It is impossible for those who see themselves as gods and Christ not to have a human-centered view of life rather than a God-Centered one. For a man to see himself as a god, he must have such an inflated view of himself and a deflated view of God, a reversal of the reality of things, ‘for there is none like the God of Jeshurun.’ This man-centered view of reality is humanism; it is what is called anthropocentrism.
Anthropocentricism is when a man becomes the measure and center of all things. This approach to life defines goodness, love, mercy, and everything in human terms. Rather than defining these concepts on a biblical basis, such biblical words are flooded with a human-centered description. ‘Love’ becomes an antidote to the truth, and ‘good’ just means what makes me happy. ‘Prosperity’ is when everything happens as I please. This way, the bible is emptied of original meaning, and filled with subjective opinions, that can change when ‘the man of God’ wishes. It is why Conrad Mbewe asked whether we are Preachers or Witch Doctors.
In the last article, we looked at the origin of this anthropocentric deification that Phaneroo postulates, in the Greek mythology and philosophy, which found its way into the church through Simon, the sorcerer. Deification is when man is exalted to divine honors. The Greek and Egyptian gods were men worshiped as gods. In this article, we shall consider the usual verses Phaneroo cites to teach deification, and we will see what the Bible teaches in those verses.
Are Christians ‘gods’: The Context of Ps 82:6
We begin, as expected, on this verse. It is interesting that the first temptation man faced in the garden of Eden was an appeal to godhood (Gen 3:5). This temptation was from one who himself, through pride, considered himself a god (Is 14:13-14). Satan had proclaimed himself as a god, convinced a third of the angels to the effect and led them in rebellion against the Most High. When he was defeated, he enticed man with the same lie, promising him godhood should man assume the place of God.
God had created man as man. It is not like He was looking at creating gods, for gods have no use in His kingdom. The post of Godhood was not vacant; God has eternally been. Neither was He a lonely Being looking for replicas, for He is content in Himself, eternally. He alone is God, and He is enough for God. Being human is unique, and uniquely so. We must not seek escape from who God created us as, but should try to manifest the uniqueness of humanity to all of the creation fully. Humanity has its place in all creation, which cannot be filled by any other creation. Rather than seek to escape our uniqueness, we must embrace it. And though we are a fallen humanity, fallenness is not what it means to be truly human
The teaching that we are gods, for the most part, hinges on Psalm 82:6, which when seen at face value and out of context, appears to teach the divinity of man. ‘I said ‘you are gods,’ and all of you are children of the Most High.’ The context, however, shows Psalm 82 addressing the judges of the house of Israel, the elohim. God arises amidst ‘His congregation’ (the congregation of Israel) and judges among the Elohim/judges.
The word Elohim, translated here as ‘gods’ and almost exclusively is used of God in the Old Testament is used elsewhere to refer to judges of Israel. For example,
“If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges [elohim], to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor’s property. For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, ‘This is it,’ the case of both parties shall come before the judges [elohim]; he whom the judges [elohim] condemn shall pay double to his neighbor” (Exod. 22:8,9)
“Moreover, he [Aaron] shall speak for you [Moses] to the people; and it shall come about that he shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be as God [elohim] to him” (Exod. 4:16).
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I make you as God [elohim] to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (Exod. 7:1).
“Then his master shall bring him to God [elohim, or, the judges who acted in God’s name, margin, NASB], then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him permanently” (Exod. 21:6).
‘Those being rebuked in Psalm 82 are, first and foremost, Israel’s rulers, who were responsible for promoting justice, to punish evildoers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed. Verse 2 indicates that Israel’s leaders had failed in their responsibilities. Injustice was promoted and the wicked were honored and treated with partiality.’
But it is proper to notice that the characters referred to as ‘gods’ in Psalm 82 are by nature and acting wicked. Often (not always) those who quote this verse to claim godhood pretend to be sinless, thereby distancing themselves from these characters or ‘gods.’ It is a case of pick-and-play with scripture.
