Summary: The tension between the subjection of the world to Christ and the world in which we currently live
One of the great concerns in our Christian state is when Scripture speaks in a way that describes a world we don’t quite live in yet. The author to the Hebrews today begins talking partly about a current circumstance, but he also talks about what he calls a world to come. And for us many times we get very distracted by that tension that exits between the already and the not yet, between what God says is true and also the world that we live in. Scripture calls the people of God saints, but to look at the people of God, there are times when the term saint seems to be far from what we are. But we are called saints, but we also recognize that we go on sinning in the world. We look at the world that surrounds us, and scripture tells us that the world is in God’s hands, that the world is in Christ’s hands. But yet…
We know and we see day upon day. We see tragedies that overwhelm us. We see disasters in our world, and we wonder, “How can God be in control of this world?” How can all things be subject to God? Well, in this section the author to the Hebrews begins with a very important reality check. A quote from Psalm 8, “What are human beings 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.” (2:6-8) The question he starts with is why would God care about human beings at all? Why would God be concerned at all? If we believe in a God who is powerful and strong, a God who is holy and righteous, who knows all things and created the world out of noting, then why would that God be concerned with small, created, miserable sinful wretched humanity?
And this became a very important concept, especially in the 18th century, as people, began to understand how large the universe was. The billions of miles, the galaxies so far away, the insignificance of humanity became greater and greater. And so the question of God’s relation to his creation, (if indeed it was his creation), became more and more potent. Especially with regard to God’s relation to this one point in the universe, God’s ultimate creative act, humanity, the enlightenment of the 18th century declared God unconcerned with creation.
But we believe something different. That is not what Scripture gives us. Because the Psalmist here looks at his own life in Psalm 8, he knows how insignificant he is, but he looks to God and God tells him and says “…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.” It is to humanity that glory and honor are given. It is to humanity that all things have been subjected, all things in heaven and on earth. And the author to the Hebrews reiterates the point when he says God left nothing outside their control.
Now think about what that means to us as human beings, that God left nothing outside their control. That is our human destiny, to sit at God’s right hand and have nothing outside our control, to have all things subject to us. It is a remarkable statement to make. But as in all things, even scriptural things, reality creeps in. The next line, “We do not yet see everything in subjection to them.” (v.8) Christians are not idiots; they recognize that there is this gap between who we have been called in God, and who we are in the world in which we live. God has called to rule over all things, but we know and understand that we do not see everything in subjection to us. We cannot control the world in which we live. We cannot control the clouds and the sun. We cannot control the winds and the rain. We cannot control disease and pain. We try. The world tries to make the creation into something else. It is remarkable the lengths we go to control the world. For example, antibiotics began as a good thing, but as time goes on the bacteria become mutated, the antibiotics are less effective, and diseases we never knew existed come to affect us. And we are not in control; what once helped us is now the cause of our demise. So we try to get control on or own terms.