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HomeExpanded ConsciousnessInterpretations of Angels from Aquinas and Von Bingen to Sheldrake and Fox

Interpretations of Angels from Aquinas and Von Bingen to Sheldrake and Fox

Angels have been a subject of fascination and wonder for centuries. Many ancient commentators, such as Thomas Aquinas and Hildegard Von Bingen, have offered their views on the hierarchy of angels. Their works have been widely influential in shaping our understanding of these celestial beings.

In contrast, contemporary philosophers and authors like Rupert Sheldrake and Matthew Fox have taken a more nuanced approach to understanding the hierarchy of angels. In this article, we will explore the hierarchy of angels as visualized by Aquinas, Von Bingen, and other ancient commentators. We will then compare and contrast these views with those of Sheldrake and Fox.

Thomas Aquinas and the Hierarchy of Angels

Thomas Aquinas was a theologian and philosopher who lived in the 13th century. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential Christian thinkers of all time. Aquinas believed in the existence of angels and saw them as a vital part of the divine order. He wrote extensively on the hierarchy of angels in his Summa Theologica.

Aquinas believed that there are nine orders of angels, each with a specific role to play in the divine order. The highest order of angels is the Seraphim, followed by the Cherubim, the Thrones, the Dominions, the Virtues, the Powers, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels. Each order of angels is ranked according to its level of closeness to God and its role in carrying out God’s will.

Hildegard Von Bingen and the Hierarchy of Angels

Hildegard Von Bingen was a German mystic who lived in the 12th century. She was a writer, composer, and visionary who had many mystical experiences throughout her life. Von Bingen believed in the existence of angels and wrote extensively about them in her writings.

Von Bingen’s view of the hierarchy of angels was similar to that of Aquinas. She believed that there are nine orders of angels, each with a specific role to play in the divine order. However, she did not use the same names for the orders of angels as Aquinas did. Von Bingen’s orders of angels were the Seraphim, the Cherubim, the Thrones, the Dominions, the Powers, the Virtues, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels.

Other Ancient Commentators

The idea of a hierarchy of angels is not unique to Aquinas and Von Bingen. Many other ancient commentators have written about the hierarchy of angels over the centuries. One such commentator was Dionysius the Areopagite, a Christian mystic who lived in the 5th century. Dionysius believed in the existence of nine orders of angels, which he called the Seraphim, the Cherubim, the Thrones, the Dominions, the Virtues, the Powers, the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels. His views on the hierarchy of angels were highly influential and were widely accepted by many medieval theologians.

Rupert Sheldrake and Matthew Fox

Rupert Sheldrake is a British biologist and author who has written extensively on spirituality and the supernatural. In his book “The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature,” Sheldrake argues that angels are not necessarily hierarchical beings. Instead, he suggests that angels are part of a larger spiritual ecosystem and that their roles and functions are determined by their interactions with other beings.

Matthew Fox is an American theologian and author who has written extensively on spirituality and ecology. In his book “The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine,” Fox suggests that the hierarchy of angels is a patriarchal construct that disregards the feminine aspects of spirituality. He argues that the traditional hierarchy of angels places too much emphasis on power and domination, and that a more balanced and holistic view of spirituality would include a recognition of the divine feminine.

Comparing and Contrasting the Views

The views of Aquinas, Von Bingen, and other ancient commentators on the hierarchy of angels are highly structured and hierarchical. They see angels as ordered beings with specific roles to play in the divine order. In contrast, the views of Sheldrake and Fox are more fluid and flexible. They see angels as part of a larger spiritual ecosystem, with their roles and functions determined by their interactions with other beings.

Another key difference between these views is the role of gender. The traditional hierarchy of angels is a patriarchal construct that places a great deal of emphasis on power and domination. Sheldrake and Fox suggest that a more balanced and holistic view of spirituality would include a recognition of the divine feminine. They argue that the traditional hierarchy of angels is too focused on the masculine aspects of spirituality and that a more inclusive view of spirituality would include a recognition of the feminine.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the hierarchy of angels has been a subject of fascination and wonder for centuries. Ancient commentators such as Aquinas and Von Bingen have written extensively about the hierarchy of angels, seeing them as ordered beings with specific roles to play in the divine order. In contrast, contemporary philosophers and authors like Sheldrake and Fox have taken a more nuanced approach to understanding the hierarchy of angels. They see angels as part of a larger spiritual ecosystem, with their roles and functions determined by their interactions with other beings. They also suggest that a more balanced and holistic view of spirituality would include a recognition of the divine feminine. Whether you see angels as highly structured and hierarchical beings or as part of a larger spiritual ecosystem, one thing is clear: they continue to fascinate and inspire us with their mysterious and wondrous nature.

References:

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1948.

Fox, Matthew. The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine. New World Library, 2010.

Sheldrake, Rupert. The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature. Vintage, 2012.

Von Bingen, Hildegard. Scivias. Translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, Paulist Press, 1990.

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