Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Psalms 82:6 "Ye are gods?"

Psalms 82:1-8 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. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 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.

This psalm is directed to the wicked judges in Israel. God begins the psalm by referring to the grand heavenly council (sod qedoshim) during the pre-mortal existence. God says that He stood among the congregation and judged among the other gods present as a Judge of judges. But the Palm doesn't refer to those in attendance judges, God refers to them as gods. And God refers to Himself as the Most High God of gods and the Great Judge of judges.

This verse clearly suggests that the wicked judges were ordained as judges in the heavenly council similar to God's revelation to the prophet Jeremiah that he too was chosen and ordained in the pre-existence to his great calling. This isn't just talking the foreknowledge of God, because it specifically says that before Jeremiah was formed in the belly, he was ordained like Christ was anointed to be the Savior of the world and is known as the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13: 8).

Jer. 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Then God chastises the wicked judges for neglecting the poor, afflicted, and needy while at the same time supporting and lifting up the wicked. God says "all the foundations of the earth are out of course" meaning that nothing of what the judges committed to in the Heavenly Council is come to past.

Then God says something startling, "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men." Some interpret this to mean the wicked judges are pridefully claiming they are gods, after which God sharply reminds them that they will "die like men." But this cannot be because it isn't the judges which are speaking. It is God. It says, "I have said, Ye are gods" not "Ye have said, ye are gods."

Some interpret this that God is using the words god and judge interchangeably and no additional meaning should be read into the text. I agree that God is using god and judge interchangeably, but I cannot believe God doesn't have a reason for doing it. What is that reason? God is trying to motivate the wicked judges to deal justly with the poor and needy by reminding them of the great worth of souls. Even the least of man is a "god en embryo."

God is teaching those wicked judges that all mankind are children of God the Father regardless of our acceptance of him here because we already accepted him in the pre-mortal existence when he stood as judge in the the congregation of the mighty (i.e. great heavenly council). God doesn't just say, you wicked judges are my children, but He says, "all of you are children of the most High."

The Scriptures do speak of becoming the sons and daughters of Christ when we become born-again. Christ then becomes the adopted or figurative Father of our new life as a disciple of Christ, the Father of our Resurrected bodies, and the Father of our eternal life. While this status as child of Christ is contingent upon our acceptance of Christ here in mortality, our status as literal children of Our Eternal Father is not conditional because God is the Father and Creator of all the spirits of mankind (Acts 17:28-29, Heb 12:9).

Is there any other biblical support that Psalms 82:6 is referring to man as gods? Yes, from Christ Himself. During His ministry, Jesus Christ was confronted by those asking Him to come out and clearly state if he claimed to be the Messiah. Jesus told those assembled that the miracles he performed were a sign of His calling and then said, "I and my Father are one." In response the Jews picked up stones to kill him. Then the story continues:

John 10:32 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;

So, Jesus Christ himself used Psalms 82:6 to prove to the Jews that it is not blasphemy to equate man with god because God made the comparison first. Christ is saying, if God referred to the wicked judges and all men in Palms 82 as gods, then how can you call Me a blasphemer for declaring that I am the Son of God.

Nevertheless, at the end of Psalms 82, God reminds the wicked judges that although He is equating men with gods, without God the Father, we are nothing and will die. In the end, the Psalm suggests that righteous judgement will never be fully realized on Earth until God Himself arises, comes to earth and judges the earth. This last line foretells the Millennium when Christ will come again a second time to rule and reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords. From this scripture we know Christ will also be the God of gods and the Great Judge of judges who will finally inherit (unify) all nations.

Many Christians consider it blasphemy that LDS belief that men are "gods in embryo" because this means that men are considered gods now. Only an Abortionist would consider a human embryo sub-human or not human. In the same sense, as "gods in embryo," we should all recognize the seeds of divinity within each person regardless of their status in this life. Every soul born into this world has the potential to become like our Heavenly Father.

Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Gal 4:7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
C.S. Lewis a favorite protestant writer and theologian agreed with this interpretation:
He said (in the Bible) that we were 'gods' and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. C. S. Lewis, Beyond Personality (London: The Centenary Press, 1945), P48
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship. C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949), P14-15


Anonymous said...

wow. learn hebrew. the passage in psalms in the original hebrew says that you are angelic sons of the most high...not gods...goodness, why do you want to be gods??? Ha Satan wanted to be a god and look what he got. do you really want to follow in his footsteps?

David B said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. You are ofcourse parroting the standard evangelical answer you learned in sunday school.

