The title of this ARC Study reflects a belief that is becoming more and more common in Christian circles today. That man is somehow a "little god" is being increasingly preached from televised pulpits by prominent "Profits of Got," (POGs), such as Kenneth Copeland, and Creflo Dollar with no fear of the reality that they are blatantly contradicting a God, who has declared:
"You are My witnesses,'' says the Lord, "And My servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me
there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me." Isaiah 43:10
"Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
`I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God." Isaiah 44:6
Instead, they have aligned themselves with the aspirations of Satan who declared:
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will
sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend
above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Isaiah 14:12-14
And the Anti-Christ:
"who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so
that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." II Thess 2:4
While there was a time when this type of blatant heresy was only heard and accepted amongst groups that were clearly on the other side of the divide that is the line of demarcation that separates the Kingdom of God from the Kingdom of the Cults, with the advent and blind acceptance of the Positive Confession Movement, Adam, has been redefined as a “little god” who lost control of his dominion, and we are to restore both it, and our diety. Mimicking cults such as the Mormons and the Nation(s) of Islam, leading POG, Kenneth Copeland contends that man is made up of the same substance as God, and as such, man is cosubstantial with God. While speaking of Adam, Copeland declared; “He wasn’t a lot like God -- He’s God manifest in the flesh… Adam in the Garden of Eden was God manifest in the flesh.”1 After the fall, however, man surrendered his “godhood” and all of it's inherent authority, to Satan, who then became the “god of this world." The mission of Jesus to them, was to assist man in the restoration of his deity. As a result of our faith in the teachings of Jesus, we acquire the divine nature of Christ. This divine nature statement would be true enough if these teachers were only talking about the new nature every believer has in Christ by faith. Copeland, however, has another idea: “You don’t HAVE a God in you, you ARE one...,” and; “When I read in the Bible where (Jesus) says, ‘I AM,’ I say, ‘Yes, I AM too.’”2
The reality is that man will never, and could never be a god of any sort!!!
It is understandable why POGs would feel justified in elevating themselves to godhood. After all, is it not they, rather than God, who is in charge in the earth realm? Is it not they, rather than God, who must give permission to God in order for him to act. Is it not they rather than God, who is responsible for creating their own reality? Have they not, like God, mastered the "force of faith?" Isn't God bound by "spiritual law" to obey them? And lastly, is it not they, rather than God, who has the potential to succeed beyond expectation while God is, in Fact, the "biggest failure" extant?3 If these things are true, then gods they must be. But are they true? The answer is emphatically NO!!
Men of corrupt minds have for centuries sought to elevate themselves to deity. The biblical record, however, is clear with regards to the uniqueness of Almighty God. Simply put, the Bible teaches that there has never been, nor will there ever be, a progression to Godhood.
The reality is that there is an insurmountable barrier between the nature God and the nature of man. If this barrier was quantitative one could postulate that it could, with the correct procedure, be overcome. The problem for Faith teachers is that this barrier isn't quantitative; it's qualitative. God's quality of being (nature) is deity. Man's is humanity. There are several proof-texts used by the Profits of Got, (and every other non-Christian cult claiming the deity of man), in an attempt to contradict this reality, however. These are:
Psalms 82:6 – "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High."
When taken out of context it would appear that Almighty God here, is affirming to man that he were a God. A quick look at the context of this passage and the broader context of scripture affirms otherwise.
This passage contains a harsh rebuke and reality check to a specific group of people because of their wickedness. This group of people are the Judges that reigned for God over Israel prior to the coronation of King Saul. He does call them gods, but not because they are truly gods by nature. They are called gods because they have been entrusted with the awesome privilege of standing in the gap for Almighty God, and to Israel. Being entrusted with this kind of authority, and being called a god because of it isn't unique to the Judges of Israel, or this passage. In the book of Exodus when God commissioned Moses to stand in the gap for him, and to Pharaoh, he is identified as such.
In chapter 4 of this book, God tells Moses that he was the chosen vessel of Israel's deliverance. Because of his lack of speaking skills, Moses is given his brother Aaron to serve as spokesman. When explaining this arrangement to Moses, God said:
"Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God." (verses 14b-16)
It is clear in this text that Aaron would serve in the capacity of Moses' spokesman (instead of a mouth), and that Moses would serve in the capacity as the source of revelation and judgement (instead of God). No deity here, just representation. Yet in chapter 7 when referring back to this arrangement, God says to Moses:
"See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land." (verses 1b,2)
Thus, we have Moses being called "a god to Pharaoh" by Almighty God himself. Yet it has already been established that this deity wasn't qualitative, but rather "representational". Moses did not, and could not, qualitatively become "deity". In fact, when Moses exceeded the boundaries of his authority by doing his own will, rather than his that he was representing, Almighty God had to remind him of his humanity.
