Our senses are the gateways of knowledge which at the same time veil the reality as its is in itself. Sight is our primary sense but it is dependent on light; without light we see nothing. Light creates an image in our retina which delineates the object, reveals its color and size by comparison with the background. Our eyes can resolve an image as small as c. 1/40 of a millimeter. Beyond that, the use of lenses and the invisible spectrum of light, such as x rays, which allows us to see is deeper into the layers of a material. There is also an invisible dimension of the material world. Did you ever see gravity? We only see the effects of gravity such as a falling leaf but not gravity itself. Science know by calculations that at least 90% of matter in the universe cannot be detected. They know it is there based on the effect it has on bodies such as a galaxy -- they call this dark matter and dark energy. I have never seen a thought, only a smile, a look or a word. Further, we do not see the living who have died. We have a conviction that their spirits live on but it is a dimension of the universe inaccessible to our senses. Deeper still we come to invisible ruling powers which the Bible call "principalities and powers."
What is the relationship of angels to creation?
Angels are spiritual persons, each so unique that there is only one of its kind. Scripture tells us that they were present at the dawn of creation as we read in Job, "Where were you when I founded the earth? ... While the morning stars sang in chorus and all the sons of God shouted for joy." (Jb 38:4,7) These personal spirits were created as an integral part of the physical universe because they were meant to play a role in the cosmic order of things. Karl Rahner states, "The angels natural relation to and operation of the world, has it ground in principle in their essence [who they are] and not in any personal decision of theirs ...." (Sacramentum Mundi, p. 5) Scripture speaks of innumerable angels and Dionysius the Areopagite states it thus, "Scriptural tradition ... gives their numbers as thousands of thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand, multiplying and repeating the very highest number we have, thus clearly showing that the Orders of the Celestial Beings are innumerable for us ...."
How does the angelic mind act within the cosmic order?
We as human beings act upon cosmic matter from outside. We push, pull, hit, shape, explode and utilize the cosmic energy by translating one form of energy into another (e.g. atomic energy to electrical energy). The angels do not have bodies and cannot gain knowledge through the senses, so their mode of operation has to be different. God created them with intelligence embodying universal ideas, some with fewer but more comprehensive ideas while others with a greater number universal ideas but each more restricted. So, how can angels act on matter or energy? They can only act by application of their intelligence and power. St. Thomas states that they are present where they act and that angels are not contained by place but contain it. He further states that corporal forms do not emanate from spiritual forms but are the term of their movement. To be more precise I here quote, "The species of the angelic intellect, which are, as it were, the seminal types of corporal forms, must be referred to God as the first cause." (Summa, Part I, Q.65, Art.4) But, how are we to understand their activity within the cosmic perspective of today? In order to get a glimpse of angelic cosmic activity we must define matter.
Matthew Fox describes matter thus: "Matter is made of energy bound within fields, and therefore, matter is a structural activity. The field themselves are actually immaterial. The electromagnetic field, the gravitational field are not made of matter, rather as Einstein said, matter is made of fields." To get a clearer idea of why field is considered an activity, let us look the field of an atom. An atom consists of energy particles confined to an extremely small space (1/100,000,000 of a centimeter). In the nucleus these energy particles race at the tremendous speed of 40,000 miles per second. Electrons move around the nucleus at 600 miles per second. This is why matter, which is an activity, appears to us as solid.
Since fields are immaterial they may be expressions of angelic consciousness at work. "Nature is organized in fields, and these fields are realms of activity that bind and order the energy of power. If divine power flows through and into all things, if it is the energy of all things, and if it is channeled through the angels, then the fields that give this power its differentiated forms are associated with consciousness and intelligence. The angels are, as it were, the consciousness of field operating at all levels of nature, as in the flow of the winds and the powers of living beings such as animals. The generative power of nature is associated with intelligence." (Matthew Fox & Rupert Sheldrake, The Physics of Angels, Harper, San Francisco, 1996, p. 74) Matthew Fox gives us a reasonable insight into the cosmic activity of angels which fits well into our evolutionary view of the cosmos. If angels are directly involved in the formation of matter they are also indirectly involved in the emergence of life from matter but, as we have observed on the first page, it is God who enables matter to transcend itself into life.