The Seed of Abraham
The epistle to the Hebrews raises an interesting problem in 2:5-8. The writer opens with the observation that God did not subject the world to angels (5). In other words, angels were not given dominion over the created order. For proof he cites Psalm 8:4-6, which clearly declares that, though God has made the human race a little lower than the angels, He has crowned it with glory and honor and has placed everything under the feet of humans. Quite reasonably (for the author of Hebrews is an able reasoner), he infers that if everything was subjected to human dominion, then nothing in the created order was left outside human control (8).
The author notes a jarring discrepancy, however. While the psalmist declares that everything is under human dominion, experience teaches otherwise. Whereas nothing is supposed to be exempted from human control, what we observe is that many things are not subject to humans. This apparent contradiction requires explanation.
The explanation consists in two parts. First, the writer uses the expression, “not yet,” when he speaks of human dominion. While humans do not presently exercise the full rulership of creation, some day they will.
Second, the writer points to Jesus Christ, who is already crowned with glory and honor (9), the very dignity that Psalm 8 confers upon all humanity. Yet he notes that it was not always so. Surprisingly, he declares that for a little while, Jesus Himself was made lower than the angels. How can this startling declaration be true? In what respect was Jesus made lower than the angels? The writer gives a clear answer: for the suffering of death. No angel can die, not even a fallen one. By taking a mortal nature into Himself, God’s Son stooped to an experience that no angel will ever share.