The passage Ps. 82: 1-8 says and means in English and in Hebrew: "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."

There is a big difference between being God and being a god. Don't misunderstand that point. There is also a big difference between being a god and being an angel or angelic.

Now you are trying to tell me that Ps. 82: 1-8 doesnt really mean what it is saying. "Ye are gods" doesnt mean gods and being children of the Most High God really doesn't mean that and God being our Heavenly Father doesnt really mean that God is our Father in the literal sense. And in Gen. 3: 22 doesnt really mean what it says when "the Gods" say that "man has become as one of us." Neither does the Bible mean what it says when Christ promises us that through Him we can know God and be like Him (Lev. 20: 7)(Matt. 5: 48)(1 Jn. 4: 17)(John 17: 3).

Good thing that Christ verified the meaning of this very important passage in defending His divine Sonship. The pharisees asked Jesus Christ to plainly state His messiahship. When He did they wanted to kill Him for blaspeme which they errantly defined as man considering himself god. Christ in John 10: 34, directly quotes Ps. 82: 6 and says if God called man gods in Ps. 82: 6 then how can it be blasphemy for Christ to declare He is the Son of God.

Now about Satan. His plan was not just to be a god. Satan wanted to take away our agency and force us to choose the right here on Earth. No one would be lost. However, no risk, no reward. We would return to be in heaven in the same state we were before. But in return, Satan wanted Gods glory for himself. Satan wanted to take God's place.

That is not what LDS Doctrine is about at all. God will alway eternally remain our God and Eternal Father. But as gods, means that we will not only live with God but will be empowered to participate in the work of creation with God.

Heavenly Father promises through Christ that we will be made "better than the angels" (Heb. 1: 4). Christ promises that those who overcome will be given to "sit in His throne with Him" and not just circle the throne. We will be "glorified together" with Christ and will be "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8: 17).

If your religion only promises you that you that the highest reward in the next life is becoming an angel; and if your religion defines eternal life as endlessly circling God's throne and no more; and if your religion says that family relationships do not last forever and that love and relationship is finite and ends at death; than you are being short-changed from the fullness of blessings that God has promised in the scriptures.

The scriptures reveal that man really are children of God (not pets), and God really is our Father. And that it does not threaten God for us to mature and become like He is but it adds to His glory; because Our God is a God of gods, a King of kings and a Lord of lords; He is the Most High God.

RJPope said...

David, I appreciate your passion regarding your position on LDS doctrine. However, I have several problems with how you draw connections between Psalm 82, John 10 and C.S. Lewis.

The Old Testament explains consistently its most revealing conceptions of God in the prophets. The greatest of these conceptions is the confirmation of a one-God belief system; monotheism. (I have paraphrased some of S. Shamoun with this paragraph only). We find this theology with all the eight century prophets. This emphasis on ethical monotheism is found in Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah and others. In addition, the theology of the Psalms makes it abundantly evident that the gods of Psalm 82 could not have been some lesser divine beings that exist alongside Yahweh. The Psalms quite explicitly affirm the absolute uniqueness of Yahweh as the only true God’. Because Psalm 82 was written by Asaph the Levite (the Levite’s being an obedient monotheistic tribe from Israel- at that time) then we can also logically conclude that Asaph, like the rest of the Old Testament writers, was monotheistic. When we take Asaph’s ’ “Ye Are Gods” as to mean Asaph believed that a heavenly council of gods existed, then we deliberately discount the historicity of Asaph’s belief system. We also discount the context of surrounding passages (Psalm 82 is a petition beseeching God to judge the so-called gods for their failure to maintain justice and righteousness. It is clear from the context that the gods are the men whom God appointed to rule and judge the people. The Psalmist provides support for viewing these gods as human beings since in v. 7 he says that they shall die like men) and we then (with certainty) discount the harmonious consistency of the Old Testament writings which is monotheistic.

David, you’ve done the very same thing with C.S. Lewis. You’ve taken one quote from a book (Beyond Personality) and insist Lewis agrees with the Mormon interpretation of ‘gods’ existing! As you should know, Beyond Personality was a book added to three more books (The Meaning of the Universe, What Christians Believe and Christian Behavior) which, when combined, make up ‘Mere Christianity.’ The book, in its entirety, stands on the premise that there is only one God (monotheism) while also arguing against polytheism; saying it is “incongruent.” He actually begins the quote you mention with, ‘God’s command for us is to be perfect- making us creatures (when we eventually die) that can obey that command. He is making the point that we will be (as the bible says) one day in His glory- not our own. To say Lewis is literal here is to make Lewis ‘inconsistent’ in his thinking and philosophies; making him a bad theologian- if not something worse. David, there is no other alternative here; he is either a nut theologian or you have deliberately taken his quote out of context. But, as you know, Lewis isn’t remembered for being contradictory with his thoughts- but, constant with his theology. I am at this point, beginning to question your conclusions as either unqualified or just disingenuous. These are the only two options one is forced to consider with you.

