Hebrews 2:8 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Heb 2:8  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 

This verse states that “[God] left nothing outside his control”, which could fit Calvinistic ideas of micromanaging sovereignty. In fact, it has been used this way:

f. That He would commit to Him all power in heaven and on earth for the government of the world and of His Church, Matt. 28: 18; Eph. 1: 20-22; Phil. 2: 9-11; Heb. 2: 5-9; and would finally reward Him as Mediator with the glory which He as the Son of God had with the Father before the world was, John 17: 5.

Berkhof, Louis. Systematic Theology (Kindle Locations 6051-6052). . Kindle Edition.

But the text is not saying that God left nothing outside the control of Jesus, but contextually, this verse is saying that God left nothing outside the control of mankind. If “nothing outside his control” is micromanaging sovereignty, then mankind is sovereign per this verse. The context bears this out:

Heb 2:5  For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 
Heb 2:6  It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 
Heb 2:7  You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 
Heb 2:8  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 
Heb 2:9  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 

Verse 5 states that God did not subjugate the world to angels, but to lower beings. Verse 6 identifies these beings as man. Verse 8 states that God subjugated all things to man, and then states that this is not the state of the world we see. We still have death, per verse 9. Jesus is introduced in verse 9, who is coming to bridge the shortfall between what was promised and what we experience. All of this is quoting Psalms 8:6, which is explicitly about mankind’s domination over the world:

Psa 8:6  You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 

In short, a phrase which is taken to mean Calvinistic sovereignty is in relation to mankind’s sovereignty. The real meaning is that mankind just has general power over the world. This is not about micromanagement. What this shows is the very arbitrary way that sovereignty prooftexts are interpreted.

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