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"Ye are Gods"


Daniel Peterson

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Just in case anybody's interested, there's a little article on this topic (by me) at

http://www.mormontimes.com/article/16553/Dan-Peterson-Exploring-gods-scriptures?s_cid=queue_title&utm_source=queue_title

It is, obviously, a bit of shameless advertising for something I wrote a while back.

It's also, of course, a specimen of the rage-fueled, vengeful, unethical, resentful, mean-spirited apologetic material that, according to my Malevolent Stalker, I've been spewing forth for decades now.

Grrrrrrrrr!

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Just in case anybody's interested, there's a little article on this topic (by me) at

http://www.mormontim...rce=queue_title

It is, obviously, a bit of shameless advertising for something I wrote a while back.

It's also, of course, a specimen of the rage-fueled, vengeful, unethical, resentful, mean-spirited apologetic material that, according to my Malevolent Stalker, I've been spewing forth for decades now.

Grrrrrrrrr!

I would change a little bit of what you wrote, if I were you. I'll use bold print to add what I think should be there:

If John 10:34 must refer to ordinary human beings to whom the word of God came in order to have the force Jesus intended it to have, and if Psalm 82 almost certainly refers to members of the divine court in heaven, the only way to save Jesus from a charge of misapplying the psalm is to understand ordinary human beings to whom the word of God came as "gods" and as at least onetime members of the divine, heavenly court.

You mentioned that part of the scripture Jesus quoted earlier in another part of your article, but you left it out in that paragraph, and I think putting it in would be a plus in the right direction.

Also, in your book, do you go into more detail to talk about what you think God and David meant by the phrase "to whom the word of God came" ? Rather than "gods" referring to ALL humans, I can see how it could reasonably be applied only to those of us "to whom the word of God came", or as I would say it, to those who received (and continued to live by) the word of God, here.

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Perhaps no subject raises more cries of heresy, heresy, than this one. Yet I cannot read the New Testament without running into it, over and over again -- we are God's very offspring, we may inherit all that the Father has, we shall be like Him, etc., etc.

I have never met any LDS who claims that we will ever dethrone or replace God, or even ever reach His level. We will never cease to worship Him.

Bill McKeever writes:

"The gods of Psalm 82 are nothing more than men who, by God's sovereign design, are chosen to rule over other men. In fact, the word "Elohim," used in verse six, is often translated "judges" in the Old Testament. An example of this can be found in Exodus 21:6 where it reads, "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges [Elohim] ..." Another example is Exodus 22:8 which reads, "If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges ..." Again, the Hebrew Elohim is used.

No doubt many Latter-day Saints will look upon this interpretation with suspicion. Should that be the case, one of Mormonism's most respected scholars, Apostle James Talmage, should be quoted. In his book "Jesus The Christ," Talmage agreed that Jesus was referring to divinely appointed judges when he wrote, "Divinely Appointed Judges Called 'gods.' In Psalm 82:6, judges invested by divine appointment are called 'gods.' To this the Savior referred in His reply to the Jews in Solomon's Porch. Judges so authorized officiated as the representatives of God and are honored by the exalted title 'gods'" (p. 465)."

McKeever does not seem to understand that stripping the concept of divinity from the scripture that Jesus quotes, makes Jesus' statement a non-answer.

It seems to me that the duties of the mortal judges/gods referenced in the psalm, are pretty similar to what will be our duties as immortal judges/gods. If these mortal judges can be called gods, then in our immortal state, doing the same thing, will we not be gods as well?

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Elder Talmage's interpretation was still supported by a lot of scholars at the time he wrote, but it was to go out of favor very quickly thereafter (partly as a result of the textual discoveries at Ugarit). Nowadays -- and this is tough luck for Bill McKeever -- the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars reject the notion that elohim = "judges."

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Just in case anybody's interested, there's a little article on this topic (by me) at

http://www.mormontimes.com/article/16553/Dan-Peterson-Exploring-gods-scriptures?s_cid=queue_title&utm_source=queue_title

It is, obviously, a bit of shameless advertising for something I wrote a while back.

It's also, of course, a specimen of the rage-fueled, vengeful, unethical, resentful, mean-spirited apologetic material that, according to my Malevolent Stalker, I've been spewing forth for decades now.

Grrrrrrrrr!

My ban expires at 2:00...maybe I will share this.

Oh and I found this...

Musings on Theosis or Divinization: "God became man so that man might become a god"

The Early Church had many battles with those who deny Jesus' divinity. Because they defended His divinity they had the chance to meditate on what it means for the Logos to become man. One of the great riches that came from their meditations was the teaching that

"God became man so that man might become a god." (cf. St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione or On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B; also Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 460)

This may sound weird at first because Christianity is a monotheistic religion and this means that there can be no other God than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:

"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!" (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Both the Christians and the heretics held to this doctrine in the early days of the Church. The Christians wanted to pass on the apostolic tradition that the Logos was God and became flesh (John 1:1,14) and at the same time keep the doctrine that there is only one God. The heretics tried to limit mystery and couldn't understand how there can be three Persons in one God. They put a lot of effort in trying to understand the relationship between God and Jesus Christ while, like the faithful Christians, keeping the doctrine that there is only one God. This led them to assert many erroneous views such as Jesus being a creature or that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are only "modes" of the one true God. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church has faithfully kept the apostolic faith that there are three Persons in one God and rejected the heretics' erroneous views.

