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Aren't We All gods?

It is alleged that Mark Twain once said: “Some people are troubled by the things in Scripture that they can’t understand. The things that trouble me are the things I can understand.” In John 10, Jesus is having, once again, a conversation with the religious leaders. In this passage Jesus in quite clear terms, describes to the leaders that He is indeed God and one with the Father. Expectantly the religious leaders judge Jesus as blasphemous and intend to stone him to death, which would have been the appropriate judgement for such a crime (Leviticus 24:16). Yet before Jesus exits the unsuccessful stoning, He quotes Psalm 82 to the leaders. In Psalm 82:6, the psalmist refers most likely to judges as “gods”. With this reading in mind, Jesus poses the question: if the Hebrew Scriptures can refer to mere men as gods, why do you then struggle with the one sent by the Father as being the Son of God? Or as Leon Morris would put it: “If there is a sense in which the term ‘gods’ may be legitimately applied to men, then much more may Jesus assert his unity with his Father.”[1] It is clear from this interaction that what infuriates the religious leaders is Jesus’ exclusive and bold claim to be the one eternal, Son of God.

The exclusive nature of Christ and His message is always the issue. Just as the religious leaders had no trouble with calling men gods, neither does our modern culture. Depending on who you spend time with, you will undoubtedly hear people make pantheistic and panentheistic comments such as: “we are all part of god” or “god is in everything and in each of us”. Even listening to jazz artist, Robert Glasper’s latest album, a spoken word artist claims that the woman is god because of her ability to bring life. The phrases are heard without a bat of the eye and yet when the exclusive claims of Christ are made, arguments ensue. Even among those who do not speak in spiritual language, they live as if they are completely autonomous without need of assistance from any outside source, especially one who cannot be seen. The idea that humans are “god” does not cause trouble.

We therefore return to the words of Mark Twain. No matter the argument, it is clear what Christ is claiming. And no matter the pantheistic jargon used, each person knows that what Jesus is claiming is vastly different and has vastly greater implications. What Jesus is claiming is that He is the only begotten, eternal Son of God, through whom salvation and eternal life is won and given. All other “gods” are powerless and useless, especially when that god is us. Therefore, Christian, as you witness to the gospel of our Lord, remember that each person has a god of their own, whether their god is in the mirror, in their pocket, or elsewhere. And they have no qualms about attributing god-like qualities to these. But go knowing that they are not wholly confused about what the gospel claims, rather they are being confronted with the exclusive claims of Christ. The same exclusive claims that confronted you, and through the work of the Spirit you came to receive and rest in as the only means of hope and salvation. We trust in Christ, the one “consecrated and sent into the world” (John 10:36) for us.

[1] (Morris, 1995)

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