DID JESUS SAY THAT MEN CAN BECOME GODS?
JOHN 10:34: “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, Ye are gods?’” If God is the only God, why did Jesus say “Ye are gods”?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that the spirits of all humans are the literal offspring of an “exalted man” in Heaven whom they call “God our Heavenly Father,” and his spiritual goddess wife, known as “Heavenly Mother.” They claim that every human should attain to be exalted as a “god” in the same way that they claim that God the Father and His wife have been “exalted.” Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, taught:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form — like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man … I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea … he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did … 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, namely, by going from one degree to another … from exaltation to exaltation, until you … sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 345-346)
“Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ … so he is literally our elder brother … Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have inherited the potential to develop their divine qualities.” (Gospel Principles, 1995, p 11)
Using Scriptural passages such as John 10:34 where Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6 to respond to the Jews’ charges of blasphemy against Him, Mormons claim that these verses prove that men can become “gods.”
Does Psalm 82:6 really teach that men can become “gods”? Let’s examine the context:
Psalm 82:1-2: “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.”**.
Psalm 82:6-8: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.”
Here, in this passage, God calls these human judges “gods” because they were making life and death decisions for people, yet in an unjust manner. So, rather than proclaim that they were indeed “gods,” He announces judgment up on them by saying that they would die like the men that they were; thus, proving that they were false gods and that He alone is the only true God Who will arise and “judge the earth.” So we see that far from teaching that men can be exalted as “gods,” this passage actually teaches the opposite; that anyone who tries to exalt himself to the position of “god” will perish. Remember how Lucifer perished? He wanted to be “like” God in every way:
Isaiah 14:12-14: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Not only did Lucifer fall from glory through this lie, but he used this very same lie of becoming “as gods” to convince Adam and Eve to sin (Genesis 3:5). This resulted in the judgment of death being passed upon all mankind. (Romans 5:12; 6:23).
Why did Jesus quote Psalm 82:6 to the Pharisees to support His claims of being God? Was Jesus trying to say that they had no right to judge His claim to Deity because other human judges were also called “gods”? Let’s examine the context:
John 10:30-39: “’I and my Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?’ The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 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; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.’ Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand.”
Was Jesus aligning Himself with the deity claims of these false human judges? No, He was not. His claims to Deity far exceeded the wicked judges who were acting as false “gods.” In mentioning them, Jesus contrasted His Deity as the one true God against them and the Pharisees, who were acting JUST like these wicked judges when they were judging the true Son of God of blasphemy. By quoting Psalm 82 where God proclaimed the judgment of “death” upon these wicked false “gods,” Jesus was reminding the Pharisees of the serious consequences of their judgment of Him, stating that what these judges thought they were as gods, He was, in reality, the one true God. This is why the Jews responded by trying to stone Him twice for blasphemy according to their law in Leviticus 24:16 that commands the stoning of people who claim the attributes of Deity.
ASK A MORMON:
- Both John 10:34 and Psalm 82:6 say: “Ye are gods?” Do you believe you are a “god” right now? If not, how can these verses apply to you? Do you think these wicked Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking were real “gods” at the very moment that he said “Ye are gods?” How could they qualify to be real “gods” when they were trying to kill Jesus for blasphemy? Did you know that Lucifer was kicked out of Heaven for trying “exalt” himself to be “like” God (Isaiah 14:12-14, KJV)?
- Since it is obvious by the context that the Pharisees to whom Jesus was speaking were not real “gods,” can you see why Christians do not believe that these verses are teaching that men are “gods in embryo”? Rather, these wicked Pharisees were being called “gods” in a mockery way in order to prove that they were false gods who would die like the mere mortal judges of Psalm 82:7!
Scripture is clear that there is only one true God as the following verses proclaim:
1 John 5:20: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”
John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Isaiah 44:8: “Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
Isaiah 43:10: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD … understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”
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