Mormonism and the council of "gods" in Ps. 82, by Matt Slick

Aaron32

Well-known member
We are all begotten sons and daughters of God, Jesus is the only begotten son of God in the flesh.
And yet, Christ spiritually “begets” us where we become new Creatures.

Mosiah 5:7 “And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.”

2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Jesus is the only person who did not need to be spiritually reborn.
 

Aaron32

Well-known member
This statement is a little confusing. take anything away from whose Divinity? I'm assuming you mean, it doesn't take away from the Father's Divinity. Is that right?
What I’m saying is the Son of God is God because the Father declared it. He simply IS. His words and works are evidence of his Godhood.
I think humans tend to think God is God because of his characteristics ( all powerful, all knowing, ever present. ) However, those are just evidences of Him being God.
 

Aaron32

Well-known member
Not so much understating it as I am dismissing it altogether... this is an example of what you later seek clarification on, a theological framework that is imposed on a text. A 'oneness' of authority and purpose is how you here in the 21st century make sense of the text against the backdrop of centuries of Christological controversies and the nature of Jesus in relation to deity... it is not an expression that would make any sense whatsoever to an ancient Israelite reading or listening to the various texts of the Hebrew Bible within their own historical and cultural context.


The question, as phrased, is problematic in several different ways. What you mean by "require" is unclear and the word "recognized" is freighted with assumptions of legitimacy. Furthermore, Judaism is a descriptor for a variety of religious practices that existed in the last few centuries BCE and afterward, but were united in monotheistic worship --- the deities of earlier centuries were stripped of their divinity and denied existence or relegated to lower classes of heavenly beings such as angels. The period to which I am referring and during which a large portion of the Hebrew Bible was composed (included the texts under consideration) is that of ancient Israel and during this period those responsible for the literature were monolatrists --- the worship of Baal and Asherah, as well as households gods, was prohibited, but these deities were still assumed to exist.


YHWH, YHWH God, God Most High are all referring to the same being, the head of the Israelite pantheon of deities (as demonstrated previously by triangulating each as the singular creator god)... they are different names for the same deity. For example, some here might call me En Hakkore or EH or Jonathan, but I am only one person.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
So, your whole line of attack against me is “imposing other ideas onto the text”. Meanwhile, your defense of interpretation is the historical and cultural context, which places a different set of ideas on to the text.
The fact is the text is the text. It was authored to stand the test of time. Maybe it’s the cultural understanding that caused textual experts that rejected Jesus as the Messiah?

Im more interested in the understanding of the text according to Peter, James, and John who stood on the Mount of Transfiguration.
 

brotherofJared

Well-known member
The same deity (YHWH God) who is said to have fashioned the first human body from dust of the ground is also said to have provided the animating force (Gen 2:7).
That was when man was formed of dust. Nothing in the scriptures tell us where the breath of life, or the spirit of man, came from. There is no scripture, that I know of that tell us when God created angels or devils or any of the spirits of man. As I've been telling Bonnie, throughout Genesis, the writer has been using symbolism to describe the creation. It did not take God only 6 days to create the earth and everything that is on it. It did not take 6 thousand years. It did not take 6 million years. Therefore, it is likely that this passage is that describes the formation of man is not meant to be taken literally. It is likely just a description of an event when man became something he wasn't before he became man, not intended to be taken literally. Pretty much in the same way that we are all created by God, and yet we all know that no one was made first as a lump of clay and then breathed alive by God on some assembly line. I was born from my mother's womb. I believe it is reasonable to assume that YHWH God created Adam the same way he created me and you.

If you want to suggest a more complex union of physical and spiritual components, fair enough, but that would move beyond my initiating concern, which is your claim that YHWH is not the Most High God of the Israelite pantheon. This deity is the same one who made the earth and the heavens (Gen 2:4).
That is true, only if you ignore Genesis 1 where YHWH is not mentioned once and where the entire creation unfolded the first time. It also ignores that plain witness of the New Testament, that YHWH God always acknowledge His Father. There is an obvious hierarchy there indicating that one being is higher or most high and that that being was not YHWH God.
 

Bonnie

Super Member
I can assure you that we are not talking about any Genesis verses. Dragging in unrelated verses isn't helping your argument.
The question was about Jehovah not being the High God, or most High God. "Jehovah is not the most High God"--remember? Theo showed where JEHOVAH (YHWH)--preincarnate Jesus, right?-- was called the God Most High in Genesis. So, explain to me how that verse in the OT is NOT relevant to this discussion....? Since Jehovah in Mormon theology is supposed to be the pre-Incarnate Jesus IN THE OT?

Mormon debate tactic no. 4 in my signature.
 
