Question: "What are spiritual beings?"Recommended Resource:
A spiritual being is a supernatural, incorporeal being. The Bible begins with the assertion that God, a spiritual being, created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Other spiritual beings mentioned in Scripture include angels, demons, and Satan. The supernatural worldview is found throughout the Bible—from creation to Revelation and everywhere in between. While we may never fully understand everything that has to do with spiritual beings this side of heaven, believers worship God, who is spirit (John 4:24), and look forward to His kingdom, which is not of this world (John 18:36).
God is a spiritual being. God has no physical form, and nothing in this world can be made to represent Him (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:12; Acts 17:29). There are other spiritual beings who are not of the same status, greatness, or ability as God. The psalmist declares, “The heavens praise your wonders, Lord, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you” (Psalm 89:5–8). In just this section of Scripture, we are made aware of an assembly of holy ones, heavenly beings, and the Lord God Almighty who is greater than all other spiritual beings.
God created the spiritual beings. They are known as God’s heavenly host (Psalm 148:2). When God laid the foundation of the earth, “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy” (Job 38:4–7). These spiritual beings existed before God made humanity.
If a being is “spiritual,” that being is not a human or an animal—both human beings and animals exist with a physical body. The term spiritual being does not tell us what the being does or communicate its status. Angels, for example, are spiritual beings (Psalm 104:4). Yet angels is a blanket term for many different types of spiritual beings. Angels exist within a hierarchy and have various functions. Some angels are loyal to God, and others, the fallen angels, are loyal to the devil (Matthew 25:41). Messenger angels (Genesis 32:3, 7; Deuteronomy 2:26), archangels (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 1:9), cherubim (Genesis 3:24), seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), watchers (Daniel 4:13,17, 23), the Angel of Yahweh (Genesis 35:7), and the divine council (Jeremiah 23:18) all seem to be part of God’s heavenly host.
Along with loyal members of the heavenly host, there are other spiritual beings who form the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). These rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil also reside in the heavenly realms. The wicked spiritual beings include demons (Mark 1:34) or “unclean spirits,” false gods and goddesses (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 11:16; 32:17), and renegade “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2, 4). These are all spiritual beings, but their loyalty is not to the Lord of hosts. Our battle in this world is not against flesh and blood but against these spiritual forces in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
The devil is also a spiritual being who aspired to become above God (Isaiah 14:12–15). His pride led to his fall, and he continues in his wickedness. While the devil is referred to as the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4), his power is not equal to God’s. The devil can only do what God allows. His demise is sure, along with that of all the demons who follow him (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:3).
We cannot see the spiritual realm, and we would never be able to see God, except for the Incarnation. The Son of God, the Word who always was God (John 1:1), took on human flesh and dwelt among us (verse 14). Jesus Christ is the “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:15–16). Jesus, God in the flesh, lived a perfect life, and His perfect sacrifice on the cross provided redemption once for all. In addition to providing us with reconciliation to God, the sacrifice of Christ also “disarmed the powers and authorities” of the spiritual realm (Colossians 2:15).
Among all the spiritual beings, there is no one like our God. There is none greater. No other spiritual being is worthy of our worship.
At the end of our lives, we will enter a spiritual realm. Upon their death, believers in Christ are carried by the angels to the place where the Lord is (see Luke 16:22). Unbelievers will face eternity in hell, separated from God. For believers, faith will become sight, and the spiritual realm will be visible to us.
What are spiritual beings?
The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible by Michael Heiser
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