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Is Man a Little Lower Than Angels Only in “Mortality”?

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A claim is made that man was a made a little lower than the angels only as regarding “mortality” and “immortality”. Evidently, the thought is that man was made a little lower than the angels when he sinned, and that before than, man was immortal.

Both Adam and the angels are created mortal; no one has immortality except that he first prove himself incorruptible. (1 Corinthians 15:54) Mortal in the Bible, however, does not mean that that one has to die, or that one is dying, but only that one <strong>could</strong> die. Adam had to be mortal before he sinned, and yet he was not dying until he sinned.

Psalm 8:4-8 describes the original condition of man before he sinned.

Psalm 8:4 What is man, that you keep him in mind? the son of man, that you take him into account?
Psalm 8:5 For you have made him [as represented in Adam] only a little lower than the gods [HAELOHIM – the angels — Hebrews 2:7], crowning him with glory and honour.
Psalm 8:6 You have made him ruler over the works of your hands; you have put all things [not all things in the whole universe] under his feet;
Psalm 8:7 All sheep and oxen, and all the beasts of the field;
Psalm 8:8 The birds of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatever goes through the deep waters of the seas. — Bible in Basic English.

What does the scripture say?

Most trinitarians, we believe, would agree that “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 and Hebrews 2:6 refers to human flesh; thus David was speak of man of flesh, as being terrestrial, flesh, of the earth, earthly. — 1 Corinthians 15:39-41,47.

“You have made him” – Psalm 8:5.

Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. — Genesis 2:7.

This is indeed referring to man as being of the dust, thus, earthly, terrestrial, physical, fleshly.

Psalm 8:4-8 is describing how God originally made man. Again, what does the scriture say? “God made man upright [straight, just, righteous].” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) This, like Psalm 8:5, describes how God originally created man; he was without sin; there was no sin in him until he disobeyed, or as Solomon states, “they … sought out many devices.” (Revised Standard Version). By their disobedience, man began to look to other devices than their Creator. As Paul wrote: “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.” — Romans 1:21,22, Revised Standard Version.

We read that God “made him ruler over the works” of God. (Psalm 8:6) Not over the sun, moon, stars, and/or the angels, but rather the works that are spoken of in Genesis Chapters One and Two. And we read that God put all things under the feet of man; again, this not speaking of all things in the entire universe, but rather all the things that are being described on the earth. This corresponds to the dominion that was originally given to man as recorded in Genesis 1:26,28. Again, it is living things of the earth and sky that is being referred to.

Paul writes, however, that “we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.” (Hebrews 2:8) In the immediate context of Hebrews 2:8, Paul does not say why “all things” have not “yet” been subjected to man; elsewhere, however, he shows that this is due to Adam’s sin, by which all of Adam’s offspring are made sinners; as a result, God has subjected the whole [old] creation of mankind to vanity, and a crooked condition from which he cannot free himself. — Romans 5:12-19; 8:20-23; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; 7:13.

Adam was not in any dying condition before he sinned, for we read: “Sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin.” (Romans 5:12) “The judgment came by one to condemnation.” (Romans 5:16) “By the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one.” (Romans 5:17) “Through one trespass, all men were condemned.” (Romans 5:19) “Death came by man.” — 1 Corinthians 15:21.

Thus, while we do not yet see mankind possessing the promised dominion, Paul writes what the believer should see in Christ, while he was in the days of his flesh: “But we see him who was made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, crowned with glory and honour, because he let himself be put to death so that by the grace of God he might undergo death for all men.” (Hebrews 2:9, Bible in Basic English) Jesus was made just a little lower than the angels, made of the dust, made upright, as a fleshy, terrestrial, earthly being, just as was Adam. This is the entire basis of our redemption as revealed in the Scritures. We have no scriptural reason at all to think otherwise. This brings all the scriptures together in perfect harmony. Jesus is depicted as saying to God, “a body did you prepare for me”. (Hebrews 10:5) This body was indeed flesh, nothing more, nothing less, as was Adam’s body, into which God blew the spirit of life. However, Jesus’ body, having been prepared by God, begotten by means of God’s spirit in the womb of Mary (Matthew 1:20), was not of this world that is condemned in Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19; John 8:23) Jesus was sinless as was Adam before Adam sinned; unlike Adam, however, Jesus did NOT become disobedient even once. Otherwise, that body of flesh that God prepared for Jesus could not be an offering for sin. — Hebrews 10:10.

If Jesus had been God while he was in the days of his flesh, we would have a conflict with what Paul wrote concerning Jesus’ condemning sin the flesh. (Romans 8:3) It would mean that Christ did not condemn sin in the flesh, but rather that he justified sin in the flesh, proving that Adam would have needed to have been God in order to obey God. It is only because Jesus was indeed a human being, having the full crown of glory a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), sinless — never having fallen short of the glory of God  (Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5) — that Jesus’ obedience condemned sin the flesh, and by his sacrifice of his humanity, made the way for God to remain just, while yet justifying the sinner. — Romans 3:26.

