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By Hans Boersma, First Things, 8 . 3 . 21
Hans Boersma is the Saint Benedict Servants of Christ Professor in Ascetical Theology at Nashotah House Theological Seminary.
Do angels eat? Scripture says they do. “Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance” (Ps. 78:25). “Thou didst give thy people food of angels” (Wis. 16:20). It’s puzzling to think that angels eat.
The notion of angelic food (panis angelicus) invites the question of the angelic diet. What do angels eat? The answer is not straightforward. Both passages above refer back to the exodus, when God rained bread from heaven (Exod. 16:4). Angels eat manna, we might say.
But this tells us little if we do not know what manna is. Scripture speaks of it as “a fine, flake-like thing, fine as hoarfrost” (16:14), like coriander seed, looking like bdellium (Num. 11:7). (I hope you’re as relieved as I am that Study Bibles dutifully explain that bdellium is a pale, yellow resin.) According to Exodus its color is white, and it tastes like honey wafers (Exod. 16:31). …