In City of God, Book XIII, Ch. 1, Augustine wrote,

Having disposed of the very difficult questions concerning the origin of our world and the beginning of the human race, the natural order requires that we now discuss the fall of the first man (we may say of the first men), and of the origin and propagation of human death. For God had not made man like the angels, in such a condition that, even though they had sinned, they could none the more die. He had so made them, that if they discharged the obligations of obedience, an angelic immortality and a blessed eternity might ensue, without the intervention of death; but if they disobeyed, death should be visited on them with just sentence—which, too, has been spoken to in the preceding book.

It is my belief that only God is inherently immortal (1 Tim. 6:16), being the Creator, and all else, being created, and existing by Him (Acts 17:28), is granted immortality according to His grace. Thus, angels do not die like men, for they are granted immortality. Furthermore, man's soul/ spirit, is also granted immortality according to God's grace. Hence, upon death, while man's body perishes and endures corruption, his soul/ spirit continues existence.

But, I wonder, how is it that angels who have sinned (2 Pet. 2:4; Rev. 12:9) continue to exist in an immortal state (for it is certain that Satan sinned, yet he still exists, as the biblical authors attest), yet man dies as a result of Adam's sin?

What is the explanation of this phenomenon?

  • 3
    I would suggest that God is not merely mortal (without death), but is eternal (without either birth or death). Angels are immortal (without death). We are mortal in our physical bodies (with birth and death). However, our souls and spirits are immortal along with the new body we will receive.
    – Narnian
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 17:40
  • 2
    Regarding God, Paul writes that ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν, that it is He "alone who has immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16). The so-called immortality that all else possesses, whether angels, or souls, is granted/ given by God's grace. It's obvious that the soul is not eternal. In fact, only God is, as you mentioned. The reason that the soul is not eternal is because it is created by God. Augsutine sums up everything in two categories: you are either God, or a creature. He's right. God is the Creator of all things. So, if something isn't God, it's a creature, and if a creature, then not eternal.
    – user900
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 18:06
  • There is also some danger in assuming that humans, angels/demons, and God exist in the same states and on the same levels; we may find scripture to support the immortality of our souls; but then so are the souls of those destined for less pleasant fates. Angels do not necessarily exist solely in corporeality or spirituality either, and they are not necessarily subject to the corruption of original sin in our world. One question I would ask is if angels can even die as a reflection of their sinful nature, as humans do. Commented Apr 17, 2013 at 4:52
  • It's because Satan is being permitted to show what sort of kingdom he can establish. He is being given time to prove the claims he made in heaven which caused nearly one third of the angels to follow him. There is a spiritual battle waging and Satan will be given judgment when the war is finally over.
    – One Face
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:28
  • @KyleWilley Souls are not immortal. "The soul that sins shall die" Ezekiel 18:4
    – One Face
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 23:31

7 Answers 7


Angels and humans are not of same essence.

Humans are composed of physical bodies and immortal spirits.Humans experience human death.Human death is separation of body and spirit.

James 2:26 (NIV)

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

On the other hand, angels are just immortal spirits without physical bodies.

Hebrews 1:7 (NIV)

In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire."

The death that Adam and Eve experience could only be physical death (first death) and the second death ( in Gehenna i.e. Hell).

In the second death, both sinners and the devils would experience the same kind of death.

Note that the second death ( in hell) if second death for humans and first death for angels.


20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

  • Did James just say "faith without deeds is dead"? What would the supporters of faith alone have to say about it? lol
    – Grasper
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 15:15

Your assertion that Angels who have sinned do not die is in contrast to:

Revelation KJV

20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

I do not find that any Angels who did not rebel ever die , but at least the second death gets the bad guys.

