Does God Have Wings?

22 November 2012, 11:33

Reading the Psalms, time and again I run across references to the wings of God.

Worship Before Throne Of God

Most famously,

He shall cover you with his feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge…
(Psalm 91:4)

Also from the Psalms

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your Wings…
(Psalm 17:8)

Therefore the children of men must their trust under the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 36:7)

And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge,
Until these calamities have passed by.
(Psalm 57:1)

I will trust in the shelter of your wings. (Psalm 61:4)

Because you have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. (Psalm 63:7)

And also very famously,

But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings… (Malachi 4:2)

To understand the imagery, it is not only God who has wings, but also the wind upon which God rides that has wings.

And He rode upon a cherub, and flew;
He flew upon the wings of the wind. (Psalm 18:10)

Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind… (Psalm 104:3)

What is at work here has been referenced by Frank Shaeffer (Why Evangelical Bible Idolatry Sucks). Evangelical Christians, and all of their decedent factions, are given to the worship of scripture as wholly perfect, infallible, and literal, trusting their own translation of scripture more than they trust the living God who speaks.

For hard-line Evangelicals, the parts of scripture that are difficult to comprehend are ignored, or have attached to them hermeneutics that reveal the heretical nature and gnostic underwriting of this branch of Christianity. Having grown up in a non-denominational Evangelical/Charismatic/Pentecostal culture, there are still vestiges of this heresy in my thinking, and I have to search them out and remove them one by one.

Through the mystery of Holy Communion, we exist in Christ and Christ exists in us. We are connected to the Body, One Body of Christ. It is this connection that saves us from the error of heresy and the deception of gnosticism. Scripture is our road map, and when scripture is difficult to understand, Orthodox Theology – i.e. the writings of the Church Fathers – that shows the correct way.

The answer to the question of whether God has wings is first and foremost that Scripture is spiritual, and is a description of spiritual realities using the language of physical reality.

The blogger Roger Pearse puts it this way:

The scriptures are inspired, but Jesus told parables, so that human beings could understand profound truths, and God uses this poetic language similarly, not to reveal that He has wings (!) but to teach us things not otherwise easy to express in human language.

Bishop ANTHONY of the Antiochian Archdiocese points us to the writings of St. Macarius the Great (295-392 A.D.):

“When God created Adam He did not give him bodily wings like the birds, but prepared for him in advance the wings of the Holy Spirit – the wings He desires to give him in the Resurrection to lift him up and carry him wherever the Spirit wishes.”

The wings ascribed to God that we find throughout scripture are a description of the work of the Holy Spirit, especially the description we find in St John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:13-14):

Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted that woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place…

Shannon Ware

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