The Disobedient Angel Gabriel
Angels throughout history have been shown to have vital roles in the relationship between humans and God. In different religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, angels are shown to be the attendants and/or guardians of man and heralds of God. The Bible illustrates that angels appear most of the time as ministers of God will, though they make seldom appearances, angels’ usually appear to reveal a forthcoming event (Briggs). One good example on this is when an angel is used to deliver the good news to Mary about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Through a message of an angel, Mary was able to know that she will be conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to the son of God. Though angels and demons are mainly in perceivable to human vision, artists often depict them as human beings with wings. Angels are argued to have no gender, therefore, most aesthetic interpretations, particularly on film, depict angels as androgynous beings. Theologians conversely argue that angels do not have any physical form and only manifest their presence by taking human appearance.
Angels are also said to believe like cherubim who only comes in head forms and has no body at all (Kreeft 23). Aesthetic interpretations with religious themes have varied over time. The product of human imagination has branched out to a more surrealistic state. From novels demoralizing the foundations of the Catholic Church to motion pictures concerning angels disobeying God, and devils aiding humans, these interpretations appear to have tendencies close to being blasphemic, if not, satanic. Nonetheless, it is important to scrutinize if such interpretations are reflections of personal belief or exercise of artistic license.
The Bible in many accounts suggest angels are messengers of God, their prominence are evidently read on the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Bible also mentions of there is a certain angelic division: for the good and the bad angels. The good angels frequently mentioned are Michael and Gabriel; evil angels meanwhile include Apollyon, Satan, and in some account Lucifer, who is believed to have once started an unsuccessful rebellion against God (Bamberger 23). In consideration to the aforementioned accounts, it is inevitable to ask, can angels disobey God?
Interpretations of a rebellious Gabriel have been portrayed in motion pictures such as Constantine and The Prophecy. Though the two are different in the manner of how the archangel is presented, both films show Gabriel’s angst over humanity. The two films show different expression of hatred but are similar in motive that is anger over God’s love toward humans. There are certain reasons why it has come to rebellion and disobedience of God’s will. In the motion picture Constantine, the protagonist speaks to a woman who goes by the name Gabriel (who happens to be the archangel) who rejects Constantine’s attempts to reconcile the angel with God.
Gabriel in the motion picture refuses to go back to God’s grace for the reason that she believes God’s innate goodness has some selfish undertones. Gabriel is also driven to rebel because of apparent envy over humans, that God gives them salvation with ease. In her anger, Gabriel pledges to infect humanity with hell’s corruption stating that salvation should only be given to the noble and heroic, and that only happens in the time of disaster and terror. The Prophecy meanwhile revolves around Gabriel doing every means necessary to end the angelic standoff war in heaven.
Gabriel’s anger in the movie concerns the fact that humans have souls and angels do not, as such, humans can easily escape damnation. Gabriel in turn rages out on humanity by going down to earth and attempting to capture a dark soul. Simon, one of the good angels is however a few steps ahead of Gabriel as Simon captures the soul first and hides it in the body of innocent little Mary. Gabrielle then confronts Simon regarding the dark soul’s whereabouts, but the latter only answered that he hid it somewhere.
Finally, Gabriel kills Simon by setting him on fire and ripping his heart out. This is one great sin against the will of God because taking away life from someone is indeed punishable and a clear manifestation of disobedience. The Prophecy and Constantine both disrupt the balance between heaven and hell or good and evil since primarily, angels and demons can wreak havoc without command from their respective superiors. In another note, the Bible and Christianity is focused on human obedience to the will of God and not on any unholy affairs.
The films also defeat the purpose of harmony between God and Man, in such a way that God’s entrusted attendants on earthly affairs become the very evil that they are fighting against. Angel Gabriel on both films appears as a very unsympathetic being, as if he is or was never a herald of God to begin with. Though the two depictions of Gabriel vary, in Constantine, Gabriel is androgynous while in The Prophecy, Gabriel is a male. The film has implications of blasphemy given the extra-biblical ideas applied in the motion picture.
In Constantine, the angel takes a human form; this however does not comply to any theological aspect since Gabriel in the film is genderless. In this regard, how can an angel assuming the figure of a woman be androgynous? Gabriel in Constantine and The Prophecy is also corrupted by envy and arrogance, primarily on her refusal to come back to God’s grace. Apart from the obvious, Gabriel also shows despise for humans due to the gift of salvation. Humanity is made by God to be imperfect beings; hence, it is natural for man to sin because of such imperfection.
Angels are supposed to be God’s messengers or man’s guide. In the Old Testament the expression “sons of God” always refers to angels (Job 1:6, 2:1; 38:7). However, the film Constantine suggests that Angels can simply go down from heaven and simply burst out their flaming emotions on the imperfect humans. Regardless if the movies’ versions of Gabriel are fictitious or products of wild imagination it clearly defies biblical regard of angels. It is true that the bible indicates the existence of dark angels but why would filmmakers depict one of God’s messengers in such a vile manner.
In the two films, the depiction of Gabriel is a good symptom that human imagination has crossed its limit. Furthermore, Gabriel, and angels generally serve as guardians, if they are to be portrayed in such an account, then there would no longer be a need for the term demons. Since angels can turn bad willingly, and raise hell on earth, the concept of angels is surpassed by depictions such as the ones in Constantine and the Prophecy. The depiction of Gabriel in Constantine and the Prophecy defies the very foundation that defines the scriptural concept of angels (Donner). Constantine and The prophecy are also satanic to some extent.
