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I see a lot of pseudo-Scriptural mysticism on the subject of the identities of angels and devils, men and God. I say mysticism not to dismiss attempted explanations categorically, but because the Scriptures do not seem to say explicitly that men and angels, God and man, and even man and devils are not (or were not once) of the same kin. Yet it is common to see whole theologies that rely on some kind of eternal genetic or pseudo-genetic distinction between God and man, and angels and man, which naturally gives rise to complex soteriologies and speculations such as that otherworldly creatures or fallen angels have interbred with humans, giving rise to giants and so on, despite no such genetic distinction being apparently drawn in the Biblical text; only the use of different, possibly synonymous terms in different places. Does any such distinction exist, or are the terms not synonymous in terms of origin, heritage, kind or type?

There are some notable cultural distinctions of caricature. We see descriptions of angels as having wings, but it is not clear whether these are literal or figurative. I am not sure where horns for devils come from, apart from John's descriptions of the beasts of worldly and Satanic power.

There are depictions such as Isaiah's vision of the Lord on His throne surrounded by seraphs, and it is not always immediately clear to the reader whether such depictions are to be taken as metaphorical or actual beings as to their attributes (having six wings, etc.).

What is the Scriptural evidence delineating God(s), angels, men and devils as to their original identity and genetics or one-time kinship, if any? Or do the Scriptures demonstrate any kind of genetic relation between them, so to speak? Are "classes" of beings to be understood as eternal barriers, or acquirable statuses of the creature?

This is related to the questions Origin of the idea that "demons" and "fallen angels" are the same thing?, and How are angels and humans different?, but is intended to be more general and comprehensive in scope across these classes of beings.

What denominations have teachings on this subject specifying the relationships among these types of beings, and what Scriptural citations do they use to corroborate their views?

Were these four types of beings originally all one type of being? What is the end of man in relation to these classes?

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    This question needs to be scoped to a distinct part of modern, self-identifying 'Christianity'. The various views (and they will be conflicting views) will be multitudinous as the question is also extremely broad taking in Deity, angelic powers, demonic spirits and humanity - their origins, relationships and interactions. The question admits that it seeks to be 'general and comprehensive in scope'. I think it is unrealistic to expect this site to encompass all that is required when multiple viewpoints are invited to participate in such a very, very broad exercise.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 19 at 19:46
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    @NigelJ, on the other hand, it does say "according to the Scriptures". Commented Apr 19 at 20:16
  • @NigelJ Sigh... This would apply to every Biblical Basis question if it is not already further qualified with an overview request or narrowed to a specific domination... Either that entire question category (and practically every other category) needs to be erased from the site unless further specified to a denomination or expressed as a denominational overview, or it should be generally understood that questions that are not denomination-specific are asking for an overview. Why not adopt this latter standard since naturally every question is either specified to a denomination or overview?
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 19 at 20:17
  • The relationship between God and everything else is Creator-Creation. Everything in Creation you might organize into some taxonomy, but God is explicitly outside of it and He stands alone. In fact, that's literally what Holy means. The amount of "kinship" between the rest is not really a biblical matter, as in, it's not really talked about. You have to dive deep into other writings to learn what has been supposed. Commented Apr 19 at 20:59
  • 'What is the scriptural evidence delineating Gods . . . . ?' needs to be scoped to people who believe in 'Gods'.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 19 at 21:05

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The angels (symbolized as stars) existed before the creation:

Job 38:4,7:
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Lucifer/Satan, rebelled against God:

Isaiah 14:
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Ezekiel 28:12–16:
12 … Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

He and his angels (now called demons) were banished from God's Heaven:

Revelation 12:
7 Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. 8 And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. 9 This great dragon — the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world — was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

Luke 10:18:
And [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Jude 1:6:
And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Eventually Satan and his followers will be cast into fire (and very likely destroyed):

Matthew 25:41:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Revelation 20:10:
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, …

Humans were created in the image of God, but currently they do not have the power of angels (neither did the incarnated Jesus):

Psalm 8:5:
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Hebrews 2:
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.


