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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church
Smorgasbord of Fictitious Doctrine

 

003white  Section 10A The Contemporary Church     >      Smorgasbord of Fictitious Doctrine   >     Deification of Man

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The Deification Of Man?

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. Isaiah 43:10

ON THIS PAGE

Introduction
Belief in The Deification of Man is Common to New Agers, Mormons, and the Word Faith Movement

What The Bible Says
The Scriptures Unambiguously Reject... Pantheism, Panentheism, Polytheism And Henotheism

"Proof" Texts
Partakers of The Divine Nature
Sons of God Are Created In His Image

Men Are Called "Gods" In Scripture
Psalm 82
Who are the "gods" (lhym) in verses 1 and 6?
What are the various implications of the word shphat (judge)
The Commandments to Judge Righteously
Jesus and Psalm 82
Applying Psalm 82 and John 10 To The 21st Century

The Warnings

 


Introduction..

The New Age Belief in The Deification of Man
Most people to day have heard of the New Age, and even if they are not altogether familiar with it's beliefs, are vaguely aware that it has something to do with spirituality, bliss, and harmony. However, "New Age" is an umbrella term for a wide range of personal and individual beliefs and practices, influenced primarily by Eastern religions, paganism, and spiritism.

The most central and commonly shared beliefs among New Agers are various combinations of gnosticism and occultism.

    Gnosticism is an ancient world-view stating that Divine essence is the only true or highest reality, and that the unconscious Self of man is actually this essence. It is through intuitional discovery, "visionary experience or initiation into secret doctrine" ... that man becomes conscious of this true Self [1].

    Occultism is a "general designation for various theories, practices, and rituals based on esoteric knowledge, especially alleged knowledge about the world of spirits and unknown forces of the universe" [2].

Although repackaged with glossy new covers and modern terminology, the predominant teaching that we are all divine and fully connected to God without need of any mythical redemptive works of Christ, remains the same. These teachings have reverberated up and down the corridors of time for centuries, always with the same bottom line You are God. In fact, everyone is a part of God and each one only has to discover their own divinity. When humanity collectively accepts and experiences itself as being a part of Christ and a part of God, we not only save ourselves, we save our world.

The teaching, that we are "God," is at the essence of the emerging global spirituality. Prominent figures like Oprah Winfrey have embarked upon aggressive campaigns to educate the world about their belief that man's inherent divinity, bestows upon him a vast reservoir of unlimited potential which, however, goes untapped, because he lacks knowledge of the powers he possesses. [See Section on Oprah Winfrey]

In other words, the only disconnect between man and "God", is man's ignorance. As said by Marion Weinstein in her book, Positive Magic: Ancient Metaphysical Techniques for Modern Lives

    'A major theme of Aquarius is that God is within. The goal in the Age of Aquarius will be how to bring this idea into meaningful reality.' [Pg 35. Career Press, 2002]

However this article is not particularly concerned with New Age concepts of deification, but the beliefs of various groups that claim to be Christian.

The current editions of these ancient messages come from various people who, over the last few decades, have been contacted (and manipulated), by spirit guides. These guides have dictated their messages, or indulged in philosophical exchanges.. all of which have been duly written down by their compliant minions, and then presented to the world as New Revelation, without one ounce of evidence that the spirit guide was who he claimed to be, or that his message could, in any way be trusted. They speak... human beings fall over like ninepins, rushing to embrace whatever religious philosophy is being propagated.  It is accepted that these spirits are who they claim to be, and that the particulars they provide are unreservedly true. No further proof or evidence asked for, and none received. For example, in the case of Barbara Marx Hubbard, a spirit that identified itself to her as "Jesus" is believed without reservation or question. These people are making an effort to shape the very world on the words of a spook without credentials or any form of evidence, that they are who they say they are.
And they call Christians fools? Seems to me the boot is on the other foot. [See Overview of The New Age]

However, this article is not particularly concerned with New Age concepts of deification, but the beliefs of various groups that claim to be Christian.

What often passes as spirituality today is little more than demonic forces, well disguised as benevolent beings, with nothing but the good of humanity at their collective hearts, weaseling their way into our world by any means possible. Deception, subterfuge, misrepresentation, half-truths, outright lies, and trumped-up stories, all part of their arsenal. Yet, most Christians are still unaware of the nature, power, and danger posed by the New Age ideas in the world around us, and in our churches. Like frogs being slowly brought up to the boil, Christians have gradually been acclimatized into accepting ideas and practices that any self respecting Berean, unimpressed by 'new revelation', would have run a mile from.

Although both Old and New Testaments explicitly, and repeatedly, affirm that there is only one God, many of those who claim to be Christian believe that man is, or will become, god.


The Mormon's Belief in The Deification of Man
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) believes in the existence of a "plurality of Gods". There is little question that Mormonism falls under the banner of "henotheism", which believes there are many gods, but only one should be worshiped.

    Joseph Smith: "I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods" [3].

    Here then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you--by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. [4]

    Mormon "Apostle" Bruce R. McConkie: "Plurality of Gods: Three separate personages: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods". [5]

    Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball: In each of us is the potentiality to become a God .... Man can transform himself... he has in him the seeds of Godhood that can grow [6]


The Word Faith or Positive Confession Movement Belief in The Deification of Man
The long list of "faith" teachers, includes Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, Joel Osteen, Casey Treat, Marilyn Hickey, Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn etc. etc. Although they do not fall into the same category of belief as the Mormons, their view of monotheism is, at best, very confused... and, at worst, extremely heretical. While Benny Hinn is in a class by himself, once teaching that God is actually nine beings....