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The Prophet

Active member
What's your point? How does that change anything concerning Ps 82 and this discussion about it?
Selections from Answers to Gospel Questions
Taken from the writings of Joseph Fielding Smith
Tenth President of Mormonism
A course Study for the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums
1972-73

Lesson 6 page 39

It was Jesus who gave commandments to Adam after he was driven out of the Garden of Eden and who directed Enoch and Noah before the flood. It was Christ who named Abraham and made him that through his posterity all nations would be blessed. He, it was who called Moses to lead Isreal out of Egypt and who wrote with his fingers on the tables of stone. He had no body until he was born in Bethlehem.
 

brotherofJared

Well-known member
The singular deity (God) speaks, addressing a gathering of other deities...
The same is true of Ps 82.
this is the ancient Israelite pantheon to which I am referring.
Are you saying that ancient Israel was wrong? That there wasn't a pantheon of gods?
As only speaker he is implicitly its head deity and when it comes to the actual creative act narrated in the following verse that you do not cite, the narrator returns exclusively to singular verbs: The head deity of the pantheon creates humanity, not some other god.
In a group that is truly one, there is no "head deity". Yet, of course, we know there is. But the point of unity is that you can't tell who the "head diety" is just because he's speaking or giving directions. But, I want to note here, that at least you, among all the critics we have here, at least you recognize the existence of other gods. Now, my question to you is, what is the problem with Jesus being called the most High God here? Aaron as pointed out that YHWH is working under the direction of being, presumably his Father, but maybe not. Isn't YHWH, the supreme, most High God as far as we're concerned? Does that eliminate the existence of any other most High Gods? If YHWH can speak for the most High God, then what is the difference if it is YHWH speaking for His Father?
While acknowledging Gen 2:7 comes from the hand of a different author than 1:26-27, the relationship is supplemental and the same singular deity who creates/fashions the human creature is in view.
I don't think that's the way the different writers are viewed. From the text, it appears that they had two opposed views about how the creation should be told. The argument seems to be that both versions were included in order to appease two opposing factions. One says the gods and the other says YHWH. It seems that one team is insisting that YHWH is the most High God and that the other team is insisting that the most High [God] is another being. The New Testament witness seems to agree with this latter understanding. In fact, the entire life of Jesus points to this latter understanding.
All three texts (1:26-27; 2:7; 14:22) equate explicitly or implicitly the creator deity with the Most High God, who in two cases is equated with YHWH.
I don't believe you can draw that conclusion. Gen 1 doesn't allude to that at all. You just think it is because, according to you, the "head deity" must he YHWH because one is speaking, but that means nothing in a group where everyone is equal. I believe most Christians believe God, the Father, God, the Son, and God, the Holy Ghost are equal in power and authority.
As for 14:22, the most High God is mentioned twice in 14:18 and 19 without the a reference to YHWH.

It is entirely possible that the most High God is identified as YHWH, but that doesn't mean that every instance we see of the Most High God, that they are referring to YHWH. Which God do you tink was speaking in Ps 82? It doesn't appear that the speaker, as you say the "head deity", was the most High [God]. In Ps 82, the speaker is referring to the most High [God] third person. In fact, the council is not even the speaker's council.

My point is, that just because YHWH is referred to as the most High God, that does not mean that there isn't another god, since you recognize that there are other gods/deities, who is also called the most High God. The witness of the New Testament is that Jesus was sent by another. He states in Matt 28 that all power in heaven and earth has been given to him. Who gave it to him? Would he have responded the same way to the rich man who called him good after his resurrection? I believe he would have. But until he had overcome the world, he was but a messenger. When he spoke in the Old Testament, it was by divine investiture, speaking as if he were the most High God ... so it is not inappropriate to refer to YHWH as the most High God because they were equal in authority.
Suggesting that YHWH is not the Most High God of the Israelite pantheon is not a defensible position from the perspective of these ancient authors.
I believe it is defensible with reference to Ps 82. I believe every instance where it is used without the YHWH prefix, it has to be considered separately. I believe in nearly every instance in the Bible, YHWH was always the one speaking. Notable exceptions would be Enoch, but the Bible doesn't have much about him, at least not our versions, and when the most High God spoke from heaven at Jesus' baptism and on the mount of transfiguration. It is pretty clear that someone else is directing the work here and that Jesus or YHWH is the messenger.
 

brotherofJared

Well-known member
IF there is only one true God, then that means all others, by default, are UNtrue Gods and NO GODS BY NATURE.
That depends on what you mean by "true". I have no idea what you mean by untrue. If I understood your definition, then I could answer better, but this appears to me to be a little overly broad, like it's an attempt to they aren't gods. But we know that they are because God said they were. Was he lying?

