Thursday, June 28, 2012

Angel Tech


The word “angel” literally means “messenger,” both in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek text of the Christian Bible. Angels, messengers from God, are shown in Scripture as, well…delivering messages (big surprise, right?). As in the two angels that deliver the message to Lot that NOW might be a good time to leave the soon-to-be-destroyed city of Sodom, or the angel who announced the coming births of Jesus and John the Baptist (Gabriel in Luke 1).

But angels in the Bible don’t just constitute the heavenly equivalent of email, at various times they protected people or provided food or did a variety of other things. Definitely they’re shown as having supernatural power—for example, the messengers in my examples above also struck men blind and performed what appears to be teleportation in the case of Lot’s angels or made Zachariah mute until the birth of his son John in the gospel of Luke chapter 1.

Technology we associate with the power of nature and rightly so. By studying nature and the flow of electrons across the element silicon, human beings invented computer chips, which eventually got reduced in size and increased in capacity though the study of nature to provide the computing power behind, say, a cell phone. Likewise scientific study lead to an understanding of the radio waves that allow a cell phone communicate with the world outside itself.

Supernatural beings humans routinely think of as having power beyond what nature can provide, and so not wanting or needing technology. But hold the phone (so to speak), are we entirely certain that’s the case with angels? I mean clearly an omnipotent God has no need of technology (why use a signaling device when Your inherent nature allows You to talk to anyone at any time?), but angels, while portrayed as powerful, are not portrayed as omnipotent. They very much are shown as occupying one place at a time and wearing at least one thing that if you think about it, for human beings anyway, is a product of technology—clothing.

As a story idea, not saying it is actually so at all, but what if there were a story in which angels have developed and use their own form of technology? Their tech could be as firmly based in nature ours, but would be uber-better, since they’d really get their gadgets to work right and would do it all, you can be sure, with a zero-carbon footprint…;) Or perhaps their technology could harness physical properties of dimensions beyond our own (please see my post on Angels in Other Dimensions.) What to us would appear to be supernatural would in fact be based in natural properties of a complex universe, one far more complex that what our limited experience of it would allow us to perceive. Or study.

So as a story idea, what if some random person found what was in fact an angelic cell phone? A call comes in for an assignment—what would that assignment be? How would the person respond? Would it be an accident at all that the phone had been “lost”?

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2 comments:

  1. Read this... automatically thought of Angels with blasters... I know it'd be a little bit more elegant than that, but that was my silly initial response.

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  2. I hadn't actually thought of blasters specifically...nice!

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