Why are angels depicted as humans with large white feathery wings, and when did this begin?

I have written many discourses on Angels which has been a fascination of man from the beginning. There are a number of ways to ask basically the same questions about Angels, which is why I limit the number of articles I write on the subject. Having said that, the most common image of an angel is essentially a human being with wings. This is not biblical. The Bible often presents angels as appearing as human beings. However, this does not indicate that angels in their essence resemble human beings.

Angels possess intelligence (Matthew 8:29; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 1:12), show emotion (Luke 2:13; James 2:19; Revelation 12:17), and exercise will (Luke 8:28-31; 2 Timothy 2:26; Jude 6). Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) without true physical bodies. Although they do not have physical bodies, they are still personalities.

Further, the Bible very rarely describes angels as having wings. However, there are definitely a few types of angels mentioned in the Bible that have wings: Cherubim (Exodus 25:20; Ezekiel 10) and Seraphim (Isaiah 6) to mention two. Cherubim and Seraphim are two types of angels, possibly the two highest orders of angels. So, this much is clear, some angels do have wings.

The Bible tells us that angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). The descriptions of the Cherubim in Ezekiel chapter 10 and the Seraphim in Isaiah chapter 6 are highly unusual. It is clear that Ezekiel and Isaiah were having trouble accurately describing the amazing visions they saw of heaven and the angels. As spirit beings, it is unclear as to why the angels would require wings. A spirit being does not need wings in order to fly. The angels are not bound by the laws of the physical universe.

So, do angels have wings? Yes, some angels do have wings. However, we should not limit what the angels can or cannot do based on our limited understanding of the wings some angels possess as described in the Bible.

Why Christians Believe What They Believe 

© Tony - W.A.M