“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4).
This psalm was presumably written by David. In his shepherd days, tending his father’s flocks, David probably often slept under the stars and in all likelihood must have surveyed the fathomless immensity of the sky above him. As he recognised the moon, stars, the heavens as the work of God, and as he contemplated the greatness of God and His creation, David must have asked the above question “what is man that you are mindful of him?”
David the psalmist moves from the littleness of a human being, in comparison to the vastness of the universe, to the greatness which God has given him on earth (vs 5,6), delegating to him the control of His works on earth.
What is man? – it is true that man has infinite worth, being made by God for nobility and glory; but every human individual is currently twisted out of moral shape and the cure must come from God. Each of us, in creation, is God’s image-bearer, but each of us is also fallen and lives under the power of sin and now needs grace for salvation. It is beyond our power to straighten the human character – man needs God to do that.
“But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God, He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin….Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:9-10,14),
The psalm’s description of humankind’s dominion is true to a great extent, it is in thoroughly true of the man Christ Jesus rather than us. He, the Word, became flesh, the perfect human as the perfect God-man. Humankind has sinned and fallen, and consequently has lost some of the dominion which God has given us; but in Jesus, the second Adam, this dominion has been restored. It is in HIm rather than in us that humankind’s dominion is exhibited. But this can be true of us if we have come by faith to share in HIs exaltation. Indeed, we have experienced it, for it has raised us with Christ and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places, where we are partakers of His victory and dominion (Eph. 2:5,6).