Angels Dancing on a Pin

How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” (alternatively “How many angels can stand on the point of a pin?” [1]) is a reductio ad absurdum challenge to medieval scholasticism in general, and its angelology in particular, as represented by figures such as Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas. [2][3] It is first recorded in the 17th century, in the context of Protestant apologetics. It also has been linked to the fall of Constantinople, with the imagery of scholars debating while the Turks besieged the city.

In modern usage, the term has lost its theological context and is used as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value, or questions whose answers hold no intellectual consequence, while more urgent concerns accumulate.” ~Wikipedia

Here we have a question which is a little silly on the surface yet it grabs attention, and we find references to it in the 13th, 17th, and 21st centuries. What is the question behind the question that has people coming back to it? At heart is a question about the relationship between the nonmaterial world of the spirit and physical matter and form. As we hop four centuries from one reference to another, we find different approaches to the relationship between the three.

There is no evidence that Thomas Aquinas considered this particular question about angels, but he was a university professor in the 13th century who posited similar questions to his students to stimulate logical analysis of ideas. As a young man, he became interested in the Greek philosophers who were being newly translated at the time. He was an advocate of Aristotle’s methods of the application of logical analysis in the development of philosophical and theological ideas. In our scientific era we take this analytic approach for granted, but in the 13th century it was a revolutionary idea. Aquinas does consider a related question in one of his articles on angels. He asks if multiple angels who are nonmaterial intelligences can occupy the same space at the same time. The question is not if they would displace each other, but to state it in 21st century words, if nonmaterial beings outside the 3rd dimensional time-space continuum can be located within a specific space. Aquinas in other writings questions the relationship between spirit, matter, and form by asking if the soul contains the form that controls the shape of the physical matter of the body. If we replace the word “soul” with “light body” or “field,” this becomes an interesting question.

The elements of “dancing” and “pins” or “needles” are introduced into this old question about angles in the 17th century by Protestants who were objecting to the endless theological debates that carried forward in the Church from the followers of Aquinas. But this was not the central thrust of their objection. Unlike Aquinas, they believed that spiritual beings must be located within space in order to act in space. They believed that space itself was nonmaterial and infinitely extended, and that God was an infinite being who was extended in space.

When we look for contemporary references to our angel question, we find Stephen Hicks, a professor of Philosophy, stating the question on his website  and proposing three possible answers for consideration and comment:

  1. An infinite number because angels are spiritual beings;
  2. None because it would be a physical activity and angels are not physical;
  3. The question is blasphemous and obscene because angels would not stoop to a lewd and lascivious activity such as dancing.

Hicks reminds us of Aquinas in that he is challenging his readers and students to think about the nature of nonmaterial spiritual beings and their relationship to space-time. It is clear that Hicks would consider either answer 1 or 2 as possible answers if defended logically. Number 3, however, is a non-sequitur, or cannot be concluded by logical deduction from the stated information. This is a matter of logic, not belief. The angel question is also like one of those Zen Koans intended to make you think outside the box, not just a theological question.

Gene Savoy, Sr., founder of Cosolargy, said in one of his lectures that the answer to this question is: “All of them, all the Angels could dance on the head of a pin.” Because angels are spiritual beings, and therefore exist outside the limits of space, they can appear and act within space-time and all of them can occupy the same space simultaneously. As far as that goes, an infinite number of angels could dance on a needle’s point. The size of the object doesn’t matter. The point of a needle or the Seattle Space Needle, it makes no difference.

There is one more 21st century reference to this question to mention. It comes from a satirical paper published at Harvard University. Remembering that the angel question calls into question the three elements — Spirit, Matter and Form — this fun article examines the question as they calculate the quantum gravity of angels. Remember that quantum mechanics tells us that matter at the subatomic level is wave potential. It makes a fun read.

In reading about the angel question it appears that in all three of our time frames people are speculating about angels without direct experience. They have read scripture and the Greek philosophers and analyzed the possible nature of angelic beings. And when it comes to the appearance of angels we find more opinions and speculation. In the many medieval and renaissance paintings the convention followed is to depict angels with wings to identify them, but I have not encountered a description of personal encounters with angelic beings that describe them in that way.

The Man awoke from a sound sleep to discover the room flooded with brilliant white Light. Sitting upright in bed, he stared at the center of the brilliance; though brighter than the noon-day sun, it did not hurt his eyes. It was not an earthly light, rather a luminosity from some heavenly realm.

As his eyes became accustomed to the radiance, he distinguished four illuminated faces forming as a vision with features so smooth and flawless they might have been formed of polished gold. They gazed upon him with iridescent eyes Their attitude was serene and compassionate, and, though they seemed to be smiling, The Man never saw their lips move; nor did they speak. …” — Jamil: Child of Light, p. 22

In reading this description written by Gene Savoy, Sr. there can be no doubt that it describes a personal encounter with angelic beings. In this description we have learned more about the nature of angelic beings than we did from the examinations of their possible density. So if their density is the density of light, we should ask about their origin.

Our studies have shown that man is a descendant of higher light forms or light beings, angels, if you prefer.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.

Our interest in angels can easily be explained when we understand that we are descended from light beings, or angels. It is also understandable as an aspect of our drive to understand our spiritual nature. As we read sacred texts from various religious traditions we find descriptions of communicating with angels.

The average person is unfamiliar with the secret practice of the old Essene priests and what they were doing just as we have lost the knowledge of what the Maya priests, the pre-Maya the pre-Inca and the pre-Aztec people were doing in the Americas. … And these priests possessed a highly sophisticated spiritual technology that put them in contact with energies beyond the physical world. And it would seem, gave them knowledge of the languages of these beings and the language used by the angelic host.” ~Gene Savoy. Sr.

The ancient Essenes (the sect that nurtured Jesus) could communicate with angels. They practiced spiritual development techniques that were similar to what we do in Cosolargy. Angels operate at higher frequencies, higher levels of Consciousness than we do. To communicate with them, we need to raise our consciousness and frequencies. To do that takes energy, especially the energy of the Spiritual Sun. Cosolargy teaches a spiritual system which will allow you to raise your consciousness. To truly understand the nature of the spiritual worlds, one must experience contact with those worlds. We invite you to participate in the System of Cosolargy, which will allow you to experience that world. Start with a Light Body Profile, and we will be happy to talk to you about the next step.

column]