Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Monday, December 6, 2021

Who is Lower than the Angels? (Hebrews 2:6–8)

The challenge of translating Hebrews 2:6–8 is that the original context (Psalm 8) was talking about people in general (plural), but the author of Hebrews rightly sees that it is messianic (singular) as does the author of Psalm 110:1 (Heb 2:8). So do you keep the original context, or its messianic understanding, and do you try to find a way to represent both?


Yes, but the original Hebrew, LXX Greek, and NT Greek are all singular; there is no plural anything anywhere. So, why would anyone translate any part of it plural? I think the point of confusion is in Psalm 8:4-5, where I think it would be properly (but awkwardly) translated, if Hebrew, "What man that do-you-remember [qal-imperfect], son-man that do-you-look-upon [qal-imperfect, also considering LXX/ΝΤ επι-σεκπτη]. Or, LXX/NT "what is-being [a] man, that you are remembering of-same, or [a] son of-[a]-man, that you are looking-upon same." I see this as one and the same individual, "[a] man" and "[a] son [of] man" being that one individual. This resolves everything, making both the Old Testament and New Testament references to a single man, who is the "son of man," who is the messiah. There is no plural anything, no mention of "mankind." I hope that this translation dilemma is not yet another syndrome of the present gender identity crisis, that "man" must be translated "human," leading one to think "humankind," therefore leading the mind to think plural humanity.

No/. The issue is that for many people, perhaps most people, "man" means "male" and is therefore a mistranslation. "They/them" is technically not marked for number, and it is the pronoun of choice for a reference to a single entity, and all this happened before the gender identity issue.

It is "man" because the lineage of mankind ("humankind," if you will) is rooted in Adam, not Eve. You will find man-beget-man lineages in the various genealogies given in the Bible in the various places as well, not woman-beget-woman lineages. You might be surprised to hear me say this, but it is our Creator who is gender-less, the Creator who "created them male and female," making "male" and "female" a creation of the Creator. Certainly the Creator of the universe did not have male sex organs! Now should we complete the gender neutrality exercise by not translating the original word as "God," since "god" is male and "goddess" is female? Perhaps should the new word be "Deity" for the next wave of politically/socially correct translations? The key is that Adam was created in the image of God; that's why we call him the "man," and would not refer to our Creator as "God/ess," or "s/he." This is what escapes "many people, perhaps most people." Eve was not created in the image of God. Eve was created from the man, who then called her wo-man ("ish-sha"), unlike how the male and female animals were created. But we are not animals, as the godless evolutionists would contend. Now, to the extent that she is also in the image of God, it is indirectly by virtue of being from the man. But it is a man's world, literally, Adam's world, as all humanity is "in Adam," and the godless, radical feminists hate this, as it speaks "male supremacy" and oppression to them. But man to woman maps to bridegroom to bride, which maps to Christ to church, so we, the bride of Christ, are assigned as "she" in the end anyway, acknowledge Jesus, the man, as head, and submit to him, not the other way around. The male and female, man and woman distinction is for a reason; "man" and "mankind" was never a "mistranslation." Although the much-hated scriptures about the relationship between a man and a woman in the New Testament speak about a woman being under a man, they also speak about the man loving the woman as even Christ loved us, offered up his life for us, and cherishes us; he does not "oppress" us. Beginning with the modern feminist movement of over a hundred years ago and continuing to the present gender identity crisis, you can see that the former preceded the gender identity crisis (by over a century). But perversions are introduced little by little, and now the new wave of translations haplessly accommodate the result. Way back when, you should have told your daughter, "Yes, it says 'man,' but girls and women also come from the first man God created, so are included in all the promises of God to mankind. In time, daughter, you will learn where written context distinguishes between a man and a woman, and where it refers to all of us who came from that one man Adam. But right now you are just learning the English language and just learning about the Bible."

That was a really good one, clarified a number of things. And think of all the world’s languages it goes into.