I love these verses from Psalm 8. They speak of how God made us in His glory and gave us dominion.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
But all too often we belittle ourselves because of mistakes we’ve made or because of a negative self image–based sometimes on what others think and say about us, but usually on how we see ourselves.
So this declaration in Psalm 8 that we are just “a little lower than the angels,” has always been encouraging and comforting to me.
Angel Workshop at the Prison
I am currently conducting a workshop on the subject of “Angels” in my prison ministry at a nearby Federal women’s prison . We have been studying everything the Bible says about angels. And how these amazing stories can apply to us today.
When we got to Psalm 8, I really made a point to the women that we must remember how God originally made us in His image and likeness. No matter what they had done, no matter what I or anyone had done, underneath all the “mud” that the world had thrown on us or that we had wallowed in ourselves, we were so much more than that in God’s eyes because of how He originally created us. We need to remember how glorious God made us, how close we are to Him and how dearly He cares for us.
It was a very moving moment. Everyone in the room felt God’s love.
This idea has always given me a sense of divine awe. It’s one thing to give lip service to this concept and say, “Oh yes, isn’t it marvelous that we’re made a little lower than the angels,” but to let the idea sink way down into your heart and then change the way you live is another thing altogether.
Just think, we are just a little lower than the angels! What could be more glorious than that?
An amazing discovery
The next week, I was doing some more research for the “Angels” workshop and had out that illustrious old and monstrous book, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. I was curious about how the Hebrew word often translated angel is really just the word messenger. Sometimes it’s translated as angel and sometimes as messenger.
But then I made a startling discovery. In Psalm 8:5 in the phrase, “a little lower than the angels,” the original Hebrew word for angels is elohim, or God.
This is not really a new concept. I have since found Bible translations that bring out this point. The Amplified Bible for example. Some Bibles use the term “divine beings”, or “heavenly beings.” But I had not noticed this before since I usually use the King James, which uses the word “angels.”
I imagine that Bible scholars have gotten into all the nitty gritty about this verse. Does it mean: gods, God, angels, heavenly beings, etc.?
The main point for me here is that we are much more than we seem to be. The physical world and it’s ways and means try to define us as limited, mistake-prone, lowly beings which chance throws around like a football.
But God has made us so much more
Actually, He has made us so very different from that. We are His image and likeness. Just a little lower than Him.
If we are His image, how can we be lower? Doesn’t the image look just like the original? Aren’t we then, an exact duplicate of God. No! God does not make a bunch of fellow Creators. He creates and we are the creation. We are not the source or cause or creator of ourselves or the world, God is. In that sense we are “lower.” We reflect all God’s glory and are “filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:19 We are just not the source of this glory.
I will even venture to say that we are above the angels instead of just below them.
It is clear that Jesus is above the angels. Hebrews 1:5 tells us, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
Now we cannot make any claim on being THE Son of God. Jesus is the only Messiah. But we are Jesus’ brothers and sisters. He said so himself. He referred to God as his Father and our Father. We are therefore, the sons of God, the daughters of God, the children of God. And consequently above the angels in the order of God’s creation.
I’m not talking about the sinning race of Adam, the “old man” referred to by St. Paul, as above the angels. I’m talking about the “new man” or original man of God’s creating made in His image and likeness. This is our true identity–however much it may seem to be covered up by the world’s material perspective and worn out, man-made theological doctrines.
So remember who and what you are as a child of God.
You are glorious. You are the radiant image and likeness of God’s divine nature and fullness. So is that person sitting next to you on the bus or standing in the checkout line in front of you.
Remember who you are. Remember who they are. And live accordingly.