Nevertheless, before Jesus proved himself incorruptible, Jesus was not immortal; he was indeed mortal; he was the first human to put on incorruption, having proven his full faithfulness to God. Thus, Jesus, through his faithful obedience, brought life and incorruption to light. However, Jesus sacrificed the glory that God had given to him as a human being, the terrestrial, physical glory (1 Corinthians 15:39-41) when he died, and he was raised, not in the flesh that he gave for sin, but in the spirit. (2 Peter 3:13) Nevertheless, Jesus was able to raise that body of flesh for various appearances until he ascended into heaven and, as priest, offered that body to his God in heaven.

For more related to this, see our studies:
Is Jesus Still a Little Lower than the Angels?
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection
The Man Jesus — Still a Man?

Lowered Himself to Death?

It is further claimed that Philippians 2:5,6 shows that Jesus lowered himself “even to death” which showed that his not-yet-glorified body was mortal. This is then claimed to show what is meant by Jesus’ being made lower than angels.

While Jesus did indeed lower himself for the purpose of dying, and in death he was certainly lowered to hades, this would hardly be what is being spoken of by being lower than the angels in in Hebrews 2:9.

Philippians 2:5-6 (New American Standard)

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form [external appearance] of God [or, a god], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,

The next few verses reads:

Philippians 2:7 but emptied Himself, taking the form [external appearance] of a bond-servant [Jesus was not actually in bondage to corruption as mankind is, but since he suffered as though he were under the bondage of corruption, he had the external appearance to be under that bondage], and being made in the likeness of men [the word “likeness” is being as close synonym of “form”; Jesus was in the likness of men of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) although his flesh was not sinful, and was not under any condemnation].
Philippians 2:8 Being found in appearance [appearance again is not referring to his being flesh, but rather he had the appearance of dying man since he was suffering as though he were sinner] as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. [thereby sacrificing his sinless flesh for our sins — John 6:51; 1 Peter 3:13; Hebrews 10:10]
Philippians 2:9 For this reason also, God [the only true God — John 17:3] highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father [the only true God – John 17:3].

We have discussed Philippians 2:5,6 before in some detail; there is nothing there, however, related to the theory that Jesus being made a man, defined as being lower than angels, would mean that man was only made mortal in contrast to angels who evidently are being assumed to have been made immortal.

See our studies related Philippians 2:7:

See also:
The Price of Redemption – God or Man?

Men Naturally NOT Lower Than the Angels?

Additionally, the claim is being made that men are naturally not lower than angels; 1 Corinthians 6:3 and Genesis 1:26 are claimed to support this idea.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 6:3:

Daniel 7:22 WEB
until the ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. — Daniel 7:22, World English.

John 5:22 WEB
For neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment to the Son.

Revelation 20:4 WEB
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them.

Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? — 1 Corinthians 6:2.
Do you not know that we will judge angels ? How much more matters of this life ? — 1 Corinthians 6:3.

Nothing in 1 Corinthians 6:3 says that men are not naturally lower than the angels. Adam was certainly “made” from the dust of the ground, lower than the angels, who are spirit beings, not fleshly beings, as is man. — Genesis 2:7; Psalm 8:4,5; 1 Corinthians 15:39-41.

1 Corinthians 15:47
ho prwtos anthrwpos ek gees choikos ho deuteros
THE FIRST MAN OUT OF EARTH DUSTY, THE SECOND
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anthrwpos ex ouranou
MAN OUT OF HEAVEN.
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1 Corinthians 15:48
hoios ho choikos toioutoi kai hoi
OF WHAT SORT THE DUSTY (ONE), OF SUCH SORT ALSO THE
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choikoi kai hoios ho epouranios toioutoi
DUSTY (ONES), AND OF WHAT SORT THE HEAVENLY (ONE), OF SUCH SORT
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kai hoi epouranioi
ALSO THE HEAVENLY (ONES);
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Adam was of the earth, earthly; the angels are of the heavens, heavenly. Paul does not confound the two.

In 1 Corinthians 6:3, Paul is speaking of the future, and only of the saints (1 Corinthians 6:2) in their future bodies, when the judgment — the authority and power to judge — is given to the saints. Paul was not writing about mankind in general, nor of any idea that mankind is naturally not lower than the angels. When Adam was made of the dust of the ground, he was indeed made of the earth, “The first man is of the earth, made of dust”. This was the natural rank of man bodily as compared with the angels who possess spiritual bodies, not physical bodies. Adam was never given the authority to, or the hope that he would ever judge the angels.

Since the scriptures do not say much about this coming judgment of the angels, we can only surmise concerning this judgment of the angels as best as we can from what the scriptures do tell us. We do not know, for instance, if this is meant to say that all angels are to be judged by the saints, or if only the angels that sinned (1 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6) are to be judged. One could reason that this judgment is in reference only to the angels that sinned, since they are the only angels who are identified as having come under a future judgment.

