Postscript to The Gospel of Mark’s Jesus as the New Adam . . . .
In Hebrews 2:5-8 we read
5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
the son of man that you care for him?
7 You made him a little lower than the angels;
you crowned him with glory and honor
8 and put everything under his feet.”
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
The theme of the opening chapters of Hebrews is that Jesus is like us, like humanity, in every way. One way in which he is like us is his designation as a “son of man”, as we all are.
The author of this book of Hebrews has not taken the Son of Man as a title from Daniel 7 (as the Synoptic gospels do) but from Psalm 8. Jesus is a Son of Man in the same sense that we are all from Adam, but at the same time, Jesus is “the” Son of Man who has come to restore Adam’s originally intended place as ruler of all.
We can see two concepts of Son of Man in the early Christian writings: one, common to the canonical gospels derives from Daniel 7; the other takes the concept of Son of Man not as a title as in Daniel, but as a description of Jesus as a son of Adam.
Recall in the previous post that Adam was believed to be destined to rule all, including the angels. That’s the idea of a son of man in Hebrews where we read the quotation from Psalm 8 that likewise infers Adam (and mankind) has been destined to rule angels.
In Hebrews we read some kind of explanation for why Adam’s sons and daughters have not been restored yet. Jesus, the new Adam, has been crowned in glory and honour. The time is “at the door” for the cosmos to be put at our feet.
Thinking back on that previous post, it appears that in the Gospel of Mark we find the two concepts of Son of Man — the titular one of Daniel 7 and the Adamic one of Hebrews (and Paul) — united in Jesus.
It can be argued that Hebrews emphasizes the “historicity” of Jesus in order to drive home the “fact” that he was a flesh and blood descendant from Adam like us. Be that as it may, I think the point of the emphasis is primarily a theological one. It is necessary theologically for Jesus to have been a “son of man”.
The above thought (except for the last two sentences) derives entirely from
- Gräßer, Erich. Beobachtungen Zum Menschensohn In Hebr 2,6. De Gruyter, 1992. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110871623-009.