I searched this site for an article written about Psalm 82 but I did not find anything. I have heard several people say that we are gods and they justify their argument with Psalm 82. Is this correct? If this is a mistake then what is the danger of believing this teaching? I read that this is one of the ideas taught by Joyce Mayer and it got me to thinking that this could be a very dangerous teaching for many Christians.
It is very important for us to begin by reading Psalm 82 for ourselves because there are two references to “gods” for someone other than God. Therefor, we need to read the passage ourselves.
1 God takes His stand in His own congregation ; He judges in the midst of the rulers. 2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked ? Selah. 3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless ; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and needy ; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know nor do they understand ; They walk about in darkness ; All the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 “Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.” 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth ! For it is You who possesses all the nations. (Psalm 82)
In order for this passage to be clearer, we need to understand to whom the author refers when using “gods”. Therefore, we are going to make a simple list of those who are called “gods”.
- God judges in their midst (1)
- They judge unjustly (2)
- They show partiality to the wicked (2)
- They do not do right to the weak and fatherless (3)
- They do not do right to the afflicted and destitute (3)
- They do not help the weak and needy when they are being taken advantage of by the wicked (4)
- They do not want to know nor understand (5)
- They walk about in the darkness (5)
- The author calls them “gods” because they are children of the Most High (6)
- They will die like men. They will fall like any other princes (7)
When you read the full description of these “gods” you see that they are very “fleshly” or “earthly” and really have nothing in common with the Most High. In fact, they are in direct opposition of God, who is righteous and judges righteously. So, who does the author refer to when he calls them “gods”? He refers to men who have been given the authority to judge and rule yet they use their power corruptly. They do not rule correctly. The author calls them “gods” because they are children of the Most High God yet because they live in sin they will die like everyone else. At first glance, this Psalm seems to compare men to God yet if you read more carefully, you will immediately see that there is a huge difference between these people and God, especially in the area of judgment and wielding power. Another huge difference between these people called “gods” and God is the fact that they will die and God will not. Even though we die, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can have eternal life.
Once, Jesus was having a discussion with some Hebrews who did not believe that He was the Son of God. In speaking with them, He made reference to verse 6 in Psalm 82. We find this discussion in the Gospel of John.
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father ; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy ; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS ‘? 35 “If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken ), 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God ‘? 37 “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” 39 Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp. (John 10)
By quoting from Psalm 82, Jesus reminded the Hebrews of the actions of those who were called “gods” and places them in contrast to His actions which proved that He was the Son of God. Jesus is much different than those who were called “gods” because He was righteous in His actions while they were unrighteous, wielding their power for evil instead of good.
We are called “gods” because as people, we were created in the image of God unlike the animals who were created after their own kind. We are to give a correct reflection of God’s character through our actions and praise Him by our lifestyles. The only way that we can do this is by entering into the New Covenant and are born again through faith in Christ. At that moment, the image of God enters us and we are able to give a correct reflection of who He is, as it is written:
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)
Are you a child of God? Do you live for the glory of the One who created you? Do you live as one who was created to give a correct reflection of who God is?
Translation by: Erik Brewer