- Were angels made in God's image?
- Do angels only guard our left or right sides?
- Is Raphael really an archangel?
Man, it seems, is the only creature made in God's image. This would suggest that we can glorify God more than any other creature, thereby making us God's highest creature. How is man made in God's image but angels not?
- Michael S.
Your question is not as simple as it seems. Genesis 1 recounts the creation of the world, making the point that man is the apex of all creation. Verses 26-27 explain that man was made in the image of God. However, the doctrine is never fully described or developed elsewhere in the Bible. Many theologians define the Imago Dei (the Latin term for "image of God") as the human capability to reason, have a heightened sense of emotions, have a desire to create, understand morality, and enjoy aesthetic--qualities not found in other animals. Since those qualities are also characteristics of the angels, it may be that the angels were also created in the image of God. Angels were created before the world so they not mentioned in Genesis 1 and there are no other verses that mention angels being created in the image of God.
Other theologians say Imago Dei is a much more complicated concept and its meaning is vigorously debated. While we cannot say for certain if angels were or were not created in the image of God, the Bible does make it clear that man is the only earthly creature made in God's image, so we can glorify God more than any other earthly creature. Still, we are not able to worship God better than God's holy angels in heaven. Click here for one of the best summaries of the Imago Dei debate.
Does it mean anything when an angel is on the left or right side of a person? Someone told me that I had angels on my left side and I did not know what that meant. I thought angels are all around us and that they are there to protect us.
The idea of an angel on your right or left side is never found in the Bible. Instead, the Bible teaches that angels are spirits not located in one material space. As spirits, they are normally invisible to human sight, except when they temporarily take a form that is visible in order to fulfill God’s mission.
Could you give me any biblical references to the archangel Raphael? I know that there are references to Michael and Gabriel. I have seen lists of names of other archangel and wonder how someone came up with the names. I have heard of Raphael the archangel, but I don’t know how we know him by name.
- Celeste M.
How can it be that the archangel Raphael is so well known to many Christians and yet unknown to others? Are there any biblical references to Raphael? The answer depends on the Bible you choose.
Raphael’s name is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures or in the Protestant New Testament. (Protestants recognize only Gabriel and Michael as archangels because they are the only ones named in the Protestant Bible.) Raphael is found as a leading character in the Book of Tobit which is considered canonical by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians; the Book of Tobit is included in their apocrypha. The name Raphael means “God Heals.”
In answer to your question as to where the names of the other archangels came from, the Catholic Encyclopedia states, “Of these seven 'archangels' which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list.
• What Catholics and Protestants Believe About Angels
• How Many Archangels Are There?