When people are trying to comfort someone who's grieving, they sometimes say that the deceased person could be an angel in heaven now. If a loved one has died suddenly, people may even say that God must have needed another angel in heaven, so that must be why the person passed away. These comments that well-meaning people often make imply that people turning into angels is possible.
But can people really become angels after they die?
Some faiths say that people can't become angels, while other faiths say that it is indeed possible for people to turn into angels.
Muslims believe that people never turn into angels after they die, since angels are entirely different from people. God created angels from light before he created humans, Islamic doctrine declares. The Qur'an reveals that God created the angels separately from humans when it describes God speaking to the angels about his intention to create people in Al Baqarah 2:30 of the Qur'an.
Jewish people also believe that angels are separate beings from humans and the Talmud in Genesis Rabbah 8:5 mentions that angels were created before people and even tried to convince God that he shouldn't create people who were capable of sinning. What happens to people when they die? Some Jews believe that people are resurrected in heaven, while some believe that people are reincarnated for multiple lifetimes on earth.
Christians view angels and people as completely different entities, as well. Psalm 8:4-5 of the Bible declares that God has made human beings "a little lower than the angels" and the Bible says in Hebrews 12:22-23 that two separate groups meet people when they die: angels, and the "spirits of the righteous made perfect," indicating that humans retain their own spirits after death rather than turning into angels.
Hindus believe in angelic beings called devas that may have once been humans in previous lives, before evolving through many states of consciousness to reach their divine state. So Hinduism says that it is possible for people to turn into angels in the sense that humans can be reincarnated to higher spiritual planes and eventually attain what the Bhavagad Gita 2:72 calls the goal of all human life, becoming "one with the Supreme."
Mormons declare that people definitely can turn into angels in heaven. They believe that the Book of Mormon was dictated by the angel Moroni, who was once a human being but became an angel after he died. Mormons also believe that the first human being, Adam, is now the archangel Michael, and that the Old Testament figure Noah who built the famous ark is now the archangel Gabriel. Sometimes Mormon scripture refers to angels as holy people, such as Alma 10:9 from the Book of Mormon.
Do you believe that it's possible for people to become angels? Visit our forum to discuss people turning into angels, or email a brief story about a time when you encountered an angel to: firstname.lastname@example.org (please include the story in the email text rather than as an attachment).