They say Heaven is forever, right? Once you get there you’ve won the race.
So, if you’re like me, you have often wondered why many of the angels were thrown out. If there is no sin in Heaven, why did the angels sin?
Turns out there is an interesting backstory to the creation of man. According to Catholic tradition, anyway (although you will find bits and pieces in Isaiah 14 as well as Revelation 12).
According to tradition, the reward for winning the fight here on earth is called the Beatific Vision i.e beholding the Face of God as He truly is. This occurrence leaves the soul in a state so sublime that it is in eternal ecstasy. This is also why the Seraphim (the winged beings that circle the Throne of God) are so in awe of What they are looking at that they forever, in an eternal blissful stupor, cry out to each other “Holy Holy Holy!”. In fact, it is suggested that their proximity to the Throne of God sets them ablaze and they are forever burning. The word “Seraphim” means “the burning ones” in Hebrew.
Therefore, a being in rapture – in ecstasy – cannot offend God, because it is eternally in awe of Him and eternally consumed by His glory. This is why tradition says when the angels were created, they did not behold the Beatific Vision immediately. Instead, God put them to the test.
It is said they were shown a vision of the future; a vision of the will of God for his creatures. In this vision, they saw that God would create creatures of flesh, a state lower than theirs, and at the head of these creatures He would create man, who would be fashioned in His own Image. It was then revealed to them that, in the fullness of time, the Eternal Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son of God Himself, would be born of a woman and become man, coming to earth in the role of Christ the King. In this way, not only would the angels have to worship man (since Christ would be man), but His mother would also become their queen by default ( Revelation 12).
This was, to put it mildly, an outrage to many of the angels. Lucifer, the most beautiful of them all (Isaiah 14) was incensed at this and saw himself unable, in all his splendour, to bow down to flesh. Ever. And so he rebelled. Rallying a third of the angels behind himself, he attempted to ascend the Throne of God and become God himself.
Needless to say, this was not very clever.
Another angel, rallying the other two thirds behind himself, cried out, “WHO IS LIKE GOD?”
The Hebrew phrase for this is Mi-kha-El?
He has since come to be known as the Archangel Michael.
Outnumbered and overpowered, Lucifer and his rebels were thrown out of Paradise and swiftly turned their incandescent fury towards the unfortunate human beings, a vicious lashing out that continues to this day.
The other angels were admitted into the Beatific Vision, and serve as a constant symbol of the ability to pass the test with a little objectivity and, above all, the tried, tested and ever resplendent virtue of humility.