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Bible Mysteries: #3. Angels and Marriage

To recap our previous Bible Mystery, we were showcasing how the Bible makes no hint or mentioning of female angels. Every named angel is given a male name. They all appear as males and are referred to in the male sense. Even the very word ‘angel’ itself is associated with the masculine in the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. However, there are understandable arguments that just because the Bible never mentioned a female angel doesn’t mean there couldn’t possibly be one. Some even thoughtfully wondered if the verse that says ‘angels aren’t given in marriage’ (Matthew 22:33) means that angels could potentially marry. Thus, female angels would have to exist. So is there still a possibility? Well, I guess in the long run, yes. There remains a possibility, and whether female angels do or don’t exist won’t effect our salvation in Christ at the slightest. However, there are more reasons to believe the existence of female angels isn’t likely. God’s invention of two human genders was no afterthought. His Word shows us just how purposeful our natures as men and women truly are in creation, and if we look harder, He also left hints that, while angels are all male, they aren’t exactly ‘male’ either for similar if mysterious reasons. The key here is to focus on two details: God’s character and His design-work.

To learn about God through Scripture, we must listen and look at how He portrays Himself. Over and over we see that when it comes to designing and planning, no one equals Him. Every event He causes and permits has meaning (Jeremiah 29:11). Every person He creates, He designs and puts in the right places at the right times (Psalm 139). Nor does He give something something just ‘because’. He designs accordingly to each being’s need (1 Corinthians 15:39-41). Even as our sin natures perverts creation around us, He still curbs our wickedness toward His perfect will (Genesis 50:19-20). So to suggest that He missed a detail or added something pointless suggests that He’s not the perfect Maker He claims to be. So when it comes to genders, marriage and angels, we must assume He designed everything with all they’d require to fulfill their purpose. Arguing anything less would be to try and demean Him (Job 38-41).

So, keeping in mind His flawless creativity, He has laced Biblical history with many noticeable patterns. Not least of these is His consistent use of covenants, and these covenants aren’t mere promises and oaths. They are chockfull of meaningful foreshadowing and display something about Him. Read Hebrews chapters eight and nine for a great example. The same holds true for one of God’s oldest covenants: marriage. God not only established it to benefit mankind. It also symbolized what His relationship with His church is meant to be and going to be like. The husband (Jesus) provides for, loves, sanctifies, and protects his bride (the church) even to the point of dying for her. In turn, the bride (the church) respects her husband (Jesus) as her leader in who’m she‘ll willfully places her trust. (Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:7). Thus marriage, as God intended, not only handily fulfills His commandment for us to be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:22). It was also meant to create a beautiful mirror image of a relationship with Christ looks like to our neighbors.

So with marriage carrying so much purpose, it then makes excellent sense why God created us male and female. I need not explain the differences between guys and girls. We know it for ourselves, and according to Scripture, their complementary sensibilities and physicalities were literally built to embody this relationship through this covenant! Puts whole new meaning to those marriage vows, doesn’t it? Of course, no one’s saying everyone on earth has to marry. God does grant the spiritual gift of singleness on occasion after all (Matthew 19:10-12; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 7:6-8,17). However, the fact still remains that we humans were equipped for marriage. By that logic, it’s also unsurprising why this union between one man and one woman is so sacred to God and why anything less is disgraceful to Him. Marriage, when treated like freeform, literally mars and mocks the heavenly reflection it’s supposed to make. Sadly, our modern society continues to try and redefine marriage, and sexual immorality is normalized to the point of tragic (1 Corinthians 6:18; Leviticus 20:10-21). I know I veered a little off topic there for a second, but I had to get that off my chest.

Anyway, back to our main topic: angels. What does all this talk about marriage have to do with the likelihood of female angels not existing? Well, going back to Matthew 22:33, angels do not marry nor are they given in marriage. Plus, we know that God is a perfect designer. So wouldn’t it be rather uncharacteristic of God to give angels the same capacity for marriage with males and females yet not initiate that same covenant with them? Or why would He plant sexual drives in eternal beings yet explicitly bar them intercourse or bearing children? That wouldn’t make sense for His character. God didn’t give them the marriage covenant, so He didn’t design them for it. Thus, He must have made them all male for a reason. But why males? Well, we may not ever fully understand the answer to that one, but there is a final twist to all this. . . . Angels may not actually be male at all.

Now before we get ourselves confused, the Bible confirmed that angels are male. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ‘male’ in the same sense we are. They’re kind of genderless. Please, don’t get caught up in that term though. It’s more like they lack a physicality in general that’s closer to the truth. (Luke 24:38-39; Hebrews 1:7) Now, angels can adopt a human appearance (Genesis 19; Matthew 1:20; Judges 13:3). They can even copy bodily functions like eating (Genesis 18:1-8; Hebrews 13:2). However, based on Scripture, it’s not like they ever ceased to be angels or became fully human. Secondly, we must again consider the purposes God created them for. The Bible describes angels as tireless ministering spirits - continually serving God in the physical and spiritual plains. They’ve been empowered to battle demons, journey impossible miles, and to transcend dimensions. They are messengers, protectors, guardians, overseers, destroyers, and worshipers. (Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:6-7; Daniel 10:12-13; Psalm 91:7-12; Psalm 78:49; 2 Samuel 24; Revelation 5:11-12; Revelation 12:7; Revelation 15:5-6; Genesis 28:12). Such lifestyles don’t lend themselves well to limited physical bodies nor to the vital yet time consuming work of marriage and family. Instead, just like how He created all things, God appropriately equipped angels for their roles - right down to their genderless ‘masculinity’. Plus, they live in God’s direct presence. A physical form could hardly withstand such glory. That’s why, when heaven and earth is restored, Jesus’s followers will be given glorified bodies. Additionally, marriage will no longer be a factor for us. Marriage mirrors Christ’s connection with the church, but in heaven, a mirror won’t be needed. It’ll be the real thing. We the church, Christ’s bride, will be wholly united to Him forever (Revelation 19:6-9). Thus, just like the angels, we won’t marry nor will be given in marriage. Christ is and will be our completion.

Now, to some, all this discussion of angels not being equipped for marriage begs another monumental question: “What about the Nephilim in Genesis 6:1-2, 4?” That is indeed an excellent question and possibly one of the trickiest mysteries in Scripture. Unfortunately, it’s another mystery we don’t have time for this week, but we will take a closer look at it in the next Bible Mystery where I will invite our guest blogger, Jacob Mooney, to share what he’s learned about this particular event.

But with all that being said, can we take a moment to reflect on what an impeccable designer God is? Despite the Fall, His workmanship still carries the echoes of premeditated purpose. Not just in terms of nature or outer space. He laid the foundations for true utopian society from marriage to government, even our two distinct genders possess divine significance. Then to make things even more amazing this careful design of His extends to the spiritual realm too. No doubt about it. There’s no such thing as superfluous with God.

How has this article affected your view on angels? How has it affected your view about God? Please discuss and share your thoughts!

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