The angel's position as a symbol of faith is revealed not only through his wings, but also through his first appearance drenched in mud. In Christian theology, the relationship between God and man began with God's creation of Adam through a mixture of earthly clay and divine spirit (Genesis 2:7). The angel's appearance in the mud highlights the duality of this relationship -- that it is at the same time spiritually mystical and mundanely physical.
The religious symbolism of the text is continued in the reaction of the citizens. The community's skepticism, callousness, and demand for "miracles" from the angel (222) calls to mind the treatment of Christ when he appeared to the Jewish community. While some recognized him as an embodiment of God, the Bible contains many accounts of his being ridiculed, doubted, and ultimately dismissed as a fraud by all but a few.
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