Why don’t angels have a free will?

Seraph AngelIn all of creation, only humans have been given the capacity for freedom of will, and this gives them the unique capacity to better themselves spiritually. It also gives them the unique capacity to lower themselves spiritually, G-d forbid.

Let us consider the animals. Some animals are very intelligent and have a (limited) ability to reason. Some even have a form of language to communicate. But their actions are overwhelmingly governed by the nature and instincts that are implanted in them by G-d, and that are unique to each species. Some animals can be trained by humans. An animal’s habits can be altered by repeated rewards and punishments, but they do not inherently recognize any behavior as morally good or evil, so as to make a choice on that basis. Each animal species occupies a certain niche in the natural world, and it does not elevate itself to fill a higher niche, or lower itself to fill a lower niche.

The angels are the creations that inhabit the spiritual realms. Whereas in the physical realm a creature’s form is defined by its physical body, the forms of the angels are defined by their spiritual attributes – their emotions and intellect. The emotions and intellects of the various angels greatly exceed that of physical humans, because the angels do not have physical limitations. And likewise their ability to perceive and experience G-dliness greatly exceeds that of physical humans. However, G-d creates each angel with a defined and unchanging form – a certain level of intellect, a certain level of love for G-d, and a certain level of fear of G-d. They also have a G-d given “spirit” which enlivens their form, since the life force of every creation comes from G-d.

Each general “species” of angel is created to perform a certain general task: to receive the G-dly influence sent “down” from the angels on the “higher” level, to filter and screen this influence, and to transmit a certain amount of this influence “down” to the angels that are on the level “below.” The angels have no free will to increase or decrease this flow of G-dly influence by their own choice. That is only by the plan and decision G-d. On the other hand, they can’t be considered “robots,” just as physical animals are not robots.

Sometimes G-d will send an angel on a mission in the physical world. As long as the angel is on that mission, the mission becomes the life-force for that angel. Thus the angel does not have free will as to whether or not it will perform its mission.