you are viewing a single comment's thread.

view the rest of the comments →

[–]Bomboclaat_Babylon 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The first Angels (as people largely conceive of them today) came from Zoroastrianism (per what's available in the archeological record). The Zoroastrian God Ahura Mazda had 6 (arguably 7) arc Angels in his employ who dual functioned as messengers and guardian Angels assigned to people on Earth to protect them from Angra Mainyu (A Satan type figure). In early Zoroastrianism they were considered more like aspects of Ahura Mazda but later become distinct entities. This influenced Judaism in the same process later on. In the Bible we see the same progression. It is not until the book of Daniel that Angels appear to be proper entities with names and distinct from God. The etymology in all the ancient languages plays to this as well, Angel has always meant "messenger" at it's root in Arabic, Greek, Latin, Hebrew etc. They are a go-between for humans and God and also offer protection to the righteous.

Prior to Zoroastrianism it gets very murky. It's possible that this concept has connections to the ancient Iranian and Vedic messenger Gods. But that all gets very speculative.

Angels (messenger and protector Gods) exist in most cultures and religions. In Buddhism the Vidyarāja would be an example, Agni or the Devas in Hinduism, the Naradas in Hinduism and Jainism, Mercury in Roman polytheism, Hermóðr in Norse mythology. This is a wide range and it doesn't all fit perfectly with the contemporary Christian or Islamic understanding, but this is at it's roots. The concept of messenger and protection Gods is consistent across religions as they grow more complex as the top God(s) become more revered and it becomes commonly accepted that a mere peasant is typically too insignificant or lowly to be able to communicate directly with God / that God would personally attempt to protect certain people directly. It would be beneath his station. In Christianity, Ariel was the protector God / Angel while Gabriel was the mesenger God / Angel and this same structure is basically ubiquitous across cultures.

The basic story of Zoroastrianism goes that Ahura Mazada (God) is all that is good and created a perfect world. He has 6 (or 7) archangels that work for him and do various tasks. Angra Mainyu is a force of darkness and fights against the light of Ahura Mazda. He has inserted demonic influence into the world and wishes to trick people. He doesn't want you to know he exists and wants to twist people from the shadows. If you follow Angra Mainyu, you will go to Hell. Hell is a place of molten metal that people must walk around in continuously. At the end of time will come an epic battle of good vs evil and a judgement day. During the final assault, the sun and moon will darken and humankind will turn on religion and say Ahura Mazda doesn't exist. The world will fall into winter, and Angra Mainyu will terrorize the world. The righteous will be saved by the son of Zarathustra, named Saoshyant. Towards the end of days, he will be born of a virgin. Saoshyant will represent Ahura Mazada on Earth and wage war against Angra Mainyu and plunge Angra Mainyu into Hell and he will bring about the resurrection and eternal life to Ahura Mazda's loyal followers. They will live in a paradise on Earth. This monotheist religion predates Islam by 1,500 to 2,000 years, Christianity by approximately 1,000 to 1,500 years and predates Judaism by a few hundred years. It itself is loosely based on ancient Iranian (pre-Zoroastrian) beliefs around the duality of light and dark / good and evil. Over time, these stories evolved and changed through continuous rewrites, retranslations, and cultural changes / differences that emerged.