"Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

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_Rick_C
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Post by _Rick_C » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:10 am

Hello STEVE,
I haven't forgotten this thread, been pretty busy tho....
You wrote:Thanks everyone for the interesting responses re who or what is the "divine council."
However my main inquiry was re what Jesus meant by "ye are gods?"
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees but what he said was that, to whom the Word of God came are "gods."
What does the word "gods" mean? Does it mean judges appointed by God or is it referring to any believer of God's Word?
I personally believe "gods" refers to gods, at least according to a theory I've been working on.

Excerpted from this neXt Bible footnote on Jn 10:34:
A quotation from Ps 82:6.
The problem in this verse concerns the meaning of Jesus’ quotation from Ps 82:6. 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....

...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? (paragraphs added by me)
That's just a part of the footnote, giving only one possible interpretation.

I refer you to the (neXt Bible) footnotes on Ps 82, especially verse 6.
There, the view I accept (in theory at this time) is explained in detail. Namely, that it is El (the Most High God Himself) Who is speaking to His "sons": (other gods, and/or deities). This interpretation, admittedly, does not "fit" into standard or orthodox theology; which is probably why virtually all evangelicals, as far as I've seen, take the above (in the quote) interpretation.

Also, note how neXt Bible translates Ps 82 differently from all other versions:
82:1 God stands in the assembly of El;
in the midst of the gods he {El, mine} renders judgment.
82:2 He {El, mine} says, “How long will you make unjust legal decisions
and show favoritism to the wicked? (Selah)


NeXt Bible footnotes on Deu 32:8 are applicable to this discussion as well.
But "one thing at a time" might be the best way to approach this topic/these verses.

Btw, the neXt Bible is simply an updated (online) NET Bible.
(NET Bible links have the same footnotes but not as many features as neXt).
Thanks, :)
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Post by _JC » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:50 am

Rick, thank you for the reference. How does your view (that God was speaking to lesser gods in Psalm 82) square with what Jesus said? If your view is correct then I have a hard time understanding Jesus' argument. Can you expound on this, sir?
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Post by _Paidion » Mon Jun 09, 2008 10:35 am

Two and a half years ago
Rick wrote:Deu. 32:8 in combination with Ps. 82 might reveal a differing and "foreign" kind of theology-proper than we're used to ("theology" as in: The Doctrine of God, or Theology 101, we could say). "Yahweh," as a theory goes, was the deity assigned specifically to Israel. Assigned? By whom? El! (is and was he God the Father?)....

See Paul's "revision" of Deu. 6:4, the Shema, at 1 Cor. 8:6 (in conjunction with my last paragraph, above)....
Paul's "revision" seems to find support in Genesis 19:24 which mentions two "Yahwehs", (or two divine Individuals, each of whom is called "Yahweh) .... one on earth talking to Abraham and then going to Sodom and Gomorrah to wreak destruction, and another in heaven:

Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh out of heaven.

Justin Martyr quoted this verse in his Dialogue with Trypho, in the context of his ongoing declaration to the Jewish men to whom he was speaking, that there are two Divine Individuals who are properly called "God".
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Post by _STEVE7150 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Rick, thank you for the reference. How does your view (that God was speaking to lesser gods in Psalm 82) square with what Jesus said? If your view is correct then I have a hard time understanding Jesus' argument. Can you expound on this, sir?



This is the crux as i see it Rick , which is making sense of Jesus's response which to me sounds like he equates "gods" similarly to the way Paul uses the phrase "sons of God."
It not the rabbinical tradition that really matters the most it's how Jesus uses this phrase to describe those who have received the Word of God.
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Post by _Rick_C » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:08 pm

Ps 82, neXt Bible ... keeping in mind that neXt Bible is the updated NET Bible (also available via google).
Excerpts from neXt Bible footnote wrote:The psalmist pictures God standing in the “assembly of El” where he accuses the “gods” of failing to promote justice on earth. God pronounces sentence upon them, announcing that they will die like men.