  • Hello, it does not seem you quite understood what I wrote. Reason I say that is because I did not say that angels who have sinned do not die (as in, ever). I said that the angels that have sinned, still exist --- they are still alive --- despite having sinned. Yet, every man after Adam, whether by virtue of original sin or their own, has died or will die (with very few exceptions). The question aims to determine why the angels that sinned long ago have yet to die (e.g., Satan), but man died not long thereafter his sin.
    – user900
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 21:00
  • @ H3br3wHamm3r81 There are first of all some points of which I am not clear. First and foremost are Angels alive or do they just exist in Spirit as one of God's creations. Second I am convinced that the war which began in Heaven has not ended yet and that the battle of Armageddon will be the last battle in that war. third I believe that even though Satan and the rebellious Angels were ejected from Heaven that they have not faced final judgment. That I believe will come at the great white throne judgment. Then is when Punishment for both man and them will be meted out.
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 21:21
  • "continued" so in my infantile mind it you question cannot be answered now any more than why haven't the unsaved been thrown into Hell yet. Of course God knows who will and who will not be saved so why he is waiting to cast unbelievers into Hell is the same reason he has not punished the fallen Angels with eternal Fire. It simply is God's choice
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 21:26

I'm not sure we can assuredly answer this without turning to non-Scripture. This is an attempt through Scripture and reason only.

There certainly is reason to think that Angels enjoy immortality of some kind. Throughout the thousands of years recorded in the Scriptures, prophecy included, we continuously see the same Angels doing God's work, and those also working against God. Satan is in Genesis, whom we know is Lucifer, and he is also in Revelation at the end of days when he is finally cast into the Lake of Fire. Gabriel gave God's message to Daniel and later to Mary also over 700 years later. Michael was also there doing many things. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that Angels enjoy immortality, but is it of the same sense that we first think, meaning is it inherent to their character, as given by God?

Although you clearly state to not hold this view, the Annihilationist perspective, in addition to claiming that there is no immortal soul, generally holds that immortal life for mankind is not inherent to his character, as given by God. It was actually the Tree of Life that sustained the human body through the ages (or was supposed to do so). By sustained I mean that the fruit from the Tree of Life was eaten regularly. This is supported by Revelation 22:1-3 where the leaves of the Tree of Life will be the healing of the nations and in Genesis 3:24 when it is clear that one of the main reasons to keep man out of the Garden was to keep him from eating of the Tree of Life. This alone does not necessarily contrast the view you request.

So from this reasoning we might say that the angels, evil and righteous, have access to a Tree of Life of some kind. An issue, however, is that Revelation 20:10 states clearly that the devil, the beast, and the false prophet will be tormented forever. If torment were easily relieved by death and angels' immortality was sustained by a tree of some kind then they would merely no longer eat it and escape the torment.

But for the perspective that you ask we may not be able to reason in the same way. In fact, what is common among mainstream Christianity is a redefining of the word death (in Genesis) to mean separation from God, rather than bodily death. So the question then becomes why does bodily death occur for mankind and seemingly not for the Angels, despite both having sinned?

The answer must be in God's redemptive plan for mankind. There appears to be no redemptive plan for the fallen angels and it seems that they still enjoy immortality. This is not a coincidence.

God is a God of great glory. All that he does is to His magnificent glory. From our limited vantage God granting immortality to the character of part of His creation glorifies Him greatly, and He is equally glorified that He overcomes death and resurrects all the dead to Glory with Him or damnation in the Lake of Fire. Romans 9 is very clear that God does all things for His glory, "that [His] name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

It is to God's glory that mankind perishes and his body withers to dust. It is to God's glory that angels, wicked and righteous, are immortal by His graciousness. It is to God's glory that the wicked angels will suffer lasting torment. And, finally, it is to God's glory that all mankind is restored to his body and given new life, new life for glory with Him or new life for destruction in the Lake of Fire.

We are above the angels, and even all of Creation. Mankind is the pinnacle of all Creation, meant to rule over it with only God above us. God, therefore, required more from us. For our failure to obey him we received death (bodily). More than that, God required continued bodily death for our continued sins in the sacrifice. Then finally, God receives the most glory in the sacrifice and resurrection of His only begotten son.

Without bodily death God could not receive the fullest glory due to Him that came from Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. Conversely, if angels also had a redemptive plan it would show that the angels and mankind are equals because Christ would not need to die twice, once for angels and once for mankind, for His sacrifice is eternally sufficient.

  • @CRags - please see the guidelines on commenting. Comments debating the Truth or validity of a given view are not allowed. This site isn't about what's "True". It's about what various groups within Christianity teach. See We can't handle the truth for more on that. Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 1:23
  • Ok, will be careful from now on.
    – One Face
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 1:52

Why do people die but angels do not, but both have sinned?

There is little reason not to assume that angels were created at once and with full abilities of understanding and choice.

We know that humans are created sequentially and in ignorance.

Both elect humans and elect angels were created.