    "Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Holy Spirit, take over in the name of Jesus. ... God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being by Himself separate from the Son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you -- and maybe I should -- there's nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you're in this church to hear things you've heard for the last 50 years? You can't argue with the Word, can you? It's all in the Word [7]. [See Foonote III]

Many of the other, so called, "Christian" leaders teach that men are "little gods"

    Casey Treat: "I'm an exact duplicate of God! When God looks in the mirror He sees me! When I look in the mirror, I see God! Oh, hallelujah! You know, sometimes people say to me, when they're mad and want to put me down. You just think you're a little god. Thank you! Hallelujah! You got that right! Who'd you think you are, Jesus? Yep!...Are you listening to me? Are you kids running around here acting like gods? Why not? God told me to! Since I'm an exact duplicate of God, I'm going to act like God!" [8]

    Kenneth Hagin: "[Man] was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God's presence without any consciousness of inferiority...God made us as much like Himself as possible...He made us the same class of being that He is Himself...Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms equal with God...[The] believer is called Christ...That's who we are; we're Christ" [9]

    Kenneth Copeland: "You don't have a god in you, you are one." [10]

    Morris Cerullo: "Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself?...And when we stand up here, brother, you're not looking at Morris Cerullo; you're looking at God. You're looking at Jesus" [11].

    Creflo Dollar: (Who seems to have quite a knack for opening his mouth and putting his foot in it)
    Growing into sonship means that you grow in your ability to operate as a little God in the earth [12].

    Paul Crouch: I am a little god! Critics, be gone!" [13].

    Benny Hinn: Are you ready for some real revelation knowledge.... you are god" [14]

    "You are a little god on earth running around". [15]

And on and on ad nauseum.

Also See Footnote I.... Quotes Regarding the Deity of Man, and Footnote II....Quotes Regarding Adam's Deity

What I have not figured out yet is why people think they are unrealized gods. As far as I can see they are subject to the same foibles and failures as the rest of us... the same diseases, the same needs, the same wants. I am reasonably sure they bleed the same colour, and can be killed by the same well placed bullet that would fell the rest of us mere mortals. In other words, what exactly is it that makes them gods? Can they fly, or read thoughts, live forever, travel to distant planets, create something out of nothing, lay an egg?

Since I am reasonably sure they can do none of these things, what exactly is involved in them being, or becoming, "gods"? Are they deceptive, but meaningless, ideas wrapped up in fancy phrases, or a very dangerous treading on occult territory? [See for yourself... Word of Faith]

Not only is the language unbiblical, but the ideas being conveyed by their teachings are also contrary to the Scriptures. In brief, they teach that man has a "sovereign will" comparable to God's, and that man, by exercising a "God kind of faith", can control his world, and obtain anything he wants, be it health, prosperity etc. However, this force is only released through the spoken word. As said by Robert Bowman Jr...

    God created man in "God's class", as "little gods", with the potential to exercise the "God kind of faith" in calling things into existence and living in prosperity and success as sovereign beings. We lost this opportunity by rebelling against God and receiving Satan's nature. To correct this situation, Christ became a man, died spiritually (receiving Satan's nature), went to Hell, was "born again", rose from the dead with God's nature, and then sent the Holy Spirit so that the Incarnation could be duplicated in believers, thus fulfilling their calling to be little gods. Since we are called to experience this kind of life now, we should experience success in everything we do, including health and financial prosperity. [16]


What The Bible Says

The Scriptures Unambiguously Reject Pantheism And Panentheism
Panentheism is the belief that the world is part, though not all of, God. One might say, all is 'in' God, or God is 'in' all things, and all things are 'in' God, in other words, the world is divine, or God's deity is in all things. Pantheism is the belief that the universe, and everything in it, are mere manifestations of God, the Universe (Nature) and God (or divinity) are one, or basically, God 'is' everything, everything 'is' God 

Both views are absolutely rejected by the Scriptures, which teach that God is an absolutely unique being, who not only created the world, but is distinct from it.

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1:1]

    All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. [John 1:3]

    I came out from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the Father. [John 16:28]

    for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. [Romans 1:25]

    By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear. [Hebrews 11:3]

Perhaps the clearest argument against pantheism are the innumerable commands against idolatry. The Biblical condemnation of idolatry, usually defined as worship of any cult image, idea, or object, as opposed to the worship of a monotheistic God, is very strongly worded and found all through Scripture, from cover to cover. It is singled out in the Bible as the most abominable of sins, so much so that the first two commandments state...

    Then God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 1] You shall have no other gods before Me.  2] You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,

      Note: "Jealous" does not mean He is suspicious or distrustful, but that He demands exclusive devotion.

If pantheism were true, worshipping any object, or any part of creation, would not be wrong, because that object would, in fact, be God.


The Scriptures Unambiguously Reject Polytheism, And Henotheism.
Umpteen Biblical passages make it clear that there cannot be lesser "gods". Over and over again, YHWH declares that He is the only God, and besides Him no gods have ever been formed, nor will there ever be. [All Emphasis Added]

    Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else besides him....Know therefore this day, and lay it to thy heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else. [Deuteronomy 4:35, 39]

    Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and besides me there is no saviour. [Isaiah 43:10-11]

    Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I established the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and that shall come to pass, let them declare. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it? and ye are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no Rock; I know not any. [Isaiah 44:6-8]

    I am the Lord, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am the Lord, and there is none else. [Isaiah 45:5-6]

    Declare ye, and bring it forth; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath showed this from ancient time? who hath declared it of old? have not I, Jehovah? and there is no God else besides me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. [Isaiah 45:21-22]

    Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me; [Isaiah 46:9]

    Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. [Jeremiah 2:11]

    How can I pardon thee? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the harlots' houses. [Jeremiah 5:7]

Among all those which are worshipped as gods there is no one that can hear and save. No one who ever trusted in an idol ever had help in time of need; no one who prayed to any of them ever had an answer to his petitions.

