This week’s question: “Do we become angels when we go to heaven?”
Here’s a great question that one of our younger members asked after Mass last Sunday. Like all questions kids ask, it’s a great question, it’s an important question, and it will be a pleasure to offer a brief response here – so, as always, thanks for asking!
The short answer to your question is: No, we do not become angels. We will always remain human beings – which means that (unlike angels) we have both a soul and a body. St. John says this: We are God’s children now. What we shall be has not yet been revealed; but we do know that when it is revealed, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
That ‘Him’, of course, is Jesus. Remember that after Jesus died, He rose from the dead after 3 days. He rose not as an angel (though there were angels present), but in His human body. He was seen, heard, and touched – in the flesh. He ate and drank with His disciples after He rose from the dead. Forty days later, He ascended to heaven in His human body.
So, since Jesus is the only one through whom we can be saved, He is also the way in which we are saved. When we go to heaven (and I earnestly pray that you and I are both headed there!), we can only go there as He did. Jesus didn’t become an angel, and neither will you or I. He remained Who He was and is – and so will you and I. That’s why, by the way, we show honor, respect, and concern for the bodies of our brothers and sisters – not only during their earthly life, but also after their death.
There were some important differences in His body, though, after His resurrection. Now His body could pass through locked doors, He could be present in multiple places at once, and of course, He is present outside of our normal experiences of time and space – in Heaven. What that will mean for you and I (as St. John would say) “has not yet been revealed”. But we can rest assured that we will not become someone nor something other than what we are: human.
The angels, on the other hand, have been angels since the beginning of creation, and they will always remain so. Your guardian angel wants you to join him one day in heaven – not changed into an angel, but as a human person finally and fully reflecting the glory of the image and likeness of God in which you were created. What a wonderful time that will be!
Thanks for another great question! And if you have any other thoughts or questions on this one, please share then through either our “Ask Father” bowl in your parish or our “Three Parish Catholic Family” Facebook page. May God bless you and your loved ones both now and in eternity!