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Chapter 2:7 Thou madest him, etc The reference is to Psalm 8, and has been variously explained. There are especially three opinions on the subject. Some, like Calvin and Doddridge, consider that the case of “man,” as described in the Psalm, is alluded to, or accommodated to Christ. Others, like Grotius, hold that “man,” in the Psalm, is to be understood historically and mystically. The third party, as most of the Fathers, as well as some later divines, such as Beza, Dr. Owen., and Stuart, maintain that the Psalm is strictly prophetic. What makes it difficult to regard it in this light is the exclamation, “What is man?” and also the dominion over the brute creation, which is the only thing mentioned in the Psalm as constituting the glory and honor of man.
All critics refer on this subject to the grant given to Adam in Genesis 1:28. But this grant, forfeited no doubt by Adam’s sin and fall, was afterwards renewed to Noah and his sons, when they came out of the ark, and was even enlarged, as the permission to eat animal food was given them. Genesis 9:1-3. It was this grant no doubt the Psalmist had in view. Noah and his sons were men of faith; Noah is distinctly said to have been a righteous man. It was to them as bearing this character that the grant was made. What Adam forfeited was restored to those restored to God’s favor, that is, the dominion over the brute creation and the inheritance of this lower world. But as Canaan was afterwards to the Israelites a type of heaven, and also a pledge to those who were Israelites indeed, so might be regarded the possession of the earth granted to Noah and his sons, though dominion in which “glory and honor” consisted, is what is expressly mentioned in the Psalm; and dominion is the special subject handled by the Apostle, verse 5.
Though man, as to his nature, is inferior to the angels, yet in that nature God has granted him a dominion never granted to angels. The power over every living thing in the world was bestowed, not on angels, but on man, according to the testimony of the Old Testament; so that the power ascribed by the Jews to angels was not warranted by their own Scriptures. This fact seems to have been referred to as an introduction to what the Apostle was proceeding to say respecting Christ, and as an evidence that his human nature, though in itself inferior to that of angels, did not detract from his superiority; as though he had said, “It is no objection that he became man, for even to man, not to angels, has been granted the dominion of the world.”
Then the Apostle extends the idea, and refers to Christ as one who was to make good the grant made. The dominion promised to man, especially what that dominion was a pledge of, was not attained by man; but Christ, who has assumed his nature, and in this respect became lower than the angels, will yet attain it for him. It is through Christ indeed that we obtain a right to the things of this world as well as to the things of the next world. God promises both to his people; but in Christ only are his promises, yea and amen. The promise made to man as a believer, both as to this world and the next, is as it were made good only through Christ, who assumed his nature for this very purpose.
By taking this view we avoid the necessity of making that prophetic which has no appearance of being so, or of supposing that the Psalm is referred to by way of accommodation. The fact respecting man restored to God’s favor is stated, and the Apostle teaches us that the dominion granted to him can only be realized through Christ, who has already attained that dominion in his own person, and will eventually confer it on all his people.
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