Saturday, June 16, 2007

Divine Beings

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)
The amazing truth about mankind is that, from the very beginning, we were created as divine beings — to be like God. That is what the Scripture means which it says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” That is such a mind-blower that even many Christians have a difficult time believing what it says. But we see this truth consistently through the Bible.

In Psalm 82:1, for example, we see calling together the judges of the earth to rebuke them for failing so miserably in their duties. “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.” The Hebrew word for “gods” is elohim, usually translated as a reference to God Himself. But from the context, we see that it is here talking about men, calling them “gods.”We see it again in verse 6: “I said, ‘You are gods,’ and all of you are children of the Most High.”

Was that a slip-up on the part of the psalm writer? Maybe some sort of typographical error? No, not at all. Writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the psalmist really meant to refer to them as gods. These were human beings whom God expected to operate in a divine capacity, but He would not have done so had He not created man to be like Him.

The Lord Jesus references this passage in John 10:34-36:
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”
Jesus did not dispute this verse, or the fact that God spoke to men and said, “You are gods.” Rather, He confirmed it! He used it as a point to talk about His own divinity: If God said to men, “You are gods,” then why should the Jewish leaders get so bent when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God?

Now, we understand from other Scriptures that Jesus is uniquely the Son of God, that is, in such a way that is not true of anyone else (see John 3:16, for example). That is because He is the eternal Word of God who took on human flesh (John 1:1-18). Jesus is God in human flesh, and He did not think it took anything away from Him for men to be called “gods.” He was not offended by it one bit; He affirmed it.

God created man to be like Himself, a divine class of being. But where God is infinite in all His divine attributes, man finite in his god-likeness. God exists of Himself, but man is completely dependent upon God for his existence. God’s divinity is absolute; man’s divinity is derivative from God.

From Genesis 3, we know that Adam rebelled against God, believing the promise of the devil that he could be a god apart from Almighty God. But in that day, man died, having disconnected himself from the very source of his divine existence. That is why Jesus came, to destroy the works of the devil and reconcile man back to the Father. His redemptive work makes it possible for us to take up, once again, the divine nature God intended us to have from the beginning.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4)
To those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ, the divine power of God has restored everything required for life and god-likeness, so that we might be “partakers of the divine nature.”

Throughout the New Testament, those who receive Jesus are called “sons of God,” and “children of God.” “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). “Beloved, now we are children of God” (1 John 3:2). “For as many as are lead by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).

What does it mean to be “children of God” and to partake of the divine nature? It is the law of reproduction:
  • A dog has puppies. The puppies partake of the canine nature of the parents. They are a canine class of being.
  • A sheep has lambs. The lambs partake of the ovine nature of the parents. They are an ovine class of being.
  • A pig has piglets. The piglets partake of the porcine nature of the parents. They are a porcine class of being.
  • A bear has cubs. The cubs partake of the ursine nature of the parents. They are an ursine class of being.
All this is how God planned it from the beginning — everything reproduces after its kind. That means that a dog does not have pups that are not canines, and a cat does not have kittens that are not felines.

What does it means, then, that we are called “sons of God,” and “children of God?” It means that we are beings like Him, we partake of His divine nature. We are a divine class of being — created by God to be so; redeemed by Jesus Christ to be so.

Why is this important? Because it is who we are in Jesus Christ. Not only that, but all of creation is waiting for us to get this revelation. For when Adam sinned, he brought the world under a curse. But in Jesus Christ, we have redemption, not only for ourselves, but for the creation as well.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Romans 8:19-22)
You and I were created as diving beings. Though we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the Lord Jesus has come to reconnect us to Father God, so that we may once again partake of the divine nature, to fellowship with God and do His will upon the earth. All of creation is waiting for you and me to get this revelation so that it, too, can be redeemed.