The title may look a little familiar to you. This is the response that Winston gave to Ray after the Demon spirit in Ghostbusters fried them. This is relevant to today in that many word of faith preachers say that we are “little gods”. Some of the more well known preachers associated with this doctrine are Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, and Bill Winston. Some quotes from the preachers:
Hagin: God “made us in the same class of being that he is himself”.
Copeland: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one”
Meyer: “Now you understand I’m not saying you are God with a capital “G””.
The “little gods” doctrine is based largely two key points. 1. God produced after his own kind, and two that God called us “gods”. The ramifications of this doctrine are far and wide. If we are in fact little gods, there isn’t anything on this earth that we cannot control. Weather… no problem. Sickness… no problem. Whatever it is we have control of everything because we have been created as gods. Word of faith preachers will follow these arguments up with statements of “there is divinity in humanity”, and some will say “You don’t have to go to Him (God), to take care of any problems” (This is from Bill Winston). Anytime I listen to a sermon regarding this doctrine, I always see a high level of excitement, and the reading of these Bible verses. Never, have I seen a pastor go into the context of the verse being used. I get the distinct feeling that there is no thought put behind the use of these verses, rather just a superficial use of the verse to demonstrate a point that then comes off as being hollow. As I mentioned in my previous posts, without context you can make the Bible say just about anything you want. If you pull two obscure verses out of thin air you can warp it to mean….that you are gods on earth – Which is coincidently very similar to Mormon doctrine. Here is what the Bible verses mean in context.
Today we will take a look at the first point…
- God produces after his own kind. The scripture used to support this is Genesis 1:26. The argument is as follows…Well let’s just use Mr. Dollars own words from a sermon given to his own congregation:
Dollar: “If horses get together, they produce what?”
Dollar: “If dogs get together, they produce what?”
Dollar: “If cats get together, they produce what?”
Dollar: “So if the Godhead says ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?”
Dollar: “Gods. Little “g” gods. You’re not human. (The) Only human part of you is this (the) flesh you’re wearing.”
This argument focuses on the first sentence of Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. It also takes the central theme that each produces after it’s own kind. This theme can be found the 1st book of Genesis.
- God produces after his own kind. We have to start at this point because it (for me at least) is the underlying theme to the little gods doctrine.
Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
In this verse word of faith preachers will tell you that because everything produces after its own kind, and God produced man in his own image and after His likeness that we are in fact gods on earth. If we follow this argument all the way through to conclusion…God created Adam. Adam, being produced by God, was…god (Hagin and Copeland both assert this). Adam sinned meaning what….God can sin? Even if we work it backwards….If Adam could sin, and Adam was a carbon copy of God…does that mean that God could sin? Of course, the answer is no.
What do you think of when you hear the word image? Do you think of a carbon copy of yourself? Would an image of yourself contain all of your qualities, all of your mannerism’s, all of your talents? Because this is exactly what God did. God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27). He did not create a clone of himself. But what about the word likeness? Wouldn’t that mean that that we were like God? No. The Hebrew word used in this verse was “dmwt”,which means “image. Thus Genesis 1:26 could really read “Let us make man in our own image…”. When you hear the word image do you think of a carbon copy, or do you think more of a picture? Which makes more biblical sense?
There are none who are LIKE God. Take these bible verses into consideration when praying about this point.
Isaiah 43:10 – “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
Isaiah 46:9 – Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.
God makes it extremely clear that there are NONE LIKE HIM, and that there will be no god formed before him or after him. There is a clear contradiction between the word of faith interpretation of Genesis 1:26, and the word of God.
God called us little gods, so we are what the word says we are. This argument is based on John 10:32-36, and Psalms 82.
Word of faith preachers lean heavily on this text to show that we are little gods. Here is John 10:32-36: but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?
