Are human beings the highest part of God's creation? There was some confusion over this in our Sunday School Class. I say that if we are lower than the angels, the answer must be “no” since the angels were created by God. But we also read that man was created to have dominion over the creation. Can you help clarify the answer? Thank you.
Man is the highest form of God’s creation among the animals and the creatures that live on this earth. But man is also lower than the angels who live in heaven.
Humans – The Highest On Earth
Man is the only creature that God made to be like Him. The animals of the sea and the land are called beasts in the Bible. God created them, and then He decided to make something new – a human being.
And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (NASB) Genesis 1:25-26
Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. (NASB) Genesis 9:3
He gave humans authority over the plants and animals. God made man the highest creature on earth.
Angels – The Highest In The Universe
But man is not the highest in God’s creation. When Jesus came to this earth and took on human flesh, He appeared as a man. Jesus did this in order to pay the penalty for our sins – to die for our sins. He did this so that he could forgive our sins. The book of Hebrews says that when Jesus came here in human flesh, He was made lower than the angels.
But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. (NASB) Hebrews 2:9
This tells us that humans are lower than the angels. We are not greater. Angels are greater in power and authority. Yet, scripture tells us that believers will judge the angels some day in the future. What an awesome responsibility.
Do you not know that we shall judge angels? . . . 1 Cor. 6:3 (NASB)
In summary, angels are greater than humans, and humans are greater than all of the other creatures on this planet. What a great responsibility God has given us. God wants us to be kind, loving, and gracious to the animals and to care for our world.
A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, But the compassion of the wicked is cruel. (NASB) Proverbs 12:10