Psalm 82:6 & John 10:34 "You are gods"

(Rose Amer) #1

I’ve been trying to explain this Scripture to someone who is being misled by a preacher in thinking that Jesus is actually saying that we become like actual gods. I think I am not doing a really good job. It would be nice to know how would you explain these verses in its original context and how this particular scripture relates to us in 21st century? I will appreciate your response.

(SeanO) #2

@roze4jesus I think a simple line of argument you could use to show that Jesus is not saying we will become gods is this:

  1. In the Garden of Eden it was satan who lied saying that Adam and Eve could become like God
  2. Jesus resisted satan in the wilderness and therefore stands opposed to satan’s work and especially this particular lie that we can be like God
  3. Jesus would not do the work of satan - He came to do the work of God
  4. Therefore Jesus is not saying that we can become like God

Even if she has an objection, that might provide a place to start.

There appear to be 2 main theories about Psalms 82:6.

  1. Men are called ‘gods’ because they exercise judgment - God has granted them authority to judge, but they will die just like other men
  2. Men are called ‘gods’ because they were responsible for pronouncing God’s Word to the people

These two arguments then are applied by Jesus (depending on which view you take) in John 10:34 as follows:

  1. If you called men ‘gods’ because they judged why do you object to my using that title?
  2. If you called men ‘gods’ because they declared God’s Word, how much more should I be called God who am the Word incarnate?

Here is a note from the NET Bible:

The problem in this verse concerns the meaning of Jesus’ quotation from [Ps 82:6](javascript:{}). It is important to look at the OT context: The whole line reads “I say, you are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.” Jesus will pick up on the term “sons of the Most High” in 10:36, where he refers to himself as the Son of God . The psalm was understood in rabbinic circles as an attack on unjust judges who, though they have been given the title “gods” because of their quasi-divine function of exercising judgment, are just as mortal as other men. What is the argument here? It is often thought to be as follows: If it was an OT practice to refer to men like the judges as gods, and not blasphemy, why did the Jewish authorities object when this term was applied to Jesus? This really doesn’t seem to fit the context, however, since if that were the case Jesus would not be making any claim for “divinity” for himself over and above any other human being – and therefore he would not be subject to the charge of blasphemy. Rather, this is evidently a case of arguing from the lesser to the greater, a common form of rabbinic argument. The reason the OT judges could be called gods is because they were vehicles of the word of God (cf. 10:35). But granting that premise, Jesus deserves much more than they to be called God. He is the Word incarnate, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world to save the world (10:36). In light of the prologue to the Gospel of John, it seems this interpretation would have been most natural for the author. If it is permissible to call men “gods” because they were the vehicles of the word of God, how much more permissible is it to use the word “God” of him who is the Word of God?

Hope that is helpful :slight_smile:

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #3

Hello Rose (@roze4jesus). Here is my attempt to explain the passages:

John 10:34’s setting is at the time of the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter at that time and Jesus was walking in the temple (v.22-23). Before Jesus answered them in v. 34, we can see that Jesus claimed that He is one with the Father (v. 30). This made the Jews pick up stones to stone Him.

In v.33 the Jews clarified that they were stoning Him not for the good works He has done, but because a man like Him is claiming to be God, which is blasphemy for them. As a result, Jesus referred to Psalm 82:6 saying, “Is it not written in your Law, I said, you are gods?” His point is that if human judges can be called gods not because they are literally gods but as God’s representatives, then the one who is truly the Son of God should more rightly be addressed as one.

We can see this point in the verses that will follow:

“If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken —do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (v. 35-36)

Another aspect where we see the human rulers being called gods does not mean that they are actual gods, we can read the passage of Psalm 82:6-7 to them:

"I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”

If the human rulers would become as an actual god, why would they die and fall like any man or prince?

I hope this helps! :slight_smile:

(Jimmy Sellers) #4

These are two tough verses that your friend has enquired about. I would like to offer a different explanation that my two brothers.
The article is by Michael Heiser. Here is a link.

The net of the article is this.
The gods in Psalms 82 are not mortals there are divine created sons of the most high. it would not make sense for Jesus to cite a Psalm that used mortals (Jews or otherwise) to claim his deity.

As an aside I would enquire as to whether or not your friend was being influenced by the LDS church as they use this verse to support their belief that they will become gods.

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