By Brannon Howse
The Scripture: Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?”
The Twist: Many within the Word of Faith and New Apostolic movements use this verse to create the twisted and heretical theology that people are little gods.
In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting Psalm 82:6, which reads: “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.’” Notice the little “g” in “gods.” Through the psalmist, God is speaking to people, calling them rulers. When Jesus references this in His dialog in John 10, He is actually pronouncing judgment on the human race. He says, “You think you are little gods, making rulings and decisions here on earth, but you are merely mortal men, and each one of you shall die.” Jesus’ hearers would have been familiar with this Psalm and would have understood the clear implication.
Let’s go back to John 10:33 and read through verse 37 to get the full context of the situation:
The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”?’
“If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken) 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’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.”
In verse 34, the Pharisees threaten to stone Jesus for proclaiming Himself to be the Son of God, and Jesus responds by saying essentially, “Hey, what’s the big deal? You claim to be gods, so why can I not call myself God?” Jesus is also reminding them that God Himself addressed people in Psalm 82 as gods.
The usage of the term “god” is analogous here to someone who is a slave, a servant, or solider serving under a king. Such a person might say “Yes, I’ll do that right away, my lord.” The reference is obviously not to The Lord, but the person refers to the master as lord. The master is sovereign over the servant, and the Psalm 82 usage is similar.
False teachers who twist John 10:34 take these words out of context to say, “Even Jesus said we are gods.” If you question whether or not people really are teaching this within the Word of Faith and the Prosperity Gospel movements, then let me quote Creflo Dollar, where he teaches this “little god” theology to his congregation:
Now, that’s interesting, because if everything produces after its own kind, we now see God producing man. Right? Huh? And if God now produces man, and everything produces after its own kind—if horses get together, they produce what?
And if dogs get together, they produce what?
If cats get together, they produce what?
But if the Godhead gets together and say, “Let us make man,” then what are they producing?
They’re producing gods. Now I gotta hit this thing real hard in the very beginning, because I ain’t got time to go through all this, but I’m going to say to you right now, you are gods, little G. You are gods because you came from God, and you are gods. You’re not just human. The only human part about you is this physical body that you live in.
This teaching may be new to you (I hope), but this little god theology is very popular. I cover this topic in Religious Trojan Horse and point out that Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and others have taught this same heresy. On page 141 of Religious Trojan Horse, I quote Benny Hinn saying this:
When Jesus was on Earth, the Bible says that first He disrobed Himself of the divine form. He, the limitless God, became man that we men may become as He is.
By teaching this, Hinn is in strange company. Mormons also teach that God was once a man of flesh and bone, who evolved to become God, so we are of the same essential substance as God. According to Mormon doctrine, Mormon men can also become gods or a god because Jesus set the pattern. Hinn explains his version of the heresy this way:
The new creation is created after God in righteousness and true holiness. The new man is after God, like God, godlike, complete in Christ Jesus. The new creation is just like God. May I say it like this, “You are a little god on earth running around”?
In a similar vein, Kenneth Copeland says:
If we ever wake up and realize who we are, we’ll start doing the work that we’re supposed to do. Because the church hasn’t realized yet that they are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ.
But God is God, and man is not—and never will be. As our last chapter showed, the closest we can come is to partake of the divine nature thanks to Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2014 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.