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This was a short story I read in the mid-90s in New York City, possibly in a digest like Asimov's or SF&F.

I remember two angels, at least one a seraph, conversing in space. They were in the solar system, hovering in the vicinity of Earth. They were very large and immaterial or intangible. At one point, one of the angels idly beats his wings, and one of them passes bodily through Mars.

They venerated God. When God's name is mentioned, in reverence, one of the angels (the senior one?) covers his face with two of his six wings.

What sticks in my mind is that at one point, God speaks, and his voice was described as infinitely small (or infinitely far away), and yet infinitely clear. This was probably an allusion to the "still, small voice" of the Bible, though I didn't know it at the time (so that's probably why the idea that the voice of an omniscient, and therefore utterly confident, being could be both infinitely small and clear struck me so, and stayed with me).

I have a vague sense there was at least one human character from Earth, the protagonist, that was involved, and the two angels were concerned with, but unfortunately I can remember nothing of the plot or premise.

Does anyone know what story this was?

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This is The Last Trump, by Asimov.

You have remembered the beginning of the story very clearly. It opens with the Archangel Gabriel and "very junior seraph" Etheriel speaking in space.

Re: Gabriel:

Idly, he let the tip of one wing graze the planet Mars, which, being of mere matter, was unaffected by the contact.

Later on in the story, it refers to the "Chief's" still, small voice.

  • Yes, that was it. Older than I thought it was! Thank you. – Dan Bron Apr 12 '15 at 0:40
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    Oh, and check this out: "'I don't expect you to do anything,' said Etheriel, 'except to arrange an appointment for me with the Chief.' The cherub gestured his respect instantly at hearing the word. Two wing-tips covered his feet, two his eyes and two his mouth.". – Dan Bron Apr 12 '15 at 1:07

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