How is mankind “lower than the angels?”

HOW IS MANKIND “LOWER THAN THE ANGELS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible thrice uses the expression “lower than the angels”—Psalm 8:7, Hebrews 2:7, and Hebrews 2:9. These verses, along with one other, will be helpful in answering our question. To the Scriptures to answer, “How is mankind ‘lower than the angels?’”

Psalm 8 is descriptive of mankind in general, particularly Adam. Mankind was to rule planet earth for God’s glory; it was in God’s foreknowledge to use mankind to defeat Satan and counter his sinful activities.

It would be best to read Psalm 8 in its entirety here: “[1] O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. [2] Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. [3] When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; [4] What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? [5] For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. [6] Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: [7] All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; [8] The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. [9] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

Genesis chapter 1 describes the creation week. We want to focus on the creative acts of Day 6: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

It is at this point that we ask an important question. Psalm 8:5 says that God “made [Adam] a little lower than the angels.” Yet, Genesis 1:26-27 says that God “created [Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” How could Adam be “made in God’s image” and still be “lower than the angels?” It actually is simpler than you might first think.

The writer of the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8, demonstrating by the Holy Ghost that that psalm also describes Jesus Christ (who will do what Adam and the rest of mankind failed to do; rule earth for God’s glory). We read in Hebrews chapter 2: “[6] But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

It is at this point that we ask another important question. The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is JEHOVAH God the Son manifest in human flesh (John 1:1,14; John 20:28; Philippians 2:6; Revelation 1:8,11,17). Yet, the Bible says that Father God “madest him a little lower than the angels” (verse 7) and “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (verse 8). So, how could Jesus Christ be God and also be “made a little lower than the angels?” If you are observant, you should have noticed that “lower than the angels” is defined within verse 8 of Hebrews chapter 2. (We will focus on that shortly.)

In His discussion with resurrection-denying Sadducees about the raising of the dead in the future, Jesus said in Luke 20:36 that people who die are “equal unto the angels.” “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” To be “equal unto the angels” is to be unable to physically die. So, being “lower than the angels” means that one is a mortal, one who is subject to physical death; unlike humans, no angel dies in the Bible. When Adam sinned, God allowed his body to be subject to physical death. When Jesus Christ became a man, the God-Man, Father God made His physical body, that it be able to physically die on Calvary’s cross for us. Hebrews 2:9 once more: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

We are “lower than the angels” in that we are mortal, subject to physical death. However, the good news is that, once we are resurrected with glorified bodies, we will be “equal unto the angels,” meaning that we will never experience physical death again. How simple!

Also see:
» How were Adam and Eve “created in God’s image?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Did Jesus die for “many,” or did He die for “all?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Exactly how could Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary sufficiently pay for our sins? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

3 responses to “How is mankind “lower than the angels?”

  1. Pingback: Do we have guardian angels? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  2. Pingback: Do people become angels when they die? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  3. Pingback: Could you describe Jesus’ resurrected body? | For What Saith the Scriptures?

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