Do angels have free will?

No statute of limitations? :wink:

Somewhere along the line, it was explained to me by a seminarian, who might well have been making it up as he went along, that what we call angels are fragments or aspects of God’s will put into a form suited for direct interaction with humans. That would seem to imply that they don’t possess any will of their own. The seminarian in question dodged the whole Satan issue by claiming that Satan, demons, etc. don’t exist. As an atheist, I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but such discussions fascinate me.

I think you are making certain assumptions here, particularly that use of free will can produce something ‘bad’ in the eternal sense, which appears contrary to the perfection of God’s plan - planned in it’s perfection before God created the universe, God’s ability to right every wrong and restore everything and that God is in total control along with God desire that none be lost.

If any of the above was untrue then your premise would be valid, that giving someone free will that would only spiral out of control without hope of recovery would not be much of free will - but I don’t see that scriptures point to this.

Free will is the ability to see where a path goes, which any path except that path God is on and that God is (aka Love for everyone), will lead to destruction, once the person por angel sees it it is possible to come back and also produce a greater good in the process.

I think Christian theology gets into a trap that Jewish theology didn’t because Christian theology insists that God is omnibenevolent. Jewish theology says that Satan works FOR God…he’s not Shaitan (the Enemy) of God, he’s Shaitan of HUMANITY. His original role was seen as a kind of prosecutor in God’s court. The role of Satan in Christianity morphed into the progenitor of everything that causes pain or suffering because Christianity morphed GOD’S role into the progenitor of ONLY that which benefits humanity.

In Islamic belief angels don’t have free will. And Satan and all other devils are considred to be djinn, and they, together with humans are the only things currently in existence that have free will. (I say currently in existence because some scholars posit that god has created beings with free will before but they were wiped out.)
Muslims also believe in the fall but they say that Satan was a very pious djinn so God had allowed him to be with the angels.

If one relies on scripture as the infallible word of a supreme being, such might appear as true. Those who see scripture as man-made, of doubtful accuracy in translation, and changed from time to time along its copying history to foster one particular view or other may see things from a totally different perspective. One might agree though with the premise that there is no ultimate evil as long as the opposite is also true.

Nevertheless, an imposed free will, no matter the source, would appear to be by its own definition not free will at all. And that is the sticky point.

OK what about a natural free will, instead of imposed?

The sensible answer would be that nonexistent creatures don’t have free will. But let’s examine the question in the light of Christian mythology and doctrine.

Angels, particularly archangels, have been portrayed in the Bible and in Christian literature as being highly autonomous. They are instruments of God’s will, but so is anyone and everything–even Satan. The distinction is that God pretty much winds them up and releases them, telling them they have a task but trusting them to figure out for themselves the best way to accomplish that task.

In other words, angels are middle management.

Just as an aside:

In Judaism, angels are simply messengers, who have no free will. The notion of Satan as a “fallen” or “rebellious” angel does not occur.

That is a concept I can accept

May I suggest a 3rd alternative, the interpretation of scriptures is what matters, not the actual physical words used. Therefor the translations can be made and even mistranslated intentionally or unintentionally, but the meaning may be able to be preserved regardless.

We all know that there are vast interpretational differences, one person can interpret it with a homophobic viewpoint, or I would say interpreted with with a homophobic spirit, which they make their ‘god’ and justify their homophobia by it. Another can interpret it with a misogynic spirit and use that spirit’s interpretation to oppress women. Another can interpret it with a spirit of unconditional love and make that their God. Each person will see the god they want to see in it based on the spirit they use to interpret it.

It is with this viewpoint and the belief that every work is a work of God, it all depends on not the physical word but the spirit, or devine insight given to us by the spirit we have chosen that we use to interpet it.

And may I suggest that most religions already take this approach, causing a lot of the problems in the world today?

I’m not talking about religions but individual’s interpretations by their chosen gods

You’re just precious, aren’t you? More precious than pearls.

I’ve always wondered why, if angels had free wills, god didn’t simply make more angels

Since Seraphims are made of flames, I sincerely hope THEY don’t have free will. :smiley:

I’m not sure I see the correlation.

The Judiac interpretation mentioned earlier (particularly as it relates to Satan) is an interesting viewpoint I’d never considered before, regarding Satan’s role of serving God as the angel of temptation. (I’m not sure I agree with it, but it’s still interesting).

Is free will still free will if you get in trouble for ever exercising it? If so, I’d argue that angels do have free will, but most of them choose to be obedient to God and follow His will.

“…instead of making humans,” is, I imagine, the intended point. The general understanding of why God made human beings (allowing the theoretical correctness of that concept for the sake of argument) is that he wanted creatures with free will who would worship him. If angels have free will, it seems obvious that the vast majority of them freely choose to be obedient and worshipful of God, as opposed to us wayward humans, so why didn’t God just make more angels instead of making people?

I can’t believe I’m the first one to remember this being an atheist, but even going off the bible it appears angels do have free will.

Genesis 6:1-4

God is like stop banging the human women, angels don’t listen.

Yup, that’s what I meant.

There was more to it. Why is it that, in heaven, everyone’s happy? If free will still exists to people who get into heaven, wouldn’t it make sense that some of them would get bored, or annoyed, or angry, and unhappy? Unless there was no free will in heaven and you’re just perpetually happy. But if its ok to get rid of free will in heaven, why not make everyone on earth happy right now?