The phrase עֲדַת אֵל (’adat ’el, “assembly of El”) appears only here in the OT.

(1) Some understand “El” to refer to God himself. In this case he is pictured presiding over his own heavenly assembly.

(2) Others take אֵל as a superlative here (“God stands in the great assembly”), as in Pss 36:6 and 80:10.

(3) The present translation assumes this is a reference to the Canaanite high god El, who presided over the Canaanite divine assembly. (See Isa 14:13, where El’s assembly is called “the stars of El.”) In the Ugaritic myths the phrase ’dt ’ilm refers to the “assembly of the gods,” who congregate in King Kirtu’s house, where Baal asks El to bless Kirtu’s house (see G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 91). If the Canaanite divine assembly is referred to here in Ps 82:1, then the psalm must be understood as a bold polemic against Canaanite religion. Israel’s God invades El’s assembly, denounces its gods as failing to uphold justice, and announces their coming demise. For an interpretation of the psalm along these lines, see W. VanGemeren, “Psalms,” EBC 5:533-36.

The present translation assumes that the Hebrew term אֱלֹהִים (’elohim, “gods”) here refers to the pagan gods who supposedly comprise El’s assembly according to Canaanite religion. Those who reject the polemical view of the psalm prefer to see the referent as human judges or rulers (אֱלֹהִים sometimes refers to officials appointed by God, see Exod 21:6; 22:8-9; Ps 45:6) or as angelic beings (אֱלֹהִים sometimes refers to angelic beings, see Gen 3:5; Ps 8:5; (paraghraphs, mine).
neXt Bible again:
Ps 82:1 God {elohim} stands in the assembly of El;
in the midst of the gods {elohim} he {El, mine} renders judgment.
82:2 He {El, mine} says, “How long will you make unjust legal decisions
and show favoritism to the wicked? (Selah)


First, note how Ps 82:1a is translated "God" {elohim}. This is a commonly accepted Name of God (among others) in both Jewish and Christian thought; most usually with the plural explained as "God's plurality of majesty (or attributes)"; while others take the plurality as an argument for the plural members of the Trinity (which is much less accepted among scholars). Also, note how the same word, elohim, is translated "gods" later in the same verse.

Next Bible's unique translation of Ps 82:1a strikes me as not only unusual, but also can make the verse have alternate meanings. I don't know Hebrew but have done as best I can to look into word studies, and possible translations and interpretations. I've wondered if the verse could read:
Ps 82:1 [The] gods stand {or 'are standing'?} in the assembly of El;
This possibility, however, is beyond my scope of knowledge of Hebrew (though I was just given a "Hebrew 101" type book yesterday as a gift, yay)! It remains I don't know if this translation could be considered legitimate. In other words, when we ask, "When is elohim God's Name? and when does it mean plural deities (gods)?" are questions I don't have answers to.
JC wrote:Rick, thank you for the reference. How does your view (that God was speaking to lesser gods in Psalm 82) square with what Jesus said? If your view is correct then I have a hard time understanding Jesus' argument. Can you expound on this, sir?
Thank you, sir.
The "theory" I've been working with is neXt Bible's: (1) Some understand “El” to refer to God himself. In this case he is pictured presiding over his own heavenly assembly (bold, only to highlight).

If the interpretation I'm working on could be true, Jesus' argumentation might be something like this, John 10:35
(1) If he called them gods to whom the word of God came
"If El, God Most High, spoke to His Sons, the gods, in His heavenly assembly"
(2) and scripture can not be broken,
"and it is written thus He spoke {to them}"
(3) do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world,
"do you say of him [Jesus speaking of himself] whom the Father, {El, Most High}, set apart and sent to the world"
(4) You are blaspheming because I said , I am the Son of God?
"You are blaspheming because I said, I am the {uniquely sent, and the one chosen among the many divine sons} Son of God, {whom He commanded to come into the world}?"

