mind-blowing thought came up, when I reflected about TF’s following explanation: “I found out as the responsible person for this world that God didn’t create Adam only by Himself. Then who created His brother? God, to become the elder brother, created His younger brother, the archangel, which is 종 / servant. God couldn’t do the creation by Himself, but did it together with His brother. God and His brother, as the subject and object partners, discussed and supported each other for the purpose. Without a partner, there is no happiness and so in the process of creation there was ‘형 / elder brother’ and ‘동생 / younger brother.’ God, together with His younger brother, started to create Adam and Eve.”

        Why is TF using the word “Brother” for God and Lucifer? What if he wanted to express that both are of a similar essence: God has dual characteristics (male and female) and so may the (arch)angel (in theological terms it is called androgyny, excerpt from Wikipedia: Philosophers such as Philo of Alexandria, and early Christian leaders such as Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, continued to promote the idea of androgyny as humans’ original and perfect state during late antiquity.”[6] In medieval Europe, the concept of androgyny played an important role in both Christian theological debate and alchemical theory.). When I apply this idea, it is on the one hand “mind blowing”, but at the same time there are several points that support it:

        – God created everything with dual characteristics of internal character and external form and male and female. Did God really delay the creation of female angels for a later time?

        – TF often stressed that there is no procreation in the spirit world;

        – in Swedenborg’s writing “The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugal Love” I found the following statement: page 210, 177.(18)…. They (husband and wife) become one man according to the increase of conjugal love; and as in the heavens this love is genuine, from the celestial and spiritual life of the angels, two married partners there are called two when mentioned as husband and wife, and one when spoken of as angels.

        – in his comments mentioned above TF said: “Adam and Eve would have been son and daughter of ‘형 / Elder Brother (God)’ and there was an amazing promise that after Adam and Eve started their family, the Elder Brother (God) would give an even better son and daughter for His ‘동생 / younger brother.’ That’s why Lucifer as the younger brother, was happy in the process of the creation. From this perspective, the beginning of the cosmos is Adam’s family created with joy by elder and younger brothers.” In Tossa Chromwell’s notes TF said: “There was a solid promise between the Elder Brother and the younger brother: after 13 generations from Adam and Eve passed, the Elder Brother would give son, and daughter who would become the spouse that the younger brother wanted amongst the offspring of Adam and Eve” What does it mean, that a son and daughter would become the spouse, that the younger brother wanted among the offspring of Adam and Eve?

        Obviously TF left us an enigma or conundrum to be decoded in joined efforts through “active discussions in our post-Foundation Day reality”.

  2. I read this essay with spiritual as well as intellectual curiosity. Had it not been written by Dr. Kathleen Burton, I may have been very cautious. It is because, among Unificationists whom I know around me, those interested in angels are often influenced by esoteric circles, rarely match their investigation with Divine Principle’s perspective and, in some cases, are rather distant with the Providence and our True Parents.

    Dr. Burton’s essay is a remarkable attempt to lay bridges between the Unification theology and the traditiional corpus of doctrine in mainstream Christianity. It is written in a very systematic manner, with great knowledge on this subject. I can perceive that there is much research behind this essay, and I admire that.

    I am not sure if the essay really explains in detail the ideal cooperation between the angelic world and human beings in the ideal of creation. But in a way, it is better. It raises many interesting questions and does not try to bring too many answers. I like that.

    I have specific questions to Dr. Burton and to other Unifiationists. It concerns Jacob’s wrestling with the Angel (Genesis 32:22–32; Hosea 12:4). The Principle offers glimpses about the providential meaning of this incident in the chapters of the Fall of Man (the Fall 2.2.2. p. 63), in Foundation 3.2 (p. 219) and in Moses and Jesus (1.2 p.237). Another major source of reference is Father’s speech Jacob’s course and our life of faith (May 27, 1973).

    I have always believed that this is a major turning point in the Providence, especially bacause it became a very important component of the model course. Still, I cannot understand deeply the meaning of it.

    In my own life, the wrestling with the angel happened several times, I guess. Yet I am not sure I can really say so. I’d rather say that I have thought of it constantly in my life of faith. But I believe that we wrestle only once, and probably it has a major influence throughout our whole existence, producing reminiscences or something like that.

