When it comes to the supernatural, few have
not had a brush with eternity. Whether you attend church regularly or
are the most determined doubter, the miraculous seeks out all at one
point or another. Most of us have one or two fleeting incidents which we
easily explain away, while an insistent few claim to have regular
contact with members of the great beyond. Who are these beings who open
the veil and remind us that we are not alone? Are they glorious
messengers sent from God, or malevolent tormentors? Tradition gives them
names, but what is the distinction between an angel, a spirit, and a
Stories of angels are as old as history.
In virtually every world religion there is an angel figure--a benevolent
celestial being who acts as an intermediary between heaven and earth. In
scripture, angels visit man on earth to deliver messages. While many
Christians believe that angels are the souls of good people who have
passed on, official church doctrine generally describes angels as being
created by God before the creation of humanity. Instead, saints are
defined as virtuous people who have received their immortality. (One
exception to this would be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints, who believe angels are humans who have been resurrected and have
bodies of flesh and bone.) Angels are generally virtuous beings,
although there are "fallen angels" who become known as demons.
Although artists depict angels in glowing robes with halos and wings,
the Bible says many entertain angels unawares. If you sense you have
been visited by a heavenly being who has delivered an important message,
chances are, you have been in touch with an angel.
The definition of spirits is more
nebulous. Spirit is used to describe many things, including the part of
a living being associated with the mind, will, and feelings. The word
spirit is used interchangeably with angel and ghost, although spirits
most definitely exist separate from the physical body.
While spirits and angels are almost
always part of traditional Western dogma, ghosts are often left out of
the religious equation. However, many spiritualists and individuals who
have experienced near-death experiences describe ghosts as being
individuals who have died, but who have not passed through the
"tunnel of light." They are found in areas they frequented
during their lifetimes, and are attired in the styles of their day.
Unlike angels, ghosts are in a condition of darkness and lack
understanding. They may be confused, may not even know that they have
died. Ghosts are almost always associated with haunting--although they
may mean no harm. Most ghosts have an attachment to this world, be it
unfinished business, emotional trauma, or fears that keep them from
crossing over. A visit with a ghost does not have to be frightening. The
kindest thing you can do for a ghost is to help him or her to put
closure on his or her life and decide to find peace in the next life. A
ghost who is particularly evil may have to be exorcised by an authority.
Angels, spirits, and ghosts each serve
their own purposes, but one thing they all have in common is they remind
us of our own mortality and keep our eyes heavenward.
About the Author
About the Author: Rob Daniels is a long
term practitioner of Yoga and Pilates additional articles available at
Religious Podcasts http://www.religious-podcasts.net
and Angel Gifts http://www.angel-gifts.net