Another way to say this might be, "If God Most High has spoken to His divine sons, {as He has indeed spoken thus to them, as the scriptures cannot be altered}, commanding them to be just and righteous; Who has now commanded and sent the One He Chose into the world, why is this so incredible to you?"

In other words, Jesus could be claiming to be not only "a" divine son of God, but "THE" Uniquely Chosen Divine Son: The Sent-One-Son-of-God.
Cf., John 1:18:
NASB has:
No one has ever seen God; the only God {or, 'the Only One, who is God', (some mss read 'the Only Son') who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
Yet the oldest known manuscript reads:
"No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God {or God, the only begotten}, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made Him known."

The phrase "the only begotten God" could point to the human birth of "a" divine-being or divinity {and in keeping with the full meaning of "deity" in the sense of how we say "God(-is-fully-divine)"}. Jesus as an 'Only Begotten God' isn't so troublesome for us if we see him as we normally do: as a member of the Trinity.

However, if Jesus could be seen as One of the many sons of God {ref. cit., Ps 82:6, and elsewhere in OT); and though he be uniquely chosen and sent; this presents problems for our normative or conventional way of thinking about "monotheism". This concept seems to kind of point toward Mormon or, perhaps, JW/Arian doctrine, doesn't it?

But if Jesus could have been echoing back to a no-longer-popular primitive theology ("doctrine of God") when polytheism or henotheism was normative among the Hebrews---a thing which Orthodox Jews deny was ever believed (and many Christians as well)---then this was what Jesus was referring to! If such were the case, Jesus' contemporaries would have been doubly-offended in that (1) the existence of more than one God = highly offensive to 1st century Jews, and, (2) the idea that one of the Divinities {but not the actual Most High God Himself} could incarnate as a human was anathema.

Was Jesus really pointing back to days when the Hebrews were polytheists or henotheists? I think possibly so....
STEVE wrote:This is the crux as i see it Rick , which is making sense of Jesus's response which to me sounds like he equates "gods" similarly to the way Paul uses the phrase "sons of God."
It not the rabbinical tradition that really matters the most it's how Jesus uses this phrase to describe those who have received the Word of God.
Rabbinical interpretations are sometimes right, sometimes wrong (as Jesus himself either confirmed or rebutted them); I'm sure you would agree.

Many New Age People and some charismatics (I regret to say, being one myself!) interpret "You are gods" as "us." One popular tv preacher said we are all "little gods" (but who it was I don't recall; I heard whoever it was on audio on Hank Hanegraaff).

Other than this, Jesus' and Paul's teaching on how we people are, and/or can become, "sons of God" is something quite different than what Jesus was talking about in John 10:34-36, imo.

Christians, and not to be too overly critical of them/us! ... seem to avoid passages that speak of God as having many divine, angelic and/or "gods" as sons. I fully understand why: Such ideas are "inconceivable" to us as we were taught strict monotheism. They're foreign to us ... and one way to deal with that is to not-deal with that....
Paidion wrote:Justin Martyr quoted this verse in his Dialogue with Trypho, in the context of his ongoing declaration to the Jewish men to whom he was speaking, that there are two Divine Individuals who are properly called "God".
(Leaving aside Ge 19 for now)....
Yes, I've read Justin in a study of the "two powers in heaven" Jewish heresy. This heresy claimed that there was more than One "Power" other than the God of the Jews. The Jewish God was one of them...but not "both".

Some of these {Jewish} heretics were Gnostic, and it is believed the Christians were possibly, if not probably, included among these "two powers" heretics. I've never really thought about it before but, Paul's reframing of the Shema {Deu 6:4, 1 Cor 8:6} could "fit" a two powers Jewish heresy.

