≡ Menu

Exterminating Angels: “Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror. . .”

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the Angelic
Orders? And even if one were to suddenly
take me to its heart, I would vanish into its
stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but
the beginning of terror, that we are still able to bear,
and we revere it so, because it calmly disdains
to destroy us. Every Angel is terror.
And so I hold myself back and swallow the cry
of a darkened sobbing. Ah, who then can
we make use of? Not Angels: not men,
and the resourceful creatures see clearly
that we are not really at home
in the interpreted world.
Rilke — Duino Elegies

Biblically Accurate Angels Would Actually Be Pretty Scary   Malakim are said to be the closest depiction of human beings. However, they are not mentioned in the Bible as beings with wings. Indeed, the earliest known Christian image of an angel, from the mid-third century, depicted them as human-like beings without wings.

This image, however, changed in the late fourth century as artists reimagined angels with wings to represent their sublime nature, even though the scripture makes no mention of wings. . . . .

“Their entire bodies, including their backs, hands, and wings, were full of eyes all around, as were their four wheels.” (Ezekiel 10:12)

Ophanim, or “the wheels,” are one of the strangest, most bizarre beings referenced in Ezekiel’s vision. They’re portrayed as beings made of interlocking gold wheels, with every wheel adorned with numerous sets of eyes on the exterior. These wheels, however, do not change directions as the creatures move by floating in the skies. . . . .

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” suggests that God creates beautiful things, why are angels made to be terrifying rather than beauty incarnate?

One theory is that humans would find angels terrifying because we would not be able to comprehend their eldritch forms. They’re mighty creations that stand by and are of service to God. As a result, when angels appear to us, their presence can emit their powerful presence.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • leelu October 20, 2022, 8:08 AM

    “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.” – Mary Baker Eddy

    • Mike Austin October 20, 2022, 9:55 AM

      Eddy was the founder of “Christian Science”. She had…issues. I used the read the “Christian Science Monitor” decades ago.

  • SoylentGreen October 20, 2022, 9:17 AM

    Don’t forget, people:
    1) When the Angels visited Lot in Sodom, they looked like handsome men that Lot’s neighbors lusted after. Also these men reached out their hands and pulled Lot away from his lusting neighbors. Lot insisted that they stay for dinner and they ate. Therefore they probably had mouths, stomachs and intestines. And they intended to lie down and sleep.
    2) Hebrews 13:2 – “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”
    I suggest that the artist rendition above does not consider the whole picture. I suggest that angels are polymorphic and may choose to look just like you and me. In fact, they probably do whenever they wish to persuade us about anything.

    • John Venlet October 20, 2022, 1:59 PM

      I think you are correct, SoylentGreen, and recall, also, that when angels visited individuals whom we are informed about in Scripture, most had to told to not be afraid, and though this would seem to add some credence to the artist’s rendition, I don’t think the individuals were afraid because of the angel’s appearance.

  • V is for Victory October 20, 2022, 9:55 AM

    Those ancient alien depictions could be angels?
    You will know them by their works regarding these CCP so called catholic Jesuit stig beal puppets out to burn it all down better.
    Be of good cheer, Satan is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  • Mike Austin October 20, 2022, 9:56 AM

    That artistic rendition of angels scared the Hell out of me. Which is the point.

  • Casey Klahn October 20, 2022, 11:21 AM

    I usually don’t go in for illustrations of Biblical passages (although I do enjoy Sargent’s Holy Land watercolors), but the animated angel, top of post, is outstanding!
    When angels do appear as human-like, that is as far from their actual office as I can imagine. Exception: demons. Farther still from angelic, although cut from the same cloth.
    I’m binging some Dracula movies. I like the Gary Oldman one for many reasons: he’s my co-agist, and the storyline of the vampire exists in a larger universe where God is central.
    CS Lewis also has a passage with some cracking good angelic strangeness.
    Have a blessed day.

    • Jack October 21, 2022, 6:39 AM

      I liked Oldman’s Dracula too but nothing thus far in regard to Dracula has disturbed me more than the ghoul Dracula, Kurt Barlow, of Salem’s Lot. That role was played by actor Reggie Nalder, who unfortunately is no longer with us.

      • The Universal Spectator October 23, 2022, 11:10 AM

        Agree with you on SALEM’S LOT and the “Dracula” portrayed there. Scary as hell.

        “BACK, SHAMAN! BACK!”

        My wife and I love that miniseries, despite it being somewhat cheesy to more modern sensibilities…


        • Vanderleun October 24, 2022, 7:03 AM

          Yes, I too remember that Salem’s Lot monster as the most effective of King’s evil beings. But then King is going to Hell so he should know.

  • Balzoa October 20, 2022, 12:12 PM

    THE Assyrian army, numbering over 185,000 men, was stationed in the lowlands at Libnah on the other side of the Judean plateau, more than 25 miles (40 km) away. A string of devastated cities and mutilated corpses lay in the army’s wake. The final target was Jerusalem.

    Judean King Hezekiah knew that deliverance by human resources was out of the question. The Assyrian spokesman had called for surrender and then returned to the Assyrian camp at Libnah. But Hezekiah supplicated fervently: “O Jehovah our God, save us, please, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Jehovah, are God alone.” (2 Ki. 19:19) The answer was swift, even on the night of Hezekiah’s prayer.

    In time the report reached Hezekiah that during the preceding night Jehovah’s angel had struck down 185,000 warriors in the Assyrian camp at Libnah. (2 Ki. 19:35) Consequently, King Sennacherib returned directly to Assyria. What an awesome display of power he had witnessed!

    • Mike Austin October 20, 2022, 12:56 PM

      “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
      And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
      And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
      When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

      Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
      That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
      Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
      That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

      For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
      And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
      And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
      And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!…”

      —Lord Byron, “The Destruction of Sennacherib”

  • HH October 22, 2022, 7:09 AM

    Throughout the Scriptures, “angels” are always masculine. And fearsome (as in fall on your face in paralyzing fear). There are no female angels. Never forget that.

  • The Universal Spectator October 23, 2022, 10:46 AM

    When I saw the pictures the first thing I thought of was Richard Pryor:

    “And an Angel came up out the sea, and it had 7 heads and the face of a serpent and the body of a lion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wanna see no motherfucker look like that.”

    • Vanderleun October 24, 2022, 7:03 AM

      Badda bing badda boom!