Is Aunt Sally an Angel? (Or a demon?)

If you have been around many funerals, you might have heard a well-meaning comforter tell a grieving family member “God needed another angel so He took ____________________.”  Or as recently heard after Billy Graham’s death, “Heaven is brighter now.” At the same time, I have never heard anyone say “Satan needed a demon so he took ______________” for I suppose it would bring little comfort.  We may view preceding deaths as how comics portray deceased loved ones as current angels.  The frequency of this perspective may convince you that this might probably happen. However, just because the view may be common does not mean it is supported by the Bible.

  1. God is wholly sufficient in His capability and love and does not need anyone.  To state that God needs someone is to imply that He is inadequate.  Please do not try to comfort someone by diminishing God and His character.  In the end, making light of God will not be a comfort to anyone.  The unique characteristic of a triune God is that He is perfect in His love among Himself. Therefore, His creation was a function of His desire for self-expression as opposed to a need for an object of love. God reveals Himself as the “I am” meaning that He is whole sufficient within Himself and without limitation other than His own character.  While Satan is not perfect and is lacking, still there is no indication from the Bible that Satan takes someone to make them a demon.
  2. The Bible already states that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. The presence of our loved ones with God does not enhance God, but they are the ones enhanced by God presence.  As amazing as Moses was as a leader, his face shown because he was in God’s presence and not vice versa.  We must see God as the source of blessings even when they come through human personalities.  People are a blessing to us due to God’s working in and through them.  When I grieve them, I am also grieving the loss of God’s unique working through them for my benefit.  Heaven is a place where those comforts are restored because I am perfectly restored to God’s presence.
  3. Angels and fallen angels are beings, different from humans, but also created by God through Christ (Psalm 148:2,5; Colossians 1:16) As such, the Bible gives no support to idea that deceased loved ones change into angels, but they do get transformed into bodies fitted for Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50-54).    In fact, this role of redeemed and transformed humans is a role that even the Angels long to look into (1 Peter 1:12).
  4. Deceased loved ones will be judged by God according to Hebrews 9:27. As in the case of the thief on the cross, Jesus assured him an immediate presence with Christ in God’s Kingdom.  This expectation is also reinforced by Paul as he stated that to be “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).  The Bible seems to indicate a final judgment where we will be judged by either the book of works or the book of life.  Those being judged by the books of works will all be found lacking and all grounds for justification will be insufficient (Revelation 20).  The other option is to be judged by having our name written in the book of life (Rev. 20) which means that we are in Christ and Jesus has endured the penalty of our sin and we have received His right stand with God.  For such as those, God does not put into the role of angels, but as judges over angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Jarrod Scott

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