    There is none like unto thee among the gods, O Lord; Neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone. [Psalms 86:8-10]

    They have mouths, but they speak not; Eyes have they, but they see not; They have ears, but they hear not; Noses have they, but they smell not; They have hands, but they handle not; Feet have they, but they walk not; Neither speak they through their throat. They that make them shall be like unto them; Yea, every one that trusteth in them. [Psalms 115:5-8]

The authors of the New Testament got the message loud and clear. Evidently addressing those Galatians who had once been pagan, Paul said...

    Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: [Galatians 4:8]

    Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him. [1 Corinthians 8:4-6]

(Remember that, in 1 Corinthians 10:19-21, Paul equated these idols with demons, saying ... What say I then? that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have communion with demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.)

    For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, [1 Timothy 2:5]

    Thou believest that God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. [James 2:19]


"Proof" Texts
Since it is quite obvious that the Bible explicitly, and unmistakably, teaches monotheism, one has to wonder where these ideas of  "little gods" and 'future gods', come from?

It is pretty much par for the course for people to completely ignore plain statements in the Bible, in favour of more obscure ones that can be twisted to 'prove' a pre-conceived theory. It is equally common for people to abdicate the teachings of the Bible in favour of the teachings of their religious leaders, self proclaimed prophets and apostles, and other assorted wolves.

In spite of the fact that deception is one of the major themes of the New Testament, with the words deceit, deceitful, deceitfully, deceitfulness, and deceive, used over and over again, Christians make two very dangerous mistakes. 1) Believing that they cannot be fooled. 2) Assuming that their pastor, mentor, spiritual leader, or denomination as a whole, cannot be deceived. Both Peter and Paul were very emphatic about the fact that wolves would come from the flock itself. Yet, most Christians today, totally ignoring the implications of Paul's warning in Acts 20 29-30, seem to think that heresy is something that largely happens outside the church. [See The First Most Dangerous Mistake Any Christian Can Make]

Additionally, one of the most common causes for rank heresy being spread as God's truth is that most false teachers give you their interpretation of a particular doctrine in the Word of God, then point their listeners/readers to a verse in the Scriptures which, seemingly, backs up what they have just said. However, bearing in mind that the Bible is an integrated whole, sound doctrine cannot be based on isolated proof texts, but can only be developed within the framework of the total teaching of Scripture. A serious study of the Scriptures, which does not mean a comparison of one isolated verse, with another isolated verse, but taking both the context and the whole counsel of God into consideration, will often yield very different results.

Anyone who does any less than this, is not interested in the truth.

But, since this takes a little more time, study, and effort, most Christians are content with allowing a verse to be wrested from it's context, and used to convey whatever meaning the speaker/author wishes it to convey which, all too often, is nothing but a corruption of the truth. This perversion of Scriptures is done (whether intentionally or unintentionally) in order to persuade men that whatsoever the false teacher says is based on Biblical truth. [Read Context is Crucial]

For example, in the quest to 'prove' that man is a little god, some of the most misused passages in the Bible are those which state that man is made in God's image (Genesis 1:27-28), and those that refer to men as "gods" (Psalm 82). Other verses that have been totally misapplied and misunderstood are those which state that believers in Christ are partakers of the Divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4), and those in which believers are called "sons" or "children" of God, or are spoken of as being "begotten" or "born" of God.


Partakers of The Divine Nature

    seeing that his divine (theios) power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; whereby he hath granted unto us his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these ye may become partakers of the divine (theios) nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in that world by lust. [2 Peter 1:3-4]

Many people believe that the doctrine of the deification of man is inherent in this passage, inasmuch as partaking of the divine nature makes us gods. But is this so?

Since chapters 2 and 3 of this short epistle were largely devoted to warnings about false prophets, mockers, and the errors of the wicked, it is evident that this letter was written because the apostle felt that his readers were either in danger of being shaken from the truth, or simply needed to be warned about being misled.

He begins by telling them that they had been granted everything that pertained to life and Godliness, and through God's exceedingly great and precious promises, they had been made partakers of the Divine nature. But they had to do their part to "make their calling and election sure" (Vs.10). And what was it they needed to do? Much of the chapter is devoted to Peter exhorting them to abound in Christian qualities by being be diligent to cultivate virtue, knowledge, self control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. (Vs. 5-11).

In other words, the context of the text is morality and right living.

This is completely substantiated by the Greek. The term divine used in both verses 3 and 4 is the Greek word theios, which means "godly". In other words, Peter was not telling them that they ever were, or would ever become, gods, but through God's promises they became partakers of God's "godly" nature (made possible by the new birth and the indwelling Holy Spirit).


Sons of God Are Created In His Image
When God said that He made man in His own image, many take this to mean that man is an exact duplicate of God. The Mormons believe that...

    "all humankind lived as spirits with their father and mother in heaven before being born on earth and receiving physical bodies.... Every organism in nature has offspring of its own species, and that offspring grows up to be like its parent. Mormons conclude that it's not logical for God's children to be of a different species. As part of God's family, Mormons believe that people inherit the potential to become like Him". [17]

In his book, Satan Unmasked, Earl Paulk of the Harvester Church in Atlanta, Georgia, said

    "Adam and Eve were placed in the world as the seed and expression of God. Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods; we have trouble comprehending this truth. Until we comprehend that we are little gods, we cannot manifest the kingdom of God" (p. 97).

Both authors reached this conclusion from two, hopelessly misunderstood, Biblical concepts...

1)The Bible says that man was created in the image of God

    And God created man in his own image (tselem), in the image (tselem) of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [Genesis 1:27-28]

It is assumed that because the Bible says that man was created in the image of God, he has to be the exact duplicate of God. In other words, Adam was created a god, a belief that several of the tele-evangelists hold in common with people like Sun Myung Moon and Brigham Young. [See Footnote I] This assumption is made from the parallel passage in Genesis, which says Adam begat Seth "in his own likeness, after his own image"

    And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image (tselem); and called his name Seth [Genesis 5:3]

The problem here is two fold. No one is sure what exactly the Scriptures means when it says man was created in God's image, a subject that has been debated for centuries.  Besides which, there is a huge difference between the two cases. Seth was born of Adam, whereas God created man. However, to create something in the image or likeness of someone, does not necessarily mean that the created object is the exact duplicate of the model, but can mean that the created object somehow represents, or pictures, the original.

