Sunday, November 14, 2010

Angel Dust

The other day, I was thinking about angels. Don't ask me why. But it struck me that, like the idea of prayer or free will, their existence is incompatible with the concept of an all-powerful, all-knowing (and, in the case of prayer and free will, loving) god.

So what's the deal? If there's such a thing as a guardian angel, what must we infer? That god subcontracts? That he can't keep up with it all himself? Do angels have license to operate independently? Either they're a redundancy, unnecessary actors between the all-powerful and his subjects, or god is not fully capable him/her/it/themself. Right? How could it be otherwise?

The proverbial piano falls off the tenth floor, narrowly missing you as you turn away to sneeze. "My guardian angel was with me that day," you say. So what, exactly, was the transaction?

Let's ignore asking why the piano fell in the first place, because that in itself raises a blogload of questions. It happened, okay? Angel had stuff on her mind, god was playing bingo at the church, making the wide receiver drop the ball. Your call. Anyhow, if it missed you because of the angel, did she just act on her own? You'd think that'd be a little risky, because, you know, if god airborned the ivories and she nullified the play, there go the wings. One must assume.

Maybe there's a daily schedule, an RSS feed, of godly interventions, and the piano wasn't on it, so the angel was good to go. But that brings it back to the independent contractor thing. It must not have been god's plan, because how could a mere angel overrule god? But if it wasn't his plan, and angelic intervention handled it, then god can't possibly be all-knowing or all-powerful. He has a clean up crew for his oversights? (Not that we all couldn't use one, so far be it from me...) Or could the angel have h-mailed god to get the okay? I mean, we have to assume it couldn't go down (or go down) if he were against it. But then what was the point of having the angel hanging around? Seraphim ain't stopping sailing Steinways if god isn't in on it, right? Unless he's, well, in his dodderage. Checked out. Error-prone. Is there astral amyloid? Are angels god's Nancy Reagan?

Well, I guess there's a choice to make, belief-wise: active angels, or omni-omni god.

Of course, it's pretty obvious there's no way there's an all-powerful and all-knowing god. Not a loving one, anyway. Not in this world.

I'm going with angels. Got one on my shoulder right now.


  1. Sid, Sid, Sid, for a second I thought I'd found another Juice Newton fan...
    Seriously, its like if "Abba" had a Country Bumpkin cousin..
    and your really missin out if you haven't heard "Queen of Hearts", Juice's hit from 81'and I know you have trouble with the Youtubes and Googles, so to make it easy, just click the mouse on me, and I'll post it on my blog..
    Umm probably not till tomorrow, I'm not so fast with the Youtubes myself...


  2. I think the ABBA comparison is a good one. Hadn't thought of it. And I liked Queen of Hearts back then, too.

  3. Juice Newton was pretty much the house band at a bar & grill in Burbank when I moved there in the early '70s. Back before I decided not to put the children of a podiatrist and an orthopedist through college, I used to go distance running with her drummer. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    The place where the bar once stood is now the parking lot of an El Torito.

  4. Speaking of angels, my mom (age 92) firmly believes she has a guardian angel who has looked out for her through good times and bad, making the bad mostly turn out good in the end after all. And speaking of moms, that was a lovely tribute to your own in your last post.

  5. I think mom's are angels in training. They always know how to make things better. I am sad for your loss, she really was beautiful. I bet those wings look great on her. I wish I had some pie.

  6. Your Mom will always live in your heart and mind.

  7. I have always felt the presence of my ultra wonderful father in my life after he died suddenly, vigorous at 90 when I was 60. "On my shoulder" not quite, but with me...always. I hear the little whisper: "don't do that" or "great job, son"...all voices from our past. Angel or fantasy, I don't know, but it is comforting beyond belief during times of trouble. And perhaps Angels, wherever they come from, don't always have to save our lives...just perhaps, they know a little more than we do about what's next.


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