Because the Church Fathers believed that the Logos became flesh, this means that the nature of God and the nature of man are united in one Person. What does this imply? One of the answers is that man can be divinized (cf. 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:1-3). This does not mean that man's nature changes into the nature of God. This simply means that man can partake in the divine nature of God. This has been a consistent teaching of the Fathers and even St. Thomas Aquinas. According to Aquinas, the Son is the Eternal Wisdom and "man is perfected in wisdom (which is his proper perfection, as he is rational) by participating [in] the Word of God" (ST III, q. 3. a. :P and that the reason for the Incarnation is for

"the full participation of the Divinity, which is the true bliss of man and end of human life; and this is bestowed upon us by Christ's humanity; for Augustine says in a sermon (xiii de Temp): 'God was made man, that man might be made God' " (ST III, q. 1 a. 2).

What I would like to reflect on is in what way can we understand the teaching "God became man so that man might become a god".

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Elder Talmage's interpretation was still supported by a lot of scholars at the time he wrote, but it was to go out of favor very quickly thereafter (partly as a result of the textual discoveries at Ugarit). Nowadays -- and this is tough luck for Bill McKeever -- the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars reject the notion that elohim = "judges."

Interesting. You said partly because of the textual discoveries at Ugarit. What are the other reasons?

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Nowadays -- and this is tough luck for Bill McKeever -- the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars reject the notion that elohim = "judges."

I noticed that you expressed that same thought in your article, too, and supposing that is true, I wonder how long it will take before most people begin to realize that it is really true... regarding what the majority of biblical scholars reject.

As long as there is somebody out there tooting that horn, and others who will pick up on it and spread it around, many people may never realize what the "majority of biblical scholars reject" simply because they will continue to hear that particular thought from people who don't reject it and tout it as what it really means. Don't cha think?

I, for one Mormon, don't stay "up" with what "most Biblical scholars" are thinking, but I do know that most of them are not LDS, simply because "most Biblical students" are not.

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Why is it that this doctrine makes some people so angry? It seems a very humanistic and logical conclusion to me, yet some people feel that it diminishes God. Is it nothing more than that?

Are you familiar with what are referred to as 7 stages of Grief ?

People often grieve when they think their world is falling apart, with anger usually resulting from grief.

Ask Yoda, er, uh, I mean cinepro, for more information about this.

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Just in case anybody's interested, there's a little article on this topic (by me) at

http://www.mormontimes.com/article/16553/Dan-Peterson-Exploring-gods-scriptures?s_cid=queue_title&utm_source=queue_title

It is, obviously, a bit of shameless advertising for something I wrote a while back.

It's also, of course, a specimen of the rage-fueled, vengeful, unethical, resentful, mean-spirited apologetic material that, according to my Malevolent Stalker, I've been spewing forth for decades now.

Grrrrrrrrr!

Would that be James White or Hank, the Bible Answer Man?

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Would that be James White or Hank, the Bible Answer Man?

It's neither. Nobody even remotely near the significance, such as it is, of either of those two.

Not an evangelical, either. (I would guess, but I don't really know, that he's an atheist or an agnostic.) An apostate Mormon, evidently, who has been pursuing some sort of weird personal on-line vendetta against me for the past four years or so.

He likes to characterize me as driven by rage, ressentiment, and a craving for revenge. Which seems to me almost certain to be a classic case of psychological "projection." I find his behavior genuinely bizarre.

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McKeever does not seem to understand that stripping the concept of divinity from the scripture that Jesus quotes, makes Jesus' statement a non-answer.

McKeever doesn't understand a lot of things...of course, neither do I. However, I think the fact that he's continually ignored or misrepresented LDS scholarship contrary to his own notions says a lot about where McKeever is coming from.

I think Michael Heiser said it best when he said to the effect that "Jesus used Psalm 82 in defense of his own divinity" in regards to John 10. But then again, Michael Heiser's interpretation of Psalm 82 isn't exactly toe to toe with LDS scholarship either. But, that's why I'm grateful for people like David Bokovoy and Daniel McClellan. :P

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He likes to characterize me as driven by rage, ressentiment, and a craving for revenge. Which seems to me almost certain to be a classic case of psychological "projection." I find his behavior genuinely bizarre.

