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angel and also demon, demon additionally spelled daemon, respectively, any type of benevolent or malevolent spiritual being the mediates between the transcendent and temporal realms.

Throughout the background of religions, varying kinds and also degrees of beliefs have exist in assorted spiritual beings, powers, and principles that mediate in between the realm of the spiritual or holy—i.e., the transcendent realm—and the profane kingdom of time, space, and cause and also effect. Such spiritual beings, once regarded together benevolent, room usually referred to as angels in Judaism, Christianity, and also Islam, and those viewed as malevolent are termed demons. In other traditions, such intermediate us are less categorical, for they may be benevolent in some circumstances and malevolent in others.

Nature and also significance

Angels

The term angel, i m sorry is derived from the Greek word angelos, is the tantamount of the Hebrew word mal’akh, definition “messenger.” The literal meaning of words angel hence points more toward the function or standing of such beings in a cosmic hierarchy rather than toward connotations of essence or nature, which have been prominent in well-known piety, specifically in west religions. Thus, angels have their significance mainly in what they execute rather than in what castle are. Whatever essence or natural nature they own is in terms of their connection to their source (God, or the can be fried being). Since of the west iconography (the device of picture symbols) that angels, however, they have actually been granted vital identities that frequently surpass their practical relationships to the sacred or holy and their performative relationships to the profane world. In other words, popular piety, feeding on graphic and symbolic depictions of angels, needs to some degree posited semidivine or even magnificent status come angelic figures. Though such occurrences are not generally sanctioned doctrinally or theologically, some angelic figures, such as Mithra (a Persian god that in Zoroastrianism came to be an angelic mediator between heaven and earth and judge and also preserver that the produced world), have completed semidivine or magnificent status through their own cults.

In Zoroastrianism there was a id in the amesha spentas, the divine or bounteous immortals, who were functional aspects or entities of Ahura Mazdā, the way Lord. Among the amesha spentas, Vohu Manah (Good Mind), revealed to the Iranian prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster; passed away c. 551 bce) the true God, his nature, and also a kind of moral covenant, which human beings may accept and also obey or reject and also disobey. In a similar manner, around 1,200 year later, the archangel Gabriel revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (5th–6th century ce) the Qurʾān (the holy publication of Islam) and also the true God (Allah), his oneness, and also the ethical and cultic needs of Islam. The epithets used to describe Gabriel, the messenger of God—“the soul of holiness” and also “the faithful spirit”—are similar to those used to the amesha spentas the Zoroastrianism and to the holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, and also Holy Spirit), in Christianity. In this monotheistic religious beliefs (though Zoroastrianism later became dualistic) as also in Judaism, the functional characteristics of angels space more plainly enunciated 보다 their ontological (or nature that being) characteristics—except in the numerous instances in which well-known piety and legend have glossed over the functional aspects.


Various religions, consisting of those the nonliterate cultures, have beliefs in intermediary beings in between the sacred and profane realms, but the belief is most fully elaborated in religions of the West.

Demons

The hatchet demon is acquired from the Greek word daimōn, which method a “supernatural being” or “spirit.” though it has commonly been linked with an evil or malevolent spirit, the term originally meant a spiritual gift that affected a person’s character. An agathos daimōn (“good spirit”), because that example, was benevolent in its connection to humans. The Greek theorist Socrates, because that example, speak of his daimōn as a heart that influenced him to seek and also speak the truth. The term slowly was used to the lesser spirits of the mythological realm who exerted pressures on humans to perform actions that were not conducive to their well-being. The dominant interpretation has actually been weighted in favour of malevolence and also that i beg your pardon forbodes evil, misfortune, and also mischief.


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Ravana, the many-headed demon-king, detail from a painting of the Ramayana, c. 1720; in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

In religions of nonliterate peoples, spiritual beings may be viewed as either malevolent or benevolent according to the circumstances facing the individual or community. Thus, the usual category that locations demons among malevolent us is not completely applicable in reference to this religions.

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The location of spiritual us or entities regarded as benevolent or malevolent may in the food of time it is in reversed. Such has been the case in the ancient Indo-Iranian religion, indigenous which evolved beforehand Zoroastrianism and also the early Hinduism reflect in the Vedas (ancient Aryan hymns). In Zoroastrianism the daevas were viewed as malevolent beings, but their counterparts, the devas in ancient Hinduism, were viewed as gods. The ahuras that Zoroastrianism were good “lords,” yet in Hinduism their counterparts, the asuras, were transformed into evil lords. In a similar manner, Satan, the prosecutor of humans in the court of oh my gosh justice in the publication of Job, became the chief antagonist the Christ in Christianity and of mankind in Islam. Many similar transformations indicate that the sharp distinctions made between angels together benevolent and demons as malevolent may be as well simplistic, however useful such designations may be as indicators of the general attributes of such spiritual beings.