You probably think you know what angels look like. After all, you see one every time you look in the mirror, don’t you? Even if you’re not the type of dead-eyed psycho who can’t resist sticking finger guns into any reflective surface, you probably have a pretty good idea. White robes, bright-headed frisbees, duck wings and a huge flashing Christmas tree shoved their asses. Yes, they are angels. Everyone knows that.
Apart from the fact that the image is based more on various artistic traditions than on an actual religious text. The Bible itself often describes angels as surreal cosmic horrors from the nightmare dimension. The modern epitome of bizarre horror is probably HP Lovecraft, but the scariest ideas he could come up with were fish people and a kind of purple that hates you. To get a little close to the biblical angels, you’d have to kidnap a group of failing architecture students, force-feed them a wheelbarrow full of mescaline, and challenge them to redesign the hedgehog. But we are not allowed to talk about it until the judge’s gag order expires, so we have to stick to religious matters first.
To be fair, we note that human-shaped angels are quite common in the Bible. But then angels are on earth trying to fit in. They don’t seem so good at it, at least in part, because they can’t resist getting incredibly hot, but they clearly make an effort. And angels even in this form tend to be terrifyingand appears frequently as an instrument of the anger problem in God’s Old Testament. At some point, John the Baptist’s father makes the mistake of questioning Gabriel and the angel casually robs him of the ability to speak for several months (there was a reason Gabriel had to tell the shepherds to stop screaming when he did showed up to announce that Jesus was there to be born). But when the Bible starts describing angels in heaven home, things get really strange.
For starters, let’s take angels, whom you may know as the chubby winged angel babies that flutter around the edges of fancy paintings. But you can’t listen to the artists of the Renaissance, otherwise we would be completely naked at the moment, lounging on satin and muscular as a water buffalo, in contrast to only two of the three. A bunch of mischievous bird-winged smugglers couldn’t be further away the original angelswho are the most frequently mentioned type of angel in the Bible. For example, angels are the angels who are supposed to guard the Garden of Eden, which seems like a pretty big job even for the most airborne toddlers.
But the Cherubim in the Bible are a little different: “In appearance, their shape was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf …[Each] had the face of a human, and on the right side each had the face of a lion and on the left the face of an ox; Everyone also had the face of an eagle. They each had two wings that spread upwards … and each had two different wings that covered its body … The appearance of the living things was like burning coals or like torches. Fire moved back and forth between the creatures; it was light and lightning shot out. “So they looked just like humans! Unless they were square, had split feet, had a few animal faces and were on fire too. No wonder we never made it back to Eden.