Angels or God?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Ulsterman, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. Ulsterman

    Ulsterman
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    "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." Psalm 8:5 KJV

    Angels = Heb. "elohiym", plural of elowahh; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God.

    It can't be both angels and God, so which is it 'angels' or God?
     
  2. Deacon

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    “…and You make him little less than the gods, Robert Alter

    Alter notes that it could be either gods or celestial beings, both being in a hierarchy between God and man.
    The LXX uses angels (or ‘gods’, if you prefer)

    John Goldingay twists it differently translating elohim in the singular form as “God

    “But you made him fall short of God by a little,”

    I like the plural "gods" personally.

    Rob
     
    #2 Deacon, Nov 20, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2007
  3. Deacon

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    Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, Darby
    Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings ESV
    For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels AV1873
    Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods, Message
    and make them a little less than the heavenly beings? NET
    Yet you have made them little less than a god, NAB
    You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings NIV


    For thou hast made him but little lower than God, ASV
    You made us a little lower than you yourself, CEV
    Yet you made them inferior only to yourself; GNT
    You made him little less than God HCSB
    Yet You have made him a little lower than God, NASB95
    Yet you made them only a little lower than God NLT
    Yet you have made them a little lower than God, NRSV
    Yet thou hast made him little less than God, RSV


    You made him for a little while lower than the angels; [Hebrews 2:7]
    While this seems to make it a slam dunk, it doesn’t necessarily establish the intent of the original author.

    Old Greek, Septuagint, Syriac, Targums and Latin Vulgate all translate it as “gods”.
    Other ancient versions (Aquila, Symmachus, and some others) translated it as “God”.
    These translations however were done hundreds of years (some more than a thousand years) after the psalm was written.

    The answer doesn’t lie in the text but with the authors intent.
    IMO, this may be a good place for a textual note except for the fact that it wouldn’t change the meaning of the psalm either way.

    Peter Craigie makes a strong case for “God” in the Word Biblical Commentary.
    But you have made him little less than God, Craigie
    But other respected commentators make equally strong cases for translating it as “gods”.

    Why do I favor “gods”.
    This is psalm is in a section of the psalms that uses the tetragram, Yhwh, [יהוה ].
    God is addressed in a number of different ways in this psalm, Yhwh, Adonai, the Name.
    If the author meant “God” he clearly could have used the Name.

    Rob
     
  4. LeBuick

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    Does anyone remember the author who argued flesh is what makes man lower than the angels? And once we loose this limitation (flesh) we basically become equivilant to an angel?

    I've been trying to remember since I first saw this thread but can't bring it to mind.
     
  5. Ulsterman

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    This is much the same as what a guest speaker, speaking on the topic of Creation, said at our church on Sunday night. I thought it was interesting and seemed to make more sense to me than angels.

    I have to say I hate the rendering gven to this text by The Message. It sounds so Edenic (and Satanic) and is so far from anything the psalmist intended.
     
  6. Palatka51

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    Brothers, It is apparent that in the pursuit of education that we tend to stumble over too much knowledge. Let's take the text with faith and that it is as God would have us to have it. :praying:
    Psalm 117
    1 O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.
    2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. :applause:
     
  7. Askjo

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    J Vernon McGee had good answers on the Book of Psalm and the Book of Hebrews concerning a right word – Angels or God.

    His quotation from his commentary on Psalm said:


    His quotation from his commentary on Hebrews said:

     
    #7 Askjo, Nov 22, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2007
  8. Logos1560

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    The 1560 Geneva Bible, one of the good pre-1611 English Bibles of which the KJV was a revision, has the following rendering of Psalm 8:5

    For thou hast made him a little lower than God, and crowned him with glory and worship.
     
  9. Deacon

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    The Chiasm of Psalm 8 (ESV)


    1 O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!


    You have set your glory above the heavens.

    2 Out of the mouth of babes and infants,

    you have established strength because of your foes,

    to still the enemy and the avenger.

    3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

    4 what is man that you are mindful of him,

    and the son of man that you care for him?

    5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

    and crowned him with glory and honor.

    6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

    you have put all things under his feet,

    7 all sheep and oxen,

    and also the beasts of the field,

    8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

    9 O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
     
  10. Ed Edwards

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    [FONT=Arial, Geneva, Helvetica]Angels? God? gods? - I say YEP! - all of 'em

    Psalm 8:"4-5
    (TNIV = Today's New International Version):
    4
    what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
    5 You have made them a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
    [/FONT]
     
  11. LeBuick

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    Explain how it can be all?

    Also, can some one define angel vs. god (little g) or even what a heavenly being/body is vs. angel?
     
  12. Ed Edwards

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    Ulsterman: //It can't be both angels and God, ... //

    Of course it can

    Psalm 8:5 (The Message):
    Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods,
    bright with Eden's dawn light.

    Psa 8:5 (Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition):
    For thou hast made him a little lower then God,
    and crowned him with glory and worship.

