by Matt Slick
No, people do not become angels after they die. Angels are a different order of creation than people. God made Adam after his own image (Genesis 1:26), but it is never said that angels are made after his image. Sometimes people will attempt to comfort others by saying that those who have passed away have become angels in heaven, but this is not so. Nevertheless, Hollywood sometimes perpetuates this error and depicts those who have died as being angels as is exemplified in the movie It's a Wonderful Life.
Angels are messengers who do the will of God, but people are those who are redeemed by God. It's never said in Scripture that angels are redeemed. In fact, 1 Peter 1:12 tells us that the angels long to look into things regarding the gospel. If they were people who were good and saved and became angels, then it would make no sense to say they desired to look into the things regarding the gospel. Jude 6 tells us there were angels who "abandoned their proper abode" and were then reserved for judgment. This "proper abode" would not be the human realm but the angelic one. So, this would tell us that the first abode of angels is not earth, which would negate the idea of people becoming angels.
1 Corinthians 6:3, "Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?"
It would not make sense to say that we (people) will be judging the angels if the angels were really people who became angels.
Furthermore, if people became angels, it would create a problem dealing with the nature of being human. Everything that exists has an essence, and we are able to distinguish between things because we can recognize differences in things. An angel is different from a human. If a human becomes an angel, then he's no longer human. Essentially, this would mean he stopped being one thing and became another; he stopped being human and became an angel. People might mistakenly equate humanity merely with the biological function and attributes as it relates to having a human body. But being human is not restricted to physical form since our human souls can be separate from the body and to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8), and we are still human in essence as is exemplified in Luke 16:19-31.