Psalm 8 describes the awesome responsibility God gave to humans.
What are humans that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet. (Psalm 8:4-6)
Humans have failed miserably with the dominion God has given us. History is a testimony to how poorly humans have ruled the earth.
It is safe to say that human leadership in the Russia-Ukraine war is a failure. Imagine what would have happened if Russia had spent the billions the war has cost them in building goodwill in Ukraine.
It is believed that the United States has spent nearly 7 trillion dollars on war since 2001. What would the results be if our country had spent that money in a different fashion?
“Dominion” doesn’t sound pleasant to people who are dominated. It smacks of oppression and social ills, rather than responsible government.
Why didn’t God use angels to rule the earth? According to Hebrews, the angelic rule was not God’s plan.
Instead, the privilege and responsibility were given to humans.
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.
But someone has testified somewhere,
“What are humans that you are mindful of them
or mortals that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned them with glory and honor,
Subjecting all things under their feet.” (Hebrews 2.5-8)
Woody Guthrie wrote a popular song, but the theology was flawed.
This land is your land and this land is my land
From California to the New York island
From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and me
The truth is that “this land” is not “your land and my land . . . for you and me.” We are stewards of all that God has given us.
Stewards don’t possess the land for their personal benefit. They labor together with God for the good of all humans.
When we take God’s gift of “dominion” and use it to dominate others, we pervert God’s intended use.
The world has suffered unimaginable grief over the misuse of human ability to rule.
No doubt, fallen humanity has not lived up to its responsibility as stewards of creation.
God gave humans total control over what takes place on earth.
Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them (Hebrews 2.8b).
International conflict, famine, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and the like are proof that not “everything” is in subjection to our control.
A Crucified Ruler
The Roman emperor Tiberius was clothed in fine apparel and nestled securely on his throne on the day Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth on a cross.
Tiberius was exercising dominion over the Roman Empire, while Jesus was living out his stewardship to God.
Most readers of my blog are like me and have to use Google to identify who was the Roman emperor the day Jesus was crucified.
On the other hand, Jesus’ obedient suffering has given him a name above every name. The author of Hebrews recognized this.
“But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now 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 2.9).
Nothing is more important than the fact that we “see” through faith who Jesus is. Jesus is the One who has done for humanity what we have not been able to do for ourselves.
Jesus will teach us the responsible way to live the “dominion” God has assigned to us.
Dallas Willard has defined the kingdom of God as “the effective range of God’s power.”
Each one of us had a “little” kingdom of our own. As we exercise the range of personal power, Jesus is the best teacher of how to do it.
Living a Jesus-kind-of-life is the best way to exercise our dominion.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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