    I never received too much guidance on this. I hope that Dr. Burton can help me understand more about this mysterious incident, which is so important. Moreover, many artists have portrayed this story of Jacob’s life (Rembrandt, Delacroix, Gauguin, among others). It has been suggested that a genuine work of art, any great creation or invention, or great inspiration involved a wrestling with the angel, involving a mixture of extreme anguish and sublime joy.

    Therefore, a painting of this story is oftan a methaphor of creatorship. Why is it so?

    I believe that the same can be said about scientific discoveries and about politicians as well. Mahatma Gandhi once referred to his night at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station (South Africa) as his wrestling with the angel.

    Dr. Burton, why do you think angels are so much involved in art, creativity, invention? Do you think that the wrestling with the angel may explain part of the extraordinary creativity displayed by Jewish geniuses in prophecy, science, fine arts, literature, and music?

    And if angels do play such an important role, how can Unificationists really tap into this resource? We are familiar with Cheonbo great works, but even there, angels are not so often mentioned. Or are they? Sorry, I may have too many questions.

    • Dear Laurent,

      It is a pleasure to be dialoguing with someone I knew in the early 80’s in Paris when I met Divine Principle. I have thoughtfully considered your queries and will address them as best I can.

      As I mentioned in the article and again in my reply to Johann, I am not an expert on angels nor do I know of any. This, in both instances, is regrettable, but rectifiable by just what we are doing here which is inquiry, discussion, and verifying through research and prayer. In my opinion, nothing inspires God more and on this issue in particular. I think this answers the last question in your comments and addresses your point as to your expectation of a detailed explanation of the angelic/human relationship.

      However, let me return to your fascinating biblical example of Jacob and the angel. I appreciate the reference to True Father’s speech on the topic. I agree with you that this is a major turning point in the Providence. Father of course stresses the important restorational element of the wrestling of Jacob and the Angel, whom Father identifies as the Archangel of darkness or Satan. Jacob’s victory subjugates the archangel and spiritually lays the foundation of substance for the Messiah in doing so. By physically subjugating his brother Esau with love, we have all the necessary elements for the birth of a nation for God, Israel. So, we are in restorational history moving onto the unprecedented level of nation. Certainly, as you say, a “turning point”.

      In consulting the biblical references to Jacob’s course, we come upon some interesting references to his engagement with angels in this important event. I am so glad you brought up this story in particular, Laurent, since it gives us the chance to look more closely to what was happening spiritually around Jacob concerning the angelic world. It is my conviction that this is indeed how we will learn more of the original interaction that is part and parcel of God’s Original Design. After all, we have more than 300 references to work with!

      Jacob’s journey to Haran and back has three interactions with the angelic world including the battle at the ford of Jabbok. We have Jacob’s dream in Gen 28:10-14. The angels are ascending and descending a ladder from heaven to earth and they are called “God’s angels”. These are probably the Seraphim. They are directly manifesting God’s desire of the link between heaven and earth. They do not speak to or engage Jacob as it is God who does the talking. In the second angelic incident, the angels appear to Jacob as “God’s Army!” (Gen. 32:1). These are the Cherubim who are also God’s exclusive angels who appear where it is directly the will of God. There is a mission of defense of God’s direct will and here they encourage Jacob in his moments of fear that he is doing God’s will directly.

      If we return to the angel at Jabbok, however, we find an interesting exchange between Jacob and the angel. When the angel concedes victory, it is as if Jacob can sense the position he now stands in facing the angel. Jacob demands the blessing of the angel. He also asks the angel’s name. The angel is surprised. “Why is it that you ask my name?” (Gen. 32:29)

      This question would put Lucifer in a quandary. Jacob has reestablished dominion over the angel in this restorational victory. In this particular context is he Lucifer or is he Satan? An interesting question resulting from human/angelic interaction. The angel, ever clever, answers Jacob with his own question. He asks Jacob his name and when Jacob replies the angel gives him the name, “Israel” representing this restorational victory and only that victory. Why? The angel, no angel, fallen or not, carries the authority to establish the national course. It is God and only God who can once the interaction of angel and human brings victory. In Gen. 35:9, God gives the name to Jacob of “Israel” in its full meaning. In verse 11, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall spring from you…” These are familiar words to Unificationists from Principle of Creation. A new beginning is taking shape with human/angelic interaction a necessary component. I believe this is why the wrestling at Jabbok is represented in art so often. It was a crucial step in Jacob’s restorational journey at the pivotal moment that God could declare the beginning of the national level foundation. That is why, I think, that creatorship is invoke in the image. I hope this has been as interesting to you as to me.