Two Creations, or Two Accounts of the Same Creation?
Grace Lubega teaches that there are two creations of man. He says:
‘The Bible says that that man (of Gen 2:7) became a living soul. He was not a spirit. God did not carry the Genesis 1:26 spirit and put him into the Genesis 2:7 man. For, the man in Genesis 2:7, he simply breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Now the book of Corinthians says that the first man in 2:7 was natural but the second man, he in 1:26, which is Christ, was spiritual. That man who you were before you were born again was just a living soul. He was not a living spirit.’ (The Man From Above, November 2, 2015)
‘As a child of God, you existed in eternity, live for a particular time span on the earth and will return to eternity.’ (Predestination, July 28, 2017)
Lubega teaches that Genesis 1:26 and 2:7 speak of two creations, rather than two creation accounts. According to him, the spirit of man was created in 1:26, lived in eternity, and then entered the body and soul of the man in Gen 2:7.
This conclusion is very erroneous, misleading and without biblical basis. It is an attempt to stay in step with the Greek mythologies and deceptions rather than scripture. Lubega is not alone, however. Platonism and Neo-Platonism had such a great influence even on some of the early church Fathers, unfortunately.
But the two accounts detail the same creation, with Genesis 1:26-31 telling us what was created (man) and why (as image-bearers of God). Genesis 2:7 is a zooming in on 1:26, and explains how man was created. In other words, the second account tells us the details concerning the first account, about the process through which God created man. Gen 1:26-31 tells us why God created man, while Gen 2:7 tells us how God created man. Not two creations, but two accounts of one creation.
It is also erroneous to claim that Genesis 1:26 speaks of the spirit of man existing for eternity when Genesis 1:26 speaks of the creation of man, after plants and soil and birds have been created, on day six, in time rather than eternity.
There’s one another unanswered question with Lubega’s view. And this is it: If Gen 1:26 speaks of God creating the spirit of man and not his body and soul, and the Bible says that this creation (of Gen 1:26) occurred on the sixth day, on what day was his body and soul created? On the eighth or ninth day? (Remember God rested on the Seventh day!)
Also, Genesis gives us two accounts of the creation of land animals (1:24-25; 2:19-20). If we use the same interpretive method that Lubega employs, of saying that Gen 1 speaks about creation in eternity and Gen 2 speaks about creation in time, does this mean that animals also existed in eternity before they came on earth? Does Lubega believe as well that animals have spirits that entered the bodies after a time, perhaps after getting born again?
Meanwhile, Lubega teaches that the ‘spirit’ created in Gen 1:26, is Christ!
Now the book of Corinthians says that the first man in 2:7 was natural but the second man, he in 1:26, which is Christ, was spiritual.’ (The Man From Above, November 2, 2015)
We become foolish by trying to be ‘deep’ while neglecting proper and obvious biblical interpretation methods.
There is One Christ
That there is one Christ should sound obvious to everyone, Christian, and historian, Muslim, and Roman, young and old, scholar and student. But it appears this is not so.
The devil entered the serpent enough until revelation referred to him as that serpent. He was not originally the serpent, but he entered, ‘tabernacled’ in the serpent and revelation calls him that serpent. In fact, when you dream about a snake, you know that that is the devil, you do not say that that is an angel. If a snake can become the devil and the law can become Moses, how about you child of God? Didn’t you become Christ? (The Man From Above, November 2, 2015)
Before His departure, the real Jesus warned His followers against those that will come claiming to be Christs.
‘For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’ Jesus, in Mark 13:22
‘For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.’ Jesus, in Matthew 24:5
‘“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.’ Jesus, in Matthew 24:23
Indeed, many have come, apparently in His Name, claiming to be ‘Christ.’
The ‘Apostle’ reaches his position through a misinterpretation of Galatians 3, and especially the way the word ‘seed’ is interchangeably used to refer both to Christ and to Christians.
It is a simple rule of textual interpretation always to keep the flow of the argument made in the text to avoid confusing ourselves.
