People and angels

Are people higher than the angels? I have always believed and been told that this is true as we are God's children and they are God's servants or messengers. My pastor disagreed, quoting psalms 8:5. I discussed this with my ELS family, including my sister, a former Christian day school teacher married to an ELS minister and she too believed we are higher than the angels. I have read 1 Corinthians 6:3 and other NT references and now I am confused.

You will want to define what you mean by “higher” or (“lower”). Are people the crown of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-2:3), the objects of God’s redeeming love in Christ (Hebrews 2:10-18; 1 Peter 1:12), the beneficiaries of angels’ service (Hebrews 1:14), and, along with Jesus, future judges of the evil angels (1 Corinthians 6:3; Jude 6)? Yes. Do angels have greater strength and abilities than people on earth (Psalm 91:11-13; 103:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7)? Yes. Focusing on these differing circumstances will undoubtedly address your definition of “higher” or “lower.”

Psalm 8:4-5 presents challenges to biblical interpreters. The question regarding verse four is the identification of the “man” and “son of man” (in many Bible translations). Does that refer only to people? Does it refer to people and also Jesus when he became man and lived a humble life on earth? Does it refer only to Jesus when he became man and lived a humble life on earth? Additionally, verse five can be translated “a little lower than the heavenly beings,” “a little lower than angels” or “a little lower than God.”

What is clear is that the writer to the Hebrews applied Psalm 8:4-6 to Jesus (Hebrews 2:5-9). When Jesus Christ became a man and lived on earth, he did not always or fully use his powers and abilities as the eternal Son of God. Jesus never ceased being God, but he experienced temptation, suffering and death.

Psalm 148 puts all this in perspective. God the Creator is to receive praise from the angels he created (verse two) and the people he created (verses eleven and twelve).