Powers

  • Powers

    Posted by Justinian of on March 31, 2024 at 1:14 am

    Illustration of 'Powers' angels as celestial warriors, equipped with armor and weapons, symbolizing their role in defending humanity and the cosmos against evil.
    Powers: Guardians of the Cosmos

    Warriors against evil, tasked with defending the cosmos and humanity from demonic forces.

     

    “Powers. Acc. to medieval angelology, the sixth order of angels in the celestial hierarchy. The word is also used more generally of any celestial being who exercises control or influence over other parts of creation (cf. the English version of the *Te Deum, ‘To Thee all angels cry aloud: the heavens and all the powers therein’).”(1)
    “To attain to a clearer grasp of what Paul is getting at when he speaks of “principalities,” “powers,” “thrones,” etc., … we need to investigate whether these words and concepts were used by his contemporaries or in other religious traditions with which he was acquainted. Research in this direction in recent decades has indicated that Paul’s thought was not isolated from his intellectual and religious environment. Not that we find useful parallels in contemporary Greek philosophy, or—even less—in the religious thought of the Near East as a whole: but we do find a very distinct relatedness to certain lines of thought in the Jewish apocalyptic writings of Paul’s time and the immediately preceding years. These writings, devoted to the exposition of heavenly mysteries, conceive of the “powers,” “thrones,” and the like as classes of angels located on higher or lower levels in the heavens. For that matter, all Jewish thought of the period was deeply interested in angels and their influences on terrestrial events. Also in the writings of the rabbis we often read about angels, thought of as holding authority over the forces of nature (stars, snow, hail). God rules the world, it was thought, not immediately, but through the services of countless angels. Bible readers will remember that … the apocalyptic Book of Daniel speaks of angels who serve as “princes” over the kingdoms of this world. Daniel 10:13, 20. All of this fits into a larger pattern when we think that the contemporary Near-Eastern nature religions believed in a hierarchy of intermediate beings, usually called “demons,” between the divinity and this world. Yet again we must be careful not to make too broad the background of Paul’s doctrine of the Powers. His terminology points us most clearly to the above-named Jewish apocalyptic writings.” (2)
    “As the language of “powers” has been reintroduced to name the evils of our times, however, it has also been reduced in various ways—merely to “personal beings” or “demons,” as popularized by the novelist Frank Peretti, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, to institutions and structures, without regard for overarching supernatural dimensions. It is essential to recover here the larger frame of reference in the biblical record. The immense scope of the powers is suggested by William Stringfellow in An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land, in which he offers the following descriptions of the principalities: • legion in species, number, variety, and name; • creatures that are fallen (meaning that they thrive in chaos, confusion, and competition); • an inverse dominion (one that works backwards—not to foster life, but to dehumanize); • not benign, but aggressive; • causing all to be victims (with or without their knowledge); • capturing leaders as acolytes enthralled by their own enslavement; • engaged in rivalry with each other since their very survival is always at stake; • and creating a new morality of survival. (3)
    “Powers A problematic Pauline concept (Rom. 8:38–39; Eph. 6:12); in the thought of Hendrikus Berkhof and John Yoder, the very structures of society that form the framework within which persons function.” (4)

    Sources:

    (1) Cross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church 2005: 1322. Print.
    (2) Berkhof, Hendrik. Christ and the Powers. Trans. John H. Yoder. Scottdale, PA; Waterloo, ON: Herald Press, 1977. Print.
    (3) Dawn, Marva J. Powers, Weakness, and the Tabernacling of God. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001. Print.
    (4) Erickson, Millard J. The concise dictionary of Christian theology 2001: 158. Print.
    Justinian of replied 3 weeks, 1 day ago 1 Member · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 4:57 am

    What are the different powers attributed to angels, and how do they manifest these abilities?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 4:58 am

      Angels are spiritual beings created by God with the ability to carry out His will. Their powers include delivering messages from God to humans, offering guidance and protection, and intervening in the spiritual and physical worlds as allowed by God. These abilities manifest through their presence in our lives, often in ways that are not directly visible or perceptible to us.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 4:58 am

    How do the powers of archangels differ from those of guardian angels?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 4:58 am

      Archangels hold a higher rank among angels and have been entrusted with more significant tasks and responsibilities. Their powers include leading other angels and carrying out important divine missions. Guardian angels, on the other hand, are assigned to protect and guide individual human beings, focusing on personal care and spiritual guidance.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 4:58 am

    Can angels influence or alter physical events in the human world with their powers?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 4:58 am

      Yes, within the bounds of God’s will, angels can influence or alter physical events. This is done in a manner that aligns with divine providence and often in ways that are subtle or go unnoticed by humans.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 4:59 am

    Do angels have the ability to communicate directly with humans, and if so, how is this power utilized?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 4:59 am

      Angels can communicate with humans as messengers of God. This communication may come through dreams, visions, or even direct encounters, though such instances are rare and always serve a specific purpose within God’s plan.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 4:59 am

    What limitations, if any, do angels have on their powers according to religious texts?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:00 am

      Angels’ powers are limited by the will of God. They cannot act contrary to His commands or purposes. Their actions are always in service of God’s divine plan and are bound by His authority.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 5:00 am

    How do the powers of fallen angels or demons compare to those of angels serving in heaven?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:00 am

      Fallen angels, or demons, retain their angelic powers but use them in opposition to God’s will, seeking to deceive and lead humanity away from God. However, their power is ultimately limited by God, and they cannot prevail against His divine order.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 5:01 am

    In religious beliefs, do angels have the power to intervene in human affairs without direct divine command?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:01 am

      Angels act in accordance with God’s will. Their intervention in human affairs is always directed or permitted by God. They do not act independently of divine will or purpose.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 5:01 am

    Are there specific angels with unique powers mentioned in religious texts, and what are these powers?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:01 am

      Specific archangels are mentioned in religious texts, each associated with particular roles or aspects of God’s creation. For example, Archangel Michael is known as a protector and leader in spiritual battle, while Archangel Gabriel is known for delivering important messages to individuals chosen by God.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 5:01 am

    How do the powers of angels contribute to the spiritual realm and the overall cosmic order?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:02 am

      Angels contribute to the spiritual realm and cosmic order by fulfilling God’s commands, maintaining the balance between good and evil, and guiding and protecting humanity. They serve as messengers, warriors, and guardians within the divine hierarchy, ensuring the execution of God’s will throughout creation.

  • Justinian of

    Organizer
    March 31, 2024 at 5:02 am

    Does the power of angels extend to influencing human thoughts and emotions, or is their influence more external?

    • Justinian of

      Organizer
      March 31, 2024 at 5:02 am

      While angels can influence our environment and provide guidance and comfort, they respect human free will and do not directly control our thoughts and emotions. Their influence is geared towards guiding us towards spiritual growth and aligning us with God’s will, rather than exerting control over our internal decision-making processes.

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