Someone asked me this question:
If someone in explaining our co-heir status with Christ and children of God used the term “little gods”, but qualified it by stating that apart from Jesus we are nothing, would you say it was okay? If not, can you explain?
Good question… let’s take a stab at it.
For the easy part of the question “apart from Jesus we are nothing”… the answer is, Yes! Jesus said, “I can do nothing apart from my Father.” – John 5:30 and other similar verses. We have “no good thing” (Romans 7:18) in us apart from Christ. And “the wages of sin is death”. So I’m toast without Him.
Now the rest is going to be a wild ride and potentially messy… and there is sure to be kickback from this subject. But let’s dive in, anyway. 🙂
Mormons believe that after we die we become gods and procreate other gods… eventually ruling over other worlds, etc. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-23 and Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48) That’s a stretch for me.
Even though I don’t intend to validate the Mormon persuasion, there are some verses in the Bible that give some latitude in that direction. For instance Paul says, “Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!” – I Cor 6:3 (I just wish there was even a morsel more to help us understand this!!)
So let’s start with some Scripture to stir things up! Does the Bible say anything about us being gods? In the beginning… remember, we were made in the likeness and image of God.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule…” – Gen 1:26
In the Old Covenant, Adam’s sin robbed us of our ability to see our true identity. We “fell” a long way. But then in the New Covenant, our original identity is revealed and offered to us, through the righteousness of Jesus. We’re asked to believe, by faith, that we were “raised” back up to our original place of being seated with Christ.
“For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Rms 8:20
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” – II Cor 3:18
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Rms 12:2
So how do we get there……..????? Our minds have to be renewed!
And Daniel says, “Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.” – Dan 7:27
Looks like we end up having a great deal of authority and rulership… even “sovereignty” over angels and kingdoms, etc.
Wow! This is heady stuff. Something that most religious saintlets are not capable of handling wisely… because we’re either 1) too insecure in our own identity and position of favor in God to even acknowledge it… so we just choose to ignore it… or worse yet, disbelieve it. Or we’re 2) too arrogant, self-centered and shallow in our relationship with God and so we grasp for authority and power which ends up shipwrecking us.
Neither of those options is good. But at the same time, neither of those responses negate the truth of the previous verses.
But here’s the kicker when it comes to your specific question regarding ‘little gods’… the Holy Bible actually calls us gods.
“I said, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” – Psa 82:6
Did we hear that correctly? Did the Psalmist just call us gods? Yes!! But it gets even more ‘troublesome’ when Jesus quotes this same verse to the Pharisees:
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’? – John 10:34-36
As we can see, this causes a lot of consternation to the religious mind. None of us wants to call ourselves gods. But Jesus called us gods! And he even used it as a ‘courtroom’ tactic to rebuttal the religious theologians of His day. He quoted their own theology back to them. And notice, He says, “Scripture cannot be broken”… in other words when the Psalmist said we are gods, then it’s true!
I am confident that our status in God is SO MUCH MORE than we can even come close to comprehending right now. Our sin consciousness has compromised our ability to think and see clearly. God sees us as sovereign rulers over all the kingdoms under all the heavens (Dan 7). He sees us as capable… or at least destined… to judge angels (I Cor 6). He calls us gods… not so we will get a big head or arrogant… or start wars with it. He wants us to feel the invitation into freedom from our earth-bound and sin-conscious false identity… He wants us to come into our true identity… this true identity which will satisfy Creation’s groan.
“All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are.” – Rms 8:19
New Century Version (NCV) says it this way; “Everything God made is waiting with excitement for God to show his children’s glory completely.” Sadly, Creation knows more about us than we do. Creation can hardly wait until we’ve discovered that we are the rightful authorities to adjudicate righteousness in the earth. Creation will breathe so much easier when we exercise our righteous sovereignty over all the earth. And it can hardly wait for God to unveil our stunning glory to us and to the world.
Then Jesus further ‘compounds our problems’ of trying to come to terms with this ‘god-likeness’ subject, when he said,
“May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.” – John 17:21-22
Whoa, Jesus!!! You want us to be homogenized into oneness with You just as You and Father are homogenized as one?? That’s HUGE!!! And You say that You’ve given us the same glory that Father gave You? Wow!!! You must really see something in us that we can’t see with our current religious lens!!
Now listen to Paul in II Cor 6:13, “Be not unequally yoked.” Now if humans are supposed to only marry equals, then wouldn’t it be a matter of God’s integrity that He would require Jesus to only marry someone who is equal to Him? Hmmm… think on that.
Then Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states in Eph 1 and 3 that he wants us to “be filled with ALL the fullness of God”. O my!!! That just about blows a fuse in my brain!!
“… now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” – I John 3:2
This sounds like Col 3:4, “When (as often as) Christ who is our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with Him in (that same) glory.” (parenthesis mine) The revealing of Christ has the overwhelming power to transform the beholder into His same glory… each time we behold.
It just gets ‘messier’ (or awesome-er, depending on your perspective) the more we look into this subject.
A few years ago, I heard someone say that when they were pondering this issue they heard Jesus say, “You and I are one. I am you and you are me… the only difference is, I am God.” In light of our previous conversation, this insight begins to make sense for me. Of course we’ll never believe that we replace God, nor compromise His Divinity or Diety… but doggonit, there are just too many pregnant Scriptures to simply write-off this ‘gods’ idea. I know I don’t feel like it in my soul man and natural thinking… but we must remember that the only way we get anywhere in the Spirit realm, is by FAITH… by just believing what He says!
Listen to what Jesus’ best friend John, said in I John 4:17, “We are as He is in this world.”
They say that true humility isn’t trying to be ‘super humble’ by self-effacement, self-abasement or belittling the grand-ness of what God says about us. Rather, it’s saying, “God you know me better than I know me… So I believe and agree with You.” That’s humility.
Most of the body of Christ is not ready to handle the magnitude of this. We’re too fallen in our perspective of ourselves. And since we’re admonished to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3), when asked this question, I would probably try to dodge and skirt the issue right now unless I’m talking to people who are genuinely interested. Jesus was good about dodging the brunt of a question, by asking another question, at times. He knew there were truths that the audience couldn’t handle yet (John 3:12; John 16:12).
Knowing that Jesus can’t tell us certain things yet, truly saddens me. And of course it saddens Him… “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…. How I would have gathered you unto me… but you wouldn’t” (Matt 23:27).
So we’re in a very awkward in-between stage in history. We’re not happily ignorant saintlets any longer. We’ve been partially enlightened enough to know that there is more. But we’re not fully enlightened yet… and most of Christianity is not even as far as we are. So it’s not likely that we can enjoy the widespread celebration of these exciting revelations for quite some time.
I guess that means we’re going to have to be careful so that we don’t “cast our pearls before swine” and we’ll have to be “be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves.”
I’m sorry this is not as clean and tidy as one might have hoped. But we’re carrying many other revelations that haven’t come fully ‘of age’ yet, so you’ll know how to carry this one too. That’s part of what’s unique about pioneers, they see things… and carry things from the future that are ‘before their time’. Pioneers must walk carefully before God and man until these things can be fully revealed and released ‘wholesale’. In the meantime we pray into them and share these revelations as the Lord gives us opportunity.
More grace to you!