Ye Are Gods!

God and Man

According to Robert Langdon, in Chapter 82 of The Lost Symbol, an ancient Hermetic precept states: “Know ye not that ye are gods.” Langdon refers to this as “one of the pillars of the Ancient Mysteries” and a “persistent message of man’s own divinity” in many ancient texts, including the Bible.

The insinuation is that man is god–and that this is what the ancient philosophers, the editors of the Old Testament, and the Freemasons all believe.

The Masonic architect Bellamy tells Langdon, in Chapter 49: “The Ancient Mysteries and Masonic philosophy celebrate the potentiality of God within each of us. Symbolically speaking, one could claim that anything within reach of an enlightened man … is within reach of god.” And the universality of the assertion of man’s inherent divinity is reinforced, in Chapter 131, when Peter Solomon gives Langdon a quick rundown of instances in Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, when similar assertions have been made.

Langdon, who elsewhere says he is not much of a Bible scholar (a bit strange for a Harvard professor with an eidetic memory who is steeped in symbols and their meanings), remembers the phrase from The Book of Psalms, Chapter 82, A Psalm of Asaph:

1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

There are several arguments against comingling the Hermetic injunction, “Know ye not that ye are gods,” with the reference “Ye are gods,” in Psalm 82.

First, most Biblical scholars tend to believe that the Psalms reference is really critiquing those mortal men who have come to see themselves as gods–noting that they will die, just like men. Rather than man’s inherent divinity, this reference seems to most readers to point to man’s hubristic assumption of godly roles.

Second, this specific passage of Psalms uses “gods” – elohim (אלהים) in Hebrew. While elohim is generally another name for God, the fact that it is a plural form has been interpreted in many ways, including “kings,” “angels,” or, commonly, “judges.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, a 19th century Baptist preacher and author of the Treasury of David, wrote: “To the people of Israel this kind of appellation would not seem over bold: for it was applied to judges in well-known texts of the Law of Moses.” While the British Methodist theologian Adam Clarke argued that elohim refers to man as god’s representative on earth imbued with his “power and authority to dispense judgment and justice.”

In other words, according to religious scholars, Psalm 82 may refer to man’s responsibility on earth to act as a judge, not the Hermetic meaning that divinity lies within man.

Finally, at least some Freemasons have taken issue with Brown’s assertion that the inherent divinity of man is a Masonic belief: According to a report on Beliefnet, Most Worshipful Brother Rev. Terry Tilton, a retired Masonic leader from Minnesota points out, “There can be no real substitute for perfection, the infinite and divine truth. And that is why just because God is God and we are not, human beings can never fully bridge the gulf of understanding and perfection in this world.”

As readers of The Da Vinci Code know, Dan Brown has a great interest in alternative histories and interpretations. He emphasizes the importance of the Gnostic Gospels over the traditional Gospels in The Da Vinci Code. In particular, he has previously called readers’ attention to the Gnostic principle that God is interior to ourselves, not exterior, and that through various mystical means, journeys, and truth-seeking, men and women can realize their inner divinity.

While this is, indeed, a view found in some of the Gnostic Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas (see the outstanding book by Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief), it is not the traditionally expressed view of either the Old Testament or the New Testament.  But a Gnostic reading of “ye are gods” converges snugly with Dan Brown’s plotlines in The Lost Symbol. From a Gnostic perspective we are all divine and human at the same time; we are all gods.

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14 responses to “Ye Are Gods!

  1. Did not Jesus also state in several places, “Seek you the Kingdom within.”? And “The Kingdom of God is within.”? Always seemed pretty clear to me.

  2. Hi,
    All existance has a memory and a point at which it evolves. The point at which it evolves is Gods consciousness, God is learning too! The memory is where humans are, constantly trying to keep up. The more faith someone has, the more positive they are on the existance scale therefore the closer they are to Gods consciousness (knowing). In life: That which lives in the most positive state is of the closet relative to a living God.

  3. Interesting theory. On what do you base it?

  4. Let’s say two women are chatting and one of them says,”I wish I could find a man with Bob’s good looks, Jim’s sense of humor and Joe’s work ethic” Those three virtues when found together make for a decent human being, right? So let’s , if you will, take that a step further… What if we combined just one positive attribute from every man , woman and child on the planet. In my mind, that would be God.

  5. Very nice thought, Lisa. It is ALL God. We are ALL God. But we forget it in order to play “unGodlike” roles in the constantly changing stage called Life. We even believe we die, just to play that game. No end to our imaginations.

