Why can't we see Angels?


#1

Angels are spiritual beings. Humans also have a spirit/soul, so why can't our soul see the Angels? Also, why can't our soul see when we close our eyes? Is the soul's sight limited by the body? When it is taken out of the body due to death, will the soul be able to see on its own? I know we will be able to see Angels and even God in Heaven and even with our bodies after resurrection... This has been bothering me for awhile I would like a satisfactory answer.


#2

bump plz I need answer


#3

peterkreeft.com/topics/angels.htm

Article by Peter Kreeft is informative


#4

We can't see saints either( except as images in stained glass or paintings) but we don;t dispute their existence!

Terry


#5

The "eyes of faith" do not see in the wat that the eyes of the flesh see. The light that illumines them is the Christ ("the light of the world").

Remember what St. Paul wrote:
[BIBLEDRB]1 Corinthians 13:12[/BIBLEDRB]

So while we live on this earth (as fallen creatures), our vision is limited to what is in the pysical world. In Heaven (and at the Resurrection), our sight will be made whole.

EDIT: I just remembered about a passage from C.S. Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet" where the protagonist (a human) sees a person from another race (unfallen Martians) conversing with someone who wasn't there. In actuality, it was an angel the Martian was talking to.

Since the Martian was not a fallen creature, he could "see" what the human could not.


#6

Would anyone disbelieve the existence of an afterlife if we saw angels, or the existence of God for that matter? Faith is believing while not essentially seeing. We will likely see angels when we spend eternity with our Lord in Heaven.


#7

Guys my question was not the question of faith, I don't have a part of me questioning the Catholic faith, but simply a question that I wanted to have an answer to.


#8

[quote="HouseUponRock, post:7, topic:313731"]
Guys my question was not the question of faith, I don't have a part of me questioning the Catholic faith, but simply a question that I wanted to have an answer to.

[/quote]

I was not intending to discuss faith, per se. Hence the quotes. Re-read my prior response as I have updated it.


#9

[quote="HouseUponRock, post:1, topic:313731"]
Angels are spiritual beings. Humans also have a spirit/soul, so why can't our soul see the Angels? Also, why can't our soul see when we close our eyes? Is the soul's sight limited by the body? When it is taken out of the body due to death, will the soul be able to see on its own? I know we will be able to see Angels and even God in Heaven and even with our bodies after resurrection... This has been bothering me for awhile I would like a satisfactory answer.

[/quote]

I don't know if this will be satisfactory or not. But here goes.

We don't know the full nature of angels. We do know a few revealed things about them. They are magnificent. They are pure spirits. They serve some kind of purpose, and the purposes of the different ones varies from that of the others.

We can't well imagine pure spirits, and certainly not of that sort. We can sort of imagine a human spirit without a body because we know human beings. But we filter everything through the physical, and with significant limitations even in our physical world. We can't hear color or see sound. We can feel some radiation we can't see, like infrared, but we can't feel radio waves at all, or see them or hear them. That's because our bodies are not equipped for it. I understand elephants make sounds they can hear but we can't. Same with bats. We just aren't equipped.

Now, one might ask why we aren't equipped to see angels. The answer is that we don't know. But I recall reading once that if we somehow could perceive an angel as it truly is, we would not for a second doubt that it was God, so overwhelmingly magnificent they are. Possibly that's part of it; to spare us confusion. Perhaps also to spare us madness, because angels are not all the same. Each is a different species; as different from each other as we are from them.

But I have also sometimes thought that our physical limitations prevent it for another reason. Could we actually survive the experience if we could fully perceive an angel as it is? Is it possible that our physical limitations are also a protection against something so overwhelming that we could no more survive the experience than we could survive a load of sand shot at us point-blank by a cannon, or the kind of radiation a neutron star emits?

It's clear from the Bible that no man can see God face to face and live. Do angels reflect so much of the divine Being that we could not see one of them face-to-face and live either?

