This is perhaps slightly related to this question, and specifically this answer which points out that "the worship of angels [is] false doctrine ... praying to angels arguably may not be worship, [but] in my mind the line is far too fine."

So we have, perhaps, a caution to pray/speak to angels. But can angels, under normal circumstances, speak to us? I am excluding, for the sake of this question, situations in which angels are physically manifest, and speak to us verbally.

What evidence exists in the Bible that angels either can or cannot speak to us this way?

And if the abilities/rules governing God-fearing angels is distinct from fallen angels/demons, what are the differences?

  • Concerning the nature of angels and demons, we need to turn to the Apocrypha for any useful detail. Are you ok with that in an answer? Also can you clear up what circumstances you mean? You want to exclude things like gabriel talking to mary or daniel?
    – fгedsbend
    Mar 21 '13 at 17:23
  • @fredsbend: It is clear that at times, Angels have, or are given the ability to physically manifest themselves, and communicate with humans. So I guess I'm asking about circumstances apart from physical manifestations.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 21 '13 at 17:25
  • And an answer from the Apocrypha would be acceptable. Something that doesn't rely on the Apocrypha would be even better.
    – Flimzy
    Mar 21 '13 at 17:26

Technically, "angel" (from the Greek Angelos) is a job function, not genus and species. Angelos means messenger - they deliver messages. If the messenger is unable to communicate, it doesn't really seem up to the job of delivering a message.

The angels recorded in Scripture all clearly had the ability to converse with the people to whom they were sent - whether to Abraham, Manoah (Samson's father), Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, etc... In the cases where the angel's identity was hidden, there was nothing to suggest they appeared anything other than human, along with the concomitant powers of humans.

As to whether or not Cherubim and Seraphim (the heavenly creatures typically given these jobs) have the ability to communicate when not in the presence of humans, most Protestants would say, there would be only speculation. Historically, the doctrine of God's omnipresence and omniscience is what gives us the ability to communicate with God in any place - there is nothing to suggest that heavenly creatures - angelic or demonic - possess this attribute.

As svidgen points out, however, there are interpretations of Revelation 8 that Catholics would interpret as giving Angels the ability to hear prayers.

  • 1
    +1 for pointing out that angels may not be a specific species. However, there are the verses where angels apparently do more than give messages.
    – fгedsbend
    Mar 21 '13 at 19:00
  • I'm with you until your last paragraph. Revelation 8 suggests that angels play a regular role in mediating/communicating prayer between God and man. In order to be regular channels of communication, they need to be capable of hearing our prayers even though not present in a strict, physical sense of the word. This idea has some support in Catholic tradition, I think. And in the very least, I think it takes out of the realm of speculation and into the realm of Catholic-Protestant disagreements.
    – svidgen
    Mar 21 '13 at 19:04

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