The Hebrew word (tselem) translated "image" in both quotes from Genesis above, means a phantom, a resemblance;  a representative figure, especially an idol, supported by the Old Testament's use of the word. In the three examples below, tselem has been used as an "image" of other gods, tumors, mice, and men. The images were nothing but portrayals, or representations, of various objects, and could not have taken on the nature of the object they were modeled after.

    then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places: [Numbers 33:52]

    Wherefore ye shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. [1 Samuel 6:5]

    Thou didst also take thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest for thee images of men, and didst play the harlot with them; [Ezekiel 16:17]

In short, man is a physical representation, not a physical reproduction of God. This is especially true in view of the several Bible verses that explicitly state that God is not a man.

    God is not a man, that he should lie, Neither the son of man, that he should repent: Hath he said, and will he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and will he not make it good? [Numbers 23:19]

    And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent. [1 Samuel 15:29]

    For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, That we should come together in judgment. [Job 9:32]

    I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath. [Hosea 11:9]


2) Believers in Christ are spoken of as being "begotten" or "born" of God...

    who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [John 1:13]

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God! That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [John 3:5-6]

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him. [1 John 2:29]

    Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. [1 John 3:9]

    Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. [1 John 4:7]

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him...For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith...We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but he that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not.  [1 John 5:1, 4, 18]

..And are called "sons" or "children" of God,

    But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: [John 1:12]

    Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. [1 John 3:1-2]

Yet again individual 'proof texts' are being called upon to make the case. However, if we do what we should always do.. and that is examine all the Bible's teachings on a particular subject, we will find that the Scriptures are very clear. There are two points to be made here...

1) In the Bible, while the word "son" is often used in terms of offspring, or biological children, it is also used in a wide variety of other contexts.

Since the word indicates 'a close association with', it is also used in terms of a person's tribe, people, city, and country of birth etc. For example believers who share no blood relationship with Abraham, are called "sons of Abraham" in Galatians 3:7.

Additionally "son" can also mean "sameness", as when a person displays certain characteristics or qualities of something, or someone, else. For example, Jesus referred to James and John as sons of thunder (Mark 3:17), which may refer to them wanting to call down fire down from heaven on a Samaritan village, that would not receive the Messiah. (Luke 9:53-54). In the same vein, Judas was called the "son of perdition", while other wicked men were called the "sons of Belial". [See John 17:12, and Judges 19:22]. Even an arrow was literally called son of the bow [Job 41:28] [For more examples See Son of God... Was Jesus the "offspring" of God?]

2)Yes, we are sons and daughters of God and, yes, the Bible does speak of us being begotten of God. But the Bible is equally clear that this sonship is conferred on believers, not something we had before Christ. We are not "natural" sons of god, but the Gospel causes us to be adopted into His family, with all the resulting privileges. It is the second birth, not the first, that puts us among the children. [Emphasis Added]

    For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: [Romans 8:14-16]

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. [1 John 5:1]

    that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. [Galatians 4:5-6]

    having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [Ephesians 1:5]

Additionally, the spiritual birth which makes believers sons, is interpreted as a renewal in the moral likeness of God, brought about by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit... Believers become less sinful and more like God, in a moral sense.

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God. [Matthew 5:9]

    but I say unto you, love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. [Matthew 5:44-45]

    If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten of him. [1 John 2:29]

    Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. [1 John 3:9]

    Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. [1 John 4:7-8]

    Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith. And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? [1 John 5:1-5]

Also note that it is the apostle John who most frequently speaks of believers being "begotten" or "born" of God, but at the same time, also says that Jesus is the "only-begotten" Son of God. Now either John was hopelessly contradicting himself, or we are not sons of God in the same sense that Christ is the Son of God. [See Deity of Christ

    And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth...No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. [John 1:14, 18]

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. [John 3:16-18]

    Herein was the love of God manifested in us, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. [1 John 4:9]


Men Are Called "gods" In Scripture
One verse cited in common by both Mormons and Word-Faith proponents is Psalm 82:6, in which men are called "gods", and its citation by Jesus in John 10:34-35,

Psalm 82 says...

    God (lhym) standeth in the congregation of God (l); He judgeth (shphat) among the gods (lhym). [2]  How long will ye judge (shphat) unjustly, And respect the persons of the wicked? Selah.  [3] Judge (shphat) the poor and fatherless: Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. [4]  Rescue the poor and needy: Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.  [5] They know not, neither do they understand; They walk to and fro in darkness: All the foundations of the earth are shaken.  [6] I said, Ye are gods (lhym), And all of you sons of the Most High.  [7] Nevertheless ye shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.  [8] Arise, O God (lhym), judge  (shphat) the earth; For thou shalt inherit all the nations. [Psalms 82:1-8]

(Even new ager... Neale Donald Walsch, with his abysmal lack of Biblical knowledge, quotes this verse in his book Conversations with God. He writes You are already a God. You simply do not know it. Have I not said, Ye are Gods?) [18]

Psalm 82 is in the Bible. In order to understand how to correctly interpret this Psalm, one has to understand how the Bible, not 21st century man, uses two terms found in the Psalm.. the word "gods" translated from the Hebrew lhym, and the word "judge" translated from the Hebrew shphat.


1) Who are the "gods" (lhym) in verses 1 and 6?
There are not a lot of options. Some believe that the term applies to the rulers of the surrounding nations hostile to Israel, or even the mythical/demonic gods of these pagan nations. While there is no question that lhym is used in a number of ways in the Old Testament, most often in reference to the one true God, the same word is also used in reference to pagan, so-called, "gods".

    Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god (lhym) giveth thee to possess? So whomsoever the Lord (YHVH) our God (lhym) hath dispossessed from before us, them will we possess. [Judges 11:24]

    And call ye on the name of your god (lhym), and I will call on the name of the Lord (YHVH); and the God (lhym) that answereth by fire, let him be God (lhym) . And all the people answered and said, it is well spoken. [1 Kings 18:24]

However, it is unlikely that rulers and kings of heathen nations, or the demonic entities worshipped by them as "gods" would be instructed to help and rescue the poor, the afflicted, and the destitute of Israel. Considering the context, It is far more likely that the "gods" referred to in Psalm 82:1 and 6 are the leaders of the nation of Israel who, in the ruling of the nation, had failed to carry out their responsibilities as God's representatives.


God's Human Representatives Were Referred To as lhym
There are several Old Testament verses in which people, commissioned as representatives of God's divine sovereignty, power, and justice, are referred to as "lhym". This includes Moses who was God's delegate to the Pharaoh...

    And he [Aaron] shall be thy [Moses'] spokesman unto the people; and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God (lhym). [Exodus 4:16]

    And Jehovah said unto Moses, See, I have made thee as God (lhym) to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. [Exodus 7:1]

...and human judges or rulers, entrusted with the task of meting out God's justice.

    But if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: then his master shall bring him unto the judges (Heb. lhym), and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. [Exodus 21:5-6]

    If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges (lhym), to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbors property. For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, This is it, the case of both parties shall come before the judges (lhym); he whom the judges (lhym) condemn shall pay double to his neighbor. [Exodus 22:8-9. NASB]

    If one man sin against another, the judge (lhym) shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord (YHVH), who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord (YHVH) would slay them. [1 Samuel 2:25]

Saying Moses was "as god" hardly constitutes an endorsement of him as deity. In exactly the same way, calling those who are commissioned to represent God, or speak for him, by the Hebrew term lhym does not make them literally 'gods', any more than calling Satan "god (Gr. theos) of this world" in II Corinthians 4:4 makes him God. Metaphorically referring to someone as a 'god' is a long way from them literally being a god (possessing all the attributes of deity). 

Besides which there are a number of other clues that the "gods" of Psalm 82 were humans.


Jehoshaphat :

When Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, reformed the courts of justice throughout his states, he used very similar words as does the beginning of Psalm 82.

    And Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem: and he went out again among the people from Beer-sheba to the hill-country of Ephraim, and brought them back unto the Lord, the God of their fathers. And he set judges in the land throughout all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, Consider what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the Lord; and he is with you in the judgment. Now therefore let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of bribes. [2 Chronicles 19:4-7]

Isaiah:
Also note the close correlation between Psalm 82 and Isaiah 3:13-15

    Jehovah standeth up to contend, and standeth to judge the peoples. Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders of his people, and the princes thereof: It is ye that have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses: what mean ye that ye crush my people, and grind the face of the poor? saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts. [Isaiah 3:13-15]

Jesus:
But the last word should go to Jesus, who clearly identified the "gods" and sons of the Most High" of Psalm 82:6 as being those to whom God gave the Law of Moses, i.e. the human leaders of Israel.

    Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), [John 10:34-38]


2) What are the various implications of the word shphat (judge)
The second key to a proper understanding of Psalm 82 is a correct understanding of the Hebrew word shphat, which is used four times in Psalm 82. Shphat has largely been translated "judge", which conjures up images of the modern judicial system. However, a study of the Old Testament shows that the word actually has a variety of meanings, and covers more than one branch, or function of government...the executive, and judicial. (Since He passed the laws, God alone has to count as the legislative branch of government)


Judge (in cases of controversy or litigation)
And Moses said unto his father-in-law, Because the people come unto me to inquire of God: when they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge (shphat) between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws. [Exodus 18: 15-16]

And I (Moses) charged your judges (shphat) at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge (shphat) righteously between a man and his brother, and the sojourner that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small and the great alike; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you ye shall bring unto me, and I will hear it. [Deuteronomy 1:16-17]

Govern/Judge:
Then his (Samson's) brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying-place of Manoah his father. And he judged (shphat) Israel twenty years. [Judges 16:31]

And Samuel judged (shphat) Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el and Gilgal, and Mizpah; and he judged (shphat) Israel in all those places. [1 Samuel 7:15-16]

Rule:
and they said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge (shphat) us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge (shphat) us. And Samuel prayed unto Jehovah. [1 Samuel 8:5-6]

    Both instance of shphat, in the following quote have been translated "rule" in the NASB

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge (shphat) this thy people, that is so great? And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thy heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honor, nor the life of them that hate thee, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge (shphat) my people, over whom I have made thee king: [2 Chronicles 1:10-11]

Let the field exult, and all that is therein; Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord; for he cometh, For he cometh to judge (shphat) the earth: He will judge (shphat) the world with righteousness, And the peoples with his truth. [Psalms 96:12-13]

Deliver or Free
The Lord therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver (shphat) me out of thy hand. [1 Samuel 24:15]

Then said Ahimaaz the son of Zadok, Let me now run, and bear the king tidings, how that Jehovah hath delivered (shphat) him out of the hand of his enemies [2 Samuel 18:19]

    (Note: In the verse immediately above, Young's Literal Translation translates shphat into "delivered", while the NASB says "freed")

Defend/Uphold (particularly the rights of the helpless)
To judge (shphat) the fatherless and the oppressed, That man who is of the earth may be terrible no more. [Psalm 10:18]

Give the king thy judgments, O God, And thy righteousness unto the king's son. He will judge (dyn) thy people with righteousness, And thy poor with justice. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, And the hills, in righteousness. He will judge (shphat ) the poor of the people, He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. [Psalms 72:1-4.. A Psalm of Solomon]

    Whether Psalm 72 was composed by David, or Solomon himself, it was obviously written with the ultimate kingdom of the Messiah in view. The Psalm describes the reign of a righteous king, who would have special regard for the poor, the oppressed and the down-trodden. Under this king the righteous flourish, while the wicked are crushed (v. 4)

In other words, the judges or "gods" were the kings, judges and rulers of the kingdom, who were entrusted with rightly governing God's people. However, this did not often happen. Psalm 82, which is a warning to corrupt judges, begins with a very solemn, and awe-inspiring statement. God Himself is not only convening His court in order to pronounce judgment, but is standing in His own congregation, among His own people, to deliver His indictment or formal accusation of crime. For their own gain, and in their own greed, the unholy judges were deliberately (and very stupidly) ignoring...


