Bible Answer

Explaining scripture to Mormons

How can I explain to a Mormon the correct interpretation of the statement "you are gods" that Jesus quotes from Psalms 82? They believe it literally means we can becomes gods, but I know that isn't correct.

We believe the best answer comes from Dr. Thomas Constable, who explains:

"In Psalms 82:2-7 the Psalmists says that Israel's judges were perverting justice. God called them to practice righteous justice. The essence of proper judging was making sure that the defenseless got justice. Israel's judges, who should have been the wisest of the people, were ignorant of the importance of fair judgment and the consequences of unfair judging. Consequently law and order, the foundations of life on earth, were unstable.

"In vs.6-7 God warned the unjust judges that they would suffer judgment themselves for their injustice. God had appointed them as "gods" (i.e., individuals with power by God's authority). He had made them His "sons" in the sense they were His representatives on earth (see 2 Sam. 7:14). Nevertheless because they had not behaved as God, who judges justly, they would die as mere men without honor as God's sons. They would die as all the other Israelites would. ("Men" and "rulers" (v. 7) is a merism that signifies all mortals.)

"Jesus' accusers charged Him with blasphemy when He claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:33). In replying to their accusation Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6 to remind them that God called Israel's judges His sons. His point was that it was not inappropriate for Him to call Himself the Son of God. Jesus, of course, is God's ultimate Judge of all humankind, so it was especially appropriate for Him to call Himself the Son of God."

(Taken from Constables Notes on Psalms, page 157)