How would that happen? Why could we not stand it? Well, I don't know, but I can imagine, for example, that if some angel holds within its nature the full range of all the math and chemical formulas composing our known universe, could that invade our heads without our having a stroke, an overload? Is one so beautiful that our hearts would burst trying to take the beauty in? Would we immediately, and despite ourselves, begin to worship it, as incomplete a reflection of God as it inevitably must be?

It is, for whatever reason, God's purpose that we be creatures composed of the material as well as the spiritual, and the material part necessarily implies limitations. We don't really know why God selected that mode of being for us. We could guess at it, but we don't actually know. Perhaps He loves His material universe more than we know. Perhaps He loved it to the point that He decided from all eternity to "ensoul" it through us, so His communion with it would be complete. An interesting thought, but we really don't know.

We are told in Scripture that we will see God face to face in another mode of being. Undoubtedly, we will see angels as well, as they, like us, are part of the Thought of God. And if then we are joined to the Mind of God while still being ourselves (as we are assured) we will see a lot of things; an infinitude we could not exhaust in trillions of years because one cannot exhaust the riches of the infinite.

No theologian am I. But I think about this quite a bit, and I hope my ruminations help a little.


#10

[quote="HouseUponRock, post:7, topic:313731"]
Guys my question was not the question of faith, I don't have a part of me questioning the Catholic faith, but simply a question that I wanted to have an answer to.

[/quote]

No, we can see angels. They can take on human form. The do so all through the Bible.

**The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, (Genesis 19:1)

**So he went to look for a man; and he found Raphael, who was an angel, but Tobias did not know it. Tobias said to him, "Can you go with me to Rages in Media? Are you acquainted with that region?" The angel replied, "I will go with you; I am familiar with the way, and I have stayed with our brother Gabael." (Tobit 5:4-6)

**And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord **standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. (Luke 1:11-13)

**And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

**Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have unknowingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

I am sure that I have once met someone who was not human, but was an angel in human form. I'm sure they are all around us and we don't even know it.

-Tim-


#11

[quote="HouseUponRock, post:1, topic:313731"]
Angels are spiritual beings. Humans also have a spirit/soul, so why can't our soul see the Angels? Also, why can't our soul see when we close our eyes? Is the soul's sight limited by the body? When it is taken out of the body due to death, will the soul be able to see on its own? I know we will be able to see Angels and even God in Heaven and even with our bodies after resurrection... This has been bothering me for awhile I would like a satisfactory answer.

[/quote]

Most of us aren't clairvoyant.


#12

We will see angels whenever God gives them the instruction to let us see them -- in other words, when they take on enough of a material form that we can see them. They generally do this in their capacity as messengers from God, or in their capacity as guardians, in aid of our salvation.

Most of the time, however, they are busy doing other stuff for God that doesn't require us to see them. You can usually guard somebody without being seen, and angels don't have to be seen.

But sure, they're always around. Your own guardian angel most of all.


#13

Perhaps if we become Holy enough. It is purported that some Saints could see their angels.


#14

[quote="TimothyH, post:10, topic:313731"]
No, we can see angels. They can take on human form. The do so all through the Bible.

The two angels came to Sodom in the evening; and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and bowed himself with his face to the earth, (Genesis 19:1)

So he went to look for a man; and he found Raphael, who was an angel, but Tobias did not know it. Tobias said to him, "Can you go with me to Rages in Media? Are you acquainted with that region?" The angel replied, "I will go with you; I am familiar with the way, and I have stayed with our brother Gabael." (Tobit 5:4-6)

**And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord **standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. (Luke 1:11-13)

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38)

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have unknowingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

I am sure that I have once met someone who was not human, but was an angel in human form. I'm sure they are all around us and we don't even know it.

-Tim-

[/quote]

I meant seeing angels in their essence.


#15

http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h244/corona_stellarum/Smilies/nun_slapping_ruler_hg_clr.gif***
Please stay on topic.***


#16

I agree with Ridgerunner's post, but I'd like to add something as well. I have thought about this very same question over the last few years and it has led to other questions that called for an answer.

For example; why don't we have visions of the Blessed mother, or why don't we see the Holy Spirit descending like a dove or even see the divine presence in the Holy Eucharist?