    Psa 8:5 (KJV1611 Edition):
    For thou hast made him a little lower then the Angels;
    and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

    Psalm 8:5 (KJV1873 Editon):
    For thou hast made him a little lower then the angels,
    and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

    Here is the Hebrew word of which we speak, from STRONG'S:



    H430
    אלהים
    'ĕlôhîym
    el-o-heem'

    Plural of H433
    ; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically
    used
    (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of
    the supreme God
    ; occasionally applied by way of deference
    to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: - angels,
    X exceeding, God (gods) (-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges,
    X mighty.

    So obviously it can mean 'heavenly beings', real or fanciful:
    gods, God, Angels (KJV1611 Edition), angels (KJV1873 Edition), etc
     
  13. Deacon

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    One word, two meanings

    elohim [אֱלֹהִים] = God or gods

    Examples:

    In the beginning God [elohim] created the heaven and the earth.
    Genesis 1:1 AV 1873

    Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, [elohim] and worship them;
    Deuteronomy 11:16 AV 1873

    Even this is a bit misleading!

    Psalm 8 is the ONLY instance I can find where the KJV translated elohim as 'angels'.
    Can anyone find any others???

    In general, the word for 'angel' in the OT is translated from the Hebrew word 'messenger' (which is related to the Hebrew word for king, melek).

    Rob
     
    #13 Deacon, Nov 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2007
  14. Ed Edwards

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    //Psalm 8 is the ONLY instance I can find where the KJV translated elohim as 'angels'.
    Can anyone find any others???//

    Can't find any. THE STRONGEST STRONG'S says
    H430 is translated only once as 'angels'
    in the KJV1769 Edition; I note it is spelled:
    'Angels' in the KJV1611 Edition.

    I thought it might be word 4480 in front of 430.
    But that didn't happen:

    Psa 8:5 (KJV1769 with Strongs numbers)
    For thou hast made him a little lower2637, 4592
    than the angels,4480, 430 and hast crowned5849
    him with glory3519 and honor.1926

    Psa 18:21 (KJV1769 with Strongs numbers)
    For3588 I have kept8104
    the ways1870 of the LORD,3068
    and have not3808 wickedly departed7561
    from my God.4480, 430

    (4480 is a preposition, used in the O.T. 4,000+
    times)

    I like THE MESSAGE by Peterson here.
    I'm going to have to buy a paper copy ;)
     
  15. LeBuick

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    Now this is odd, why is this same word translated different when quoted in Hebrews?

    Heb 2:7 (KJV) Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

    Greek Word: ἄγγελος
    Transliteration: angelos
    Phonetic Pronunciation:ang'-el-os
    Root: from aggello [probably derived from <G71>, cf <G34>] (to bring tidings)
    Cross Reference: TDNT - 1:74,12
    Part of Speech: n m
    Vine's Words: Angel, Messenger

    Usage Notes:

    English Words used in KJV:
    angel 179
    messenger 7
    [Total Count: 186]

    from aggello [probably derivative from <G71> (ago); compare <G34> (agele)] (to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor :- angel, messenger.
     
  16. Deacon

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    1. The difference in translation [God/gods] makes no difference in the interpretation of Psalm 8.

    2. The additional use of the word “angels” in Hebrews 2 wouldn’t change the meaning of Psalm 8.

    3. The use of the word “angels” in Hebrews 2 helps with the flow of thought in the section but the author’s argument wouldn’t be changed if he used a different word.

    4. The use of the word, “angels” probably came from the authors use of the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew.
    Curious indeed in a book written to Hebrew Christians.


    I'd like to know more about what the speaker in the OP implied was the important difference.

    Rob
     
  17. franklinmonroe

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    I'll deal with the last part first, "heavenly being" vs. "angel": "angel" is just one specific term for a kind of heavenly being. Other heavenly beings include seraphim, cherubim, and archangels (others also may include: thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities).

    Now, "angel" vs. "god": a Biblical "angel" is a heavenly being that acts as a messenger between God and humanity; a "god" is simply a being with supernatural attributes, or the image of such a being (often worshipped). So, to ordinary humans an angel would appear to display god-like powers. Since Hebrew (and early Greek writing) did not employ the use of capitalization, there is no hint from the ancient characters as to the intention ('g' or 'G'). It must come from the context.

    It is not odd, because they are not corresponding words even though they are parallel terms in these two verses. In Psalm 8:5 the discussion has been about the Hebrew term elohim (usually "god" or "God"), while in the Hebrews 2:7 we find the Greek term angelos (as you indicated). The standard Greek term for "god or "God" is theos.

    The English word "angel" (merely a transliteration from angelos) is a very unusual rendering of the OT term elohim, and quite possibly influenced by the NT quotation. In addition, the Septuagint (Greek translation) of Psalm 8 does employ the word angelos here in verse 5, thus corresponding exactly with the citation in the second chapter of Hebrews.
     
    #17 franklinmonroe, Nov 26, 2007
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  18. Ulsterman

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    I didn't mean to imply anything. I was just trying to get to the bottom of it. (Yes, it is possible to enter the translation forum without an agenda...honestly:wavey:).

    Thanks Ed for pointing out that the word could mean both, I take your point.
     
  19. rsr

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    My guess would be that the translators were simply following Coverdale's translation for the Great Bible, which were passed on to the Book of Common Prayer and the Bishops' Bible.
     

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