Looking at Gal 3, Paul makes a case for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, through Abraham’s seed, that is, one who will descend from Abraham. God promised Abraham that through him (and his Seed, namely; Christ), all the nations shall be blessed. This promise has one Person in mind, Christ. Christians are those who are to be blessed by God through Christ, Abraham’s seed. That is the argument of Gal 3:15-18.
Paul after identifying Christ to the Galatians, as the promised Seed of Abraham, he turns now to speak of how the Gentiles, through Christ have been made partakers of the promises of God. While the promised Seed is a physical descendant of Abraham, the Galatians (and all the children of God) are made partakers of God’s promises to Abraham through faith in the promised Seed (v26).
Paul then argues that through this faith in the Seed, we have also become Abraham’s descendants or seed, by faith. There is a difference between the promised Seed through whom redemption comes and those who through Christ partake of the promises of Abraham as sons.
To miss this essential point Paul is making, and conclude that Paul is teaching that we are Christ, is not only to miss the point altogether but to disqualify ourselves from teaching God’s word. For teaching requires careful study, and there is no careful study in missing the obvious while going for shadows.
As a side note; when the name ‘Christ’ was mentioned in the times of the Apostles, it referred to One and only One, the crucified One, Jesus of Nazareth. Christ to the Jews was not a philosophical word, it was a Personal name, referring to Israel’s promised Messiah, the Son of David.
Christ, the Christian and 1 Cor 6:17
The union we have with Christ, of being His bride, of being His body, is a mysterious union, inexplicable entirely in the human language. Though mysterious, it is not mystical. This union does not bar the distinctions and individual identities but rather unites them in such a way that we are fulfilled in and identified with Him while maintaining the Creator-Creature distinctions.
The strongest term, I think, that Paul uses to refer to this union, is found in 1 Cor 6:17, ‘but he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.’ This verse indeed can be complicated to understand. But the context, and understanding the proper use of metaphors can be beneficial.
In 1 Cor 6, Paul is making a case against ‘spiritual prostitution,’ which was the charge God brought against Israel in the whole book of Hosea. In 1 Cor 6:16 Paul quotes Gen 2:24 to remind the Corinthians of the oneness of the flesh of those who are married, the unity that is consummated through physical intimacy. Paul says that those who are united by covenant are one, and whosoever has sexual intimacy with any other person than their partner is a prostitute.
This spiritual analogy is drawn from Gen. 2:24 and carried on to verse 17 of 1 Cor 6. As man and wife become one flesh physically, the believer and his Lord become one spiritual entity (cf. John 17:11,23; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:21-33). A good example of this theological concept is Rom. 6:1-11, where, as a union with Christ through election and faith, believers die with Christ, are buried (in baptism) with Christ and are raised with Christ.
Remember these are analogies that we must never carry to extremes. We must stay in the contextual confines, lest we break loose with heresy. ‘One spirit’ is used to mirror ‘one flesh,’ so that we know that what scripture speaks about is not the loss of individuality and identity of the partners (just like a couple is still distinct persons, though one flesh). Neither is it the mashing up of natures, since when a man marries a woman they don’t become something in between male and female). Nor is it the swallowing up of one nature by another (just like the man doesn’t become a woman or woman a man as a result of the marital union). This union is rather the unbreakable unity, and deep intimacy and care for each other conveyed (without obliteration of unique personalities of each), the oneness that prostitution, whether physical or spiritual betrays.
On the concept of what it means to be born again, I suppose it requires a whole new article. I had handled bits and pieces before, as I looked at justification, sanctification, and glorification, but I don’t think I clarified it enough. As I break from these series, my next article shall consider what it means to be born again. That is when I shall also respond as to whether the greatest need of man is ‘deep revelation’ as Gnosticism and Phaneroo teach or spiritual cleansing from sin and its stains. And after that, we shall conclude our series on Phaneroo with one more article, where we shall look at Cult-Hero Worship, the epitome of anthropocentrism.
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