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Mythological Surprise: Angels Aren’t Christian

Angels are wildly popular among Christians. A poll a couple of years ago found that 77 percent of its American respondents expressed belief that angels exist. Michael Landon had a successful television show for years, playing an angel. Then there was the Touched By An Angel series, which was even more popular and long-lived.

goddess of messagesAsk most people what an angel is, and they’ll tell you that they’re supernatural beings with wings, described in the Bible. The truth is, though, that the word “angel” doesn’t appear in the Bible once. The Bible only describes creatures called mal’akh.

Mal’akh, to European ears, doesn’t sound very friendly. It’s quite similar to words like malicious and malevolent. Mal is a prefix that Indo-European languages associate with bad intent.

So, when Christians worked to spread their religion into Europe, first through the Greeks, they encouraged the blending of the Mal’akh with something else, with a name that sounds, to European ears, much more lovely: Angelia.

It turns out that the angel is actually a pagan god… or to be more specific, a pagan goddess.

Angelia was, in pre-Christian Greek mythology, a goddess of messages. Angelia had wings, just like the angels as we visualize them today. She had, like her father, winged sandals and wings on her cap, representing her ability to move between realms such as earth and sky, moving wherever she pleased, delivering messages from Mount Olympus to the human world.

Angelia was the daughter of Hermes, the god of boundaries and ritual. Hermes was the son of Zeus, the sky god, and Maia, the earth mother goddess of the Greek religion.

Hermes was the original good shepherd, and was called Christ. His herms were symbolic precursors to the crucifixes that became popular symbols of Christianity among the Greeks. The common European monuments called “market crosses” were actually dedicated to Hermes, not Jesus.

Maia was the inspiration for the Christian legend of Mary, with a role that was mythologically just about the same, mating with the sky god, giving birth to a divine son hidden in a shelter.

So, we have a pagan goddess as the original Mary, and a pagan god as the original Jesus. Now, we have Angelia, a goddess in her own right, part of the same family, with the blood of the sky god himself running through her veins.

It looks like Christianity isn’t so much an outgrowth of Judaism as a hybrid of ancient Greek religion and Judaism. Historically, that shouldn’t come as any surprise, as the people who first developed Christianity were Hellenized Jews.

3 comments to Mythological Surprise: Angels Aren’t Christian

  • Dave

    Truman, Christian angels are actually Hebrew in origin. Any time in the Hebrew Bible that angels are described they are described as looking like a man.

  • Angels aren’t described in the Bible. Mal’akhs are.

    I propose that angels are a hybrid of Judaism and Hellenism, and to support this point, I’ll note to you that the maleness of mal’akhs is not consistent with the tendency for people today to use the word “angel” to describe females much more readily than males.

    Victoria’s Secret (Victoria was another Greco-Roman goddess), for example, has lingerie with the theme of “angel”. Can you imagine men’s underwear with the “angel” theme?

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