In comment section on Dr. Marshall's blog I had an interesting conversation with a fellow we'll call "Joe." I thought I'd post my half of the conversation here (in the style of Lewis' Screwtape Letters or Kreeft's Letters to an Atheist - both of which you should immediately purchase and read if you haven't read them already):
Without further ado, and in honor of both Michaelmas and the Feast of the Guarding Angels occurring this week, here it is (I've numbered and titled my responses to provide easier reading):
1) How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?
Joe, who are the people who will tell us its important to know exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Did you know there is no evidence that any theologian has ever debated the this question? It was an insult developed to attack Scholasticism centuries after the height of the Scholastics. Although, if you think about it, it is a good question, isn't it? It basically asks "what is the relationship between non-material beings and the material world?" That is something very relevant to any discussion on the angels, even if it is a bit philosophical.
2) This Topic is Unimportant, Jesus Never Even Discussed it!
Joe, that Jesus didn't spend "ONE SECOND" on this topic is itself "highly speculative." We know many things Jesus did spend time on, but we don't know which topics He didn't.
But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (Jn 21:25)
3) How Do Angels, Who Lack Bodies, Battle One Another?
Facetiousness ill becomes you, Joe. How do non-material angels battle one another? With their minds. And no, this wasn't an "angel class warfare," we haven't fallen into some kind of Marxist Angelology, angels from all nine "choirs" defected to side with Satan, as did angels from all nine orders side with God.
4) St. Michael is Really Jesus According to 1 Thess 4:16.
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; (1 Thess 4:16)Joe, do you happen to be a Jehovahs Witness? 1 Thess 4:16 is only saying that the Second Coming will be heralded by an Archangel's cry and trumpet blast. In no sense does the text require Jesus to either be an archangel (or have the voice of an archangel) or to be playing a trumpet Himself. As a matter of fact, it would be rather odd for a Lord to be heralding himself. If you think back to the ancient world lords and kings would enter cities not themselves playing trumpets and crying out, but with their servants doing so. Such is the context assumed in 1 Thess. We can also look at the "First Coming" (aka The Nativity) to shed light on what we might expect of the Second Coming. If we look at the Gospel of Luke (2:8-14) we read,
Who heralds the coming of Jesus? Not His own voice, but that of angels. So to, as we learn in 1 Thess 4:16, angels will herald the Second Coming.
Besides, where do you make the leap from "an ARCH-ANGEL" to "Michael"? Do you believe Michael is the only archangel? If so, what do you make of Gabriel and Raphael? It would seem that even granting your interpretation of 1 Thess 4:16 still doesn't get us to your conclusion, that Jesus = Michael.
5) St. Michael is Really Jesus Because Only Jesus Can Raise the Dead.Joe, You'll note, I never said the voice of an archangel will raise the dead. 1 Thess 4:16 says that Christ's return will be accompanied by the cry of command, the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. It goes on to say the dead will rise, but that doesn't mean the archangel's voice is the cause of the rising of the dead any more than the trumpet of God is.
You didn't answer how you make the leap from "the voice of an archangel" to "the voice of Michael." "AN archangel" would suggest that there are others. If there was only one archangel wouldn't the text say with "THE archangel's voice?" If the only archangel was Jesus, why even bother mentioning "an archangel's voice?" Why not just say "with the voice of God?" Angels are clearly created spiritual beings, you are not a JW, are you an Arian? Do you think Jesus is created not begotten of the Father?
6) You are like the highly educated Nicodemus, I'm like the humble Woman at the Well.