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1. Creation of Heaven, the Invisible World.


In the beginning, before the creation of any of the visible world and of man, God created Heaven, that is, the spiritual, invisible world of the angels, out of nothing.

Angels are bodiless and immortal spirits, gifted with a mind, will and strength. God created an innumerable multitude of them. They differ among themselves according to degrees of perfection and types of service and are divided into a number of orders. The highest of these are called the seraphim, cherubim, and archangels.

All the angels were created good, so that they would love God and one another and might have from this life of love continual and great joy. God did not will to make them love Him by force, and, therefore He allowed the angels to decide for themselves whether or not they wished to love Him and live in God.

One, the highest and mightiest angel whose name was Lucifer, became proud of his might and power and did not wish to love God and fulfill the will of God, but desired to become like God. He began to whisper against God, to oppose Him, and he became a dark, evil spirit ó the Devil, Satan. The word "Devil" means "slanderer," and the word "Satan" means the "opposer" of God and all that is good. This evil spirit tempted and took with him many other angels who also became evil spirits and are called demons.

Then one of the highest archangels, Archangel Michael, came forth against Satan and said: "Who is equal to God? There is none like God!" There was a war in Heaven: Michael and his angels made war against Satan, and Satan and his demons made war against them.

However, evil power could not endure the angels of God, and Satan, together with his demons, fell like lightning down into the nether regions, Hades. "Hades," and "the nether regions," are names for the place of separation far from God, where the evil spirits now dwell. There they are tormented in their malice, beholding their powerlessness against God. All of them, because of their refusal to repent, have become so confirmed in evil that they can no longer be good. They strive by deceit and cunning to tempt every man, whispering false ideas and evil desires in order to bring him to damnation.

In this way evil appeared in Godís creation. By evil we mean all that is done contrary to the will of God, all that violates the will of God.

All the angels that remained faithful to God, dwelling from that time in unceasing love and joy, live with God, fulfilling the will of God.

They have been so confirmed in good and love of God that they can no longer in any way wish to do evil. Therefore are called holy angels. The word "angel" means "messenger." God sends them to make His will known to men; for this, the angels take on a visible human form.

God grants to every Christian a Guardian Angel at Baptism, an angel that invisibly guards a person during his entire earthly life and does not leave his soul even after death.

Note: This brief account of the creation of the heavenly-angelic world is based on the accounts in Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Orthodox Church.

A detailed account of the life of the angelic world was set forth by St. Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of St. Paul and first bishop of Athens, in his book, The Heavenly Hierarchy, which was written on the basis of all the places in the Holy Scriptures that speak of the angels.

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