We've talked about it before: How the word "God" is used.
As I recall, certain phrases used by Justin to name Christ {I lost a bunch of notes on this in a computer crash!} could be understood to possibly mean something like "a God but not the Father" or "God, but not the Father-God". In other words, "two powers in heaven".

Lastly, I've been working on this post for almost 2 hours!
And though I do believe in the trinity, I am uncomfortable with saying "Jesus is God."
To me, God the Father {the Most High Himself, and perhaps "El"}; He is God.
At the same time, Jesus, His Uniquely Chosen and Incarnated Son, is "God" as in, also being fully divine....

I need a sandwich! Thanks for the study, brothers! :)
P.S. I could be wrong (on several accounts)...but right now, am hungry!
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Post by _STEVE7150 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:40 pm

Many New Age People and some charismatics (I regret to say, being one myself!) interpret "You are gods" as "us." One popular tv preacher said we are all "little gods" (but who it was I don't recall; I heard whoever it was on audio on Hank Hanegraaff

That would be me , interpreting "you are gods" as "us." Ya know i used to practically be a Hank Haneegrraff groupie and lived to hear his radio show every night but gradually i realized that though he talked a good game he really does'nt use that much scripture. Yes Hank is real good at labeling people to marginalize them and playing 10 year old tape recordings as if a targeted person keeps on repeating the same thing a thousand times. Hank does'nt concern himself when his target has changed his or her views. But this phrase "little gods" i understand to mean the way "god" is used for Satan or Moses or judges which is "to have authority."
I believe as believers we do have a type of authority which Adam was meant to have yet it's just gotten lost in the theology and traditions we get wrapped up in.
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Post by _Rick_C » Wed Jun 11, 2008 8:39 pm

STEVE,

So you interpret "You are gods" as "us."
Okay, not to debate that....

I'm working on trying to see it as neXt Bible's number 3.
But that interpretation doesn't make much sense to me.

'Guess I'll have to keep on studying.
(I've been on these verses for several years)....
Thanks, :)
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Post by _STEVE7150 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:04 pm

In John 10.34 Jesus quoted Psalm 82.6 in answering the Pharisees accusation of blasphemy in that he was making himself like God. Many commentators interpret the word "gods" to mean judges but does it? Was Jesus responding by claiming that many men were called judges so it was OK for him to make himself to be like God? Does this make sense?


Hi Rick, Glad to here you on Steve's show. At the beginning of this thread i referenced the explanation given by Steve.
Although possible it just does'nt really make sense to me that Jesus would defend himself in that manner.
Do you have any thoughts about Mark 11.23-28 Where Jesus tells us to "speak to the mountain"?
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Post by _Rick_C » Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:20 pm

Hi Steve,
You wrote:Do you have any thoughts about Mark 11.23-28 Where Jesus tells us to "speak to the mountain"?
I'd say it's a metaphor about "what faith can do."
Why do you ask (in terms of this thread topic)?

Btw, I've re-listened to myself & Steve on TNP a couple times. His explanations are the best I've heard on that particular interpretation.
Thanks, :)
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Re: "Is it not written in your law , I said Ye are gods?

Post by kaufmannphillips » Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:41 pm

Sundry inklings:

(1) When the psalm refers to "gods," it may be referring sarcastically to leaders of surrounding pagan nations that style themselves in divine terms, as ancient rulers sometimes did. As such, the real G-d sits down amongst these pretenders and calls them out.

(2) It is not necessary for Jesus to be construing the psalm in the same way that the psalmist intended. The NT is willing to supply its own spin to an OT text; the classic example is Matthew 2:15 [cf. Hosea 11:1]. The writer could justify this by hypothesizing multiple dimensions of inspired implication.

(3) Genesis 19:24 need not be held to hypothesize two "Yahwehs." If Yahweh is omnipresent or transcendent or somesuch, then he can be at Sodom and in heaven at the same time. The repetition of the name could be idiomatic or stylistic: e.g., "G-d unleashed the wrath of G-d upon them."

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