Can Angels Abandon Us?
Plus: Does God assign us guardian angels? And do we get more than one?
- Ana C.
Christians have assumed through the ages that God most likely assigns one angel to one person, usually at birth. Matthew 18:10 says, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my father in heaven.” This verse implies that each child has one angel assigned to him or her. But while these lines establish that angels watch over children, they do not tell us that each child, or any of us, has one and only one angel.
Catholic doctrine (the Catechism of the Catholic Church) states, ”Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd, leading him to life.”
In Jewish tradition and in the Hebrew Bible (Malachi 3:16) each person is said to have two angels, one who records our every good thought or deed and one who records our every evil thought or deed. A variant of this idea is that we have a good angel who influences us to do good and a bad angel who is always trying to lead us into temptation.
The Protestant John Calvin wrote: “Whether individual angels have been assigned to individual believers for their protection, I dare not affirm with confidence. We ought to hold as a fact that the care of each one is not the task of one angel only but of all angels, with one consent watch over our salvation. And if the fact that all the heavenly host are keeping watch for his safety will not satisfy a man, I do not see what benefit he could derive from knowing that one angel has been given to him as his special guardian.”
As to your other question: What happens when we sin against God; do the angels leave us or keep helping us?
Angels are not like humans. Friends and family may get angry or even desert us. But angels do not carry grudges. They don’t get angry. Their only desire is to serve God. The angel’s role throughout the Scripture is to call us to obedience and worship. When we sin, just as God does not turn his back on us and forsake us, angels don’t either. It is God’s will that we turn to him and ask for forgiveness. To that end, God may use his angels to prick our conscience, bring thoughts and memories to our minds, or create other circumstances to make us aware of God’s love.