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Question

Do angels have souls?

do angels have souls
Answer


Understanding angels is a difficult task, and we may never have all the answers, but their appearances throughout Scripture give many insights into who they are and what they do. Whether angels have souls is not addressed in the Bible, but we can hypothesize.

God created angels, just as He created everything else (Colossians 1:16). He commands them, and they obey (Psalm 91:11; 103:20–21). They fight for God and protect His people (2 Kings 6:16–17; Psalm 91:11–12; Daniel 6:22; Matthew 26:53). They also act as messengers, bringing the word of God to people through dreams, visions, or simply by appearing before them (Matthew 1:20; 2:13; Luke 1:11–20; Acts 1:10–11; 8:26). We know that angels are spiritual beings, as Scripture describes them as “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). The holy angels worship God (Job 38:7; Psalm 148:2; Luke 2:13–14; Revelation 5:11–12), but they do not receive worship for themselves (Revelation 19:10). While all these characteristics are remarkable, they do not answer questions about angels’ souls.

The Bible is unclear as to the exact nature of the soul, other than its being part of the spiritual nature of mankind. However, we can surmise that the soul is the central part of our personhood. People themselves are referred to as “souls” (Acts 2:41, NKJV). A human’s soul is immaterial and immortal; it persists after the human body dies (Daniel 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:8–9). Angels are personal, spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:14), and they are immortal (Luke 20:36). However, Scripture never refers to angels as “souls,” and it seems the immaterial nature of angels is not the same thing as the immaterial human soul. Human beings are unique among creation because they are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Angels are a separate order of being, different from humans. People will not turn into angels at death, and angels will never become human. This clear distinction and the centrality of a soul in humanity would seem to indicate that angels do not have souls.

There are other biblical hints that angels are without souls. Human souls need atonement (Leviticus 17:11, NKJV), God protects and purifies souls (Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:21–22), and a soul can be either lost or saved (Ezekiel 18:4; James 1:21). None of these qualities of the soul apply to angels. Angels do not need to be purified, atoned for, or saved. Hebrews 1—2 describes how Jesus is superior to angels and teaches that His salvation is for humans, not angels: “The Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16, NLT). The angels worship Jesus (Hebrews 1:6). God “makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire” (Hebrews 1:7). Holy angels serve those who are saved (Hebrews 1:14), but they themselves do not need salvation. This may be a further indication that angels do not have souls.

A point of clarification is in order. It is true that there are fallen angels who do not serve God and are, in fact, His enemies. We might think that these fallen angels need “salvation”; however, there is no indication in the Bible that they would ever seek to repent or that God has provided a way of salvation for them. They will be judged (2 Peter 2:4), and Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:7–15). Humans, on the other hand, do have the opportunity to avoid judgment through the blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:1–10; Romans 8:1; 10:9–13; John 3:16–18; 1 John 2:2). All who turn to God and put their faith in Jesus will be saved. Praise God that, in His grace, He has made a way for us to be saved and to dwell with Him forever (Revelation 21:1–4; John 14:3; Philippians 1:21–23).

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This page last updated: April 26, 2021