Answer by John Mackay
The Bible reveals several things about Angels: we know the names of some such as Gabriel (Luke 1:19); they are ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:13-14); and they appear before God (Job 1:6); Satan can appear with them; (Job 1:6) Satan can imitate good Angels; (2 Cor 11:14) and Satan has a following of fallen Angels (Rev 12:9), but the Bible never states when angels were created.
One clue to the answer comes from information in the book of Job (38:4-7), that all the sons of God were rejoicing when God “laid the foundations of the earth”. The term “sons of God” is only ever used for that which is a special creation of God. Adam was one, the angels are Ben Elohim (sons of God) and anyone who becomes a Christian becomes a son of God when we are recreated in God’s image (John 1:12, Rom 8:14)). Since neither Adam nor we were present at the “foundation of the earth” the reference in Job is to angels. But we do know God made Adam on the sixth day, and we usually know when we become a Christian, so why is there virtually no information on when He made Angels?
Perhaps the easiest way of dealing with this issue is to find why God doesn’t bother to tell us directly. It has to do with the differences in the states of man vs. angels vs. the eternal God. Let’s separate that into three categories and deal with them one at a time.
Mankind had no existence before Adam was made on day six, and since the coming of sin man has sadly experienced death, so the passing of time to us is of extreme significance. Each of us as Adam’s descendant had a specific start when we were born, and all of us have a definite end on planet earth when we die. Time is a crucial aspect of our lives. Birthdays matter. Age shows. Time and death claim us all.
Now let’s move up one step to angels. They are definitely created beings. They had a created start. They are not eternal in the same way God is eternal. But being spirits they have no terminal end. So when we ask what did the Archangel Gabriel do for his last birthday it is a meaningless question. Even the fallen ones, who are eternally judged in the hell (which has been prepared for the devil and his angels), remain spirits. When you have a start but not an end, time becomes of much less significance. Let’s illustrate it another way. When a Christians die and enter eternity with Jesus where they will never die again, then even after being there ten thousand years, (as converted slave trader John Newton wrote), they will still have every reason to give Jesus praise, but nobody will bother with their 10 thousand and 1st birthday. Time will have become insignificant.
Lastly, when we move up to God’s level, He reveals himself as having had neither a start nor a finish. He is outside of the entity He created called time. He is uncreated. He has neither beginning nor end of days. That’s the reason for God’s reply in Exodus 3 when Moses asks “Who shall I tell my fellow Israelites is giving me the task of leading them out of Egypt?” Moses was told; “Tell them I AM has sent you.” This is a very clever word play on the name Jehovah matching it with ‘chavah’ meaning to live, as well as ‘havah’ the ‘verb to be’; so that Gods name is revealed as a statement that He ‘always is’- it’s a present tense declaration that God’s existence is outside of time. You see it again in Jesus’ reply to Jewish religious leaders; “Before Abraham was I AM!” And they took up stones to kill him for blasphemy. (John 8:58) It’s also why Jesus prays that he be restored to the same glory He had with the Father before time began. (John 17:5)
In summary: We humans are confined within time. The angels were only confined by the start of time, and God the Creator of time is totally unconfined or defined by any aspect of time. So in practical terms, even though the Angels are revealed as being present on the first day earth was made, how long they had existed, is simply not computable on our system of measuring time. Likewise we are never told when Satan fell, because if you put his fall before the first created day, then you can ask the question, but it has no meaningful answer within our current system. But to throw in an interesting finishing thought: maybe Satan’s fall was what happened when he tempted Eve?.
Related Question: if God made everything, where did God come from? Answer here.
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