  6. This post is a summary of my third volume — and also responding to the rather uninformed banter I often hear from evangelicals regarding plurality of gods. My third volume is entitled: Exploring Mormon Thought: Of God and Gods. There are certain concepts that Joseph Smith elucidated at the very end of his life that challenged the tradition at its foundations. These concepts may be summarized as follows:

    1. The creation occurred by organizing the world not “from nothing” but from preexisting matter.
    2. There was a grand council consisting of a plurality of gods in the beginning of the creation of this earth.
    3. There was a Head God who presided over the council of gods.
    4. The council of gods, under the direction of the Head God, appointed one God to preside over us in the work of creation and redemption.
    5. Among these gods in the pre-earth council were intelligences who existed eternally without creation before they became mortal.
    6. Humans have the potential to be gods because they are the same kind as God.

    While these six concepts were no doubt synthesized in a way that created a new vision for the first time in the King Follett Discourse (KFD), each of them had been taught by Joseph Smith prior to that sermon. Each of these concepts is distinctive to the Mormon view of God and gods. Each would be considered heterodox in the tradition. In fact, Joseph Smith’s teaching of the plurality of gods contributed to his martyrdom. In a sense, each of these doctrines is therefore a dividing line between the tradition and Mormon thought. It is at the juncture of this interface that I focus in the third volume.

    An examination of the biblical texts in light of more recently discovered ancient Mesopotamian and Ugaritic texts from Ras Shamra have led to a reassessment of Israelite beliefs in biblical scholarship. In light of these ancient Near Eastern texts, concepts 1, 2 and 3 have become the scholarly consensus regarding the most ancient Israelite beliefs and there is solid support for concept 4. I also develop textual support for concepts 5 and 6. There is clear evidence that the later Masoretic text of the Old Testament was altered to avoid the reading that there was a plurality of gods.

    Moreover, not only ancient Israelite, but also early Christian views of the plurality of gods have been transformed by recent studies of a wealth of Jewish documents now available from the period of Second Temple Judaism, or the period of the second temple in Jerusalem, roughly from 535 B.C. to 70 a. d.. Although it has been held that Christianity grew up in an environment of intense monotheistic commitment, that assumption recently has been called in to question.

    The earliest Christians did not adopt a “strict monotheism” in the period of Second Temple Judaism. Instead, the evidence strongly suggests that it was a common belief in Second Temple Judaism that there is a Most High God who had a chief agent or primary vizier who represented God and who ruled over other divine beings, heavenly armies, and heavenly messengers.
    In chapter 1 I elucidate Joseph Smith’s thought and give further support for the view that Joseph Smith consistently believed in and taught that there is a Most High God surrounded by a council of gods. I examine the KFD Sermon in the Grove in particular and argue that Joseph taught the same doctrine in these sermons.

    In chapter 2 I examine the biblical passages that teach that God is superlatively great, but he includes others who are of his same kind in his decisions. I demonstrate that there is overwhelming textual, epigraphic and archaeological evidence for that the notion of a Head God surrounded by gods who are the same kind, indeed “sons,” was the earliest Israelite teaching (just as Joseph claimed) and consistent during the entire period of the Old Testament. As prominent Near Eastern archaeologist William Dever has explained, this view has affected the scholarly perception concerning the development of Israelite monotheism:

    “A generation ago, when I was a graduate student,
    biblical scholars were nearly unanimous in thinking that monotheism had been
    predominant in ancient Israelite religion from the beginning—not just as an
    “ideal,” but as the reality. Today all that has changed. Virtually all
    mainstream scholars (and even a few conservatives) acknowledge that true
    monotheism emerged only in the period of the exile in Babylon in the 6th century
    B.C.E., as the canon of the Hebrew Bible was taking shape. . . .”

    In chapter 3 I present evidence that while there was plurality of thought in Second Temple Judaism, the view of the Head God surrounded by a council of gods continued among a number of Jewish groups (including early Christians). They also believed that humans could be deified and join the council of gods.

    In chapter 4 I review the New Testament teachings related to the relation of the Father and the Son. I show that the earliest Christians (including prominently Paul) search out Old Testament and pseudepigraphical proof texts showing two distinct divine beings, the only true God and a vizier second only to God who receives God’s name and glory and appears as God himself. In chapter 5 I review the relation of the Logos and the only true God, the Father. John also taught of two quite distinct divine beings.