Primarily due to the films’ portrayal of Satan in Constantine, Satan is set apart from the conventional depiction of the devil, though his act in the motion picture is still motivated by his corruption. Constantine imparts Satan as a helper, instead of a doom bringer as he helps Constantine hinder his son Mammon from conquering and bringing hell on earth. The reason of Satan’s aid is based upon his greed of losing his power as the ruler and perpetrator of all evil. Upon learning of his son’s (Mammon) plot, Satan immediately sets aside all personal grudge and conflicts with Constantine to stop Mammon.
In spite of Satan’s motive, the motion picture ultimately illustrates Satan as a helper, thereby giving him an element where he could be praised. It is considerably confusing for a demon to do such way of helping others. Since the first thing to enter in our mind when we hear the word is Satan is that there is no capacity for him to do any good at all. More Satanism implications and provocations are in the film Constantine particularly in the scene when time stopped upon Constantine’s second commission of suicide, Constantine would have failed in his act of redemption without the help of Satan.
It seems the motion picture is explicating that Satan has a similar power to that of God. He can also make things possible according to his own power. The Prophecy also represents Satan in an unconventional manner, but Satan’s adversary in the film is through Gabriel. The motion picture illustrates Satan exerting efforts to save the world as the protagonist Thomas tries to stop Gabriel from bursting out his hatred of human beings thereby unleashing hell on the human realm. Satan also gives his ideas on how to defeat Gabriel in his devious plot of destruction.
In The Prophecy, though Satan is driven by a threat, he still helps Thomas. Satan helps Thomas to prevent Lucifer from employing his plan because another angelic revolution will unleash another hell, and that makes two hells. The concept of two hells will disrupt the balance of good and evil. More importantly, Gabriel’s plans will destroy all creation; his presence on earth is already trespassing on the human realm, since he has no message to deliver. Then he plans to create a path of destruction? Why not simply create a character based on the natural order?
It is clear that the makers of both films thrive for ingenuity by thinking of a concept that they think is original. However, they have failed to do so since they destroyed the true nature of an angel’s purpose. They also ruined the true nature of Satan by giving him a different tendency and making the latter choose a lesser evil. The devil in the Prophecy persuades Thomas to use Gabriel’s lack of faith against him. The reason given by Gabriel in starting a war is that God no longer speaks to him, while in Constantine, Gabriel refuses to reconcile with God because pride and envy.
The two conflict on their reasons but they still turned their backs on God. The Prophecy and Constantine is about a war concerning supernatural elements, in this case it is notable to feel the absence of God in both motion piheraldctures. The prophecy though has its implication on faith, specifically on the strategy the devil taught to the main character Thomas, it does not emphasize on God Himself. Constantine conversely insinuates God’s intervention, particularly on the scene where Constantine is saved by a light upon his second commission of suicide.
Constantine also gives reference to God as he is shown praying in one scene, though God’s name is never mentioned in the prayer. In The Prophecy meanwhile has no particular mention of God’s intervention on the angelic wars. The only remark on God in the Prophecy is on Gabriel’s explanation that God does not speak to him anymore. The film in this case is biased since it has its emphasis on the archangel Gabriel and Satan, but does not have any representation of God, even any account of God’s involvement in the motion picture’s plot.
In the motion pictures’ disregard for God, the film has managed to misunderstand God’s will. Mammon’s birth in the human realm requires to be willed by God, in this particular scenario, it appears that the film is insinuating that it is God’s will for Mammon to be born on this earth to start creating a hellish kingdom. It is furthered by the fact that Gabriel prevented such horror from not happening since he murdered Constantine’s assistant (Kramer) who is trying to stop Mammon’s earthly cross over from happening.
In Kramer’s act, it is confusing if it is a dilemma whether is a good deed to stop Mammon from crossing over or defiance to the arguable will of God. The two motion pictures gave out manifestations of Angel Gabriel in a different perspective. The stereotypical notion about him as an angel who always does good deeds and is ever faithful to God is changed by the films. Gabriel’s image form the bible is one who always helps in delivering the good news.
He is the angel entrusted to reveal to the Jewish Pharisee and Priest Zechariah that he will have a son (John the Baptist), He was also responsible for “The Annunciation” revealing the birth of Jesus to Mary and according to later legend, he is also the unidentified angel in the book of Revelation who blows out the horn to announce the Judgment day. However, The Prophecy and Constantine gave out a different version of Gabriel who counterattacks God for his own sets of reasons. This is done through the intercession of the devil. In the prophecy Gabriel looses his faith on Thomas and he also stated the reason for starting the war.
He felt useless because God no longer speaks to him. In Constantine, Gabriel’s pride and envy made it hard for him to have reconciliation with God. In any case, Constantine and the Prophecy have failed to acknowledge God by destroying the balance of good and evil, defeating the purpose of angels and demons, and giving a positive treatment of Satan. The films’ gaps on the true sense of angels and God’s will do not even concur to any perspective or belief that involves the two important elements. Moreover, the ambitious imaginative intents of the film only showed that human imagination have underlying satanic and tendencies of blasphemy.