shallow focus photography of white feather dropping in person's hand

Angels are often perceived as divine or ethereal entities, commonly shaped like humans, which exist in multiple faiths and cultural stories. The formal academic investigation into these entities is termed "angelology." Particularly in Zoroastrianism and the religions rooted in Abrahamic traditions, angels are viewed as kindly heavenly entities that serve as liaisons between the divine realm and the earthly world, or as protectors and guides for human beings.

Etymological Background

The word "angel" originates from the Greek term "ἄγγελος" (ángelos), which translates to "messenger." This term aptly defines the primary function of angels in many religious contexts, which is to convey messages from a higher power to humans.

Angelology: The Study of Angels

Angelology is the scholarly study focusing on angels, analyzing their nature, roles, and impact on human belief systems. This field of study is particularly robust in Christian theology, but it also holds a place in Islam, Judaism, and other religious doctrines. Angelology seeks to answer questions such as what angels are made of, what roles they serve, and how they interact with human beings and the divine.

Angels in Different Religions


In Zoroastrianism, divine spirits known as Amesha Spentas and Yazatas function much like angels in other belief systems. They are benevolent entities tasked with various responsibilities, ranging from guarding natural elements to aiding in the spiritual growth of human beings.

Abrahamic Religions


In Jewish tradition, angels are divine messengers that also execute God's will. The Hebrew Bible, also known as the Tanakh, contains numerous accounts of angelic encounters. Notable figures include Gabriel and Michael.


In Christianity, angels are spiritual beings created by God to serve as messengers and guardians. The New Testament frequently mentions angels, from the angel who informs Mary of her impending pregnancy with Jesus to the angel who liberates Peter from prison.


In Islamic doctrine, angels are made of light and serve as messengers and executors of God's will. They have specific roles and names; for instance, Jibreel (Gabriel) is the angel of revelation, and Mikail (Michael) provides nourishment to bodies and souls.

Roles and Responsibilities

Angels serve a myriad of functions depending on the religious or mythological context in which they are found. Common roles include:

  • Messengers conveying divine revelations
  • Guardians protecting individuals or locations
  • Warriors fighting against evil forces
  • Worshipers of the divine
  • Guides assisting souls in the afterlife

Characteristics and Appearance

Though most commonly depicted as human-like beings with wings, the appearance of angels can vary widely. In Islamic tradition, for instance, the Archangel Gabriel has 600 wings, while Cherubim in Christian tradition have multiple faces and wings.

The Cultural Impact of Angels

Angels have not only religious significance but also a substantial cultural impact. They appear in art, literature, and even popular media. Their characteristics and roles may differ, but the universal theme is their interaction between the celestial and earthly realms.


Angels, existing as spiritual or divine beings across various religious and mythological landscapes, serve as intermediaries between the heavenly and earthly domains. Their roles are as diverse as the traditions that describe them, encompassing that of messenger, guardian, warrior, and even spiritual guide. With a rich history rooted in multiple faiths and an academic field of study dedicated solely to their understanding, angels continue to captivate the human imagination, serving as a bridge between the known and the unknown.

Leave a Reply