|“O, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You made them a little lower than the angels and covered them with glory and honor.”|
|—Psalm 8:1, 4-5|
In his excellent three-volume commentary on the Psalms, Dr. James Montgomery Boice offers some interesting thoughts on Psalm 8. He notes that Thomas Aquinas was one of the first to write that this psalm places man halfway between earth and heaven. Aquinas observed that angels have spirits without bodies and animals have bodies without spirits. Man, because he has both a spirit and a body stands between them.
Why did God say that we are a “little lower than the angels?” He could just as truthfully said that man is a little higher than the animals. However, because man was created by God in His own image, He shows the desire of His heart that we become increasingly like Him rather than increasingly like the beasts.
To quote Dr. Boice:
“But here is the sad thing. Although made in God’s image and ordained to become increasingly like the God to whom they look, men and women have turned their backs on God. And since they will not look upward to God, which is their privilege and duty, they actually look downward to the beasts and so become increasingly like them.”
Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, whose story we read about in the book of Daniel, was driven to the wilderness to live with the wild animals because he refused to give God the glory for creating all that the king claimed to own. In this downtrodden state, he recognized Daniel’s God and finally was given sight to proclaim His glory.
The Westminster Catechism affirms the reality of our true calling when it states that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Our society has lost its way in this regard. Evolution has become the logical “wisdom” of our generation. When we eliminate God from our thinking, we have to formulate an explanation for our being. Thus, we invent evolution. In this theory, we are only slightly an advanced version of the beasts. Once we see ourselves as only “better beasts,” we begin to mirror our behavior on those from whom we originate and become more and more like them.
But, God has made a solution for our willful rebellion. As stated in Philippians 2:8-11, God the Father sent Jesus, made a little lower than the angels himself…
“…who humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We truly do become like what we gaze at. Looking down, we see our beginnings with the earthly beasts. We subject ourselves to the animalistic behaviors we see there. Looking up, we see the God who made us in His image, who came to us in human form through His Son, and who wants to make us increasingly like Himself until we see Him face to face!
We should praise Him every day for considering our low estate and desiring to raise us up to carry His image with the dignity that He gave us when He stamped His very own image upon us.