You said, “Now you are trying to tell me that Ps. 82: 1-8 doesnt really mean what it is saying. "Ye are gods" doesnt mean gods and being children of the Most High God really doesn't mean that…” Yes, David, that is what’s being challenged here (and rightly so). It is no good saying, “look at the plain words and take them for their literal meaning.” This may work in arguments with our wives when we want to win them. However, it doesn’t work when there is overwhelming written evidence (both direct, consistent and well-balanced) regarding one argument (monotheism in the Old Testament) as opposed to another argument (polytheism in the Old Testament) from several obscure sentences in the psalms; especially, when psalms, by definition, are religious songs, written (like songs today) with irony and metaphor. I guess one could make the argument that because McCartney wrote, “Ebony and Ivory” that he really believed that people were black and white keys on piano keyboards. I mean, nothing hear follows rationally.

Look, David, let’s not live our lives in a double standard. If 2000 years from now (assuming your life’s work is published) somebody took the direct quote from you, “I am a Christian like you and we believe in the same things” as to mean that David lived his life going to a Christian church, believed in Christian doctrine and died believing he would, (as you said) “spend eternal life endlessly circling God's throne and no more” I think the Mormon community would be outraged. Does this one literal quote give an accurate representation of who David Brosnahan was? Using your argument, ‘lets take things literal and at face value” then one could make the argument, David. But you wouldn’t want that AND you wouldn’t want people believing it. You would hope that somebody cross-referenced that quote with how you actually lived your life… You would hope that context prevailed. Yet, it appears, context becomes a silly notion when dealing with the Bible and Christian theologians. You are blatantly (and irresponsibly) making connections that do not exist in the real world. I see you taking great liberties at tossing out obvious and authentic historical approaches in favor of cherry picking scripture to fit a particular theology; a theology that has evolved and changed since it began in the free thinking ‘burned-over’ district of western New York.

I have several sound arguments against your interpretations (using scripture and logic). I am aware I have not addressed John 10 or left one biblical reference. However, if you want to talk about this, I am open to the conversation and will allow scripture to speak for itself. Remember David, I am only responding to the unreliable dots you are connecting between Mormonism, the Bible and Lewis. I feel Christians are forced to respond to Mormonism in general. Joseph Smith claimed that while he was praying in the grove he had been visited by both God the Father and Jesus Christ. When he asked these personages which church he should join, he claimed he was told to join none of them, "for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight" (Joseph Smith History 1:19).

I am more then ready to discuss Mormonism and (especially) Joseph Smith. I am actually hoping for a dialogue, David. I hope I’ve been respectful and I write with a sincere conviction to share with you the truth.


Rob said...

Hi David, I've been researching this passage and wanted to see what was out there, thus stumbling upon your post. I think you should be aware tha there is another possible interpretation of Psaml 82 in which the gods (Elohim) are literally gods and not humans. This is based on the presence of a "Divine Council" in various passaes of the OT. See a very good summary of the issues in an article my Michael Heisser here: Psalm 82 Overview. In this interpretation Jesus is telling the Jews that if other heavenly beeings connected to God are called gods, how much more would it be appropriate to call him god since he is the one who came from God.

The other thing I want to point out is that there is a difference between seeing what the Bible says and bringing a particular idea to the Bible to se if you can find intimations of it (because that is really all ps 82 would be). It feels to me like you have accepted the Mormon first and then gone to scripture and tried to find it. I'm not singling you out here as though "that's what Mormons always do." There are plenty of evangelical Christians that do it too.

Anonymous said...

ו אֲנִי-אָמַרְתִּי, אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם; וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם.

