â€œHow you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, â€˜I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.â€™Â But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.â€ (Isaiah 14:12-15)
â€œYou will not surely die,â€ the serpent said to the woman. â€œFor God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.â€ (Genesis 3:4-5)
Last week I gave you my two cents worth on Dan Brownâ€™s new novel, The Lost Symbol. Plenty of meat up front – a lot of baloney in the end. What did Dan really want us to take away from this book? â€œYe are gods.â€ Danâ€™s idea (not just his, itâ€™s an old, old idea; Iâ€™ll explain a little further down) that we have in us, the ability to chart our own paths, demonstrate our own wills and shape our own realities â€“ since, admittedly, weâ€™ve been created in Godâ€™s image, we have the ability to become gods ourselves.
Dan even uses scripture to back it up, â€œâ€¦ ye shall be gods â€¦â€ (Psalm 82:6) He didnâ€™t use the whole verse, which doesnâ€™t bother me terribly; Bible â€˜versesâ€™ as we know them today, were invented by Robert Stephens, a 16th century printer. What bothers me is that Brown took a tiny snippet â€œâ€¦ ye shall be gods â€¦â€ and ripped it out of context for his own purpose. Itâ€™s an old trick.
Let me explain.
Satan (the name means â€˜adversaryâ€™) wasnâ€™t always known as Satan; once he was called Lucifer (â€˜daystarâ€™ or â€˜son of the dawnâ€™). The prophet Ezekiel gives us a glimpse of what Lucifer was like before his fall. â€œYou were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you â€¦â€ (Ezekiel 28:12b-13a).
Lucifer was a creature of beauty and power; then something happened. â€œYour heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.â€ (Ezekiel 28:17) â€œYou said in your heart, â€˜I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.â€™â€ (Isaiah 14: 13-14)
There was a time in creation when just one will existed; the will of the Creator, God. Then, because he regarded his own beauty and majesty as something worthy of independence, evil entered into the heart of Lucifer. Lucifer mounted an offensive on heaven to exert his will against the will of God. â€œI will make myself like the Most High.â€ It didnâ€™t work out as planned. Satan and his allied angels were thrown out of heaven (Luke 10:18), down from the â€œmount of assembly.â€ There were now two wills in the universe; that of God in heaven and that of the adversary, Satan, on earth.
â€œThen God said, â€˜Let us create man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.â€™â€ (Genesis 1:26) God created Adam, breathed life into his nostrils and placed him in a garden that He had made.
Satan was nonplussed by this turn of events. That God, the One who cast Lucifer, â€˜Son of the Dawnâ€™ from heaven to this dusty little ball in exile, should demonstrate His attention on such an insufficient creature as man was really too much. In the same way that Satan was cast down for pitting his own will against the will of God, he would see to it that this puny usurper, Adam, and his mate would trip and fall under the weight of their own independence.
God, in His purpose, didnâ€™t create angels or men to be without the power to demonstrate their own wills. Satan and his hosts proved that angels could submit to the will of God or oppose it. By putting a tree in the garden that Adam and his mate, Eve, could eat of, but were forbidden to, proved that God had given them the choice as well; submit to His will or donâ€™t, the power was in their hands from the beginning. It was Satan who made them aware of it by twisting the words of God.
â€œDid God really say, â€˜You must not eat of any tree in the gardenâ€™?â€ (Genesis 3:1)
Eve corrected him, â€œWe may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, â€˜You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die.â€™â€ (Genesis 3:2)
Satan first twisted Godâ€™s words to deceive the woman; when that failed he resorted to discounting the words of God altogether. â€œâ€˜You will not surely die,â€™ the serpent said to the woman. â€˜For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.â€™â€ (Genesis 3:4)
â€œYou will be like God.â€
The desire to be like God, to demonstrate his own will against that of his Creator, to raise himself up for admiration and worship; that was Luciferâ€™s downfall.
The desire to be like God, to know the difference between good and evil and judge for himself which path he would choose; that was the downfall of man.
â€œ… Ye are gods â€¦â€ the promise in Dan Brownâ€™s The Lost Symbol, is just the retelling of an old story.
There was once One will in the universe. Now there are billions. God will not always contend with fallen angels and men. There will come a time when that One will reigns again, â€œon earth as it is in heaven,â€ (Matthew 6:10). We, having the choice, will conform our wills to His â€¦ or not. But one will will reign. We are not gods, not in ourselves anyway; but we do have the opportunity to become the children of God, joint heirs with His Son. Thatâ€™s His will.
Last week I promised that Iâ€™d explain what the psalmist meant when he stated â€œâ€¦ ye are gods â€¦â€
Unlike Dan Brown, Iâ€™ll give you a bit more of the passage so we understand the context in which the statement was made. â€œThey know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. â€˜I said, â€œYou are â€˜godsâ€™; you are all sons of the Most High.â€™ But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.â€ (Psalm 82:5-7)
The translation â€˜godsâ€™ in this passage is the Hebrew word â€˜elohim.â€™ Even though the form is plural is can have a singular meaning â€˜Godâ€™ or it can mean â€˜godsâ€™, â€˜idolsâ€™, â€˜mighty onesâ€™, â€˜judgesâ€™ or even â€˜sons of Godâ€™.
Hereâ€™s the context of the whole Psalm. The psalmist starts off saying that God presides over the great assembly of â€˜mighty onesâ€™ or â€˜judgesâ€™ (elohim) â€“ those who have been given the authority and responsibility of passing judgment on the affairs of men â€“ the people in power. But theyâ€™re not judging very well â€“ theyâ€™re corrupt. â€œHow long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?â€ These â€˜judgesâ€™ think of themselves and â€˜godsâ€™; they â€˜ruleâ€™ over the affairs of men. But God says these corrupt â€˜judgesâ€™ (elohim) walk around in ignorance and darkness. He admits, â€œYou are â€˜godsâ€™; you are all sons of the Most Highâ€ (Iâ€™ve bestowed upon you the station of â€˜elohimâ€™) But youâ€™ve abused the power and privilege Iâ€™ve given you; you will lose your sonship, your â€˜godâ€™ status and die like mere men; you will fall like every other creature Iâ€™ve given power and authority to that has abused My appointment for their own glory and according to their own will (Satan must have winced at that one). The psalmist concludes: â€œRise up O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.â€
Adam was created in Godâ€™s image, a â€˜sonâ€™ of God. When he fell by demonstrating his own will against the will of God he lost his â€˜sonshipâ€™, he was no longer a creature â€œin Godâ€™s image.â€ To restore Adam and his race, another â€˜Adamâ€™ was required. This time Godâ€™s only â€œbegotton Sonâ€, truly God and now, truly man, took upon his own flesh manâ€™s penalty for demonstrating his will against Godâ€™s and provided the way that leads men back into the â€˜image of Godâ€™.
Satan deceived himself into believing that because his countenance was like that of a god he could become like God. He passed that deceit on to man; that by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man could become â€˜like Godâ€™. Dan Brown and his ilk pass the tradition down to us today; by our knowledge of good and evil, by our mastery of the things of this world we can become gods unto ourselves, masters of our own destiny.
If it didnâ€™t work for Satan and it didnâ€™t work for Adam, what makes Mr. Brown think it will work for us?
We canâ€™t create ourselves in Godâ€™s image. We canâ€™t conform God into our image (although we try). We can only, through Godâ€™s Son, Jesus, the Christ, conform ourselves into His image and then truly become sons and daughters of God.