      As far as wrestling with the angel, Laurent, restorational history was declared at an end before True Father even ascended and Satan surrendered in 1999 so we are left to our battle of our own fallen nature and evil, but thanks to Foundation Day and True Parents no more indemnity. However, restorational history can serve us well here as we are educated by the angelic world and human providential history. It seems we must go “back to the future,” so to speak.

      • Thank you, Dr. Burton. Your answer is impressive by its knowledge and wisdom. It has increased my knowledge and it makes me even more curious about the mysterious aspect of Jacob’s wresting with the angel.

        First, I could learn something from your methodology. When asked to shed a light about some particular verses of the Bible (the wrestling account), you try to find other verses of Jacob’s interaction with angels. This is so insightful. I had never done this kind of research before. And I can see the benefit of doing so. It comes to my mind that angels appear to Jacob on two great occasions: (1) when he leaves home for exile after gaining the birthright directly from his father Isaac, with the cooperation with his mother. (2) When he returns home to subjugate Esau substantially, face to face, after 21 years of exile, and after having received the amazing cooperation of Rachel, who had deceived her father and stolen the idols.

        Angels appear at the beginning and end of the 21-year course.

        And then, my curiosity is even stronger. I have to challenge you with yet another question. It is suggested in the Principle and it is also suggested in most paintings that the angel hitting Jacob’s hipbone has a strong sexual component, it redeems the spiritual fall, right? Now, do you think that Jacob’s ability to bring a victory which has such a strong sexual component can be explained by Jacob’s amazing relationship with women? He has received so much love from his mother from conception. It seems to have given him self confidence. And then, he has loved Rachel and he has been loved by her deeply. It seems that there is a very strong connection between the mother-son cooperation and the (sexual) subjugation of the angel.

        Did you ever see the movie “The Shawshank Redemption“? (1994, featuring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman). The hero of the movie (Andy Dufresne) spends almost 21 years in the jail for being wrongly accused of murdering his wife. He has three courses in jail, like Jacob. First, he is incredibly persecuted and even raped by other inmates. Then, he builds a network of very positive relationships with the other inmates. In the third part, he has a financial trick to take much money from the director of the jail, just like Jacob tricked Laban in Haran in the third course.

        Apparently, the movie is a film without women at all. There are only actors, no actresses. Yet, when we reflect more deeply, we realize that this is not true. We see the wife of Andy for a few seconds at the very beginning of the picture. Then, there is a special incident at the end of Andy’s “second course”. He goes to a tower of the prison and plays a very loud music featuring a wonderful female opera voice. It symbolizes his spiritual liberation, somehow. The female voice is just mesmerizing and we are glued with emotion at this particular moment of grace in a world of men’s violence and brutality.

        And then, at the very end of the movie, we discover the purpose of Rita Hayworth’s poster stuck on the wall of Dufresne’s cell. This poster conceals the tunnel he has digged for so many years. The original title of the novel from Stephen King was actually “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,” indicating that the woman is leading key character of the whole story.

        A woman often seen as a “sex symbol” opens the door of man’s liberation in this particular instance.

        The interesting turning point is that, a few hours before escaping the jail through the tunnel, Dufresne confesses to his best friend (played by Freeman), “You know, I never killed my wife. But today, I understood that she died because I had not loved her and I had not taken care of her.” It is his repentance for not loving his wife long ago that gives him the key to redemption. Now, the time of the great escape has come.

        When asked if he had wanted to make a Christian or a biblical picture, director Frank Darabont denied it. He is right in a sense. His movie is first of all a prison life story. The biblical dimension is everywhere to be seen and heard, but is never mentioned even once

        Thank you again, Dr. Burton for your wonderful insights. Please keep reading the good book and giving us your insights.

  3. I am in awe of Dr. Burton’s scholarship and research and excited about the possibility of clarifying the role of the angelic realm and our ability and necessity of cooperation in order to bring about God’s Original Ideal.

    I was raised Catholic and my parish church and school was St. Michael the Archangel. The chapel area adjacent to the main altar depicted an armor-clad angel yielding a sword and slaying a dragon (presumably Satan/Lucifer). My first spirit world moment occurred in that chapel and I have recently wondered if Michael could be one of my spiritual guides — someone who has protected and guided me at crucial times in my life.