6 I said: Ye are godlike beings, and all of you sons of the Most High.

these qoutes above came from the JPS(Jewish pubilcation Society) now there NO debating the meaning of this, the hebrew word used in this passage is ELOHIM(Plural) god's(notice small "g")

430 'elohiym el-o-heem' plural of 433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative:--angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.

so, theres many usages for this word, so really its not about the word "elohim" but about the understanding of the usage of the word. for thousands of years it has been understood buy scholars, scribes Rabbis, YESHUA, church fathers exc... to most likely is being used as "godlike" and not as gods or Gods. this understanding and usage corolates with scripture since we are made in his image we are God like but not Gods or gods!
we where originally made to be eternal like the father but death and disease down upon us with our fall from grace. and in the end with the new heaven and new earth we will be truly restored back in to that grace, and will again be like God the father-YHVH and will live eternally with Him.

now as you can see this word can take on many forms such as gods in the ORDINARY sense, and the Father is Everything but ordinary. magistrates, great(as in great men/or man) angels, so on and so forth, we also seen it used to mean God-like, but never in the form that we are Gods, as if we where the father or equal to, perhaps we will sit in his throne the same way my kids sit in my throne(my chair,lol) on my lap. but we dont take the wheel if you will, but we will share fully in His righteousness. the we will dwell with Him and He with us.

as for the family aspect, the only thing i can think of that YESHUA(jesus) teaches about marriage in the after life in regards to us as humans, is in the parable of the bride and the seven brothers, when the pharisees try him in a halakah(a question of jewish religous law) in the torah it is commanded that if a man marry a women and does not bare children and died that it is the brother duty to take his brothers wife to have children with her to carry on the brothers name/ bloodline, so the brother takes her but then he dies with out children and this goes on for i think 7 brothers, at the end they ask "in heaven whos wife will she be?" and Yeshua answered none be cause in heaven we are all mariied to the Father. so if i am married to the father how am i married to my wife? now some might say well this is spiritual and you can be married to both, but thats NOT what the MESSIAH yeshua said he said specificly NONE of them, meaning she is not a wife to any of them, nor them husbands to her!

now i dont mean to this in any way that is not out of love. but i have been on your lds website before and have read some of the things your "prophets" wrote and have read some off not all of the book of mormon. and i have t tell you that i know you beleive joseph smith was a prophet, but prophetes only speak the truth of the the Father. and i have found many things within the book of mormon the are in complete contrdiction with what Yeshua(Jesus) tought.
now im not with any group or agenda, im an everyday guy that lived a very wrong life who was saved by our Father alone, no missionarys, no church, noe orginized doctrine, i just had a deep stirring to read the scriptures and i listened, i since have found a place to congregate that fits with what i found in the scripture with the power of the Holy Spirit guiding me, and that is a messianic jewish synogague, and have been doing that for some time now. my point im not pushing any one doctrine, just stright BIBLICAL TRUTH as revealed by the spirit. and part of the truth is the understand of what a prophet is and what a prophet isn't! a prophet must always speak truth, and that truth has to be from and lead people to the God of Israel, our heavenly father YHVH! now all the prophets in the old testament at some point prophicied about the coming Messiah, and Yeshua was the fullfillment of these prophicies. and out side of the biblical prophets of the new and old testaments the only prophets im expecting are the fathers two witness' spoken of in revelation. the messiah warned us of phales prophets and false messiah will arise. and your prophet seem to lead people to the book of mormon, and not Yeshua or the father. now Yeshua is the son of the father, and only speaks what the father tells him., Yeshua was the greatest of all the prophets, he was the fatehr in carnet, no prophet could testify against him! only for him! so imagine my dismay when i see the book of mormon and odds with the messiah. if the messiah and the book of mormon disagree, then will im sorry but the book of mormon is wrong. please dont consider this an attack just one mans humble opinion. i pray that no feeling are hurt when reading this and that truth and righteousness touches us all, and that Yeshua(jesus) is our guiding light and the Ruach HaKodesh(Holy Spirit) animate our feet as we try our best to walk that narrow path, in the name of Yeshua, your son, i pray these thing Father, AMEN!

with many blessings, peace and love in Yeshua HaMashiach!

Anonymous said...

Face it. Accept it... You're either a god or you're not.....

Dave said...

Bobby - I left LDS 20 years ago and attended evangelical churches for the last 8 years. The overwhelming message at each non-LDS was that we can do nothing but believe in Christ to be saved. Hard work is always equated with denying the power of God. Continued revelation is always Satanic, per the evangelicals. God always worked through prophets, except during the apostasy, where plain and simple truths were lost to Greek philosophy and creeds designed by politicians. God is not some inexplicable vapor of Father SON spirit actually being one giant unified abstraction. The Father is actually our father, we are actually spirit children of God. Evangelicals bash LDS so hard and lie like dogs to manipulate people away from the restored gospel and priesthood power. The Spirit of God is real and reveals the truth, if you can get past your previous conditioning to be anti....