Angels are neither created nor divine. They are emanated out of the Will of God, existing as modems between creation and the Divine so that communion between man and God is possible.
The above may be a possible analogy, but it is not entirely correct. A cosmic role in creation does not determine the substance contained within the being filling that cosmic role. Angelic being could possibly not be a substance to be described as in-between divine and created being. Emanated substance need not be part divine substance and part created substance. The “in between” description has the ring of anthropomorphism to it, which almost always leads to an incorrect conclusion. Emanated substance would be better defined as neither divine nor created, with some properties similar to the divine and some properties similar to the created, but with some aspects of emanated substance being entirely different from both. Emanated substance is different from both, and the difference could appear to be rather distinct, but they are not so different from both as divine is different from created. Emanated substance fits well with both, just as a slice of cheese fits well with a sandwich made of meat and bread, but we would never say the cheese is both bread and meat in concert.
There are some stark differences between created and emanated being. For one thing, humans are born, grow, and must learn to fill roles in their created existance. Angels come into being to immediately fulfill roles in relation to creation, and serve necessary purpose in creation as it unfolds. At the immediate moment of each angel’s origin, they know all they need to know relative to their roles in creation, and are immediately whole and mature. They can, and indeed do learn more and more as creation unfolds, but they do not begin their existence tabula rasa, which means “clean slate”. Humans are born essentially tabula rasa, and must learn everything they need in order to survive and flourish. Angels are never tabula rasa. Plus, angels have no will of their own, while humans have a will entirely free of instinct (which is the singular difference between humans and other animals). Angels are transmitters of God’s will to created beings, and transmitters of the prayers of created beings to God. But, they do not operate of their own will. It is their instinct to serve the will of God, and they cannot break free of it.
While angels clearly fulfill many necessary roles in the progression of the universe, the one critical role that concerns us here is as mediums of communion between divine and created mind. They are God’s cosmic modems. Kabbalism recognizes that not all angels are equal in their roles and abilities, thus in order to bridge the infinite gap between divine and created mind, numerous levels of angelic being seem to be the case. Some angels are very close to God in their roles, others very close to humans in their roles. These would be the highest and lowest levels of angelic communion, respectively. It is only logical that there would be several, if not many intermediary levels between angels having nigh-divine roles and angels having nigh-human roles. An infrastructure of communication, rather than a singular communicative converter. This infrstructure is called Sefirot. The society of angels act as mediums of communion between God and the created mind. In this respect, they are God’s living system of cosmic modems.
1. Cooper, Rabbi David A.; God is a Verb : Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism; Berkley Publishing Group of Penguin Putnam Inc., New York. 1997
2. Conway, Vizcountess Anne; The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy; edited by Peter Loptson; Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague; 1982. http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/conway/principles/principles.html
3. Manhar, Nurho; The Sepher Ha-Zohar (Book of Light); Edited by H.W. Percival; Theosophical Publishing Company, New York; 1914. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/zdm/zdm000.htm(Books II, XVII - XXIII)
4. Wescott, W.W.; Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Creation); 1887. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/yetzirah.htm
5. Kalish, Isidor, Phd.; Sepher Yezirah; L.H. Frank and Co., New York; 1877.
The vast, essentially infinite differences between created and divine substance could have posed a terrible problem if it were not for God’s infinite wisdom. Although we can infer enough about Divine being to abstractly discuss our ingrained idea of God, the mind and physical senses of created beings cannot grasp the absolute nature of God. Similarly, we cannot commune directly with God. This does not mean God could not commune directly with us. God certainly can do whatever God is moved to do. However, the infinite mind of God is so vastly different from created mind, that direct communion with us would make no sense to us. We could not possibly understand God’s message. I cannot read or speak Chinese, so reading written or hearing spoken Chinese would make no sense to me. I cannot possibly understand a message transmitted in Chinese. However, through the use of a translator, I could effect a conversation with someone from China. Even better, through the internet, I can communicate with anyone on-line in China because of the wonderful device called a modem, which will electronically effect the language translation for me. For man to commune with God, a type of spiritual system of translation is provided.
The problem the English-speaking societies have with communicating in Chinese pales in comparison with the problem we would have receiving direct transmission from God. Chinese is at least a human language, as is our native tongue of English, and there is necessarily some commonality of human communication relative to all languages. The individual letter sounds (monemes) and syllabic sounds (phonemes) are rather common to all spoken languages. In fact, American English has the largest number of phonemes of all languages now in the sum-total lexicon in the world. If we took the time, all english speakers could learn Chinese, and a human translator or computer modem would no longer be needed. However, human language and divine Logos (word) have literally nothing in common. No human could possibly learn God’s “language”. Yet, we all have a natural, ingrained idea of God. Even atheists, in their incessant denial of God’s existence, must have the idea of God in mind in order to effect the denial. We all have it. Plus we have God’s word; the Bible. Neither the idea of God nor the Bible would be part of our experience if God did not mean for us to have a mode of communion to bridge the infinite communicative gap between the divine and created minds. God will be known. Through God’s infinite wisdom, there is a cosmic realm that serves as a modem, providing a medium of communion between God and mankind; the Angels.
Angels are brought into existence by God, but not in the same way created substance has been brought into being. They are made whole, fully grown and completely functional at their moment of origin. They are not created. Neither are they divine, for divine being has no moment of origin. Some of the more powerful angels may seem divine from the perspective of the human mind, but no angel is truly divine. Rather, Angels are emanated directly out of the light of God through God’s will. Angels are made of emanated substance. Emanated substance is neither created nor divine. One might think that emanated substance can be understood as something in between divine and created, which is not far from the truth. In fact, this is precisely how 17th century Kabbalist Anne Conway describes angels, as existing between the divine and created and comprised of substance somewhere in between.
Created and divine substance are at least as different as night and day are different to the human eye. Both night and day contain light, but the levels of light are vastly different, so no-one would say that day and night are similar. However, between night and day, we have dusk, which serves as the transition between night and day. Dusk contains some elements of the night, and some elements of the day. Dusk nearer in time to the day would have the greatest amount of day in its make-up. Dusk nearest the night would have the greatest degree of night in its make-up. In the same way, Angels might be viewed as existing between divine and created substances, and their being is partly comparable to human and partly comparable to God, with those existing nearer to God having the greatest degree of divine and those nearest to creation itself having the greatest degree of created properties.