Angels Addendum

In my earlier “book report” on Angels and Their Mission According to the Church Fathers, I indicated I could not find a specific passage that stated that angels are not properly understood as supernatural. The reason I couldn’t find that passage is because it’s in another book. Completely coincidentally, I had begun at the same time a section on angels in My Way of Life, which is the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas, simplified for mere mortal readers. The passage (which is complemented by The Angels and Their Mission) reads as follows:

Because the angels are bodiless creatures, pure spirits, it is too often concluded that they are supernatural beings; they are not, God is the only supernatural being. The angels are natural beings, they belong in, and, indeed, dominate our world. They are creatures as natural as oaks, or sunsets, or birds, or men. To call them supernatural because they are not like ourselves is a part of that provincial pride by which a man puts human nature at the peak of the universe, primarily because he himself is a man.”

A couple observations:

  • My Way of Life is a lovely pocket-size volume, and the section on Angels and the introduction (which was referenced near the end of last year’s holiday letter) alone make it worth the read.
  • However, as you can see from the sentences above, the simplified Summa is not a without complexity. It has, for the moment, made me content to leave the full-blown Summa on the shelf.

Someday, perhaps. By the way, my own copy of The Angels and Their Mission arrived yesterday, which means it is available for lending.

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