Word of Faith preachers say “Scripture calls us little gods. We must follow the scripture.” This argument offered up by the word of faith preachers offers more of a challenge because it is so easily misinterpreted if it is taken out of context. When you read John 10:34-36 it says you are “gods”. When you read Psalms 82:6 it says you are “gods”. Like I mentioned before, when you listen to a word of faith preacher discuss these two verses in particular this would be about as deep as they go. “It says it, so you are.” So let’s put these into context…
When you are looking at this section of John, Jesus is standing before the Pharisees. They are ready to stone him for claiming to be God. Christ defends himself in 34-36 referencing Psalms 82.
1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!
Psalm 82 was written in reference to the judges and magistrates. These people are official representatives and agents of God. I am going to break Psalm 82 down and look at it verse by verse to help you gain better understanding of what Jesus was referencing in John 10:34.
Look at verse 1. This is notification to the “gods” that God gives judgment on them. This statement is followed by a plea to the “gods” in verses 3-4. Verse 5 offers truth, without these things anarchy will ensue. Then, in verses 7-8, comes the reckoning… Though they are honored in verse 6 God also humbles them by reminding them in verse 7 that they are only mere mortals and that they will, therefore, die. Basically, these two verses are saying that these judges are NOT god-like, because they are imperfect and mortal then verse 8 definitively declares that God has authority and will judge all of them. If you read Psalm 82 through the lens that the “gods” are just the average person (as opposed to leaders and judges), it makes no sense. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Look at verse 2. When the question is asked “how long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?” Focus on the word “you”. The word “you” in verse 2 can only be referencing God or “gods”. God does not judge unjustly, so then the reference must be to the word “gods”. The “gods” judge. On to verse three…the “gods” are able to give justice. Now, if the “gods” judge and are able to give justice, are they average folk or are they people with power and authority (like leaders, kings, judges, rulers, etc.)? The actions described in Psalm 82 describe the actions of people in leadership. The actions they perform are “god” – like in that they judge and have a certain (limited) amount of power and authority. They are judging and leading others with the possibility of liberating them. This is similar to the way that God will one day judge the world, but in a limited way. Of course leading other people and/or judging for them is an awesome and powerful responsibility – one that carries a heavy burden One last comment on Psalm 82. When you read this verse, think of a local or national leader. Keep them in mind as you hear God’s plea to them to be fair, and righteous. Keep them in mind as God reminds them that his judgment will happen. When I do this I am filled with the instant need to pray for them.
Let’s jump now to John 10:34-36. Here, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 to make a point. So who is Jesus talking to here? The Pharisees. The keepers of the law (magistrates), and the judges of the law. So when Jesus says “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’, he is referencing the judges and magistrates of His day (like Psalms 82 was). What we are seeing Jesus do in John 10:34-38 is draw a comparison between himself, and the Pharisees. The Pharisees, administers of the law of God, and Jesus the one the Father consecrated and sent into the world. Both are the word of God delivered. This is cemented by what Jesus says in verses 35-36. “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’[e]? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?”
If “gods” in John 10:34-36 means just anyone then this verse becomes superficial, and meaningless-There is no power to the analogy that Jesus draws between the two groups, because is no distinction between the groups.
There is danger in claiming that we are gods, even if it IS with a little g, because it minimizes God, and lifts man up to be more than what we are intended to be. If, in fact, we have God like authority on Earth why would we need to submit to God? If this sounds silly, then think about this… Many word of faith preachers go so far as to teach that God has to submit to US! That God cannot act on this Earth without our consent (much more could be said about this clear fallacy, and probably will be in a future post). Any preacher who teaches that man controls God, or preaches that you are god like preaches a God that does not exist in the Bible (cf. Romans 11:33-36), and deliberately, or otherwise, misleads people into thinking they have God like power. Keep in mind that this type of teaching has been used before (when Satan told Eve that she could like God). Of course, we know that Adam and Eve’s response to this false teaching had a catastrophic effect on the history of the world – Let’s be wise and refuse to listen to that same lie again.