    Fascinating article. Thank you for delving into this material and showing the correlation between the hierarchy of angels and Divine Principle’s stages of growth.

    • Thank you, Sally. I appreciate your taking the time to read the article and your personal sharing.

      What a beautiful story you have. I also have a personal connection with Michael. I was born on Michaelmas which is September 29th, his feast day. My middle name is Michael for him and I was born in the city of angels, Los Angeles. Growing up Catholic as well I know he has saved my life at least five times. I am so grateful to him. Glad to hear someone else in our church thinks of him often as well. Just remember that he is not a spirit guide. He is an angel, an archangel to be precise. Spirit guides are humans who have gone to the spirit world.

      Thanks again. We must be kindred sisters somehow, right? Please include him in your active spiritual life. We will need to build these connections more and more to arrive at CIG.

    • Thank you, Sally, for mentioning the role of Archangel Michael. He is seen as one of the main protectors in France, and gave his name to Mont Saint-Michel, UNESCO World Heritage site, and sometimes called the Marvel of the West (La Merveille de l’Occident). It is one of the most visited spots every year for religious pilgrimage, for tourism, for photography and filming, and also for research), and is located in Normandy, a hundred miles from the beaches of the Normandy D-Day landing.

      The site has something magic externally due to its perfect verticality and harmonious shape, and also because of its location between the sky, the sea and the earth.

      The real magic, howerver is supernatural, and somehow invisible to the eyes of the flesh.

      First, it has been a place of prayer and devotion. Second, the rock with its monastery seems to be a copy on the earth of some wonderful castle in the Spirit World. It symbolizes our quest of the union with the divine.

      One can have a glimpse of the lofty inspiration given to men by this Archangel by watching these videos here and here.

  4. Thank you for your wonderful article. I was especially interested in the possibility that the highest angels may experience family life. The cherubim are often portrayed as infants, so maybe that’s why. Also, it’s good to understand that angels may have a probationary period, meaning they could go astray, but also be restored.

  5. Dr. Burton,

    Thank you for sharing this very interesting research. I never encountered this content in my study of Christian history and history of Christian thought. It didn’t make it into the Vanderbilt Divinity School curricula, at least the courses that I took. But it is super important, and you’ve brought to light, following in the footsteps of our intrepid pioneer in the field, Nora Spurgin, content that is immensely important in the study of Divine Principle.

    I have a comment and two questions. The comment has to do with Father’s insights about Lucifer being God’s “younger brother.” I believe that Father meant that psychologically, that Lucifer related to God as a younger brother relates to an older brother — with God fully participating appropriately. I do not think Father meant that literally, i.e., that God and Lucifer came from the same parents.

    My question is, if angels can grow to maturity and have children (presumably marrying in the process), then why would God take the trouble to create human beings?

    My other question is about devas, fairies, nymphs, gnomes… the spirits that dwell with and take care of trees and plants and the forests and glades. In your studies, do they appear on the angelic hierarchy? Or, are they some other order of creation?

    • Dr. Hendricks,

      The world of spirits living in nature is even marked on a map, made by a spiritually open lady here in Iceland. She was called when road work was on a hold because machines broke down and people got hurt. In some cases she suggested a detour in the construction and after it was implemented the work could go on without further interruption. She carried the title ambassador of the hidden people.

      I have no opinion on this and better wait for clarification, especially since we passed 2000 years of Christian speculation that turned into dogmas and subsequent problems.

    • Dear Tyler,

      Thank you so much for your commentary and questions in regard to my article. I am so glad to begin the questions and inquiries that I believe will inspire God and bring more and more clarity to the relationship of the human and angelic in God’s Original Design.

      First, I would agree with Andrew’s reply to your commentary on Lucifer. As a creation of God of the angelic world, his purpose, role and responsibility is clear from the start as an Archangel loved and cherished by God deserving of happiness in the Original Ideal of Creation.

      I am glad that Andrew was able to shed some light on your questions regarding divas, fairies, nymphes and gnomes in the work of Kerry Pobanz. The popularly read book in Unificationist circles, Wanderer in the Spirit Lands, touches on some of these topics such as astral beings, elves etc. Furthermore, Mark Twain’s book on the life of Joan of Arc speaks of the “Fairy Tree of Dorémy” where Joan attests to having seen many times the fairy creatures appearing there. Divas are treated in the book on the community in Northern Scotland called Findhorn (which interests my husband) if you would like to hear more about divas. I would say that all of these beings would fall under the responsibilities of “The Powers” in the Celestial Hierarchy as this fifth angelic order is responsible for the effective functioning of the solar system including earth. I would, therefore, venture to think that these creatures are not in and of themselves in the angelic realm but they would fall under the jurisdiction of angelic responsibility.

