Celestial beings are immortal because they have divine goodness within them; whereas earthly beings have become mortal because of the self-incurred evil within them. This evil comes to the mindless through their laziness and ignorance of God.
Death, when understood by men, is deathlessness; but, when not understood by the foolish, it is death. It is not this death that must be feared, but the loss of the soul, which is ignorance of God. This is indeed disaster for the soul.
Those angels, those heavenly or celestial beings, who did not follow the devil in rebellion against God, have been given “divine goodness” or grace as a reward, strengthening their will and making sure they will never falter from their allegiance to God. They will never reject God; they have already been tried and proven true to God. They have completely opened themselves to God and have found God – they have been granted a knowledge of God, a vision and experience of God which has brought them into beatitude. Having come to know God, they have thus been sent (hence, the name, angel) to us, to help guide us by what they know, by the abilities God has given to them. Their nature, as with all natures, is good, but, because they opened themselves to God, they represent God and not just themselves as they come to us and do God’s bidding with us.
Dionysius tells us that, “It is characteristic of the universal Cause, of this goodness beyond all, to summon everything to communion with him to the extent that this is possible. Hence everything in some way partakes of the providence flowing out of this transcendent Deity which is the originator of all. Indeed nothing could exist without some share in the being and source of everything.” Everything, in their existence, partakes of God, but a blessed immortality, eternal life, requires more than mere existence, but to personally open oneself up to God, making room for all that God can provide. The angels which did not follow the devil opened themselves up to God. They have come to know God through their self-emptying, to know God as their happiness, and so will never abandon God. Those which did not follow the devil have seen the effects of the fall, have seen what happens if one does not open oneself entirely to the will of God and follow it. Of course, one can, like St Anselm, say this is the reward of virtue, but we must remember, the reward of virtue is to attain that which virtue aims to see, the Good, God. So, in attaining that Good, the reward of the Good is that good which provides for one’s happiness, one’s eternal beatitude. Those angels which followed God, attained God, and in attaining God, they will not fall, will not turn their back on God – for they know God and know God’s ways, not by opinion, but in themselves, in their union with God’s will. And, as they have come to know God to the fullness of their being, they have come to know love, for God is love. They follow God in the path of love, seeking to enlighten others, to help lift them up, thus they have been given the task of revelation, of revealing what they have come to know to us, according to the time and place God has deemed their revelation is fit. They are messengers (angels) because they lovingly reveal what God has revealed of himself in them to us, and they do so according to the nature they have been given (each angel, being different, reveals its revelation differently, thus not all will be Gabriels or Michaels, but all reveal, through their mission, the glory of God given to them). “They have the first and the most diverse revelations of the divine hiddenness. That is why they have a preeminent right to the title of angel or messenger, since it is they who are firs granted the divine enlightenment and it is they who pass on to us these revelations which are so far beyond us.” What they reveal is based upon their experience of God, first before the incarnation, secondly, after the incarnation, and prophetically, of how things will be in the eschaton, where the hierarchy is reorganized because of the incarnation (angels, while closer to God and so of greater being before the incarnation, find humanity their superior in the eschaton, because the incarnation has brought humanity in the closest possible proximity to God).
Humanity, on the other hand, while it has experienced the eschaton in Christ, is coming to that eschaton in history. This means we are still coming to terms as to who we are, and we are still capable of opening ourselves to God, to come to knowledge of God, or to close ourselves to God through sin, and find ourselves, like the fallen angels, entirely closed off from that union with God which provides for eternal happiness. Those who entirely close themselves to God and say no to God have to find happiness within their own limited self; such happiness is possible until that limit has been attained, and then, such happiness will turn to suffering, a suffering which knows no end because one has attained, within, the limits of one’s own happiness contained in one’s own self-enclosed nature. Thus, to become spiritually mortal, is to limit ourselves, to close ourselves to God and his infinite, eternal grace. To become mortal is to attend to ourselves and become one with some finite form of existence; and for most of humanity, since the fall and the reorganizing the priorities of the body over the soul, this finite form of existence is the purely empirical and material form of life, entirely entwined to what is possible merely with matter alone. Matter is that which is limited, and indeed, its nature is shown (in science and in philosophy) to be that which is next to nothingness; it exists, it has a nature, a limited value given to it by God. To be distracted by it and close ourselves to it alone is to become that which matter is, deterministic and dead, incapable of self-transcendence. We have a spiritual nature which has joined us with matter; the two are one, and both are good, but the spirit is what provides us freedom and the ability to overcome our personal limitations by opening ourselves to God; when we, however, choose to focus on the material alone, we turn our back on God and the infinite realm of being, for that which is limited, leading, as such limited nature much, to an end to our happiness, and therefore, leading to what must be experienced by us as that which is against our nature , subverting it, making it less than itself: evil. And, as long as we close ourselves to this limited nature, this limited, parasitical form of existence, this evil existence, becomes all we know, limiting our ability, making us lazy and sluggish (in spiritual matters).
This text offers difficulties in attributing it to Anthony.
For example, one would expect him to speak of angels if he is talking about angels, instead of the more philosophical “celestial beings.” In his letters, he points out that spiritual beings, and this includes fallen ones, are named according to the way they work, though they share one and the same origin, one and the same intellectual substance. It is therefore possible that Anthony would find be able to call those angels who did not falter “celestial beings,” because they remain heavenly beings. And, if we accept that Anthony might have studied ascetic ideas from many traditions, than it is possible he came to see this term and used it in this work. However, there is all conjecture, and based upon little evidence, and can only be used to explain its inclusion here if one accepts the rest of the work is Anthonite.
The paradox of death leading to deathlessness, though having support in Christian theology because of the Gospels, nonetheless makes this passage read more like the Bhagavad Gita or a Mahāyāna text than a Christian one. Nonetheless, the sentiment can be and is often interpreted by Christians, and so its similarity to Indian thought should not detour us from seeing this as being an Anthonite work. Moreover, if Anthony had any contact with Buddhist monks, and had any ascetic training by them, this concept would have been easily picked up by him and Christianized.
That evil comes into the soul through ignorance of God is what we would expect from Anthony, especially as his understanding of Arius and Arius’ errors lie with Arius’ ignorance (of himself, and through his ignorance of himself, ignorant of God). “For if such a one had known himself, his tongue would not have spoken that of which he had no knowledge. But it is manifest hat he did not know himself.” In this way, we must know ourselves, to know our limitations; Arius did not know himself, and so did not know his limitation, and was willing therefore to speak beyond his capabilities, causing him to err.
And so, for this section of the text, we must rely upon the evidence of the text as a whole, to allow us to validate it as being Anthonite. While the vocabulary is suspect, it does not, of itself, prove that this text cannot be by Anthony or his immediate disciples. We can say no more here.
 “On the Character of Men and on the Virtuous Life,” 336 (#48, 49).
 Pseudo-Dionysius, “The Celestial Hierarchy” in Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. Trans. Col, Luibheid (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), 156. Whoever Pseudo-Dionysius is, I believe it is fine to call him Dionysius, knowing of course, he is not the Dionysius of Scripture.
 See St Anselm, On the Fall of the Devil, c25.
 This is not their only task, but it is the task which makes us know them as “angels.”
 Dionysius, The Celestial Hierarchy, 157.
 See Chitty, The Letters of Saint Antony the Great, 20 [Letter VI].
 Ibid., 13 [Letter IV].