Big G or Little g, We Don’t Become Gods

In a random exchange with a brother (I hope) in Christ yesterday, he mentioned Psalm 82:6-7 as a prooftext for Christians becoming “gods”:

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

In response, I’ll post seven reasons why neither this text nor any other text in the Bible teaches that Christians become God or gods:

  1. Look at the second half of verse 6.  The parallel phrase to “gods” is “sons of the Most High,” not something like “equal to God” or “all-powerful.”  Just “sons of the Most High,” which leads us to . . .
  2. Look at verse 6 and verse 7 together.  Inasmuch as God calls these men “gods,” he also says they will “die like men.”  So what kind of gods die?  As some translations say, the kind that are “mere men”?
  3. Look at verse 5.  These men are the ones who “have neither knowledge nor understanding [and] walk about in darkness.”  Is this participating in the divine nature?  If so, to what extent?  Certainly not to the point that makes these men truly “gods.”
  4. Look at verse 8.  Who is called on to judge these princes?  These little gods, or God Himself?  Who will inherit the nations?  Mere men, or God Himself?  As we read this Psalm alone, the point becomes clearer and clearer.
  5. A better way to understand the phrase “you are gods” in the context of the Psalms and the Bible is to take it to mean that all men are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27) yet have rebelled against Him and forever ruined that image (Genesis 3).  It is as if God is saying, “You are walking around like a pauper-prince, a criminal judge, the glory and the refuse of the earth.”  It’s not a compliment, in other words.
  6. To say that Christians become gods is to misunderstand exactly what salvation is, which is to reinterpret the gospel itself.  God doesn’t save us to make much of us (to make us “gods”) but to make much of Him (to make us “God-enjoyers”).  Christ didn’t come, live, die, and live again to magnify our glory but God’s.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t regenerate hearts so that we will be divine but so that by faith we will “participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) while never becoming divine ourselves.
  7. As far as what happens in the resurrection and glorification of the saints, the Bible makes it clear that we do become more and more like Christ while we do not ever become divine.  Yes, God those whom He foreknew to be conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29a), but He did that “in order that He [Christ, not us] might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29b).  Note the emphasis on Christ’s preeminence, even when we do become like Him. 

Or, as Jesus puts it in John 17, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given
me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”  The purpose of salvation isn’t to become God, but to enjoy God.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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