      Finally, on to your point regarding the angelic world and the human world. God made the physical world for the purpose of joy, shear unadulterated joy. “… God wanted His creations to be object partners embodying goodness that He might take delight in them.” EDP 3.1, p.32. If we say that the physical world was created for the sake of multiplication, we miss the point. Angels and humans are two completely different creatures. We each bring immense joy to God as we fulfill the Original Design of our respective creations. We have different purposes and different responsibilities, but all with the common purpose of bringing joy to God and love to God which we, angels and humans alike, receive in return in the infinite process of growth and creativity.

      Here is the crux of the matter. Angels would have female and male angels because they could love, support, understand and effectively interact with the human world and in so doing, we as male and female in the human world could fulfill our purpose of creation and bring joy and love to God as God’s children. In like fashion, angels would multiply in order to love, support and understand how to effectively interact with the human family, to best care for them, and to maximize the joy to God. This would manifest in the point of “creatorship,” brought up by Laurent, as each world, angelic and human, could function at direct dominion capacity for infinite creativity. Two worlds that interact to bring infinite joy to God. That sounds like a part of a viable formula for the Royal Road to God’s Original Design.

      I have a question for you, too. I don’t understand why you write:

      “The angelic world, God created very quickly, but it took eons to create, with the angels’ help, the physical realm of earth and human beings in God’s image.”

      I don’t know from where the evidence comes that angels were created quickly, as I would expect that in order to help God with the creation of the universe, their creation would have been a long, loving, journey of dialogue between Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother in order to maximize the Godly interaction with the angels in creating what we see in “the wonder of it all,” and we haven’t even experienced but a tiny portion of the vastness of our universe.

      • Kathleen,

        Thank you for your reply. The basis of my statement that God created the angelic realm quickly is simply the Exposition of the Divine Principle statement, “Like all beings, angels were created by God. God created them prior to any other creation. In the biblical account of the creation of heaven and earth, we find that God spoke in the plural: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'[30] This is not because God was referring to Himself as the Holy Trinity, as many theologians have interpreted the passage. Rather, He was speaking to the angels, whom He had created before human beings.” And the following statement that angels assisted God in creating the universe. So I assumed that the angelic realm was created prior to the onset of the physical creation, realizing that “time” in the spirit world is different from “time” in the physical world. So I said, “quickly.” I admit that I haven’t given this a lot of thought. But the Bible doesn’t spend an entire two chapters talking about the process of God’s creating the angelic world. I believe that it was outside time and space and bereft of physicality, and so was “relatively” quick.

        My perception or concept of the angelic realm not possessing an ability to multiply in a way parallel to that phenomenon in the physical world is pretty strong for me. I might compare it to Principle’s distinction between a creator having give and take with his imagined object partner (a beautiful painting — viz the angelic world) and “a finished work.” (viz, the physical world, p. 33)

        Today is the Day of All True Things in our liturgical calendar. I understand that the angelic realm is part of all things. All things are glorious, the oceans, the mountains, the butterflies, the watermelons, the angels, the seraphim, the cherubim. There are vital distinctions as well as similarities between human beings and the physical creation, and between human beings and angels. Among the latter, core and critical to the latter, is the ability to multiply, in my understanding.

        Lots to learn! Best wishes also to David for Father’s Day… 

  6. Tyler, I recall that Kerry Pobanz has done some initial research on the question of fairies. In my view, there is much wisdom and spiritual insight in these pre-Christian traditions, which were suppressed by the Church and maybe as a result morphed into demonic stories of leprechauns and such.

    I agree that the prospects of angels fulfilling the purpose of creation and having a lineage is very exciting, and the idea that Father spoke about this at the end of his life is fascinating. Wolli Wonbon says something quite similar, namely that God had planned for the angels to fulfill the purpose of creation and experience the joy of it, but that due to the Fall all those plans were derailed and the angels were stuck in an unpleasant reality where they had to remain single for 6,000 years — or eons of time. Now that True Parents have established Cheon Il Guk, the time of waiting is over, so it is right to consider a brighter future for angels. That includes Lucifer, who surrendered over 20 years ago and is now presumably on a path of re-creation.

