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Contemporizing the Spiritual Realm

It’s difficult to combine our literary and cultural picture of angels with the biblical perspective.  All our lives, angels have been pictured and described as winged creatures, in long flowing white robes, with halos on their head.  Or, cute little cherubs with harps or bow and arrow.  The Bible tells us that we are surrounded by angels and entertain them without ever knowing who or what they are.  They are masters of blending and being relevant.

Why would we think that the spiritual realm – which is timeless – is stuck in time?  Why do we have a mental picture of angels in first century togas, carrying shepherd’s staffs, and talking in Shakespearian English?  As I’ve already mentioned, why would we think their names and terminology never changed with the times in which they must carry out their work?

When I began outlining what my idea of the spirit realm was like, I made a conscious decision to contemporize everything.  Agents/angels dress like twenty-first century people, they talk like us (but cleaner and kinder), and they tend to give nicknames to things as well as turn titles into acrostics and abbreviations.  That is what relevant people/beings do.

At first, I felt almost like I was violating a sacred trust.  You know – don’t add to or take away under penalty of hell!  So, I changed the name from hell to … you’ll have to read it to find out.  Satan has a nickname, to both demean him and keep him from being a cartoon character in a red suit with a long tail, and even heaven is called something different too.  In fact, in the fictional history I create, all the nicknames have changed regularly throughout time, depending on the language and culture that exists.

Agents have a mission to carry out, and not only do they receive training in how to do it, they receive training in how to “fit it” and be relevant.  Not only is that essential to accomplishing their assignments, but it is essential in helping them keep the anonymity they require.  Agents help carry out the providential work of God while being in the middle of humanity.  Their work goes unnoticed and often ignored, but that doesn’t change the reality of what they do.

One of the most captivating and intriguing thoughts any of us can have is; How many angels have we had contact with in our life and never knew it?  The point is – they fit it pretty well.  A halo would be a dead give-a-way!