The Commandments to Judge Righteously
Over and over again, Old Testament Law instructed the Israelites to care for the needy, the helpless, and the oppressed:

    Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor. [Leviticus 19:15]

    And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother, and the sojourner that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; ye shall hear the small and the great alike; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you ye shall bring unto me, and I will hear it. [Deuteronomy 1:16-17]

    Thou shalt not wrest the justice due to the sojourner, or to the fatherless, nor take the widow's raiment to pledge; but thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and Jehovah thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou reapest thy harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the sojourner, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that Jehovah thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hands. [Deuteronomy 24:17-19]

    Open thy mouth for the dumb, In the cause of all such as are left desolate. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, And minister justice to the poor and needy. [Proverbs 31:8-9]

    Thus saith Jehovah: Execute ye justice and righteousness, and deliver him that is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence, to the sojourner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith Jehovah, that this house shall become a desolation. [Jeremiah 22:3-5]

One would have expected that, as suggested by Deuteronomy 24:17-19 above, since the people had themselves experienced slavery and oppression, they would have been sympathetic to the plight of those that were not able to take care of themselves. Sadly this was not the case. Over and over again, the Old Testament prophets delivered warnings to corrupt and unjust rulers of Israel, who are referred to as wolves in the book of Zephaniah, while Amos twice delivers the scathing accusation that they would sell the poor for as little as a pair of shoes.

    Her princes in the midst of her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they leave nothing till the morrow. [Zephaniah 3:3]

    Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat? [Amos 8:4-6. Also See 2:6]

In two other well known examples, God tells the people

    I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. [Amos 5:21-24]

    When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to trample my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; new moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies, - I cannot away with iniquity and the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary of bearing them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. [Isaiah 1:12-18]

These scathing condemnations of the leaders is repeated by Jesus in the New Testament

    And in the hearing of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and chief seats in the synagogues, and chief places at feasts; who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater condemnation. [Luke 20:45-47] Also See Mark 12:38-40.

But there is a lot more to Jesus' reference to this Psalm ...


Jesus and Psalm 82
It first has to be noted that there should be no break between the ninth and tenth chapters of the Gospel of John. Together they form one continuous and uninterrupted story

In the ninth chapter, we are told of Jesus showing that He was the "light of the world" by healing a man who was born blind (9:1-5). The man's neighbors then questioned him as to how this miracle had come about, and hearing that Jesus had healed him, brought him to the Pharisees (9: 8-17), who again interrogated him. However, the formerly blind man stood his ground, categorically stating that were Jesus not from God, He could not have brought  about that miraculous healing. The Pharisees then excommunicated the man from the temple, which led to a confrontation between them and Jesus, with the Saviour telling them that He was the Good Shepherd, who would lay down His life for the sheep (John 10:11). This statement caused considerable dissension among the Jews (10:19), some of whom insisted that He had a demon and should be ignored, while others did not believe that a demon-possessed man could give sight to a man born blind (10:20-21).

The Jews then urged Jesus to tell them plainly whether or not He was the Messiah (10:24), to which Jesus responded that He had already told them, but they did not believe the works He did, which were witness to who He was. Their unbelief stemmed from the fact they were not His sheep who knew His voice and followed Him, and who would be given eternal life.

    Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believe not: the works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one. [John 10:25-30]

The Jews would not have missed all the implications of what Jesus was saying. When our Lord announced that He was the 'Good Shepherd', He was making, in no uncertain terms, two hugely significant points...

1) The religious leaders of the nation Israel, were the bad, selfish, shepherds who ill-treated and abused the flock, rather than caring for them

    And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the sheep? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill the fatlings; but ye feed not the sheep. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food to all the beasts of the field, and were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and there was none that did search or seek after them. [Ezekiel 34:1-6]

2) He was the fulfillment of Ezekiels prophecy.

    therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord (YHVH) [10] Thus saith the Lord (adny) Lord (YHVH) : Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. [11] For thus saith  the Lord (adny) Lord (YHVH): Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.  [12] As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.  [13] And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  [14] I will feed them with good pasture; and upon the mountains of the height of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie down in a good fold; and on fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.  [15] I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord (adny) Lord (YHVH). [16] I will seek that which was lost, and will bring back that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but the fat and the strong I will destroy; I will feed them in justice.  [Ezekiel 34:9-17]

Note that in these verses, it is God the Father (YHVH) who says, like a good shepherd, He Himself will search for His sheep. He will take care of them by feeding them with good pasture, binding the broken, and strengthening the sick. Yet, Jesus was telling them that He was the shepherd who had come to save the lost sheep and give them eternal life. [Also See Matthew 15:24, 18;11 and Luke 19:10].

Not only was Jesus' declaration of equality and oneness with the Father considered blasphemy of the highest order, but the Jewish leadership understood that in quoting the 6th verse of Psalm 82, Jesus was applying the entire Psalm to both them and Himself. They were the realization of the unjust judges in verses 1-7, and He was the realization of verse 8, which said "Arise, O God, judge the earth; For thou shalt inherit all the nations".

