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Has anyone heard of or seen anything that Angels can be redeemed as My boyfriend prayed that he could save the angel and offered to give himself to the lake of fire. Can someone please help?

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    Like any library, Christianity Stack Exchange offers great information, but does not offer personalized advice, and does not take the place of seeking such advice from your pastor, priest, or other trustworthy counselor.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 11 '21 at 21:33
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    I have not seen that. What makes your boyfriend believe that (1) angels need redemption and that (2) he would be a sufficient sacrifice? Mar 11 '21 at 21:33
  • and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Col 1:20
    – steveowen
    Mar 11 '21 at 22:49
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    Because this is a real situation with real consequences, I strongly recommend that you consult a Christian leader or a physician personally about this. There are issues here that are far beyond the question of whether angels can be redeemed. Your boyfriend's physical and spiritual health may be at stake. Mar 12 '21 at 17:54
  • Jesus died for man, not angels.
    – Dave
    Mar 12 '21 at 19:08
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First, I agree with DJClayworth's comment:

Because this is a real situation with real consequences, I strongly recommend that you consult a Christian leader or a physician personally about this. There are issues here that are far beyond the question of whether angels can be redeemed. Your boyfriend's physical and spiritual health may be at stake.

Now for a short explanation, which I answer from mainstream Christian traditions (Catholic, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox). You are asking:

  1. Whether angels can be redeemed (I assume this is referring to fallen angels)
  2. If #1 is a yes, whether humans can help with the redemption, and
  3. If #2 is a yes, whether the way a human person can help with the redemption is by vicarious substitution offering to take the place of a fallen's angel destiny (lake of fire).

The answers are:

  1. We don't know for sure since God didn't reveal it to us in the Bible. From the little that the Bible implies, and from medieval theology (as in Aquinas), fallen angels made their decision before humans were created and it's a done deal, irreversible.

  2. No, because the scope of redemption that Jesus provided as revealed in the Bible is limited to human beings. Jesus may have done more to save the fallen angels, but we are not told in the Bible.

  3. No, since nowhere in the Bible a human person can even sacrifice one's destiny to save another person, let alone an angel! The only way a human person can assist in another person's redemption is through prayer, NOT through sacrifice. Only Jesus saves human beings through sacrifice on the cross !! Remember that the sacrifice has to be acceptable to God, and the Bible is explicit in saying that only Jesus's sacrifice is acceptable, and that the Old Testament offerings (which involved killing a clean animal) has been superseded after Jesus.

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Has anyone heard of or seen anything that Angels can be redeemed?

Origen wrote about the possibility of redemption for Satan. This is an opinion that is almost universally rejected.

St. Jerome allegedly said of him that he was “the greatest master of the church after the Apostles.” Yet, the image of Origen as it exists in the religious imagination of Christians is a mixed one, with Martin Luther questioning “whether he was not “doomed to endless torment” for his impiety,” and, of course, Theophilus of Alexandria condemning Origenism in the fifth century at the Synod of Alexandria.

Although the Church did officially offer condemnations of ‘Origenism’ centuries after Origen had passed away, these condemnations do not strictly translate into condemnations of Origen himself, or even a condemnation of Origen’s own beliefs and teachings. The condemnation of a theologian’s teachings does not always entail that the theologian should be regarded as a heretic, as the famous example of St. Thomas Aquinas illustrates. After all, St. Thomas argued against the immaculate conception, and the immaculate conception is today regarded as De Fide by Roman Catholics, but nobody concludes from this that St. Thomas is a heretic. Likewise the implication that condemnations of Origenism, even if they did properly identify views attributable to Origen himself, entail that Origen is a heretic simply can’t go through so easily.

Moreover, there are at least two reasons to be suspicious of the inference from ‘Origenism’ being heretical, to Origen’s being heretical. First, Origen’s name came to be associated with a number of movements and beliefs which Origen would not have identified or associated himself with. For example, the “Arians [had] claimed Origen for their party, followed by the Pelagians and the Nestorians,”[6] and this association of ‘Origenism’ with condemnable views (in the eyes of the Catholic establishment) led to the condemnation of what had become ‘Origenism.’ Origenism, in this way, had departed significantly from Origen himself, being hijacked by those parading themselves as his pupils, but whose views found no solid foundation in his writings.

