Midway Between Angels and Apes


Psalm 108 praises God for his majestic name (presence) in all the earth, his glory is above the heavens.  A question occurs to the psalm which has likely crossed our minds. ” What is man (humanity) that you are mindful of him, and the son (children of humanity) of man that you care for him?”  Nevertheless, the psalmist notes, “Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor.  You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.”

James Limburg of Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, cautions us, “We are intended to be less than God, lower than the angels.  We do not expect to answer all questions, solve all mysteries, or control all aspects of our lives and the lives of others on our planet.  We ought not get ourselves confused with God, or even the angels.  The Bible labels such confusion the sin of pride.”

Limburg recalls a biology lecture on the nature of human life entitled, “Midway between the Apes and the Angels.”  “We are not gods, nor even angels; but more than apes, or even dolphins.  We are royalty, assigned to care for the earth, inviting our fellow earthlings to join in the chorus: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic in thy name!”

Confusing who we are led the people in John 8, to hurl Donald Trump -like insults and accusations at Jesus – at God – calling him a Samaritan and possessed by a demon.  He was less than God, less than angels, less than human, more on the level of an ape.  They not only degodded Jesus they also dehumanized him.  Once they did that, in the temple mind you, the earthly house of God among them; it was only a short step to, “They picked up stones to throw at him.”  Before them they saw not God, but an outcast, a demon possessed subhuman.  So God (Jesus) hid himself, since he was already hidden, and “went out of the temple.”  God was no longer in the temple.

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