In the book of Numbers, Moses himself was judged because he failed to properly "sanctify" the Lord "in the eyes of the children of Israel". In other words, he failed to properly exercise his "God-given authority," and to elevate God as the true source of Israel's sustenance. Instead, Moses acted as if the water was drawn from the rock at Meribah because of he and Aaron. (Numbers 20:7-13, [notice the "we" in verse 10]) Thus, Moses was reminded vividly, of his own humanity.
Like Moses, the Judges of Israel were given the awesome task of standing as God's representa-tives to the Children of Israel. (Judges 2:16) Like Moses, these Judges were aware that they were merely God's representatives, and that it was God working behind the scenes that was the true power. (verse 18) Also, like Moses, these Judges, at times, distorted the authority given them and suffered the true God's judgement. Psalms 82 is such a case.
This passage opens with the true God's declaration of his intent to "judgeth among the gods," (his chosen representatives). He then goes on to ask these representatives "How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?" (verse 2) Instead of performing the tasks given them as God's representatives, these individuals began to abuse their God-given authority. (verses 3-5) Because of this perversion of representational authority, God had to judge them. (verses 6-8) Interestingly, verse 7 provides some insight into God's attitude towards these would-be-gods; "But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes." (emphasis mine) Not only would these individuals be given a vivid reminder of their true nature (humanity) by being sentenced to death, but their ultimate crime is listed in the text.
In scripture, the term "princes" is often used as a metaphorical reference to Angels, (cf. Dan 10:10-13) In this text, these judges are sentenced to "fall like one of the princes." This is a reference to the fall of Satan who incidentally, had also abused his God-given authority, and sought to attain true deity, and thus had to be judged. (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Likewise, when the 70 commissioned by Christ in Luke 10 returned to him gloating in their representational authority, he gave them the same warning: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." He then went on to warn remind them that their authority was borrowed, lest they fall into the same snare as those who possessed it before them. (verses 17-20) Satan's crime, like Moses', and some of the Judges of Israel, was in self-exaltation. The same is true for all who would dare to claim deity today.
II Peter 1:4a – "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature…"
On the surface, it would appear that we are "promised" a stake in God's very nature in this passage. A study of the word "divine" in this verse differs markedly from the word divine as it refers to God himself. When contrasting the word "divine" (theios) in verse 4 of this passage with the word "divine" (theos) as it refers to the nature of God reveals otherwise. While both words are translated "divine" in English, in the language that the New Testament was written in (Greek), these are two different words. The word "theos" differs from "theios," as essence differs from attribute, or rather, as reflecting qualities of God differs from actually being God. By definition, attributes are something that are true of God, but they don't make him God. God is longsuffering, but being longsuffering doesn't make him God. God is virtuous, but being virtuous doesn't make him God.
In this passage, believers are said to be made partakers of God's attributes:
"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye
might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the
world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and
to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly
kindness charity." Being made a partaker of God's attributes (theios), does
not constitute being made a partaker of his nature (theos)."
I John 3:2 – "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
Why the cultists would use this passage to prove their deity I will never know. In the text, whatever change is said to take place WON'T take place until Christ "appears" at the rapture. This is self-explanatory in the text. Again, however, what is being talked about isn't a qualitative leap to deity from humanity. Instead, it is the promise of immortality. All believers in Christ will attain immortality at the rapture. This is illustrated in the book of I Corinthians 15:51-54 where it is said that "mortal will put on immortality," ( not mortal will put on deity). Immortality (what man may become), differs from eternality (what God is), in that while immortality goes on forever in the future, eternality goes both directions (past & future) forever.
Why then is it said that we will be like Christ "when he appears?" Because this refers, not to Christ's deity, but his immortal flesh. Jesus Christ possessed two separate and distinct natures; that of deity (eternal), and that of humanity. This is called the "Hypostatic Union" in theological terms. It is that humanity that became immortal after the resurrection, and that we shall be see and be like. The teaching that men may become gods is patently false, being promoted by radical anti-Christian groups such as Mormonism and the Nation of Islam. This lie hasn't changed much since it was first uttered by Satan himself in the Garden of Eden; "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." The Profits of Got have partaken of this same tainted fruit. Man will never, and can never, become a god. This is a reality affirmed by Almighty God himself:
Isaiah 43:10; 44:6b “‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." "…beside me there is no God."
The God of the Bible is unique, and alone as God. Would be gods would do well to be warned; He is a jealous God (Exodus 20:4-5).