Are we gods?

Q. Can you explain John 10:34? It seems to say that men are gods.

A. To start, let’s back up a verse to John 10:33.

Jesus here is debating with some religious leaders about His own deity. They’re angry with Christ because He says to them, "I am the Son of God." He had also said that He was one with God, making Himself equal to God. They respond angrily in verse 33, saying, "For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man makest thyself God."

Then Jesus answers in John 10:34: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" Jesus is probably referring to a quote from Psalm 82:6. Here the Lord is talking through King David to the judges of Israel, saying, "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."

You'll notice that in John 10:34 and in Psalm 82:6, the word "gods" begins with a lowercase "g." The writers of these books were not saying that men are divine. Though we were made in His image, we certainly do not possess the attributes of God. God is omnipotent (all powerful), He’s omnipresent (everywhere), and He’s omniscient (knows all things). Humans are neither omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent — they aren’t anything like the one true God. In addition, God is self-existent and eternal, whereas man is not.

When the Lord says, "You are gods," it means that God made man (Adam) in His own image. In the same way that God rules the universe, providing, leading, and governing, God originally made man to be the ruler of this planet — having all the things of this world, like the fish and cattle, under his care and dominion. Man was made to lead this world, and God placed him here, in His own image, in the same way that the Father creates life. Indeed, man and woman were given the ability to procreate in their own image. Out of an act of love, they can produce another human being in their likeness.

Moreover, the Psalm that Jesus seems to be referring to is about judges who have the power to rule over other men in a way that God judges all humanity. In these ways, and perhaps others, man is described as a lessor god of this world. Yet we certainly aren't divine and will never ascend to godlike status.

Learn about God — Is the Trinity Biblical?

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