[Originally published as Angels]
I often get asked, “When did God create angels?”
That is an understandable question since the Bible often speaks of them. The word “angel” in Hebrew is mal’âk, and in the Greek, aggelos. In either language, the word means “messenger.” The English word “angel” appears 203 times in the Bible, not accounting for the plural form or other terms that describe them.
The Bible names only three angels, Lucifer, Michael, and Gabriel.
In the Old Testament, we read of “the angel of the Lord,” who is God Himself, the pre-incarnate Jesus. We know this because, in context, the “angel” speaks “as God,” not “for God.”
Regular angels always deliver a message “from” God and give credit to God for the message – “thus saith the Lord.” The “angel of the Lord” always speaks as God. For example, the first appearance of the “angel of the Lord” is in Genesis 16, when Sarah cast out Hagar, and the “angel of the Lord” appears to her in the wilderness. “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude” (Genesis 16:10, emphasis mine). A regular angel might have said, “The Lord will multiply thy seed,” but this angel assumes the responsibility. A regular angel cannot do that, but God can.
With all the mention of angels in the Bible – and if we believe the Bible is true – angels are real creatures. Since they are real, God created them, and if God created them, He must have created them some time during the creation week. The question is, when did He do that?
The Bible does not say when the angels were created. The Bible is “a love letter from God to man,” therefore it deals mostly with the relationship between God and His prized creation –mankind. While the Bible is accurate when it describes scientific facts (the water cycle, bird migration, cosmological phenomena, etc.) or records history, that is not its main purpose. Therefore not everything that God does is revealed to us. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Angels were created to serve God’s purpose for man, and they mostly fight for us in “the unseen realm.” Only occasionally do they enter our dimension, but often enough for the writer to the Hebrews to encourage hospitality.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2
However, the Bible does not focus on them much, probably to discourage the worship of them.
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Colossians 2:18
In addition, mankind was created superior to the angels.
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 (emphasis mine)
Therefore, we can understand why God did not include the creation of angels in the creation account. The Bible says, “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18). The earth was created for man, not for angels, and that is the focus of the creation account.
However, we can know that angels were created very early on in the creation. While they are immortal, they are not eternal in the same way as God is eternal. In God’s response to Job, He says,
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 (emphasis mine)
The “morning stars” and “sons of God” is speaking of the angels. They were there to witness God’s creation. Therefore we can surmise that they were probably created on Day One or no later than Day Two, although the Bible does not say for certain.
We can also surmise that Satan (Lucifer) was among those angels when we read Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. I believe that the reason Satan hates humanity so much is that he, having been created as the greatest of the angels, observed God create man in His own image and give man dominion over all of His creation.
In Texas, we would say, “That really chapped his hide.”
Man lost his former estate in the Garden of Eden, but the fact remains that God created man to be superior to the angels. His will is to redeem mankind from that fallen state, and He gave us His Word both in written form — the Bible — and in physical form — Jesus, the Word — to accomplish that end. Angels are not the main focus of the Bible.