The Glorious Destiny unto which Men Have Been Created
By Al Stoner
“For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak” (Heb. 2:5).
“One in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus” (Heb. 2:6-9).
The son of man that Thou visitest him. In this particular visitation, spoken of by David in Psalm 8, God is not merely “stopping by” to pay men a visit, as the word is commonly used among men. When God visits men, especially in the context of Psalm 8, He is bringing and bestowing unspeakably good things: things pertaining to eternal salvation and to the obtainment of eternal life. The things that God is bringing to men have become the substance of the glad tidings of the gospel. But woe be unto men who despise and reject that which God is bringing!
What is man? This is a question that is asked a number of times in Scripture from different perspectives (cf. Job 7:17; 15:14; Ps. 8:4; 144:3). In Job’s day thinkers, such as Job and his three “comforters” (Job 16:2), marveled that God would take any note of men at all because of man’s sinfulness and uncleanness (see Job 15:14-16). David, in Psalm 8, was given to see much more than this as he called to remembrance the reason for man’s creation as it was declared “in the beginning” in Genesis 1:26-28.
The specific reason, of course, was that men were created to exercise dominion over God’s creation. By creating man in His own image God had purposed to reveal more of His own Person and Character to the heavenly onlookers: the principalities and powers in heavenly places.
In Psalm 144:3-4, however, David seems to have retrogressed in his reasoning more to the level of Job and his friends. We certainly do not fault him or those of Job’s day for this, for that former time was a time of lesser revelation. But we do fault current-day “theologies” which have adopted a lower view, in ignorement of the Apostolic perspective. That is inexcusable! In the earth-centered, earthbound church of our day there is very little, if any, talk of an eternal inheritance and dominion as a living incentive for living godly in Christ Jesus. That which calls itself “the church” in our day, for the most part, has a form of godliness, but denies the power given of God to live godly in this wicked and perverse generation.
The Times of Ignorance. The former age (prior to the entrance of the Christ into the world) was a time of general ignorance of God with occasional glimmers of hope being given with regard to the purpose for existence and the glorious prospect awaiting those created in the image of God. The former ignorance is due to the fact that death had not yet been abolished by the Lord Jesus Christ, and life and immortality had not yet been brought to light by the gospel (cf. II Tim. 1:9-10). “And the times of” that “ignorance God winked at; but now” He commands “all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
With regard to the purpose of man’s creation, Paul in Hebrews 2, takes up the same consideration, expressed aforetime by David regarding man, and announces an exceedingly bright and gloriously optimistic destiny for the race of men! It is that redeemed personalities have been created, and are now being prepared of God, to take possession of a rule and dominion, not in this present evil world, but in the world which is to come. It shall not be a rule over birds and fishes and cattle in this world, as was at the first indicated in the Genesis account, but over “cities” (Lk. 19:17-19) and over “many things” (Mt. 25:21-23) in the world to come. (We heartily commend to our readers this optimistic view afforded us in the Apostolic writings!)
This bright outlook is a case-in-point example of that word of the Apostle where he said, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). Sin abounded greatly, temporarily aborting the purpose of God for man’s dominion in this world, but this was all part of the Divine purpose wrapped up in a mystery until the fullness of the time should come (cf. Gal. 4:4). “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18). And if we may so speak, the grace of God has now much more abounded, reinstating that purpose so that it is once again on track with redeemed men being presently groomed to be made heirs of a much greater rulership in the world to come. From the perspective of Hebrews 2, what a privileged class of personalities we are to be part of the race of men (particularly those of us that are in Christ)! All of Scripture attests to the very special regard that God has for man who is created in His image, but how much moreso now for those who are being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29)?
However, if some members of our race choose to continue in sin and to spurn “the salvation” which God has “prepared before the face of all people” (Lk. 2:30-31), they shall certainly be rejected of Him and they shall forfeit their own participation in the glorious purpose for which God made man. Such ones shall be cast into outer darkness and into everlasting torments. (The salvation of God in Christ Jesus is for the purpose of readying men for an eternal inheritance and dominion).
And as we presently consider those around us who have rejected the gospel and who yet are engaged in sinful involvements, it ought to grieve us at our very hearts that such ones, if they do not recover themselves from the snare of the Devil, shall not be partakers of the glorious destiny for which they were made!
But We See Jesus. The exalted Savior (Acts 2:33; 5:31; Phil. 2:9), “the Man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5), is our guarantee that we shall also be invested with this promised dominion. By God’s grace we shall assuredly enter into that fullness of dominion for which man was created, as Christ is both the “Firstfruits” of the wheat harvest (I Cor. 15:23) and our “Forerunner” (Heb. 6:20). In the present time we have been made “kings and priests unto God” (Rev. 1:6) to be sure, but our reign is not now evident to all (nor is it fully evident to ourselves), for we yet have the heavenly treasure in an earthen vessel (II Cor. 4:7), and we have presently been commissioned of God to not let sin reign in it (cf. Rom. 6:12).
In Conclusion. As we consider the glorious prospect which God has laid up for man, created in His likeness and now conformed to the image of His Son, let us saturate our minds and hearts with the words of the Scripture. Let us purge our minds of such scientifically-derogatory terms as “human,” “humanoid,” “humanistic,” and the like. They are all of the earth, earthy. They are words that are from beneath, and are calculated to eradicate from men’s thinking any and every vestige of consideration for “the Creator of the ends of the earth,” “Who is blessed for ever” (Isa. 40:28; Rom. 1:25). Let us be spiritually minded, having our minds and hearts filled, not with “the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:13).