Friday, December 31, 2010

Refuting Mormon Proof Texts - Can Man Become God?

Mormon doctrine teaches that man can become a god. In fact, mormon theology tells us that god was once a man, and "as man is, God once was, as God is, man may become" as mormon Lorenzo Snow put it. They deify man, and bring god down to mans level. Sometimes they will use John 10:34 as a proof text in support of this false doctrine. The following is a good way to take the steam out of their argument, and put the verse back into context, where it belongs!

"This text should not be used to support the view that we (or anyone can become) little gods, for such an interpretation is contrary to the overall context. Jesus is not speaking to pantheists (who believe that God is everything and everything is God) or polytheists (who believe in many gods). Rather, He is addressing strict Jewish monotheists who believe that only the Creator of the universe is God. So, His statement should not be wrenched out of this monotheistic context and given a pantheistic or polytheistic twist.

Jesus' statement must be understood as part of Hid overall reasoning here which is an "a fortiori" argument: "If God even called human judges gods, " then how much more can I call myself the Son of God." Christ had just pronounced Himself one with the Father, saying, "I and My Father are one" (10:30). The Jews wanted to stone Him because they thought Christ was blaspheming, making himself out to be equal with God (vv. 31-33). Jesus responded by quoting Psalm 82:6 which says, "I said, you are gods." So Jesus reasoned, if human judges could be called "gods," then why can't the Son of God be called "God"?

Note that not everyone is called "gods" but only a special class of persons, namely, judges about whom Jesus said, they are those to "whom the word of God came" (v. 35). Jesus was showing that if the Old Testament Scriptures could give some divine status to divinely appointed judges, why should they find it incredible that he should call himself the Son of God?

These judges were "gods" in the sense that they stood in God's place, judging even life and death matters. They were not called "gods" because they were divine beings. Indeed, the text Jesus cites (Psalm 82) goes on to say that they were "mere men" and would "die" (v.7). It also affirms that they were "the sons of the Most High," but not because they were of the essence of God himself.

It is possible, as many scholars believe, that when the psalmist Asaph said to the unjust judges, "You are gods," he was speaking in irony. He was saying, "I have called you "gods," but in fact you will die like the men that you really are." If this is so, then when Jesus alluded to this psalm in John 10, he was saying that what the Israelite judges were called in irony and in judgment, he is in reality. Jesus was giving a defense for his own deity, not for the deification of man." (Geisler and Rhodes, Correcting the cults)