fallen angel

religious concept of angel expelled from Heaven

In Abrahamic religions, fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven. The literal term "fallen angel" appears neither in the Bible nor in other Abrahamic scriptures, but is used to describe angels who were cast out of heaven, or angels who sinned. Such angels often tempt humans to sin. The idea of fallen angels derived from the Book of Enoch, a Jewish pseudepigraph, or the assumption that the "sons of God" (בני האלוהים) mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4 are angels. In the period immediately preceding the composition of the New Testament, some sects of Judaism, as well as many Christian Church Fathers, identified the "sons of God" of Genesis 6:1–4 as fallen angels. Rabbinic Judaism and Christian authorities after the third century rejected the Enochian writings and the notion of an illicit union between angels and women producing giants. Christian doctrine states that the sins of fallen angels start before the beginning of human history. Accordingly, fallen angels became identified with angels who were led by Satan in rebellion against God and equated with demons. However, during the late Second Temple period, demons were not thought of as the fallen angels themselves, but as the surviving souls of their monstrous offspring. According to this interpretation, fallen angels have intercourse with human women, giving existence to the Biblical giants. To purge the world of these creatures, God sends the Great Deluge and their bodies are destroyed. However, their spiritual parts survive, henceforth roaming the earth as demons. Evidence for the belief in fallen angels among Muslims can be traced back to reports attributed to some of the companions of Muhammad, such as Ibn Abbas (619-687) and Abdullah ibn Masud (594-653). At the same time, some Islamic scholars opposed the assumption of fallen angels by stressing out the piety of angels supported by verses of Quran, such as 16:49 and 66:6, although none of these verses declare angels as immune from sin. One of the first opponents of fallen angels was the early and influential Islamic ascete Hasan of Basra (642-728). To support the doctrine of infallible angels, he pointed at verses which stressed the piety of angels, while simultaneously reinterpreting verses which might imply acknowledgement of fallen angels. For that reason, he read the term mala'ikah (angels) in reference to Harut and Marut, two possible fallen angels mentioned in 2:102, as malikayn (kings) instead of malā'ikah (angels), depicting them as ordinary men and advocated the belief that Iblis was a jinn and had never been an angel before. The precise degree of angelic fallibility is not clear even among scholars who accepted fallen angels; according to a common assertion, impeccablity applies only to the messengers among angels or as long as they remain angels.Academic scholars have discussed whether or not the Quranic jinn are identical to the Biblical fallen angels. Although the different types of spirits in the Quran are sometimes hard to distinguish, the jinn in Islamic traditions seem to differ in their major characteristics from fallen angels.
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Book of Giants

apocryphal Jewish book expanding a narrative in the Hebrew Bible, discovered at Qumran

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