Man's Glory and Honor: Lost and Regained
Psalm 8 is a psalm pertaining to man and God's regard for man. As the psalmist considers the vastness and magnificence of the universe which God created, he cannot help but be amazed that the mighty Creator has manifested an interest in feeble little human beings (vs. 3-4). He considers it a marvelous thing that God gave man an eminent position in His creation, making man a little lower than the angels, crowning him with glory and honor, and giving him dominion over all things (vs. 58). The psalmist's statement here regarding the position which God gave man is in accordance with God's declaration at the creation of man (Gen. 1:26-28).
The writer of Hebrews quotes the statement from Psalm 8 regarding man's God-given glory and honor (Heb. 2:6-8). However, after quoting David's affirmation that God gave man dominion over all things and put all things in subjection to him, the writer of Hebrews adds, "But now we see not yet all things put under him" (verse 8).
Truly, as the writer of Hebrews declares, man does not exercise complete dominion at this time. He does not now occupy the position of glory and honor that God originally gave him and intended for him at creation. We can be overcome and destroyed by many things. We are not the masters of our environment. When a little germ so tiny that we cannot even see it with the naked eye can attack and kill us, it is rather absurd to say we exercise complete dominion.
Obviously, then, man does not now enjoy the status that God intended for him at creation. Why not? If God at creation crowned man with glory and honor, granting him dominion over all things, why does riot man presently occupy such a position? The answer is simple. Man lost his glorious position because of sin. Genesis 3 clearly reveals that it is because of sin's entrance into the world that man is subject to disease and death. Not only did the entrance of sin result in death for man, but it caused God to curse the earth, hence making man's environment less hospitable to him. Thus, after sin entered the world, man lost his dominion to a certain extent.
But the writer of Hebrews does not end his discussion of this matter with the gloomy fact that man lost his position of glory. After asserting that we do not see man exercising complete dominion (vs. 8), he then proclaims, "But we see Jesus... crowned with glory and honor" (v. 9). Man was crowned with glory and honor, but lost that position due to sin; Jesus, however, presently enjoys the glory and honor that man lost. Verse 9 observes that Jesus, who presently enjoys glory and honor, "was made a little lower than the angels"-that is, became a man. This being true, Jesus is a representative of mankind. Hence, although men in general do not exercise dominion, there is one representative of the human race that does. In Him, God's original intentions for man (as stated in Psalm 8) are presently fulfilled.
But that is not all! Because of the fact that Jesus presently enjoys glory and honor, we have the hope that we too can someday enjoy it, regaining what was lost through sin. After affirming that Jesus is presently crowned with glory and honor, the writer of Hebrews proceeds to speak of His "bringing many sons unto glory" as the "captain of their salvation," Thus, not only does Jesus enjoy glory and honor, but He is the Captain Who will lead many others to share glory with Him. The writer of Hebrews makes clear that this is possible only because of Jesus' suffering, for it is through His suffering and death that we can be forgiven of our sins; and without forgiveness, we could not receive the eternal glory.
Hebrews 2, therefore, gives us the hope of regaining through Christ the glory that was lost through sin. The eighth Psalm speaks of the position originally given to man and intended for man. Although the writer of Hebrews says that man does not now occupy that position, he gives us hope that someday we can. Even in affirming that all things are not now under man, he adds the word "yet", thereby hinting that eventually they will be (v. 8), as all will be for our benefit and we will not be subject to the evils that plague us on this earth. Then he proceeds to show that this is possible through Christ.
If we are to enjoy glory with Christ in the end, we must follow Christ, the Captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10), now. The road along which He leads us involves suffering and hardships, but the glory at the end of the way will far outweigh whatever difficulties were involved in reaching it (Romans 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 4:17).
Truth Magazine XXI: 46, pp. 730-731