Became Lower Than the Angels Because of Disobedience?

It is further claimed that many became lower than the angels because of the mortality of man’s natural flesh, which became so after the disobedience of our first parent.

Mortal signifies dieable, but not necessarily that the one who is mortal is in a dying condition. Immortal signifies not dieable, death proof. Adam did not become mortal when he sinned; he was already mortal before he sinned. IF he had been immortal (death-proof), then God could not have threatened him with death if he disobeyed. Thus Adam was already mortal, but he was not under any sentence of death, and thus he was in a living condition before he sinned, not a dying condition, as he became after he sinned.

See my study:
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?

Was Jesus Resurrected With Flesh?

It is claimed that Jesus “clearly” resurrected with flesh (Luke 24:39) and that if Jesus was raised in the spirit, the question is put forth: What was the concept of the “missing body” at the tomb and the Jews accusing the “disciples stealing the BODY except that he went out with that body out of the tomb?”

It is certain that Jesus was not a phantom spirit as the disciples thought him to be. A phantom spirit, actually, a demon impersonating a dead person, cannot produce any body at of flesh and bones, else we would see them doing so.

Nevertheless, nothing in Luke 24:39 says that Jesus was resurrected with flesh. His appearing in his former body does not mean that he was resurrected in that body. Jesus did miraculously produce his former body to prove that he was not phantom spirit, for a phantom spirit does not have flesh and bones.

If Jesus did not in some way miraculously appear and disappear in the locked room, he would have needed to have walked through the door like everyone else, and the point of the door being closed/locked would have been unnecessary.

It is not entirely clear from the scriptures, but Matthew’s  and Mark’s accounts appear to say that the angel rolled the stone away after the arrival of Mary Magdeline and another “Mary” early in the morning of the first day of the week. (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-6) It says nothing, however, about them seeing Jesus walk out of the tomb, rather, as the angel declared to them, “He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” No human saw Jesus in the instant of his being raised from the dead, but evidently the body was already gone when the angel rolled the stone away. If this is so, then the body had to have been in some way miraculously removed from the tomb.

See our studies:
Did Jesus Raise Himself from the Dead?
Jesus’ Appearances in the Locked Room

Jesus’ Body Glorified Into Immortality?

It is being claimed that the only difference between the Jesus that went into the tomb and the Jesus that came out is that his body was glorified into immortality; “better than the angels this time.” — Hebrews 1:3-14.

We do agree that Jesus received immortality when he was raised, but if he was raised in and still possesses the body that he sacrificed for sin, then we have no sacrifice for sin. Jesus, however, did have access to his body until the day the ascended to his father in heaven, and could thus make miraculous appearances with that body; in doing so, he had to in some miraculously physicalize, or materialize that body, and then dephysicalize, or dematerialize that body, or else he was simply making appearances by walking from one place to another as any man.

See our studies:
Jesus Died a Human Being – Raised a Spirit Being
1 Peter 3:18, Romans 8:8,9 and Jesus’ Sacrifice for Sin

Flesh and Blood Cannot Inherit the Kingdom

It is claimed that when Paul said “flesh and blood” cannot inherit the kingdom of God, he clearly wasn’t talking of human skin and human blood just as he wasn’t when he made mention of it in Ephesians 6:12 (cf. Matthew 16:13-16); thus, it is claimed that he was obviously referring to human sinfulness, fallibility and weak nature.

We agree that when Paul say that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom, that he was not talking about physical bodies, although many Bible Students have often misused that verse as though it means such. What he was speaking of that is that what we are according to flesh and blood heritage does not provide the basis for inheriting the kingdom.

See our study:
The Manner of the Resurrection

In Days of His Flesh

It is claimed that we do not understand what is meant by “in the days of his flesh.” (Hebrews 5:7)

The days of his flesh means the days of his flesh; indeed, it should be crystal clear that this is referring to days that he was in the flesh, the flesh that he gave in sacrifice for the life of the world. It should also be clear that at the time Paul wrote Hebrews 5:7, Jesus was no longer “in the days of his flesh.” It does indeed refer to the days when Jesus was earlhy, of the dust, not when became heavenly.

The Son of Man

It is claimed that the title “son of man” is a title exclusively for men not spirits and Jesus, and it is claimed even after his resurrection and ascension, Jesus is referred to as “son of man” because he still that humanity in his Divinity but in a glorified form.

The anarthrous “son of man” is applied to Jesus in John 5:27; indirectly, one could say it is applied to him Hebrews 2:6,9, and in vision-likeness only at Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:13; 14:14. The term that is usually used of Jesus is not the anarthrous “son of man”, but rather, in the Greek, it is “son of the man”, specifying a definite man; the definite term, “Son of the Man”, it does not specify Jesus as being a human, but as the one promised as the son of the man, David.

Jesus is still the promised Son of the man, David, the Messiah, regardless of what kind of body he now has.

See:
Son of Man and Son of God
and our study:
The Seed of David


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