Matthew 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

We know that elect angels remain faithful and non-elect do not.

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.

Elect-humans are given the ability to be rescued from death and given eternal life in Jesus.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God establishes the times and ages according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

There may be a "death" appointed for non-elect angels.

Revelation 20:13-14 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

It appears that those elect humans who trust in God have two paths. Those who died before Christ will be resurrected unto eternal life and those who die in faith after Christ have their new life before they die.

Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

It seems like there are saved and unsaved angels. The unsaved angels seem to be bound for judgment which implies punishment and perhaps death.

It seems like there are saved and unsaved humans. The unsaved humans seem to be bound for judgment which implies punishment and death.

The non-elect or unsaved angles and humans both seem to be bound to wait for judgment. The first in whatever place they are and the second in the grave. The explanation of our different paths I see as lying primarily with the different way in which we were created.

  • You said It seems like there are saved and unsaved angels. . I don't follow how you've made this conclusion. Which verses support that?
    – user3961
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 0:39
  • @fredsbend The reference to "elect" angels in 1 Timothy 5:21 suggests that some angels are not elect. The verses that describe a future punishment for rebellious angels indicates that they will not be restored or redeemed. The lack of restoration would be consistent with a "unsaved" status.
    – timf
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 14:23

Psalm 82:6-7 "I say "ye are angles" ... yet you shall die like men, and fall as any prince."

Simple answer angles die just as men, Men have ever-existing souls and when they die, their soul goes into hades or hell, the prison, abyss, what ever you wanna call it. So to the angles that rebelled, are also cast down to hades. at the end of the world hadies is thrown into the lake of fire.

Point being death for souls and spiritual beings is hell, not nonexistent.

Christian who have the Holy Spirit when their body dies their soul goes to heaven with God. That is the first resurrection.

Why must the body of men die??

All people were in the body of adam and are therefore united to the sin of Adam. So they received the curse of adam, Death.

So the solution is to be in the body of Christ by the Spirit, and and be united to the righteous work of christ, that is his death.

Our souls are put in christ and is united to his death and resurrection in baptism. rom 6:3

We receive the Spirit (which gives life) in our souls, now with the Spirit we must put to death the transgressions of our flesh. With the Spirit that puts us in the body of Christ, we unite our own suffering and death to the suffering and death of Christ.

And so romans 6:3 if we are united in a death like his we will surely be united in a resurrection like his.

The resurrection of the body is the second resurrection, it happens at the end of the world. But our soul was resurrected when we received the Holy Spirit, that was the first resurrection; those who take part in the first resurrection are not in hades but are in heaven when there body dies and they reign with Christ in heaven till the end of the world. Rev 20:4-6 Then comes the resurrection of the body and final judgment. Rev 20:11-14

Also it is by the spread of the gospel that the fallen angels leading the world astray are cast into hadies, the abyss. And so they die by the power of the gospel, and at the end of the world they are thrown into the lake of fire for hadies its self is thrown into the lake of fire. However some people and some demons are in the lake of fire even now.

  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. Meanwhile, I hope you'll browse some of the other questions and answers on this site. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 14:01

Revelation 12:11 says in part " and have not loved their life even unto death" referring to the loyal angels, participating in the battle where the devil is cast out of heaven. It is important to remember that the word Angel refers to many different groups of beings. Gabriel is said to resemble a man, others who sit with god are described much differently. But it seems that at least some cases, they are or are rendered mortal.

What a crying shame here on earth, where our physical differences are so trivial are enough to cause us to war on each other, While beings who may not resemble us at all, were willing to fight and die for us.


You're coming from the wrong assumptions, so no wonder you're having difficulty with this question.

God is eternal, self-existent and transcendent, but that's beside the point.

The point - and an answer to your question - is this: angels have been created as beings of spiritual world (for lack of the better word), thus they are NOT made in the image and likeness of God, like humans.

Thomas Aquinas puts it nicely:

Hence the perfection of the universe requires that there should be intellectual creatures. Now to understand cannot be the action of a body, nor of any corporeal power…. Hence the perfection of the universe requires the existence of an incorporeal creature.

ST Ia 50, 1

and in ST Ia 50, 2 he posits that they (angels) must be pure spirit - so completely incorporeal, have no bodies of any kind.

In other words, to put it simply: Angels are made of their souls.

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