United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Made Lower - but Only for a While

Note David's statement in Psalm 8:5 that man has been made "a little lower than the angels" or "heavenly beings," as the English Standard Version translates it. As mortal, material creatures, it would seem that we are in fact far below the power and glory of spirit beings in the heavenly realm. So instead of "a little lower," perhaps a better rendering is the translation of the quoting of David in Hebrews 2:7 in the ESV: "You made him for a little while lower than the angels."

This makes even more sense when we realize that in Hebrews 2 Jesus Christ is being shown as the representative human being inheriting what God has promised. Man as a whole has not yet been exalted to such a high position, "but we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor" (verse 9, ESV). Just as Jesus is no longer lower than the angels, being resurrected into divine glory, so will other human beings destined to follow Him no longer be lower than the angels when they are resurrected in the future.

In fact, in the Hebrew of Psalm 8, the word translated "angels" or "heavenly beings" is elohim—a word typically translated as "God." The book of Hebrews uses the Greek word for angels instead—likely in following the common Greek translation of the Old Testament in existence at the time and also in making the case for Christ's superiority to the angels. The wording in Hebrews is not wrong, but is essentially a paraphrase that likely does not encompass all that was implied by David in Psalm 8. What David seems to have been saying is that man was made for a little while lower than God. This means that man would not always be lower than God—just as Jesus is not now lower than God, having returned to divine glory with the Father.

This is truly staggering if we grasp what this entails!

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