“For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith, all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:27–28).
This section begins with a quotation from Psalm 8:6, and the citation is applied to Christ. But if we look at Psalm 8 generally, and see how it is quoted in Hebrews, we know that the psalm is about mankind and, as the New Testament teaches us, about the new mankind in Christ. This treatment needs to be quoted at length.
“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 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: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:5–9).
The world to come is not subjected to angels, but rather to man—even though the psalmist wonders at how kind God has been to man. Man was initially lower than the angels, but has now been promoted past the angels. All things on earth in principle have therefore been subjected to man, but it has to be man in Christ. This happens gradually—we do not yet see all things subject to man. But we do see Jesus, made lower than the angels for a time, but now exalted to the right hand of the Father. Because Jesus has been exalted in this way, we know that all enemies of Christ will be gradually subdued through the power of the gospel, from tornadoes to thistles, from cancer to crabgrass.
Putting it all together, this means that everything will be brought under the dominion of mankind, but it must be mankind in Christ. Apart from Christ, we can only make things worse.
So Christ has been seated at the right hand of the Father, and there He will remain until all his enemies are His footstool (Ps. 110:1). The one exception is the last standing enemy of death, which will be overthrown at Christ’s coming in the general resurrection of the dead. Circling back around to our passage in 1 Corinthians, everything is subjected to Christ with the obvious exception of the one who is subjecting everything to Christ—which is the Father—and so it will be that the entire cosmos will be subjected to Jesus, and He will be subjected to His Father. Why? So that God may be all in everything.
-from Doug Wilson’s blog Blog and Mablog