“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.''
Psalm 82:6 & 7
First, we must realize that when Yahweh said this, He was speaking to the religious leaders of David's day. This might make the average Christian feel that, at the most, this might apply to someone like Billy Graham, Joseph Prince, or, 'God forbid', Joel Osteen, but in no way could it apply to the average layperson. While the context of the words above speaks directly about the leaders of Israel, not necessarily in a good light either, these words, as many others in Scripture, reveal a universal principle, in Essence, that speaks of every man, woman & child in whom resides the Spirit of the Living God.
Secondly, we must understand that when David was inspired to write these elevational words, which Jesus later repeated in John 10:34, He was not making us equal to or saying that we are the One that created the universe & all it contains. Actually, taking a slight detour here; when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Pharisees became incensed, for one reason, because they ascertained that He was claiming equality with the Creator God, Yahweh, according to Scripture. Whatever the case may be, though we are of the same Essence as the one who set the universe in motion, we are not the Creator of all; as some have said, 'we may be small 'g' gods, but we are not large 'G' Gods'!' ( more on this later )
At the heart of the issue is theSpirit that animates all living things. Biblically speaking, one might argue that the spirit/Spirit that animated Mother Teresa, for instance, was not the same one that animated, say, people like Hitler or Pol Pot. This statement might seem difficult to disagree with, except for the fact that Scripture deals with the History of Israel, not the History of Humanity, though there is most definitely a very pertinent message for humanity within the pages of Scripture.
Unfortunately, many Christians are under the assumption that the 'satan' of Israel, as the arch-enemy of God, or Yahweh, was a spirit-being who had fallen from grace. I say 'unfortunately', because instead of realizing that the 'devil' who accused Israel was the adversarial spirit of their religious leaders, at least those who opposed Jesus as the Christ or Messiah, they suppose, for whatever reason, that this adversarial spirit is with us today, as 'the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience'. Though this is true, in the greatest sense, sadly, most of us have a problem admitting that it is our own selfish choices, which come from the ego, that are adversarial to what is good, right & just. The traditional 'Satan' that the majority of Christians see in the pages of Scripture has nothing to do with us today, because of the New Creation!
The New Creation, of course, refers Scripturally to those who accept Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. However, since the Gospel records 'the Marriage of Heaven & Earth' ( as I like to refer to it ), wherein the Creator God awakened in His Creation the awareness that they could indeed become One with Him, the New Creation might be noted as something for which the possibility exists within all humanity. The possibility for all humanity to become the Son of God, instead of the Son of Man, depends wholly on their own choices. The choices we make spring either from our selfish ego, or from the Spirit of Love.
Men like Hitler & Pol Pot made the decision, for whatever reason, to allow the ego, or adversarial spirit to rule over them, rather than overcoming it. Like the Scriptural Cain, then, they murdered their brother & eventually, themselves. Although they made this choice, however they were driven to it, the Spirit that animated their biological bodies is the same Spirit that animated the body of Mother Teresa. This Spirit is the One who formed the worlds, in whose image man ( kind ) is made & who gave us the free-will to choose who they would obey; their own selfish ego, or the greater good, the oneness of humanity.
According to the apostle Paul, Jesus did not count equality with God as something to be grasped ( Philippians 2:6 )..Alternate research shows, however, that He said something more in keeping with what Jesus Himself had said earlier, such as, 'Before Abraham was, I AM' ( John 8:58 ), thereby using the personal name that they would have attributed to YHWH. Whether one chooses to posit Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity or as a Man who became ( the Son of ) God, one thing is abundantly clear; He was/is God, for He lives today, in & through His People, His New Creation: like Father, like Son!
The difference between a small 'g' god & a large 'G' God might seem rather petty, but for many, it means skating on the thin ice of blasphemy! One can't really argue with Scripture & right there, plain as day, in black & white, YHWH Himself called us 'gods'. That's just fine, but only the Creator God, or YHWH of the Hebrews can be called 'God' ( with a large 'G' ), for He is the only True
& Living God.............................. Wait a minute, in Jesus' own words, '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’' It may be argued that we were not sent into the world the world in the same manner that Jesus was, but then again, 'why not?' We may not have been born of a virgin, but we have, if we can trust the Scriptures, been sanctified!
'It is the Spirit who gives life......' These words in the Gospel of John ( 6:63a ), might be read in another context, but beginning with Genesis, we can see how this is true. It was the Spirit of the Creator God who was/is the Breath of Life that animated Adam, indeed all living beings. 'Yes', we might be reminded, 'but the Life that Scripture speaks of here was Covenant Life'. This is true.
Charles Haddon Shank