Browse By Person
Coptic Orthodox Church
It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Coptic Orthodox Church
The Four Incorporeal Creatures
edited December 1969
Coptic Orthodox Church
Does anyone have our exact view on them?
like any sites or documents...
I mean do we view them as real creatures as the Angels or do they reprsetn something?
Yes they are real creatures and they carry the throne of God, one has the face of a lion, one has the face of an eagle, one the face of a calf, and the last has a face of a human. each interceding on our behalf and for the sake of the agriculture and sustaining the cattle. this is a very brief explanation of it, i'm sure others can add greater depth to what i just said.
a lion, eagle and calf intercede on our behalf?????????
see what i mean
like i hate to say this cuz its anti-christian but isn't this mythical? like is their evidance in the Bible?
i was thinking maybe they were symbols that represent one of the Gospel Authors cuz there always next to them?
No they are real creatures, in an icon you can see them literally carrying the throne of God, we would not ask for their intercessions if we did not believe they were real in the doxologies. Here is a pic.
as well here is the link to the doxologies
it is the 4th verse this wasn't the exact pic i was looking for but it is similar
I understood that it was said that the four incorporeal creatures are a rank of heavenly hosts. Their description: "the first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle" (Rev 4:7), was the attempt of St John to convey what he saw in the spiritual vision in the limited language we have that is so easily surpassed by these heavenly visions.
Thus he may not have been indicating the presence of a heavenly ox, eagle etc, but rather by described as a certain animal is symbolic for the characteristics they have.
As way of example, the lion may symbolise royalty, kingship, strength, authority, and since this creature is bearing the throne of One higher than him (the creature), the One seated on the throne must be the Lord of all Authority and King of kings. The ox may symbolise an acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins (OT) and since this creature is carrying the throne of One higher than himself, He must be the Purest sacrifice for the forgiveness of all sin. The eagle used to describe soaring to heights, shows the the One whose throne he bears, has Divinity beyond and higher than that which may be comprehended. And the creature descibed as a man, may symbolise the rational spirit that was put in him. Therefore, how much higher and perfect in understanding, knowledge and wisdom is the One on the throne.
Here's also a portion from the Synaxarium about the Four Incorporeal Beasts (or Four Living Creatures):
The Lord set them near His throne in order for them to make supplications on behalf of all the creation. The beast with the man's face makes supplications on behalf of the human race, the one with the lion's face makes supplications on behalf of the beasts, the one with the bull's face makes supplications on behalf of the cattle, and the one with the eagle's face makes supplications on behalf of the birds. The teachers of the church built churches in their names and commemorated them on this day.
Their intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.
Umm yea I agree with everyone, I've heard that each creature prays on behalf of its "being" the human prays for the humans, the eagle prays for the animals of the air.. and so on.
I have also learned from my priest that they do represent the four gospels. I dont remember the exact explanation he gave me but he said the characteristics of each creature have to do with who the gospel was addressed to. Again i can't remember specifics but one of the gospels was written to the romans who were these people who loved total power, so the gospel of Mark i think was written to them in a way giving off that Christ was the Almighty, just as the lion is in the wilderness.
I think Luke wrote to the Greeks who were much into the realistic, scientific way of looking at everything so Christ was portrayed with a very human like description(not saying Christ wasn't human.. but you get what I mean)
Matthew wrote to the Jews, symbolizing Christ as the ultimate sacrifice, since they were so used to offering sacrifices to God for the forgiveness of their sins.
Lastly John wrote to the Gentiles? i think, and the eagle can soar higher than any animal and can look directly at the sun without hurting its eyes, i promise my abouna gave a really good explanation for this last one but i only remember the part of the eagle looking into the sun.
Well i hope i helped somewhat if anyone knowns the rest of this analysis on the Four Incorporeal Creatures, please continue it for me=D God bless!
there is actually a full doxology for them besides the one for the heavenlies i believe. They are as stated before real. Each one has six wings i believe, its in all the pictures of the Pantocrator. It is amazing.