|The way Christian mythology depicts these supernatural messengers from God has no basis in the Bible. The cherubim sculpted on the top of the Ark of the Covenant are described having wings, but there's no mention of their bodily form, their sex, or any similarity to human beings.
And the cherubim spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another; even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubim.
Exodus 37:9 KJV
Depictions of cherubim and seraphim in Western art vary: four or six wings, red or blue faces, with or without bodies. The only pairing of a human body and a pair of wings is from Revelation, describing the woman clothed with the sun:
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Revelation 12:14 KJV
|We owe our traditional images of angels to Greek artistic depictions of the gods and goddesses representing temporal forces like the winds (winged Zephyr), or forces of destiny like victory (the Nike of Samothrace). Early Christians borrowed many symbolic images from the Gentiles beside that of angels, such as the Good shepherd, and the Evangelists winged bull and winged lion.
Hark questions the way Christian mythology depicts angels. Most references to angels in the Bible dont refer to them with any specific form, and when angels do take a form its usually just temporarily human, and without wings. People confronted with angels in the Bible are usually frightened:
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Luke 1:29-30 KJV
I also question the mythology of the guardian angel.
|In my life, God and his angels have never answered me. When I do hear of people who testify to the answers they hear for their prayers, or the miracles they've witnessed, these responses always seem quite small and diluted, not really the kind of miracle you'd expect from an omnipotent Lord.
Nevertheless it's important not to blaspheme, even if it so happens that Gods face will always be hidden from us. So I look at the Bible, and find the Book of Job, which describes God as magnificent and terrible, and distracted, and ultimately just. And to fit with that portrait of God I imagine his messengers as terrifying and beautiful, and surpassingly powerful and delicately gentle. So these are the angels that Im familiar with: they dont heed me, and they dont guard over me, but perhaps they watch and transmit order and entropy. Maybe they spin and charm quarks, or perhaps they move currents of air or the days fortune.
Hark is composed of thirteen forms - faces, hands, wings, fused together into a nebulous field. The individual slices of images are taken from color plates of Renaissance and Baroque paintings of angels.