    But who ever thinks about the suffering of the angels during those years after the Fall? Suffering not only for the fallen angels but also for Michael, Gabriel and other good angels who were kept back from the joy of creation? We only look on them as servants and ask their help, but that was never God’s full intention for them.

    • Andrew,

      I am onboard with the idea of angels marrying, of male and female angels. But my view is that the reason God made the physical world was for the sake of multiplication, and that the physical body is necessary for multiplication. Otherwise, why would God go to the trouble of creating the physical world? The angelic world, God created very quickly, but it took eons to create, with the angels’ help, the physical realm of earth and human beings in God’s image. Also I believe that human beings, in part because of our physical existence, possess characteristics that the angels lack by nature, and the ability to have children is a big part of that.

  7. Kathleen,

    Thank you for addressing this theological question about angels that has been “on hold” so to speak for so many years.

    If we are to have conversations with Christians we need to have answers, if not food for thought. This whole discussion about angels reaching perfection makes me ponder, sadly, that if Lucifer could have loved Eve like a Father does then they could have avoided the Fall. Is this what God intended? Sometimes answers give rise to more questions!

    I am currently reading Philip Burley’s book, Voices of Love from the Light, and one chapter is purportedly an interview with Archangel Michael. So far, Philip’s book resonates with my understanding of Divine Principle, avoiding an esoteric stratosphere. However, this interview doesn’t give any new information to the above questions regarding angels and procreation. “Archangel Michael” says: “Angels were created out of the energy of God, who gave birth to angels and human beings for different purposes. An angel is a like a nanny, housekeeper or gardener who has lived in a home for many years and is loved by the parents and children.” It is definitely time to show gratitude for invisible helpers of light and recognize them for all they do. With all that is happening in the world right now, their help and guidance is more needed than ever.

  8. Dear Kathleen,

    My name is Didier Guignard and until 2009 I had no idea about the angelic realm outside of what you can read in Divine Principle and True Father’s speeches. At that time, my wife was celebrating her 40th anniversary in the Unification Church and I found out and offered her a book named “Les plus belles histoires d’amour de la Bible” (The most beautiful love story in the Bible) by a French lady through whom I could discover very interesting aspects of the Bible. In the beginning of the book, she started describing the angelic realm in a very interesting way and connecting it with the Divine Principle, it threw for me a new light about how God proceeded to create human beings. From that time, I started a deeper research about the angelic realm.

    I discovered the three spheres and a total of nine levels as you mention in your article. As you did, I made a connection with the stage of growth of human beings. Step by step, I came to the following conclusions (some of them being made by Christian theologians and others being my own conclusions).

    The first sphere including Seraphims, Cherubims and Thrones are very close to God and are very dependent on God. They were the first created and have hardly any free will on their own. They represent respectively the love of God, the wisdom of God and the authority of God.

    The second sphere including Dominions, Powers and Virtues is a bit further away from God and as such are more independent and have more free will than the ones of the first Sphere. Although the classification might differ from one source to another, most of the classification sources, whether Jewish or Christian, put them in this order (Dominions, Powers and Virtues) with functions as you indicated.

    Now, the third sphere including Principalities, Archangels and Angels, as you said, is the closest to human beings and their extent of free will is greater than for the previous spheres although not reaching the level of free will of human beings.

    Now human beings are supposed to become the lords of all three spheres by growing through the three stages of the growth period as indicated in your diagram. By including the angels in the creation of human beings, God created a distance between Him and human beings so that human beings could have complete free will and grow by themselves to the level of God.

    I would like to add a few more points.

    The term angels refers to the whole group as well as the last category. In a similar way, the term archangel refers to the category archangel as well as to the chief of each category. For example, Gabriel is the chief of angels and as such an archangel, Rafael is the chief of virtues and Michael is both an archangel by category and the chief of the archangel category. For various reasons, too long to explain in this comment, I came to the conclusion that Lucifer was the chief of principalities and therefore the three archangels who are supposed to support Adam and Eve were the chiefs of the three last categories. When Lucifer became Satan, he was replaced by Rafael in his mission as one of the three main archangels and by another angel as a chief of the principalities. By choosing angels who had more free will to take care of human beings, God wanted human beings to develop full freedom and independence and really connect themselves to God out of love and not out of obligation.

Use the box below to submit a new comment (To reply, click "Reply" within a specific comment above)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s