The Glorious Church, by Watchman Nee


God wanted to have man to rule for Him on this earth, but man did not attain to God’s purpose. In Genesis 3 the fall took place and sin entered; man came under the power of Satan, and everything seemed to come to an end. Satan was seemingly victorious and God was seemingly defeated. In addition to the passage in Genesis 1, there are two more passages in the Scriptures which are related to this problem. They are Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2.

Psalm 8

Psalm 8 shows that God’s purpose and plan have never changed. After the fall, God’s will and requirement for man remained the same without any alteration. His will in Genesis 1, when He created man, still holds good, even though man has sinned and fallen. Even though Psalm 8 was written after man’s fall, the psalmist was able to praise; his eyes were still set upon Genesis 1. The Holy Spirit did not forget Genesis 1, the Son did not forget Genesis 1, nor did God Himself forget Genesis 1.

Let us see the content of this psalm. Verse 1 says, "O Jehovah our Lord,/How excellent is Your name/In all the earth." All who are inspired by the Holy Spirit will utter such words: "How excellent is Your name in all the earth!" Though some people slander and reject the Lord’s name, yet the psalmist loudly proclaimed, "O Jehovah our Lord,/How excellent is Your name/In all the earth." He did not say, "Your name is very excellent." "Very excellent" does not have the same meaning as "how excellent." "Very excellent" means that I, the psalmist, can still describe the excellence, whereas "how excellent" means that even though I can write psalms, I do not have the words to express, nor do I know how excellent is the Lord’s name. So I can only say, "O Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!" Not only is His name excellent, His name is excellent "in all the earth"! The expression "in all the earth" is the same as in Genesis 1:26. If we know God’s plan, every time we read the word "man" or the word "earth" our hearts should leap within us.

Verse 2 continues, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings/You have established strength/Because of Your adversaries,/To stop the enemy and the avenger." Babes and sucklings refer to man, and the emphasis in this verse is upon God using man to deal with the enemy. The Lord Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16: "Out of the mouth of infants and sucklings You have perfected praise." These words mean that the enemy may do all he can, but it is not necessary for God Himself to deal with him. God will use babes and sucklings to deal with him. What can babes and sucklings do? It says, "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings/You have established strength." God’s desire is to obtain men who are able to praise; those who can praise are those who can deal with the enemy.

In verses 3 through 8 the psalmist says, "When I see Your heavens, the works of Your fingers,/The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,/What is man, that You remember him,/And the son of man, that You visit him?/You have made him somewhat lower than angels/And have crowned him with glory and honor./For You have caused him to rule over the works of Your hands;/You have put all things under his feet: /All sheep and oxen,/As well as the beasts of the field,/The birds of heaven and the fish of the sea,/Whatever passes through the paths of the seas." If we were writing this psalm, perhaps we would add a parentheses at this point: "How pitiful that man has fallen and sinned and been cast out of the garden of Eden! No more can man attain to this." But thank God, in the heart of the psalmist there was not such a thought. In God’s view the earth can still be restored, the position given to man by God still exists, and His commitment to man to destroy the work of the devil still remains. Therefore, starting from the third verse, the psalmist again narrates the same old story, completely ignoring the third chapter of Genesis. This is the outstanding feature of Psalm 8. God’s purpose is for man to rule. Is man worthy? Certainly not! But since God’s purpose is for man to rule, man will surely rule.

In verse 9 the psalmist again says, "O Jehovah our Lord, /How excellent is Your name/In all the earth!" He continues to praise, as though he were not even aware of man’s fall. Though Adam had sinned and Eve had also sinned, they could never withstand God’s plan. Man can fall and man can sin, but man cannot overthrow the will of God. Even after man fell, God’s will toward man remained the same. God still requires man to overthrow the power of Satan. Oh, what an unchangeable God He is! His way is unswerving and utterly straightforward. We must realize that God can never be overthrown. In this world there are some who receive many hard blows, but no one has been attacked daily and received continual blasts like God. Yet His will has never been overthrown. What God was before man’s fall, He is after man’s fall and after sin entered into the world. The decision He affirmed aforetime is still His decision today. He has never changed.

(The Glorious Church, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)