Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Educating the angels

It recently 'struck me' that - assuming angels are beings with free will, and are indeed of the same 'kind' as Men and Jesus Christ (as Mormons believe) - there is no reason to assume that angels are perfect or infallible; and, on the contrary, every reason to believe that they are learning, progressing by trial and error - as we are.

Angels are, indeed, engaged in a process of education by experience - but approaching this educational process from the top-down (rather than from the bottom-up, as are we).

I tend to assume that, because they reside in Heaven in close contact and communication with the Godhead, angels are always well-motivated, always doing their best, always Good - but I suppose that their knowledge and abilities and foresight are all limited.

They must therefore make mistakes and perform their jobs (to some extent) sub-optimally. 

So, on this basis, real life angels may be much like that most famous of fantasy angels: Gandalf.


Note: this insight owes much to the ideas of William Arkle, for example: Discovering your soul's purpose at http://www.wessexresearchgroup.org/digital_08.html


Adam G. said...

Yes. A few years back it occurred to me that some natural disasters and even human problems may be due to angels making mistakes and getting experience. It's not as if managing complex natural and human systems, or better put, relationships, is always intuitive and easy. And we already know from mortal experience that God is willing to let his children make mistakes, even extremely serious mistakes, so long as He can make up for them in the long run. We also know that, as productive as our mortal experience is, there's a huge gap between it and our full potential as grown-up sons of the Highest. Is it too outlandish to imagine a billion years managing sea vents, serving as a guardian angel, acting as the patron for some nation, collaborating with a genius as his muse, creating suns, and running galaxies? I think not. And if that isn't outlandish, the notion that we might screw up from time to time naturally follows.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam - I think the other view (that angels are perfect, cannot err, never err) probably comes from seeing them not as true agents, but purely as instruments of God's will.