We are like angels clothed with physical bodies, but we are different in function and purpose.
God did not say, “Let us make a creature in our image and after our likeness and call him man.” God actually identified the creature he was going to bring forth and made reference to him as man (as if there were a previous version) when He said, “Let us make man...” This was a statement from the Triune God (Father, Word and Holy Ghost) and it was understood to mean a creature that existed before, but in his previous form he was not quite in the image and likeness of the members of the Godhead. If I may paraphrase this verse it would read, “Let us make man, but this time let us make him in our image, after our likeness...” In other words, this time, man was going to be God-like.
God then gave to man governance over the earth – and, quite rightly, one would think that only a creature possessing God-like attributes would be able to take on this responsibility. It is clear from the scriptures that in the dateless past, man-like creatures, along with many other earthly creatures, existed before under the rule of Lucifer (now Satan) and that cities existed and social systems were in place. These man-like creatures and other creatures were corrupted by Lucifer which gave cause for God to destroy all earthly creatures by what we know as the pre-Adamic flood. This discussion deserves much more space and I mention it only to place emphasis on the pre-existence of man-like creatures not possessing God-like qualities and that God repeated the advent of man, but this time to be God-like – a creature He formed for His pleasure and with whom to have fellowship.
A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS
This new man was formed from the dust of the ground, but as such he had no life at all. Now the following is what I would like to accentuate. Angels were created by God and Lucifer was one of them. Angels are spirits – and the life possessed by humans is like the life of an angel. Man’s outer body of clay covers the spirit within, which is his real life. The only difference between man and angels is that angels do not have a physical covering. We are, therefore, like angels, but our “angelic” spirits are housed by a physical body for the purpose of fulfilling our earthly, God-given assignment – that of looking after the earth, something previously given to that fallen angel, Satan.
The Bible says of man, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” (Ps 8:3-8)
In the above passage we see that we were made a “little lower than the angels”. Angels are not encumbered by physical bodies and can move through the physical realm to the far reaches of the universe in the blink of an eye.
Now this is important. It has to be understood that although we are like angels clad in physical bodies, it does not mean that we would be like angels “flying” and going everywhere at will if God removed our physical covering. God specifically made us to be earthbound, God-like creatures to be custodians of the earth that He specially re-created for us after the pre-Adamic flood. Furthermore, we were created “a little lower than the angels” only for the time being, for we are going to judge the fallen angels at a later stage – and that places us a little higher than the angels. In the meantime, angels are assigned to look after us (minister to us) while we “mess up” our lives here on earth as a result of our own fallen, sinful nature.
We also see in the above passage that we are very special creatures in that God “crowned him with glory and honour”. We were to have a unique relationship with God, always having Him in attendance to our needs and welfare as we walked the earth in joyful fellowship with Him. After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, things changed, but God had foreseen this even before He made man.
AND THEN A MIRACLE HAPPENED
God sent His Word – God in the flesh – Jesus Christ, to live on earth as a human being. This man, Jesus, would enter the world just like us, “a little lower than the angels” – for a man-saving purpose – that of reconciling us to God so that we may, once again, enjoy fellowship with Him. And in order to do that He had to pay the penalty for our condition of sin. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,...” ( Heb 2:9-11)
The Son of Man, Jesus, completed His mission, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Php 2:6-11)
THE NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME
And now He is higher than all. Indeed, we can exclaim, “How great thou art!” He did it all for us so “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Php 2:15)
Now all that remains is for us to get off our angelic bottoms and start behaving like born again, spirit-filled human beings and fulfil our mission – “...because as He is, so are we in this world.”
(This article is about to form a long swishing tail of comments, mostly by those who call themselves "atheists". Hopefully. each and every one of them will have a Col 1:13 experience.)