"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Are you a God? Part 2
June 25, 2010Posted by on
This is part 2 of the “Are we gods”.
God called us little gods, so we are what the word says we are. This argument is based on John 10:32-36, and Psalms 82.
Word of faith preachers lean heavily on this text to show that we are little gods. Here is John 10:32-36: but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?
Word of Faith preachers say “Scripture calls us little gods. We must follow the scripture.” This argument offered up by the word of faith preachers offers more of a challenge because it is so easily misinterpreted if it is taken out of context. When you read John 10:34-36 it says you are “gods”. When you read Psalms 82:6 it says you are “gods”. Like I mentioned before, when you listen to a word of faith preacher discuss these two verses in particular this would be about as deep as they go. “It says it, so you are.” So let’s put these into context…
When you are looking at this section of John, Jesus is standing before the Pharisees. They are ready to stone him for claiming to be God. Christ defends himself in 34-36 referencing Psalms 82.
1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!
Psalm 82 was written in reference to the judges and magistrates. These people are official representatives and agents of God. I am going to break Psalm 82 down and look at it verse by verse to help you gain better understanding of what Jesus was referencing in John 10:34.
Look at verse 1. This is notification to the “gods” that God gives judgment on them. This statement is followed by a plea to the “gods” in verses 3-4. Verse 5 offers truth, without these things anarchy will ensue. Then, in verses 7-8, comes the reckoning… Though they are honored in verse 6 God also humbles them by reminding them in verse 7 that they are only mere mortals and that they will, therefore, die. Basically, these two verses are saying that these judges are NOT god-like, because they are imperfect and mortal then verse 8 definitively declares that God has authority and will judge all of them. If you read Psalm 82 through the lens that the “gods” are just the average person (as opposed to leaders and judges), it makes no sense. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Look at verse 2. When the question is asked “how long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?” Focus on the word “you”. The word “you” in verse 2 can only be referencing God or “gods”. God does not judge unjustly, so then the reference must be to the word “gods”. The “gods” judge. On to verse three…the “gods” are able to give justice. Now, if the “gods” judge and are able to give justice, are they average folk or are they people with power and authority (like leaders, kings, judges, rulers, etc.)? The actions described in Psalm 82 describe the actions of people in leadership. The actions they perform are “god” – like in that they judge and have a certain (limited) amount of power and authority. They are judging and leading others with the possibility of liberating them. This is similar to the way that God will one day judge the world, but in a limited way. Of course leading other people and/or judging for them is an awesome and powerful responsibility – one that carries a heavy burden One last comment on Psalm 82. When you read this verse, think of a local or national leader. Keep them in mind as you hear God’s plea to them to be fair, and righteous. Keep them in mind as God reminds them that his judgment will happen. When I do this I am filled with the instant need to pray for them.
Let’s jump now to John 10:34-36. Here, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 to make a point. So who is Jesus talking to here? The Pharisees. The keepers of the law (magistrates), and the judges of the law. So when Jesus says “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’, he is referencing the judges and magistrates of His day (like Psalms 82 was). What we are seeing Jesus do in John 10:34-38 is draw a comparison between himself, and the Pharisees. The Pharisees, administers of the law of God, and Jesus the one the Father consecrated and sent into the world. Both are the word of God delivered. This is cemented by what Jesus says in verses 35-36. “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods'[e]? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?”
If “gods” in John 10:34-36 means just anyone then this verse becomes superficial, and meaningless-There is no power to the analogy that Jesus draws between the two groups, because is no distinction between the groups.
There is danger in claiming that we are gods, even if it IS with a little g, because it minimizes God, and lifts man up to be more than what we are intended to be. If, in fact, we have God like authority on Earth why would we need to submit to God? If this sounds silly, then think about this… Many word of faith preachers go so far as to teach that God has to submit to US! That God cannot act on this Earth without our consent (much more could be said about this clear fallacy, and probably will be in a future post). Any preacher who teaches that man controls God, or preaches that you are god like preaches a God that does not exist in the Bible (cf. Romans 11:33-36), and deliberately, or otherwise, misleads people into thinking they have God like power. Keep in mind that this type of teaching has been used before (when Satan told Eve that she could like God). Of course, we know that Adam and Eve’s response to this false teaching had a catastrophic effect on the history of the world – Let’s be wise and refuse to listen to that same lie again.