I've always found his predictions that you'll fall away and become a vehement atheist to be the funniest, but that's just me. But then again, I'm consistently told by his friends that I'm unable to think for myself, and thus should only listen to them. :P

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I believe in the deity of Christ, but thanks to reasonings like that of Dr. Peterson, I can no longer claim it on the basis of the words of Jesus in John 10. After being accused of blasphemy by the Jews, Jesus points out that He merely identified Himself as the "Son of God". I say "merely" because He uses Ps. 82 to show that calling Himself a son of God could not be blasphemous. The gods (Elohim) are human (or at least can be), and He seems to me to definitely equate being "Son of God" with being one of the "gods" of Ps. 82. If the Jews don't think that the gods of Ps. 82 were the Most High, they have no warrant for accusing Him or anyone of blasphemy merely because they claim to be a son of God. Chapter 1 of this same gospel informs us that to them who receive Christ, He gave power to be come "sons of God". A son of God is not then, necessarily God. In fact, with one notable exception, Jesus, the sons of God are not equivalent to the Most High, who is "God of gods" He could have categorically affirmed His full deity, but He didn't, not verbally. (I offer a theory below for a partial explanation on why Jesus, even though God, did not claim in my opinion to be God verbally.)

What the Jews were upset about was not His words but His works. He carefully avoided making verbal claims of His divinity, and correctly diagnoses why the Jews are accusing Him of blasphemy, not because of false words, but because of great works. In effect, they were identifying from His miracles, not His words, that He was God.

It has taken some time for me to arrive at this conclusion and it has been largely through the reasonable objections of LDS interpretations of the passage that I have modified my own interpretations. I am thankful to have been so acquainted. It is very tempting to the believer in Christ's deity to say "Look, even the Jews understood that to be a son of God is to be God." This is what snares many Protestant and Catholic interpreters. But no. Jesus is saying that the Jews are wrong. Nothing in His words could be taken as necessarily inferring His deity. Of course, nothing denies it either.

This is speculation on my part, but it almost seems as though there is a holy modesty among the persons of the Trinity to avoid verbalizing their own status. The Father sends the Son to proclaim The Father, while Jesus sends the Holy Spirit proclaim the Son, while we are informed that the Holy Spirit "will not speak of Himself". But Jesus spoke of the Spirit with a tenderness that filled the Apostles with joy and hope, even after Christ's Ascension. The Apostles watched and prayerfully waited for nine full days, and finally He (the promised Advocate) came, not to magnify Himself, but the Son.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you.
---John 16:13

Rory

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Just in case anybody's interested, there's a little article on this topic (by me) at

http://www.mormontimes.com/article/16553/Dan-Peterson-Exploring-gods-scriptures?s_cid=queue_title&utm_source=queue_title

Not bad.

Of course, your point is best directed at those who share with Mormons the assumption that the Bible gives a fairly trustworthy account of an actual consistent and objective spiritual reality. To the secular eye, or even to the those holding to a semi-secular progressive theology, it is not surprising to see a scriptural tidbit that contradicts received notions about divinity or that contradicts other parts of the Bible. We would claim that over the long period that what was to become part of the Bible was written, collected, and codified (?), theology was in a process of change. We expect that Biblical theology is an alloy of disparate ancient theologies which do not closely resemble modern Christian theology.

The notion that there is one true religion and that God has been working out his kingdom on earth is a notion not well suited to the secular viewpoint or even to liberal theology (and I dare say not supported by evidence either).

All these ideas originate with humans and where there appears to be inconsistency it is likely simply the case the there really is inconsistency.

I am pretty sure (or would not be surprised to find out) that there were theological tributaries in the ancient Middle East that really did hold that men were in some sense gods (and maybe not just in embryo).

In short, many folks (obviously including secularists) don't expect the bible to be consistent or trustworthy anyway.

I suppose this in some sense a trivial or obvious point.

But hey, it seems a pretty powerful point when directed at those who take the Bible to be the word of God.

Alas, I am afraid your good point will not be appropriately appreciated outside of Mormonism. After all, we are talking about religion here and seldom do people change their mind on that topic--especially if they are being asked to go against what they perceive to be the doctrines of their own organized religion (reason be damned).

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What the Jews were upset about was not His words but His works. He carefully avoided making verbal claims of His divinity, and correctly diagnoses why the Jews are accusing Him of blasphemy, not because of false words, but because of great works. In effect, they were identifying from His miracles, not His words, that He was God.

Rory

While I can see where you're coming from, I offer a dissenting viewpoint. While the Jews were indeed upset about the works of Jesus, something I think any reader of the New Testament can clearly understand, I would also contend that on multiple occasions Christ DID proclaim His divinity.

The story of Christ healing the paralytic is one such instance. Upon Christ's forgiveness of the sick man's palsy, the Pharisees responded:

Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?

And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)

I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

(Mark 2:8-11) see also Matthew 9:3-6.

Christ also declared himself as Jehovah before the Jews, something that caused a great deal of commotion among the Jews.

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:58-59)

Christ was not always met with hostility when He declared His divinity, particularly when he met the Samaritan woman.

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (John 4:25-26)

While Christ often spoke in parables and ambiguity, I would contend that His words, just as much as His works, served as a foundation for His rejection among the learned rabbis and doctors.

Luke's account of Christ quoting Isaiah in the synagogue is a testament that Christ's approach was multifaceted, one that involved both words and works.

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:21)

Such are my thoughts at the moment.

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