Psalm 82:7 ...Nevertheless, you will die like men made it abundantly clear that judgment was coming even to those in the Old Testament who were metaphorically called "gods". They would "die like men". By quoting the Psalm, Jesus was warning the Jewish leadership of their impending doom. In other words, the warning of Psalm 82 was being fulfilled in their midst. God had come to judge the judges.


Applying Psalm 82 and John 10 To The 21st Century
Spending so much time on a single verse from one of the Psalms was not done merely to disprove the notion that all men are "gods", but because this Psalm has much farther reaching implications than first meets the eye.

Psalm 82, and Jesus citation of it, is actually a very solemn warning that church leaders of the 21st century need to take very seriously. God's own power and authority is invested in the shepherds of His flock. What so many modern day church leaders need to realize is that leadership is not about power and prestige, but they are called of God to serve others not to be served. Those shepherds who fail to exercise that authority according to God's commands, and in a way that is consistent with His character, will face His judgment. Those shepherds that lead the sheep astray, and/or fail to take care of, and protect, the weakest among the flock will face the brunt of His wrath.

    Have ye not known? have yet not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth princes to nothing; that maketh the judges (shphat) of the earth as vanity (th... to lie waste; a desolation). Yea, they have not been planted; yea, they have not been sown; yea, their stock hath not taken root in the earth: moreover he bloweth upon them, and they wither, and the whirlwind taketh them away as stubble. [Isaiah 40:21-24]

And this includes the so called "Christian" leaders who run around calling themselves little "gods" and teaching their flock that they too are unrealized gods, who have the power to create with their words. [See Section on the Word-Faith/Positive Confession movement]

These people seem to cherry pick which parts of the Scriptures they will read/believe/teach. Totally ignored are the many warnings delivered to others who exalted themselves.


The Warnings

The Babylonians:
Now therefore hear this, thou that art given to pleasures, that sittest securely, that sayest in thy heart, I am, and there is none else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood; in their full measure shall they come upon thee, in the multitude of thy sorceries, and the great abundance of thine enchantments. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; thou hast said, None seeth me; thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee, and thou hast said in thy heart, I am, and there is none else besides me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know the dawning thereof: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it away: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou knowest not. [Isaiah 47:8-11]

The Prince of Tyre:
Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you! With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches)," 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:" Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god, Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor. They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas. "Will you still say before him who slays you, 'I am a god'? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you. You will die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of strangers, For I have spoken! declares the Lord GOD! [Ezekiel 28:1-10]

Nineveh:
And He will stretch out His hand against the north and destroy Assyria. And He will make Nineveh a desolation, Parched like the wilderness. Flocks will lie down in her midst, All beasts which range in herds; Both the pelican and the hedgehog Will lodge in the tops of her pillars; Birds will sing in the window, Desolation will be on the threshold; For He has laid bare the cedar work. This is the exultant city which dwells securely, who says in her heart, I am, and there is no one besides me. How she has become a desolation, A resting place for beasts! Everyone who passes by her will hiss and wave his hand in contempt. [Zephaniah 2: 12-15]

Remember "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God". [Hebrews 10:31]


Footnote I.... Quotes Regarding the Deity of Man

    Helen Schucman. A Course in Miracles
    When God created you He made you part of Him (A Course in Miracles- Foundation for Inner Peace; 3 Combined edition (May 21, 2008) Pg.  100)

    The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself (Helen Schucman A Course in Miracles, Combined edition. Pg.  147)

    Neale Donald Walsch
    Do you want your life to truly take off? Then change your idea about it. About you. Think, speak, and act as the God You Are (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God. Book 1. Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) Page 76)

    I have produced an environment in which you may choose to be God, rather than simply be told that you are God; in which you may experience Godhead as an act of creation, rather than a conceptualization; in which the little candle in the sunthe littlest soul-can know itself as the light. (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God. Book 1. Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) Pg 57)

    All that is required is to know this. For you are the creator of your reality, and life can show up no other way for you than that way in which you think it will. You think it into being. This is the first step in creation. God the Father is thought. Your thought is the parent which gives birth to all things. (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1. Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) 1996, Pg. 52.)

     You are already a God. You simply do not know it. Have I not said, Ye are Gods? (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 1996, Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) Pg. 202.)

     Trust God. Or if you wish, trust yourself, for Thou Art God. (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 3, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc., 1998; Pg.  350)

    And though the new theology which would replace it would truly be your salvation, you cannot accept it, because the idea of a God Who is not to be feared, Who will not judge, and Who has no cause to punish is simply too magnificent to be embraced within even your grandest notion of Who and What God is. (Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God. Book 1. Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) Pg 18)

    Benjamin Crme
    Man is an emerging God and thus requires the formation of modes of living which will allow this God to flourish .... My plan and My Duty is to reveal to you a new way, a way forward which will permit the divine in man to shine forth
    (Benjamin Crme. Excerpt from Maitreya's Message #81. Man Must Change or Die. Sept.12 1979.
    http://www.share-international.org/books/PDFs/BCreme_TheAgelessWisdomTeaching_May07.pdf )

    Charles Fillmore
    Today I lay claim to all the attributes of God . . . [and] as a Divine being . . . I rejoice in my Divine nature (Charles Fillmore Science of Mind, December 1986)

     in Truth you are all that God is (Charles Fillmore, Unity school of Christianity, Christian Healing Pg. 36)

    .I am the Christ of God. (Charles Fillmore, Statements for the Realization of the Son of God Christian Healing)

    I AM THAT I AM, and there is no other besides me (Charles Fillmore, Unity school of Christianity, Christian Healing. Lesson 3, Page 36.)

    Eric Butterworth
     "I insist that all persons are Divine. Jesus made the discovery of the Divinity of man (Eric Butterworth -Unity minister.)

