Are we gods?


I feel silly for even asking this, as it goes against my common sense, but I come across this often :o

Are we gods?

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’?

If we are made in his image, than call us by our name: gods and goddesses


No, we are human beings created in the image and likeness of God.


Yes I agree. But how might I go about answering this when Jesus seems to be saying it so matter of factly?

What is the Old Testament passage or teaching he is referring back to?


He is referring back to Psalm 82:6 (Douay 81:6). Haydock offers the following commentary from Menochius:

Is it not written in your law: I have said, you are gods? ... This is addressed to princes established to govern the people of God. They are the image of God on earth by the authority they exercise, and which they have received from Him. . . . Christ here stops the mouths of the Jews, by an argument which they could not answer, that sometimes they were called gods, who acted by God's authority. I have said: you are Gods. (Psalm lxxxi. 6.) But then he immediately declares, that it is not in this sense only that he is God.


[quote="Presurmksdimnds, post:3, topic:321372"]

What is the Old Testament passage or teaching he is referring back to?


Psalm 82


The passage He was referring to is Ps. 82:6: "I have said, “You are gods and all of you the sons of the most High.”

I have always understood the gods in the OT as being firstly judges (ie. Moses, Samuel, etc.), those is closest communion and consecrated to God, and more generally those functioned in like manner where the ‘law is written on their hearts’, (my words of example).

In the John passage you’re referring to, the Jews were complaining about His claim of “I and the Father are one”. He asks for which works are they mad and they dismiss this to cry blasphemy. Jesus then answers that even in the law, humans are called gods. These Jews presumably would be familiar with the entire Ps. which is an exhortation to judges and to men in power.


I thought it was because the judges called themselves gods?


Thank you I was scared to say it :o


Here is the wording used in the CCC:

460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81

78 2 Pt 1:4.
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.

Don’t feel silly for asking. It is a Scripture that has been gravely misunderstood by millions of people. If an LDS looks at Ps 82 they come to a whole different conclusion than the Catholic Church. I suppose that is a subject for another thread, but I think the point important— we must realize what the Scriptures mean when we are referred to as “gods”. I think the CCC does a good job here of explaining that we are sharing in the ONE true Divinity by God’s grace. We become “gods” in the sense that we are adopted into the family of God through Christ Jesus.


Interestingly, Jesus says you have One Father in Heaven in Mt 23:9, yet St. Paul calls himself a father in 1 Cor 3:15. He actually says, “while you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel”…that’s plural, multiple fathers!! How can we have one Father yet St. Paul also be a father??? How can there be One God but Jesus calls us gods? What’s going on here???

The key is participation. When Paul calls himself a father, he’s not saying he’s a father in the ABSOLUTE sense, but he * participates IN * the one unique absolute Fatherhood of God.

Same with what is called “Theosis” We don’t become “gods” in the sense that we have infinite power or authority or dominion. Rather we become “partakers of the divine nature” like St Peter says in 2 Peter 1:4. Through baptism, we receive sanctifying grace, the very life of the Trinity!! We are adopted sons and daughters of God, through Christ and only Christ. That’s why St. Paul says we have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba Father. We really are God’s children now. So in the sense that we have “godlike” qualities now, (aka the Divine life of God in our souls, which we could never deserve) we are gods, BUT NOT in the absolute sense that Mormons believe, but only through participation in the divine life. We’re nothing without Him. But He wants to share everything with us.

Hope that made sense a little, it’s a pretty deep theological concept, but really awesome and humbling once you start to scratch the surface of it. I get overwhelmed every time I think of it personally :slight_smile:


We are sons/daughters of God in the sense of being adopted thru baptism. We are given his divine life, which pulsates thru our souls. As St. Paul says, "Abba, Father."
What a great privilege.


So what exactly is psalm 82 then? I was under the impression that Judaic law was passed down from Mosss and the other prophets, and psalms were more like, stories/prayers that had been passed down thru the generations.

But Jesus says ‘is it not written in your law’

So the psalms have some sort of authority? Or is it that this psalm was inspired by some other teaching by one of those first judges? (Moses etc)

And, is it true that they called themselves gods, the people called them gods?


The words used in the Psalm for “judge” is אֱלֹהִים “elohim” the word is often used for God but is not a specific title God. That is the word means, “ruler or judge” and God is certainly those things and the Torah attributes this title to God, but this attribution does not preclude the use of the word elohim in other contexts. For example Exodus 20 (the Decalogue) calls the pagan gods elohim, but never calls them YHWH. So even those things the Bible says specifically are not God are elohim in the Old Testament.

I think what Jesus was doing was playing on this word coincidence to prod His adversaries who were angry with Him because they knew full well that He was calling Himself God. However Jesus, knowing that they held the seat of Moses, were elohim and so could be called gods and so He was twisting the knife a little. Especially if we consider the character of Jesus versus that of the Pharisees and Judges (elohim) who devoured widows houses for gain. Truly One had earned to be called elohim as YHWH was called elohim and the others as the false idols who led men into Hell. Which is of course exactly what Jesus said they did, “You scour sea and earth to make one disciple and then make him twice as fit for Hell as you are yourselves.” Remember that?

However Psalm 82 does not call men יְהֹוָה YHWH or Jehovah that is exclusively a title appropriate to God Himself, and this is the title Jesus takes upon Himself. The LXX (the Greek translation of the OT) translates YHWH ἐγώ εἰμί “ego eimi” or “I Am.” This is the Name God gave to Moses in the wilderness the YHWH name and you will notice that when Jesus uses this appropriation for Himself the Jews gather stones to kill him because they understood full and well what He had just said.

So I think we can understand what Jesus meant by saying “Your Law says ‘you are gods’” and still not fall into the heresy of deification as the mormons did. Because of all the promises Jesus makes to us (we will be with Him, we will be as He is, we will live in Him forever, we will drink the water without price, we will eat of the tree in Paradise) He never says that we will become I Am because only God is.

If you have confusion about the distinction between is and becoming then I highly suggest you read Peter Kreeft in the Summa of the Summa his explanation of Thomas’ understanding on the being of God is extremely helpful if a little difficult. Perhaps someone else could recommend an easier text but for such a hard question maybe a little work is in order.

God Bless


The Jews refer to Scripture as the Law, Prophets and Writings. The Law (Torah) is the first five books of the Bible. The Prophets are the books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the 12 minor prophets (they exclude Daniel as apocryphal). Then the writings are the histories (Joshua, Judges, Kings, etc) and the wisdom books (Psalms, Songs, Proverbs, etc). Collectively these books make up the Old Testament and are all inspired by the One and same Holy Spirit.

However as shorthand they were sometimes referred to as the Law and the Prophets or even just Torah, the Law. I think Jesus is using “the Law” in this way. If He were using our vernacular he might have said, “The Scripture says…” or perhaps, “The Bible says…”

St Paul uses a similar sort of shorthand, as does St Peter, in referring to the Old Testament when they say, “The writings” or as we know it, “The Scripture”. They make this distinction because “Law” by that time had taken a connotation of being against the Christians and so when St Paul says the Law is death he does not mean the Old Testament is death and not the Word of God, he means those who seek to save themselves by boasting of their righteousness apart from Christ’s mercy before God will be killed by the Law in which they claim to stand.

So do not be confused about the way the New Testament uses the word 'Law" because Christ and the Apostolic writers do not always use this word the same way.

God Bless


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