My students often ask me, "When were the angels created?" Also, "When did Lucifer fall?"
Here's the order of the days in Genesis:
- Waters (Skies and Seas)
- Earth and Vegetation
- Sun, Moon, Stars
- Fish and Birds
- Beasts and Man
- God rested
Where do the angels fit in? This is not a new question. For example, Saint Augustine addresses this very question in his City of God Book 11, Chapter 9:
When all things, which are recorded to have been completed in six days, were created and arranged, how should the angels be omitted, as if they were not among the works of God, from which on the seventh day He rested?
Then he supplies the answer:
For when God said, "Let there be light, and there was light," if we are justified in understanding in this light the creation of the angels, then certainly they were created partakers of the eternal light which is the unchangeable Wisdom of God, by which all things were made, and whom we call the only-begotten Son of God; so that they, being illumined by the Light that created them, might themselves become light and be called "Day," in participation of that unchangeable Light and Day which is the Word of God, by whom both themselves and all else were made.
So when God said, "Let there be light," the angels came into existence. This answers the common objection: "How could there be 'light' on the first day if the sun and stars didn't exist till the fourth day? The right answer is that the light was that of the angels.
And when did the evil angels fall from grace? Saint Augustine also says that the fall of angels fell on the first day. This is what is meant by:
God divided the light from the darkness; and God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.
Later in Chapter 19, Saint Augustine writes:
But between that light, which is the holy company of the angels spiritually radiant with the illumination of the truth, and that opposing darkness, which is the noisome foulness of the spiritual condition of those angels who are turned away from the light of righteousness, only He Himself could divide, from whom their wickedness (not of nature, but of will), while yet it was future, could not be hidden or uncertain.
So the creation of angels (light) and the fall of Lucifer and the demons (division of darkness from light) occurred on the first day.
Saint Michael all All Angels, pray for us.
Happy Michaelmas, everyone!