Clearly there are very distinct categories of beings:

  • The Godhead is immortal and has always existed.
  • Various kinds of spirit beings were created.
  • Some of the spirit beings rebelled against God and were banished from God's Heaven.
  • Humans were created as physical beings, lesser than angels.
  • Humans will eventually become spirit beings, higher than the angels, reborn as siblings of Jesus.
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God

In various languages, terms for "God" and "Lord" have meanings and connotations including "Master", "Elder", "Senior", "the Almighty", "Creator", "Keeper of Loaves", "Sustainer", "Good", "Great Father", "The Most High", "Chief", to name just a few of His titles. It stands to reason that the Most High Being, the Creator, the Chief of all, is God.

Angels

Angel means "messenger". God has angels (messengers or representatives of righteousness) and the devil has angels (messengers or representatives of wickedness). There is no language anywhere in Scripture distinguishing angels from humans genetically, only by calling or appointment, by righteousness or stage of existence.

Men

"Man" should hopefully be self-explanatory in present company. God formed man out of the dust of the Earth, creating both man and woman in the image and likeness of Deity, and breathed into man his spirit. (Genesis 2:7)

Mankind is referred to frequently and affirmed unanimously throughout Scripture to be offspring of God.

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:28-29)

This idea is so repugnant to Satan that he tempts religious leaders of the world to regard it as blasphemy, and worthy of death, to say that mankind are children of God.

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:33-36, see Psalm 82:6)

Our capacity through the Son of God is to become as the Father is:

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)

Devils

Devils are slanderers. A third part of the host of heaven followed Lucifer in his rebellion against God, and became devils. Sometimes they are referred to as fallen angels, and this is correct.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)

The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:24)

Devils will never have physical bodies. This is contrasted with unclean spirits, which had a body but were wicked during their mortal lives and are now disembodied.

One kind, one family, with opposition

The Scriptures attest that the spirit of man is the offspring of God.

God, angels, men and devils were from the beginning all the same kind of being, are all men (or women) and were intended to be of one eternal family, but some have rebelled. Angels are those who still reside in the presence of God and are His messengers. Men can become angels to God if they are worthy, and those who have ministered in the capacity of angels and have not rebelled against God will be born as mortal men if they have not yet. Devils are those angels or spirits who rebelled against God while in His presence. As such they cannot progress and are damned, and will never receive a body. The end of man is to become as God, or to be an angel to God forever, or to become as the devil, or any degree in between.

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  • Jesus told us that they in the resurrection will be 'as' the angels. Not they will be angels (an angel to God for ever [sic]). Humanity, resurrected, are to be the sons of God. ... to bring many sons to glory. All we are going to get in answer to this question is a variety of opinions, which will be contested.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 20 at 7:05
  • @NigelJ He said this to those who did not believe in the resurrection. While admitting that the mysteries of the kingdom are kept hidden from those who do not wish to hear them. For their purposes, their is no marriage in a resurrection that, according to themselves, does not exist in the first place. The notion that being angels forever is all there is contradicts what the Savior and the Apostles regarding the Divine origin and potential of man. The Lord knows the answer. Do His people?
    – pygosceles
    Commented Apr 20 at 7:16
  • "God, angels, men and devils were from the beginning all the same kind of being" — What evidence is there for this claim? Commented May 20 at 0:57
  • @RayButterworth This is abundantly clear from the Scriptures. Lucifer fell from heaven and became the devil; he was once an angel (Revelation 12:7-9). Men can become angels (as Gabriel, Michael or Rafael, see Luke 1:26–38) or as devils through unrepented sin. Mankind are children of God who can become as the Son of God (Romans 8:16-17), Who is as the Father (John 14).
    – pygosceles
    Commented May 21 at 4:54
  • "Men can become angels (as Gabriel, Michael or Rafael, see Luke 1:26–38)" — That says nothing about men becoming angels. Commented May 21 at 12:18

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