Every time I step into a bookstore, especially a Bible bookstore or a New Age bookstore, I am overwhelmed with the sheer number of books on angels. Angels have a long and distinguished history in virtually every Eastern religion, including Judaism and Christianity. Angels are said to perform a myriad of tasks for their Divine, including message-bearing, judgment-rendering, and the like, but they often seem other-worldly and mythological in a world of rationalism. The question is then, are there really angels and do we have a guardian angel?
To begin with, it's pretty difficult to "prove" the existence of angels and other supernatural beings. For thousands of years theologians have been trying to "prove" God exists, while others have tried equally hard to "prove" there is no God but to no avail. Neither can claim a full and final victory. The existence/non-existence debate continues for each until moments after we pass on to the next realm.
But there are those who claim a higher knowledge regarding angels. These are the folks who claim to have met angels, spoken to angels, and/or whose lives have been affected by angels. Although it could be easy to dismiss these people as slightly touched, eccentric, or psychotic, the truth is, after speaking to some of these it's hard to discount their stories.
Like Father Tom Francis at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit near Conyers, Georgia. Fr. Tom Francis has written a booklet (available at the monastery bookstore) highlighting his beliefs and his experiences with his guardian angel. On a recent visit he shared with me one of his experiences from many years ago. While he was helping to build the present monastic facilities, he was pulled back from the edge of a high wall after he lost his balance and was beginning to fall. He told me that's when he knew he had a guardian angel. This account and many others are detailed in his booklet.
Now, it might be easy to dismiss his claims, except his story is like so many others I've heard from people both religious and non-religious.
So what's the Bible say about angels? Quite a lot. There are 296 occurrences of the word angel in the Bible, so the fact of angels is well attested by scripture. And angels aren't limited to either the Old or the New Testaments either the word occurs 114 times in the Old and 182 times in the New.
But as for guardian angels, there's only one verse that implies angels serve for such a purpose. Jesus, while speaking to a crowd says, "Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 18:10). From here is drawn the tradition and the promise of a guarding angel for each child. And at what age are we no longer considered children and so lose our guardian angel? I suppose whenever we stop being children of God which of course is never.
So are there angels and do we each have an angel who watches over us? Unfortunately, it can't be proven, but the evidence of experiences and the promise of scripture both say yes.