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Are we little gods?


Today’s Question:
I am a minister in Oklahoma who has recently been studying the various aspects of Word of Faith Doctrine. I successfully navigated my way through the fear-mongering and altered my theology in regards to the sufferings of Christ [see Tom Brown’s article on this topic by clicking here].

At this point I am on a personal quest in trying to find all that I can on what the heresy hunters call the "little gods" doctrine. I have done a lot of study in the Word and am at the doorway to full acceptance of this. What I want to do now is seek Godly counsel (most of what I have read on your site is right on target) before I delve full on into the fight. Could you give me your perspective on this doctrine? I'd like to have a full amount of ammunition to defend the faith.

Bill Humble

Bible Answer: It is great to see a teachable spirit in you. Concerning the so-called "little gods" doctrine, it is based on John 10:34-36:

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? 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? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'?

Jesus meant this. He said, "the Scripture cannot be broken." This passage simply affirms Genesis 1:26 about mankind being made in God's image endued with dominion. Jesus was simply comparing His status as the ‘Son of God’ with fallen creatures’ status as ‘gods’. He is saying that if God exalted fallen men by calling them gods, then why are you upset with Him, who is without sin, if He should call Himself the Son of God. Christian theologians have used the term ‘gods’ for thousands of years to explain how close mankind is in God’s image.

Athanasius, in his famous work, On the Incarnation of the Word of God, wrote, "The Word was made man in order that we might be made gods." Athanasius is consider very orthodox.

Even fairly recently, the great Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, commented on this passage:

The greatest honour was thus put upon them: they were delegated gods, clothed for a while with a little of that authority by which the Lord judges among the sons of men. [The Treasury of David: An Expository and Devotional Commentary on the Psalms, 7 vols, vol. 4, page 41]

It is amazing that only lately have some heresy hunters argued against this. For example, Dave Hunt criticizes certain ministers who use this term. He even considers them heretics. He writes,

The Bible never says that God made man a god…That was Satan’s seductive promise to Eve… [The Seduction of Christianity, page 85].

He is definitely at odds with Jesus, because Jesus said God called them ‘gods’, and the Scripture cannot be broken. Hunt is trying to break Scripture.

Someone might wonder if there is a danger in using this term. Well, there is a danger in using any term if it is not understood. I use this term to speak of two important facts about mankind: first that we are made in God’s image; we have God’s character and spiritually we have God’s genetic makeup—which is what re-gene-ration means. Second, I use this term to speak of man’s dominion over the earth. God gave dominion to man in order for him to rule. The term god is often used in connection with dominion. Even Satan is called "god of this age" (2 Cor 4:4), which means that he rules.

I am not aware of any true Christian using the term god to mean that we are the Creator as Dave Hunt implies. We are simply creatures made in God's image endowed with dominion; thus we are "gods" in that sense. Nothing else should be inferred.

Special note concerning Bill Humble. Later he writes to Tom Brown.

Thank you for your prompt response. I have studied John 10 as well as Psalms 82. In addition, I have studied I John 4:17, Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment. For as He is, so are we, IN THIS LIFE.

Also Peter makes known God’s promises in II Peter 1:4 that we are partakers of the divine nature. I was slow in incorporated the terminology "gods" in relation to us as Christians because of the "pride" it may produce in a person. But as I sought the Lord in this matter, I heard him say in my spirit, "How could you take any pride in being made a god by the work of Christ. If you were a god all along, then there might be room for pride. But you were made one when you entered into union with My Son. If you were a god that was not under any authority, then there would be room for pride. But you are a god under authority, for only I am Sovereign Lord." So, there is no room for pride, as the heresy hunter’s claim.

You are the factor that has helped push me into a complete acceptance of this doctrine. For that I thank you. You were used of the Lord. I am rather slow in changing my doctrine. It seems that I take several months to study and get a complete scriptural picture of something before I absorb it into my personal theology. I want to avoid being misled. I also want to have both barrels blasting when inevitable attacks come. This doctrine here speaks to the very heart of what Christ’s work was meant to accomplish in us. The fact of why Christ had to die and be raised as He did is clear in light of this, for He is the first fruits of many brethren.

An interesting side note. It seems that there is a vested interest on the enemy’s agenda to blind this truth from believers. As soon as my perspective on this matter started to shift towards acceptance, the devil unleashed everything from full on attack to white noise distraction. It was truly fascinating. I realized that I was on to something.

Again, I thank you.
Bill Humble

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