    Alice Bailey
    If God is God, then His divinity will adapt itself to the emerging divinity of the sons of God, and a son of God today may be a very different expression of divinity from a son of God five thousand years ago (Alice Bailey. The Unfinished Autobiography of Alice A. Bailey, Lucis Publishing Company, 1951, Pg. 142)

     We are all Gods, all the children of the One Father, as the latest of the Avatars, the Christ, has told us.[ Alice A. Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ, Lucis Publishing Company, 1948, Pg. 9.

    Barbara Marx Hubbard
    We are gods! (Barbara Marx Hubbard, The Revelation: A Message of Hope for the New Millennium, Nataraj Publishing, Novato, CA, 1995, Pg.  312

    M. Scott Peck
    What is it that God wants of us? It is for the individual to become totally, wholly God ( M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled Pg. 283)

    God wants us to become Himself We are growing toward God. God is the goal of evolution (M. Scott Peck. The Road Less Traveled, 1978. Pg.  270).

    Shirley MacLaine

    Know that you are God (From Dancing in the Light New ager, Shirley MacLaine)

    Sathya Sai Baba
    I am God. And you too are God. The only difference between you and Me is that while I am aware of it, you are completely unaware.' Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

    Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

     [When] Christ said,'Be still and know that I am God.'[He also meant) 'Be still and know that you are God.(Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)

    Creflo A. Dollar
    "It's understood that you and I are not God. There is only one God. However, as His children, we are like him. He's the big "G", and we're the little "g". (The Image of Righteousness. Pg.91).

    "You are an exact duplicate of the image of God. This does not mean that you are God. It means that you are made in God's image and His likeness, with an ability to create with words as God did. (The Image of Righteousness. Pg. 83) [PLACE IN TEXT]


Footnote II....Quotes Regarding Adam's Deity

    Kenneth Hagin
    Adam was the god of this world. (The Believer's Authority, 2d ed. Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1991], 19.)

    Kenneth Copeland
    Gods reason for creating Adam was his desire to reproduce himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself. And in the Garden of Eden He did just that. He was not a little like God, He was not almost like God, He was not subordinate to God evenAdam was as much like God as you can get, just the same as Jesus. Adam in the Garden of Eden was God manifested in the flesh (Kenneth Copeland, Following the faith of Abraham #01-3001 Audio side 1).

    Creflo Dollar
    "When God made Adam all He did was make an exact imprint of Himself. He duplicated Himself.(Creflo Dollar, Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)

    now Hes made Adam god of the earth Adam has been crowned God of all physical things from the dust of the earth including the moon the stars and the planets. (Creflo Dollar Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)

    speaking of Adam Im training a god of the earth. I got to teach him to do what I do.(Creflo Dollar, Our equality with God through righteousness 1/21/2001)God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness. The word likeness in the original Hebrew means an exact duplication in kind...Adam was an exact duplication of Gods kind.(Charles Capps, Authority in three worlds pp.15-16)

    Benny Hinn
    God came to earth and touched a piece of dust and turned it into a God. (Benny Hinn TBN, Dec 1, 1990).

    Brigham Young
    Adam is our father and God. (Brigham Young, Deseret News, 6/16/1873)

    When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body and brought Eve, He is our father and our God (Brigham Young Journal of Discourses Vol.1 p.50).

    Sun Myung Moon
    God is the father of Adam and Eve, and naturally He must have some resemblance to them...Before Adam and Eve fell they were the walking, physical God here on earth. (Rev. Sun Myung Moon) [PLACE IN TEXT]


Footnote III.. Benny Hinn's Retraction

(Although Benny Hinn never dealt with the fact that he claimed his teachings were to be found in the Scriptures, he later retracted this ridiculous teaching, replacing it with one not much improved. While talking with Paul Crouch on TBN, Benny Hinn said what he believed there were three in the Godhead... "God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, three separate individuals, one in essence, one in work, and may I add, each of them possesses his own spirit body" [Trinity Broadcasting Network. October 23, 1992] [PLACE IN TEXT]

 

End Notes

[1] Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 10, 1968, Pg.  506; J.D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary. Pgs. 473-4

[2] Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, Pg. 469

[3] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Pg. 370

[4] Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Co., 1938, Pgs. 345-347. Also The King Follett Discourse.
http://mldb.byu.edu/follett.htm. Also quoted in McConkie, 321.

[5] Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake: Bookcraft, 1991), Pgs. 576-577

[6] Salt Lake City Tribune, September 18,1974

[7] Orlando Christian Center - TBN Broadcast. Tape #TV283 - "A New Spirit". October 13, 1990

[8] Casey Treat, Believing in yourself, tape 2 of a four part series. Quoted in Seduction of Christianity by Dave Hunt. Pg. 83

[9] Kenneth Hagin, Zoe: The God-Kind of Life, 1989. pp. 35-36, 41

[10] Kenneth Copeland, "The Force Of Love" tape # 02-0028

[11] Morris Cerullo, "The End Time Manifestation of the Sons of God," Morris Cerullo World Evangelism tape 1

[12] Creflo Dollar. World Changers magazine, p.6, Dec. 2002

[13] Paul Crouch: "Praise the Lord" program, July 7, 1986

[14] Benny Hinn, "Our Position In Christ", tape # AO31190-1

[15] Benny Hinn, "Praise-a-thon" broadcast on TBN, November, 1990

[16] Ye Are Gods? Orthodox And Heretical Views On The Deification Of Man. by Robert M. Bowman, Jr.
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0018a.html

[17] Do Mormons Believe They Will Become Gods?: LDS Doctrine on Exaltation, Attaining Godhood, and God the Father | Suite101.com http://jenny-evans.suite101.com/do-mormons-believe-they-will-become-gods-a150065#ixzz1dVfz4clN

[18] Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue, Book 1 1996, Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 28, 2011) Pg. 202.

 

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