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Wendelin's "Christian Theology": Doctrine of the Creation of Angels

THESIS X: Among the principal works of creation are Angels and men.

THESIS XI: An Angel is a spiritual substance, created, complete, furnished with intellect, will, and an eminent power to act.

EXPLANATION: I. Among the works of creation that are described in the first chapter of Genesis, Angels are not reckoned: because Moses willed to describe only God’s visible works meeting the senses. Yet Angels are rightly reckoned among the creatures: because they were created by God. Colossians 1:16, by Him (namely, Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible: that is, substances corporeal and spiritual.

Now, it is probable that Angels were created on the first day, together with the heaven of the blessed, or the empyreal. Whence they are read to have applauded God, as it were, in the creation of the remaining things, Job 38:7. Where by the morning stars are understood Angels by most interpreters.

Some of the Greek Fathers are of the opinion that Angels were created by God before this visible world, brought to this opinion by no necessary arguments: Scripture makes mention of one creation properly so called, not a twin creation. It names one beginning of time, not two. Neither is there any doubt, that by the host of heaven, which is recorded among the works of the six days, the very Angels are also understood: who no less truly are the host of the empyreal heaven, than the stars are of the firmament, Genesis 2:1.

II. Therefore, an Angel is a substance:

(1.) Spiritual: that is, free of all corporeal and sensible mass. Whence in Scripture Angels are called Spirits, Psalm 104:4, thou makest thine Angels Spirits. Hebrews 1:14, λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα, ministering Spirits. And so the bodies in which Angels, both good and bad, formerly appeared, and even now appear, are not natural to them, but are only assumed for a time: which, when it is suitable, they put off, as a man puts off a garment.

(2.) Created: by which term it is distinguished from the Creator.

(3.) Complete: that is, which is not an essential part of another substance: whereby an Angel is distinguished from the rational soul of man, which is also itself a spiritual substance, but incomplete, because it is an essential part of man.

(4.) Furnished with intellect, will, and eminent power.

The intellect of an Angel is its faculty, whereby it knows God and the works of God: which was the most excellent knowledge in the first creation. A threefold knowledge is wont to be attributed to Angels in the schools of the learned: natural, which is introduced and concreated by God in the very creation: revealed, which they afterwards from extraordinary revelation of mysteries and future things: experimental, which they have by observation of those things that are done among us; by this knowledge they are aware of the repentance of the pious, Luke 15:10.

The will of an Angel is its faculty, whereby it approves or disapproves, desires or rejects, of things under the cognizance of the intellect. This has excelled from the beginning with extraordinary holiness and conformity with the will of the Creator.

An Angel’s power of acting is its faculty, whereby it brings to pass what things the will commands. This is exceedingly great in Angels: because they are spirits excelling in strength, Psalm 103:20. Once one alone, in one night, destroyed almost the entire army of Sennacherib, 2 Kings 19:35. Nevertheless, their power is no less finite than their essence. It is a consequence of a finite essence, that it is only able to be in one definite place. Whence Scripture testifies that Angels are sometimes in heaven, sometime on earth, sometimes in this province, sometimes in that: proportionately to the ministries to be fulfilled in various places. What has been prattled among the Scholastics is false, that Angels are not in a place, except by operation. They are in a place by their substance, and their operation: when they work, they are present.

Neither do they move, or migrate, from place to place, intersuccessively: no motion is able to happen in an instant: and that succession is, not of an intervening middle, but of the distance between ends from which and to which.

God created all these most noble creatures from the beginning at once: because it is alien to angelic nature to preserve its species through the procreation or generation of new individuals: this is peculiar to corporeal substances; as to plants and animals. But He created them in great numbers: Whence myriads of Angels are mentioned, Hebrews 12:22,[1]thousands of thousands, and ten times a hundred thousand, Daniel 7:10.

* III. In addition to Angels, the Hermetics and Paracelsians number and commend many Spirits: namely, secondary Heavenlies, which they also call Salamanders, because they are visible in fire: Aerials, inhabiting the space from the hollow of the moon to the surface of the inferior globe: Aqueous, which they call Nymphs and Sirens: as also Terrestrial, which they call Sylphs and Pygmies, dwelling in the inner parts of the earth. These are dreams and monsters.

[1] Hebrews 12:22: “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (μυριάσιν ἀγγέλων, myriads of angels)…”

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Westminster Larger Catechism 19: What is God's providence towards the angels?

Answer: God by his providence permitted some of the angels, wilfully and irrecoverably, to fall into sin and damnation,1 limiting and ordering that, and all their sins, to his own glory;2 and established the rest in holiness and happiness;3 employing them all,4 at his pleasure, in the administrations of his power, mercy, and justice.5

1 Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Heb. 2:16; John 8:44

2 Job 1:12; Matt. 8:31

3 1 Tim. 5:21; Mark 8:38; Heb. 12:22

4 Ps. 104:4

5 2 Kings 19:35; Heb. 1:14


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
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Westminster Larger Catechism 16: How did God create angels?

Answer: God created all the angels1 spirits2 , immortal3 , holy4 , excelling in knowledge5 , mighty in power6 , to execute his commandments, and to praise his name7 , yet subject to change.8

1 Col. 1:16

2 Ps. 104:4.

3 Matt. 22:30.

4 Matt. 25:31

5 2 Sam. 14:17; Matt. 24:36

6 2 Thess. 1:7

7 Ps. 103:20,21

8 2 Pet. 2:4


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 06, 2023
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