The Fallen Angels

One of the cheesiest pick-up lines out there is this one:

“Hey babe, are you hurt? Because you look you fell… from Heaven.”

Cue: groaning.

But, really, while it’s a cheesy pick-up line, it is not quite theologically accurate.

First of all, the insinuation of this pick-up line is that the woman is an angel. Yet, angels that are seen in their full glory are typically described as gloriously frightening. One of the first things that people do when they see angels appear to them is fall to their knees in fear. While I grant that this might be certain males’ reactions when they see females that they like and try to get a date, in my experience, the guy uttering the line is typically not one of them. Or, at least, I’ve never had men drop to their knees in fear to ask for a date.

(Now, the proposal, on the other hand…)

And then there’s the definition of what a fallen angel is — because it is quite a big distinction!

Angels are not confined in Heaven. They are free to move about, in the supernatural sense, and we believe in guardian angels that help serve us, in the name of God. But, they aren’t constrained to the physical constraints of the natural world. That’s why we call them supernatural beings, and that’s why any attempt  to scientifically prove their existence is ridiculous — science is for the natural world, not the supernatural. So, they cannot “fall” in the physical sense because they exist outside the physical sense.

But! There is such a thing as a fallen angel! And what is a fallen angel? The long definition is this: a fallen angel is a supernatural being that has chosen to reject God entirely and thus lives apart from the grace of God and exists as a demon of sorts. The short answer is this: a demon.

So why are there fallen angels? As the tradition goes, God revealed His plan for creation to the angels. For the most part, they liked it. But, when God revealed that He wanted to give Man a soul and bring Man into Heaven through adoption, many of them balked and protested. Why should a physical creature be given a soul, let alone be brought into Heaven as a son or daughter? And so they rejected God’s plan and thus chose to live apart from God as a demon.

Thus, demons are terrifying to us, for they are supernatural beings that hate us entirely and want to destroy us. They see us physical creatures that ought to be destroyed entirely, and the fact that we are given a soul makes them mad. And so they would like nothing more than to tear us into shreds so that we may suffer apart from God’s love, just like them, who have chosen to remain separate from God for eternity.

…did I mention that we shouldn’t mess with demons? Because we shouldn’t.

Here is a picture of the fall of the rebel angels from Heaven:

The Fall of the Rebel Angels, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c. 1562. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium. Via IllustratedPrayer.com
The Fall of the Rebel Angels, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, c. 1562. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium.

This is a strange picture… perfect for the macabre religious art series, no? If you want to take a better look at it, feel free to click on it for the full image.

At the very top, there is a whitish orb that is supposed to be Heaven which is in the middle of a clear blue sky. Yet, coming down from the white orb is a column of demons that looks very much like a swarm of insects moving together to descend on the Earth. And, clearly visible, are angels that direct the swarm of demons away from Heaven and do battle with them on the Earth.

The angels of God are very easy to spot, because they look like your stereotypical angel. In particular, Saint Michael the Archangel is dressed in gold armor, carrying a shield with a red cross emblazoned on it, as a sign that St. Michael will uphold the shield for God. Other angels also fight down demons with their swords.

The demons, on the other hand, are just strange. They look to be a hodgepodge of creatures all melded together in a terrifying way. In particular, many of them have fish or insect body parts to make you recoil from them subconsciously. They seem strange and unearthly and are designed to provoke terror in you because it is looks so unnatural, yet the body parts that you can pick out are those from human creatures that can hurt you. And that is a deliberate design decision: they are supposed to be designed to make you recoil from them in horror. They are demons, after all. You don’t mess with demons!

The column of demons that looks like a swarm of insects descending as some sort of plague is also very much a deliberate choice of the artist. Pieter Bruegel the Elder often depicted normal scenes of peasantry, such as harvesting and such. Whereas for us in our comfortable modern times, the depiction of a column of insects might merely be disgusting (if we even notice it at all), to these people, such a scene would evoke to them a coming of a plague and then of the subsequent famine and starvation that would follow. It would be a stark reminder to them that demons are a harbinger of death.

So, do demons actually look like this? No. They are supernatural beings that would be difficult for us to portray. And yet, it is fitting for us to depict them as being unnatural and yet threatening, because they desire to destroy us. Sure, they may appear to be friendly at first, but they only do that so as to lure and destroy you later.

Halloween can be such a fun time. I know that my toddlers are really excited about dressing up and getting candy, and I am excited about giving candy away. It is a time that the neighborhood can get together and just be generous with each other. It also has a Christian element to it, as traditionally people would dress up as monsters as a way to mock the demons that can be so terrifying, as a reminder that the demons had no power over them, since God protected them.

And yet, there are many who use this holiday as a way to connect with the occult in dangerous ways. Ways that open you up so that you may be destroyed by demons.

So please: don’t dabble in the occult.

It’s just not a good idea.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of three, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer

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