John 10:34 – you are gods?

John 10:34 – “How can Jesus and Psalms say ‘you are gods’?”

Jesus was quoting Psalm 82:6 here, so let us start by understanding what this Psalm is saying. But first we must clarify that the Hebrew word ‘god’ used in this passage (אֱלֹהִים elohim) is also sometimes translated as ‘magistrate’ or ‘judge’, as in Exodus 21:6, Exodus 22:8,9, and Exodus 22:28. The English word ‘Lord’ has a similar meaning; it can be used for God and for people in authority. However, the Hebrew personal name for God Yahweh (יְהוָה) is only ever used for God, never for people.

Now here is Psalm 82:

God presides in the great assembly;
he gives judgment among the “gods” (אֱלֹהִיםmagistrates’):
“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
“They know nothing, they understand nothing.
They walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; (אֱלֹהִים elohim: ‘gods’/’magistrates’)
you are all sons of the Most High.’
But you will die like mere men;
you will fall like every other ruler.”
Rise up, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are your inheritance.

This Psalm is condemning the unjust magistrates in Israel who were oppressing the poor. It is using a play on words to show how these haughty judges liked to think of themselves as elohim (which they are) but they forget that the Ultimate Elohim will judge their injustice.

Now here is the passage in John:

   Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law,
  ‘I have said you are gods’ ?
If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? (John 10:31-36)

What is Jesus saying here? He is basically saying, “the Scriptures allow mere human magistrates the title ‘gods’, and so how can you criticize me for calling myself God’s Son, when I have proved myself to have far more authority than these magistrates?”

Once you understand the context and words, it is clear that Jesus is not saying that there is any divinity in humans. That is totally against his teaching and the teaching of the Bible.

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