All of these things including angels (except in human form) are better not being seen. That's my conclusion. It is actually better, it's more loving for God to have ordained that we remain in the sensual world without being able to perceive the divine (for now). Why, though? Because if we learn to love God as we should, we do it by faith and with more trust, which is a greater act of obedience. If we were to be able to perceive (which God could have easily allowed), then we would not have that struggle, the question would never need to be asked. It's in the question that helps to turn us to the Lord in the first place.

I think this is why Christ said, "blessed are those who believe and have not seen". I know he was speaking of himself in response to Thomas' but obviously it was meant for us. Those who believe and have not seen means just that - "those who believe". Do we have to see to believe? What is belief? Is it related to trust? Do we believe and trust that oxygen will enter into our lungs when we draw a breath, even though we can't see it? I wouldn't say that breathing air and trusting it makes that act blessed, but Christ said that we are blessed if we believe but haven't seen, when speaking of himself.

So I believe this applies to all things divine, including angels. Not that those that have seen are not blessed, they are in a unique and special way. But we (the regular peoples of God), are blessed because we haven't seen and still believe and this is how God wanted it. It's a greater act of love on God's part to ordain it that way. Just my 2cents.


#17

[quote="Sheadad, post:16, topic:313731"]
I agree with Ridgerunner's post, but I'd like to add something as well. I have thought about this very same question over the last few years and it has led to other questions that called for an answer.

For example; why don't we have visions of the Blessed mother, or why don't we see the Holy Spirit descending like a dove or even see the divine presence in the Holy Eucharist?

All of these things including angels (except in human form) are better not being seen. That's my conclusion. It is actually better, it's more loving for God to have ordained that we remain in the sensual world without being able to perceive the divine (for now). Why, though? Because if we learn to love God as we should, we do it by faith and with more trust, which is a greater act of obedience. If we were to be able to perceive (which God could have easily allowed), then we would not have that struggle, the question would never need to be asked. It's in the question that helps to turn us to the Lord in the first place.

I think this is why Christ said, "blessed are those who believe and have not seen". I know he was speaking of himself in response to Thomas' but obviously it was meant for us. Those who believe and have not seen means just that - "those who believe". Do we have to see to believe? What is belief? Is it related to trust? Do we believe and trust that oxygen will enter into our lungs when we draw a breath, even though we can't see it? I wouldn't say that breathing air and trusting it makes that act blessed, but Christ said that we are blessed if we believe but haven't seen, when speaking of himself.

So I believe this applies to all things divine, including angels. Not that those that have seen are not blessed, they are in a unique and special way. But we (the regular peoples of God), are blessed because we haven't seen and still believe and this is how God wanted it. It's a greater act of love on God's part to ordain it that way. Just my 2cents.

[/quote]

Excellent answer, exactly what I was looking for. :thumbsup:


#18

[quote="HouseUponRock, post:14, topic:313731"]
I meant seeing angels in their essence.

[/quote]

For the same reason, no human being can see God- or Satan- as they are in actuality. Our human consciousness (at least whilst in flesh and blood form, " through a mirror darkly" to quote St. Paul) simply could NOT bear it. I know I am digressing somewhat from the given topic of angels, but a comparison to my favorite patron saint, St.Priscilla, is instructive. I have never seen her in person, or had voices or visions from her, know perfectly well that her earthly body has crumbled to dust millennia ago, yet I sense her presence at some level, a presence so real at some level that I can not only visualize her heart beating beneath her cerulean bodice, but the blood being pumped through her veins, arteries and capillaries( I hae laso sensed the presence of something evil whilst working on a portrait of the Devil). On occasion I have encountered people who seem to know me but whom I have never met before(or since for that matter)- is beyond the bounds of probability that I may have "entertained angels unawares"?

Terry


#19

[quote="Nimzovik, post:13, topic:313731"]
Perhaps if we become Holy enough. It is purported that some Saints could see their angels.

[/quote]

Which saints ? OT, NT ?.....besides John ... and that was a vision...not actual sight of.

Ok ...Peter was led out of Prison by Angel !!


#20

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