Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_29

The word comes from the Greek angelos, a translation from the Hebrew mal’akh, meaning “messenger.” In the major Western religions, angels are ministering spirits and guardians of the supreme deity and serve as messengers and intermediaries between the divine and human realms. They act as extensions of the divine will, reveal divine truth, watch over the world, and guide souls to their postmortal destiny.

The motif of attendants upon the supreme deity who also serve as messengers and intermediaries between heaven and earth is widespread. In Chinese and Japanese religions, there are ministering spirits and divine messengers whose role is similar to those in the West. The ancient Mesopotamians depicted giant winged genies as divine ministrant and guardian spirits. In Zoroastrianism there are six spiritual entities that attend the chief deity. In Hinduism the angirisare the messengers between gods and men. The function of a Boddhisattva in Buddhism is comparable to that of an angel....

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  1. Margolies, M. B. (2000). A gathering of angels. Northvale: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacifica InstituteCarpinteriaUSA