Why Didn’t God Save Fallen Angels?
John Owen gives his answer in Vol. 1 on his commentary on Hebrews, in Part 2, Excercitation VII.14.
Preliminarily, Owen establishes that God may have justly rescued angels from their sin, but that justice does not obligate God to do so. While the same could be said for God’s redemption of man, there is such a difference between the original transgressions of angels and men that God’s righteousness is more gloriously displayed in withholding rescue from one, and that this reflects good concern for God’s glory being displayed in universe.
1. Angels were created in a higher state than man, in the highest heaven, while man was placed on earth. Earth is good and suitable to man, but not as glorious as heaven.
2. In heaven angels were tasked with attending the throne of God, to minister to him, give glory to him, to execute his commands of providence, all of which together are the highest honors given to creatures. Man was given the duty of cultivating the ground, which while good, is below the vocation of angels.
3. Angels enjoyed the immediate presence of God without a mediator resembling themselves. Man was kept at a greater distance and without such direct communion with God.
At this point Owen affirms that this does not excuse the grievousness of man’s sin, but greatly aggravates the wickedness, ingratitude, and pride of the angels…
On Praying for Arms to Regrow
Prayer by its nature acknowledges the supernatural dimension of creation. There is a God who transcends and upholds the universe, yet is also so immanent as to hear the cries of creation. Prayer presupposes that the transcendent God is not only capable of controlling and altering the mechanics of the universe, but actually does providentially intervene in response to prayer. This is why God’s people can, in confidence, petition him to heal those who are sick. We understand that even if the normal means of healing are ineffective, he can still act and provide restoration to the broken.
But we do not pray for severed arms to regrow. Why not? At first glance this case seems similar to other medical conditions, like terminal cancer: there is an aspect of creation, someone’s body, that is broken and in need of healing, and the available medical resources are inadequate to repair the damage. God can intervene and heal, right? But we don’t pray for the regeneration of a lost limb, and tend to scoff at those who do as acting in futility. It is here that atheists reject prayer as a foolish superstition. It cannot seem to follow its own rules when it matters most and falls into special pleading…
On God as His Own Interpreter
It is always easy upon reflection of a talk or sermon to identify something that I wish I had said. In the case of my recent talk on scripture’s authority, though, I really regret not including some comments on William Cowper. Friend of John Newton and a famous depressive, Cowper wrote many excellent hymns. God Moves in a Mysterious Way stands as one of the finest…