    In chapter 6 I transition to an analysis of Latin Trinitarianism (”LT”) and the claims of the creeds. I conclude that the creeds really resolve very little because they are vague. I also conclude that LT is either modalistic or hopelessly incoherent. I then review Social Trinitarianism (”ST”) in chapter 7 and conclude that it is scripturally and logically superior to LT. However, ST cannot maintain real relations of love and it is thus deficient.

    In chapter 8 I present an LDS view of the Godhead and defend it. In chapter 9 I then review what I believe are the chief philosophical challenges to the LDS Godhead. In chapter 10 I then look at the doctrine of deification in the tradition and argue that none of the traditional views (Easter thought, Western Roman thought and Protestant) can present a coherent view of deification. In chapter 11 I then outline the LDS view of deification and defend it against the primary philosophical and theological arguments. Finally, in chapter 12 I review the scriptural basis of deification.

    Well, that’s it.

  7. JEHOVA SANTUS UNUS
    “Universal Conciousness” ~our future 2020 & beyond ~
    Psalm 82:6 ; John 10:34-35

    This happens…..
    John 14:20 “In that day you will know that I am in union with my Father and you are in union with me and I am in union with you.”

    Hense….. I AM. Giving witness to Christ. “The man will say He is I”. . . Lets not stone this one too, believing that one is stoning righteously in the name of God. All along this person is the witness to the union. When will you learn?

    John 21:15, 16,17.

    I AM

  8. No need to write so much. The answer is basic. Apply yourself. If you awaken. Then you will read the bible differently. Yes, this will shock you. Then you will get over it.

  9. And, like gods, we all get to choose how we see and feel the whole subject! LOL

  10. Bernie,

    Yes! …..

    It is all a mediative state or level of conciousness. Jesus Christ clearly was Cosmic. This is why there are two meanings. Hidden implies and does give an alternate. It is designed this way for a reason.

    Milk for the babes and meat for those who seek solid food.

  11. For those seeking more and would like it here, it is. …. Become aware of being aware of your THOUGHTS.
    We were told to imitate Christ. God-like nature
    There is no selfishness, greed, anger, vanity, jealousy, hate.

    Our thought pattern recognition is the very first step and crucial to modifying one’s behavior which begins with the MIND [Heart].

    What you think, YOU become. What you ARE. IS what you THINK. This is where one’s heart will be [mind].

    Change the picture. :)

  12. Superb, Anon! Very well put. The Christ (one who shows the way) did NOT ask to be worshiped. He lived the road map to personal freedom and development. To truly be a “christian,” it is required to BE like another Christ, to carry on the work.

  13. Bernie’s post reminds me of another misconception in regards to …..

    John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ”

    Jesus Christ was specifically speaking to John here. “Spectator role”. The benefit was given to the reader. It all depends on which type of mind is perceiving to KNOW.

    If it is a selfish mind [unevolved] it will be perceived as to “GET” [deserve] [entitlement].

    If it is a loving mind [evolved] it will be perceived as to “GIVE” [not owed] [not entitled].

    The bible is encoded in such a way, that to discern its “hidden messages” it takes a [mature mind]. An evolved mind is the key, to unraveling the scientific knowledge. It is in plain clear view.

    Eintein knew this also. Like minds know like minds. He also experienced the “mystical experience [instant] [awakening]“. . . among other great genius’s in time. The [awakened] all think with the same type of mind. There is no separation.

    P.S. Do not be deceived with the worldwide aparititions. Listen to what is spoken to discern who is behind it. ~i.e. idolatry.
    It was a pleasure reading your posts and being able to interact on such a great subject……. Thanks “Chris Pearson”.

    “Love is what lets you see through the illusion of the world”. Bye guys!

  14. Not being akin to or inclined towards theology and its often divisive outcomes, I have chosen, rather, a simplistic attitude to the reality of an awesome, all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, omni-present God, Who knows and loves each one of us equally. I also know that He wants to share His all and His everything with us, and wants us to share this; our knowledge and our personal experiences, with others. I have truly experienced the love and presence of God in my earth-walk amongst men and, quite frankly, as to whether I am destined to become one of God’s gods, or whether simply one of God’s, – I leave in the hands of God. Sharing the great Gospel of Truth with others remains all that is important to me, for which, whatever God’s eternal rewards are that are allotted to me, I will be and will remain eternally grateful.

    Kindest Regards,
    Terry Roe.
    Cape Town, South Africa.

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