Question from a reader:
I have a question for you about angels. I did some searches on your site and others, but it seems there are differing opinions about the topic.
1. There are no “new” angels, correct? The ones that exist now were all here before man, correct?
2. Even though the bible doesn’t name any female angels directly, is there anything that says there are absolutely no such thing as female angels? Can we or should we even think of angels in terms of male and female in the same ways we think of male and female humans?
The Internet is full of conflicting opinions on this. It seems that certain bible passages can lead some to believe one way and others lead in another direction (like a lot of them I guess).
Unfortunately, the Bible shares very little information about the gender of angels (or much information at all about angels), so, in my view, we can’t be too definitive on this subject. Some people with other views use extra-biblical sources, but I usually stick with only what the Bible says about these controversial issues.
One of the most definitive passages that we have is Genesis 6:1-4, although it doesn’t specifically use the term “angel.” It describes the type of wickedness in the world that caused God to send the great flood in Noah’s day:
“1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.”
This is a controversial passage because of the varying opinions about “the sons of God.” Some believe that this is a reference to the two lines of Adam and Eve’s family; i.e., the sons of Seth, as opposed to the sons of Cain. However, others believe that this is a reference to angels. I usually decide such issues using a very straightforward reading of the text. Since the “sons of God” are contrasted with the “daughters of men,” I believe that the “sons of God” were angels. Furthermore, it follows that their offspring were somewhat abnormal; i.e., the Nephilim, described in Numbers 13:33 as giants who inhabited Canaan. So, I believe that this passage indicates that angels, like humans, can be either men or women. Even further, the angels and humans were able to produce offspring together, although God may have since put a stop to this.
Now, oddly enough, we have no passages showing that angels can cohabit with other angels to reproduce offspring. Instead, all we have is the above (sort of weird) variation where angels and humans were able to produce some sort of mixed offspring. BTW, Hebrews 13:2 supports the idea that angels can sometimes take the form of humans, when it says that some people have shown hospitality to angels without even knowing it, by showing hospitality to strangers.
We also have Matthew 22:30, which says, “At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” This passage is usually used to show that, in eternity in heaven, we will not be married to our spouses as we are now. However, it also says that this arrangement will make us “like the angels” in that respect; i.e., no marriages. So, as of Matthew’s writing of his gospel, it appears that, although the angels do not marry, they do have gender, or else the whole subject of marriage among angels would have been a moot point.
So, specifically, I would answer your questions like this:
1. You are correct; there are no new angels. Angels, like humans, are created beings. It appears that the angels were created first, because of the information we have about Satan (an angel) being cast out of heaven, along with one-third of the angels (demons), to wander on the earth, before the creation of man (Isaiah 14:12).
2. No, there’s nothing that says that there are no such things as female angels. According to the passages above, we can indeed think of angels in terms of being either male or female, similar to humans. However, I’m not aware of any impact (neither positive nor negative) that this would have upon any other aspects of the theology of my belief system.
If you’re interested, I would recommend *Systematic Theology* by Lewis Sperry Chafer, where he has some 120 pages on Angelology.
I hope this helps.