Angelology Part 2 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 099:393 (Jan 1942)
Article: Angelology Part 2
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Part 2

Lewis Sperry Chafer

[Author’s note: This, the second installment in this series of articles on Angelology, is to be followed by at least three more with a view to setting forth the entire field of this important revelation.]

Angelic Participation in the Moral Problem

By the phrase The World’s Moral Problem is indicated the conflict which is ever present where free moral agents confront the issues of both good and evil. The force of this conflict reaches a climax in three major instances: (a) the fall of the angels; (b) the fall of man; and (c) the sin-bearing death of Christ. Of these, the first and second are closely related, as are the second and third; but the relation between the first and third is remote, being of principles rather than persons. Evil began with the lapse of an angel. That lapse was followed by a multitude of other angels (Rev 12:4). The same lapse was enacted by the first man and transmitted to his race in the form of a depraved nature. Tracing backwards over this historical sequence, it is possible to recognize that the race was injured in the sin of its federal head and that a multitude of angels sinned under the influence of that same original sinner. Thus far no insuperable problem arises; but it is difficult, indeed, to go one step further and assign a reason as to why an unfallen, untempted (that is, from without), highly enlightened angel who stood in the immediate presence of God and who must have comprehended the difference between moral light and moral darkness, should have chosen the darkness. How can the birth of moral evil from the womb of moral good be explained? The metaphysical aspect of the origin of evil is a problem which

theologians have never solved, and, regarding it, only certain consequential features may be observed by the finite mind.

As in the case of the fall of man, it is imperative, in the light of revelation concerning God, to recognize certain unchangeable truths when approaching the perplexing subject of the first fall of the angels. These are: (a) That God is Himself holy and in no sense is He directly or indirectly the instigator of angelic sin. (b) Though angels were created to fill a divine purpose, their fall was anticipated from all eternity. (c) They were given the autonomy of angels, which assigned to them the freedom to remain in, or depart from, that holy estate into which they were inducted by creation. (d) Angels who fell, unlike men who by physical birth inherit the corrupted nature which their federal head acquired through the first human sin, stood directly related to God in original angelic holiness from which position each fell...

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