Can men and women become gods?
An elderly gentleman at my church once said to me, in a voice that suggested that he was about to say something really shocking:
You know, there is a chorus that we sing that I don't agree with. That one with the line 'Among the gods there is none like you.' Well, there are no other gods, are there?
This man can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing that the line he found objectionable was a quotation from Psalm 86:
8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord;
neither are there any works like unto thy works.
I will pass over the question of what is meant by gods in that psalm and quote Psalm 82:
1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty;
he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly,
and accept the persons of the wicked?
3 Defend the poor and fatherless:
do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy:
rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand;
they walk on in darkness:
all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods;
and all of you are children of the Most High.
7 But ye shall die like men,
and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth:
for thou shalt inherit all nations.
This psalm is vitally important in considering the broad use of the term 'god' in the Bible.
G.H. Pember took the view that there are two different uses of the term god in this psalm.
The gods of the second line are angels- in this case, of course, fallen angels- so he called as being agents of God... A similar use of the term may be found in the ninety-seventh Psalm, in quoting from which Paul renders the clause, "Worship Him all ye gods," by "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Earth's Earliest Ages, p.41
Why are angels here called gods? I would suggest it is because they are created to reflect the awesome glory of God, because of their celestial location and because they constiture an hierarchy which exercises authority int he spiritual realm. It is also significant that though they are called gods, they are not meant to be objects of worship. I have argued on this blog that it is the purpose of God to bring men and women, of both the church and the faithful of the OLd Testament into that position of reflecting God's glory and exercising authority in heavenly places. It is the purpose of God to replace the fractured and fallen hierarchy of angelic beings that governed the original creation with a new hierarchy of gods, taken from among the sons and daughters of Adam.
It is significant that our Lord Jesus defended His right to call Himself the 'Son of God' with reference to this Psalm. Thus, His quotation of the Psalm is not a statement of His deity (which is clearly taught in other places), but rather a claim to be a deified created being. Though the Lord Jesus Christ is eternally the Son, the second member of the Trinity, His human nature being of created matter is brough into a relationship of being deified. His flesh is transfigured and transformed so as to reflect divine glory. It is as a man that our Lord has ascended into glory and sat down with all majesty and power in the heavenly realms. There as an human being, the Lord Jesus is recognised by the Father as heir of all things.
The believer is thus, through the new birth, brought into membership of a new divinized amd deified humanity. The Christian shares in the divine life and through faith she can recognise her divine union with Christ and thus access to the power for spiritual living. At the rapture, her union with the Trinune God is realized physically in her body and soul being transformed to be wholly heavenly in character, as are the bodies of angels. The only question then is whether she has attained to the right of heirship in the new hierachy of celestial humanity. This depends upon her service in the sphere of the kingdom of heaven. Those that have laboured most faithfully will receive a marvellous position at the top of the celestial hierarchy, those that have sowed sparingly will reap sparingly and will thus receive a humbler position. Those that forsake the calling of God will fail to inherit the kingdom and the privileges of heirs altogether.
The chief end of man is to become a god, that is one of the Sons of the Most High and to receive all the privileges of this position, namely having all things subject to him. Are you going to be among those who inherit such a great salvation?