Friday, March 11, 2011

We Do Not See Everything in Subjection to Mankind

In my last post, I aimed to show that a chief goal of the Bible is to expose our sinfulness and our own need of rescue--the rescue that was promised throughout the Old Testament and became a manifested reality in Jesus' incarnation--and thereby turn us in repentance to Christ. But I also want to point to the flip side of this fallen world: Yes, there is sin in me, but there's also sin in others as well. How does that point us to Christ?

Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, 'What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.' Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:5-9, citing Psalm

God's original design was for humanity to be stewards of the earth and co-regents over it. Nothing would be outside of man's dominion--not even tectonic plates that cause earthquakes of 8.9 on the Richter scale. But we don't see that glory and honor yet because of man's fall into sin. Now it seems like everything goes wrong. Instead of bearing God's image in "the righteousness and holiness of the truth" (Eph. 4:24), humans worldwide and historywide suffer from ignorance of God and rejection of his revelation (truth). They lack purity of love in relationships with one another and toward God (holiness). And they fail to exercise wisdom, justice, and creative power in work and government (righteousness).* As a curse on our sin, the world doesn't obey us anymore: there was an earthquake of 8.9 in Japan last night. And instead of using things to worship God and serve others, we use things and eachother to serve ourselves. With the Fall comes a really good chance we're going to get stepped on by others, and our lives will seem more often ruled by chaos and uncertainty than by order and peace.

But the author points also through the fallenness of others and of our world to the good news of Christ: "But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor." In his incarnation, Jesus became the true Man and the new Adam, the Head over God's new creation. Thus through him we are being remade in his image (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) and the world is being transformed under his reign. So we are pointed through the Fall to our new Head, Jesus--our deliverer from the woes of this life.

*I owe these categories for "God's image" in mankind to Dennis E. Johnson, Him We Proclaim.

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