The second reason this inference should be regarded with skepticism is that, for the most part the matters of which Origen treats had not yet been, in any manifest way, settled by ecclesiastical authority, and Origen may have offered some of his more eyebrow-raising suggestions as merely theologically permissible speculations. Thus, Origen may have put forward his most controversial ideas as mere speculative hypotheses, to be rejected if the authority of the Church should say otherwise. Scholars now widely acknowledge that much of Origen’s work suggests views which were “not intended by Origen to be any more than speculation.” As Lisa R. Holliday rightly observes:

“Here, Origen offered his views on topics about which the church did not have clearly established doctrines. Working within these parameters, Origen speculated about such things as bodily resurrection, the fall, and methods of biblical interpretation. His aims were not to provide definitive answers, but to offer alternatives and possibilities.”

If this is the right way to read Origen’s more provocative and innovative theses, then Origen can be acquitted entirely of the charge of heresy.

Nevertheless, there are elements in Origen’s thinking which give the appearance of being out of step with orthodox theology, such as when he says of baptism that “not all those who are baptized in water are forthwith bathed in the Holy Spirit.”mAlthough he clearly did have a sacramental view of Baptism (and even of Holy Orders), it is not difficult to see why his writings would have been “controversial, even during his own lifetime.” The question of whether, or to what extent, these issues were considered to be settled matters of faith shall have to be left aside, to be investigated elsewhere, in order to allow the focus of the present paper to be on his most controversial doctrine; namely, the doctrine of ἀποκατάστασις.

Without a doubt, one of the most fascinating elements of Origen’s thinking is put on display in his doctrine of ἀποκατάστασις, which provides a view of soteriology, eschatology, and freedom. For Origen, “the apocatastasis is both an eschatological and a soteriological event.” By this doctrine Origen is usually understood to imply the universal salvation of all souls, including the Devil’s, and a subscription to a cyclical view of time (or, at least, history) with indefinitely many future ‘falls’ from grace and returns/redemptions of all souls. Origen suggests that “an end or consummation would seem to be an indication of the perfection and completion of things.” He elaborates as follows:

“The end of the world, then, and the final consummation, will take place when every one shall be subjected to punishment for his sins; a time which God alone knows, when He will bestow on each one what he deserves. We think, indeed, that the goodness of God, through His Christ, may recall all His creatures to one end, even His enemies being conquered and subdued… What, then, is this “putting under” by which all things must be made subject to Christ? I am of opinion that it is this very subjection by which we also wish to be subject to Him, by which the apostles also were subject, and all the saints who have been followers of Christ.”

Although universalism has been classically rejected by Christian theology, the official condemnation of the doctrine occurring “during the Second Council of Constantinople – the Fifth General Council of the Church- which Justinian convened in the year 553 [AD],” it has come back in vogue in recent times. John Hick, for instance, has developed what he has called an Irenaean theodicy (which may owe more to Origen than to Irenaeus), and although Origen doesn’t present the doctrine of ἀποκατάστασις as a theodicy, there is a possible rapprochement to Origen in Hick’s programme. Hans Urs von Balthasar has developed and defended an ‘existential’ universalism, and figures in the emergent church, like Rob Bell, have jumped onto the new universalist bandwagon. This trend makes a careful examination of Origen’s theology all the more pertinent for contemporary theology.

Origen’s doctrine, of course, does not proceed from a theological or ideological vacuum. Indeed, there are some passages in scripture which catalyze, if not foreshadow or justify, the development of this doctrine, such as Acts 3:21, which mentions “the time of universal restoration [ἀποκατάστασις] that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.” Although “Origen’s was the name destined to be associated with “apocatastasis”” the doctrine, including “Satan’s possible restoration to grace… begins properly with St. Clement of Alexandria.” In fact, Origen is far from the only figure to have (allegedly) entertained the speculative belief in universal salvation, as it was apparently shared by Didymus of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and even St. John Chrysostom. Origen, it would seem, was not alone.

“The end of the world, then, and the final consummation, will take place when every one shall be subjected to punishment for his sins; a time which God alone knows, when He will bestow on each one what he deserves. We think, indeed, that the goodness of God, through His Christ, may recall all His creatures to one end, even His enemies being conquered and subdued… What, then, is this “putting under” by which all things must be made subject to Christ? I am of opinion that it is this very subjection by which we also wish to be subject to Him, by which the apostles also were subject, and all the saints who have been followers of Christ.”

Although universalism has been classically rejected by Christian theology, the official condemnation of the doctrine occurring “during the Second Council of Constantinople – the Fifth General Council of the Church- which Justinian convened in the year 553 [AD],” it has come back in vogue in recent times. John Hick, for instance, has developed what he has called an Irenaean theodicy (which may owe more to Origen than to Irenaeus), and although Origen doesn’t present the doctrine of ἀποκατάστασις as a theodicy, there is a possible rapprochement to Origen in Hick’s programme. Hans Urs von Balthasar has developed and defended an ‘existential’ universalism, and figures in the emergent church, like Rob Bell, have jumped onto the new universalist bandwagon. This trend makes a careful examination of Origen’s theology all the more pertinent for contemporary theology.

Origen’s doctrine, of course, does not proceed from a theological or ideological vacuum. Indeed, there are some passages in scripture which catalyze, if not foreshadow or justify, the development of this doctrine, such as Acts 3:21, which mentions “the time of universal restoration [ἀποκατάστασις] that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.” Although “Origen’s was the name destined to be associated with “apocatastasis”” the doctrine, including “Satan’s possible restoration to grace… begins properly with St. Clement of Alexandria.” In fact, Origen is far from the only figure to have (allegedly) entertained the speculative belief in universal salvation, as it was apparently shared by Didymus of Alexandria, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and even St. John Chrysostom. Origen, it would seem, was not alone.

It is with this two-tiered view of freedom in mind that one can, despite the accusations that his system either entails or allows for the salvation of the devil, make sense of Origen’s protestations to the contrary. Origen, in fact, draws a parallel between Satan and Christ;

“In the PArch there are two instances of souls that are unique in that they do not follow the cycle of progression and regression, but remain in a fixed position. The souls of Christ and Satan, though polar opposites, do not fit into the schema Origen establishes for all other beings.”

Although the Devil is looked upon as evil, and perhaps even the most evil thing in all creation, it is worth noting that, like Augustine after him, Origen maintains that “evil, in and of itself, does not have a substantial reality… [and] Origen defines it as the absence of good.” The devil, therefore, is clearly not essentially or substantially evil, on Origen’s view, but is evil by reason of his own exercise of free will. Since all souls (i.e., intellectual beings) pre-exist their (re-)incarnation, and, on Origen’s view, have a freedom of the will, some have inevitably turned further away from God than others, and the intellects which fell furthest from God are “powers, demons and lastly, the devil.” In fact, Origen maintains that to claim that Satan is evil by his very nature, and acts according to the compulsion of his essence qua evil being, would “remove the responsibility for evil.” Satan could not, therefore, be justly punished at all, or held in contempt of any kind, and these conclusions were rejected by Origen.

If Satan was not evil by nature, however, then it seems as though Satan would have to have αὐτεξούσιον in principle. This is probably the right way to understand how Origen intended to qualify the belief that Satan could be redeemed. In fact, Origen draws an analogy from Christ himself, whom he says has “the ability [to sin], but not the desire to choose evil.” Just as Christ had the αὐτεξούσιον to sin, but did not have the ἐφʹ ᾑμῖν to sin, so Origen may have thought that Satan had the αὐτεξούσιον to humble himself before God and accept redemption, but did not and would not in fact have the ἐφʹ ᾑμῖν to do so. Thus, one can see clearly how to make sense of Origen’s claims that he did not accept Satan’s salvation in fact, and yet accepted Satan’s possible salvation. How, though, could this be made consistent with Origen’s blanket statement that God will be all in all? I think the most plausible answer has to be that the way in which God brings Satan into subjugation to himself is qualitatively different, for Origen, than the way God brings any other being into subjugation.

How plausible is this reading of Origen? There is already reason for being suspicious of Rufinus’ protestations against the accusation that Origen taught the salvation of the devil, given his treatment of Origen’s works and his motivation for making Origen palatable. However, this suspicion cannot definitively settle the matter of whether Origen did, or did not, believe in the Devil’s redemption. I can imagine somebody suggesting that, since Origen’s predecessor (as leader of the Catechetical school of Alexandria) Clement of Alexandria believed in the salvation of the devil, Origen plausibly did as well, but it is a mistake to put it past Origen to be original and innovative. It is entirely possible that Origen was introduced to the doctrine through the influence of Clement, but that he then transformed it in an interesting way. Moreover, considering the lack of clear textual evidence committing Origen to the Devil’s salvation, and some of his comments (which preclude the salvation of Christ, for instance – for one cannot be saved if one is never lost) mentioned earlier, it should be regarded as an open question whether Origen really did believe in a universalism so far-reaching that it included the devil.

In conclusion, we have seen that although Origen’s doctrine of ἀποκατάστασις was developed in a milieu which may have encouraged and/or excused his application of universal salvation to Satan, his doctrine of free will, combined with the other considerations raised in this article, lend significant support to the hypothesis that he found a way to secure belief in the possibility of Satan’s salvation, but rejected its actuality. He could have made sense of this precisely by appealing to his categories of αὐτεξούσιον and ἐφʹ ᾑμῖν. - Origen’s ἀποκατάστασις: The Question of Satanic Salvation

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