If you mean by "true" that he is the Father of Jesus, then, yes all the other gods who are not the Father of Jesus are not true gods, but that doesn't address their nature. If by "true" God, you mean the Savior of all mankind, then yes all the other gods who are not the savior of all mankind are not true gods. But it still doesn't address their nature.

And I'm not even addressing your definition of nature. If by nature, you mean their natural tendencies, then we can see that God knew that those gods' nature was to judge unjustly and still he called them gods. So, as I said before, God's definition gods is not the same as ours, or at least, not the same as yours. I'm not sure you know what your definition of a god is. It seems to be whatever you want it to be at any given moment. Sometimes your definition of God is a being who can do whatever he wants that NOTHING is impossible for him. At other times, he doesn't lie, so maybe there are some things that are impossible for him. So, when you know what you mean by true, let me know.

Having said that, I'm not sure what your point was. No one here is arguing that there is only one true God. That being to me, is the one who is directing the work and that isn't Jesus. But I still believe that Jesus is God. He's just not the God that is directing the work. Now, lets see if you can give your definition of true God. What makes him "true"?
 

brotherofJared

Well-known member
There are many so-called "gods" in the bible--like Marduk, Ba'al, Ashtoreh, Dagon, Artemis--but are they DEITY BY NATURE?
None of these are the gods being addressed in Ps 82. They aren't judges either. As is typical of your ignoring passages that don't agree with your beliefs, you continue to ignore the existence of other gods in the Bible. Ps 82 isn't the only one addressing them. It refers to God being the God of gods. Do you think that God is the God of the entities that you listed? Is God the God of stone or wood or appetites like the lusts of the flesh? Does God hold a council with idols and stomachs and bank accounts or even human judges?
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
The name that Abraham used, as opposed to the name that Melchizedek used, simply preserves the order of YHWH in the scheme of things, that we approach the most High God, through YHWH. They both have the same authority. Referring to one, refers to the other.
This is similar, if not identical, to Aaron32's position and I therefore have the same criticism of it... namely that it imposes a theological framework alien to the context of ancient Israel. The theological trajectory at work during this period was one of syncretism... the Canaanite deity El, for example, was early on assimilated into YHWH --- they did not coexist as distinct deities within the Israelite pantheon.

In Ps 82, YHWH is not mentioned. It might be reasonable to assume that the most High [God], el elyon, is YHWH...
I believe this is the most reasonable assumption to make... the following psalm (83) concludes the collection attributed to Asaph (beginning in 73) and ends with the declaration that YHWH alone is 'Most High' over all the earth.

but we have Jesus Christ, deferring to God the Father throughout the New Testament, seemingly setting the record straight that YHWH, the God of Israel, is not el elyon. Paul clarifies this in 1 Cor 8:6. Therefore, it seems reasonable that God, who stood in the council of El to judge the gods, is the same God that will just the children of God, or YHWH and that el elyon is God, the Father and direct progenitor of the Son in mortality.
As fascinating a subject as early Christian authors' understandings of Jewish sacred texts and the religion of ancient Israel is, it is irrelevant to a proper understanding of Psalm 82 and other pertinent texts within their own cultural and historical contexts.

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament have been through some heavy emendations which were done intentionally. We're certain this occurred with the Old Testament under the priests of King Josiah, but it was probably a feudal dispute that had been ongoing for some time.
Given that the earliest extant manuscript fragments of the Hebrew Bible postdate the reign of Josiah by several hundred years, no one can say with certainty what was happening with these texts during the kingdom period of ancient Israel. To be sure, these texts had a lengthy period of growth and several models circulate to explain the existing evidence, but certainty will remain elusive and I would thus caution more restraint in such assertions. I would be interested in knowing what 'emendations', specific to the topic under discussion, you date to the late seventh century BCE and to what texts.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Good morning, Jonathan, and thanks for the reply:

If the Biblical writer(s) believed in the existence of other deities--then the explanation of polytheism not only pertains to Joseph Smith--but also is required of the Biblical text. The general scholarly thought or suspicion is-- the notion of the divine council might not be isolated to the author of Psalms.

My point is to possibly isolate some points to serve as a springboard to broader thought than the usual "taint so" arguments.

IOW---maybe we could create some fertile fields of ponderance and reflection-- if we point out that if one believes in Biblical inerrancy--and the Biblical writer(s) believed in other gods, as deities--then how do they collate that as a whole?
Good morning dberrie... thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm more than happy to continue dialogue, but I would need a specific question related to the topic of this thread, which is not a general discussion of hermeneutics or views of the Bible... these subjects are appropriate to other forums here at CARM, not this one.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
But, I want to note here, that at least you, among all the critics we have here, at least you recognize the existence of other gods.
I acknowledge that the existence of multiple deities was assumed by some of the biblical writers... please do not read anything into that concerning my own beliefs. If you are interested in continuing to dialogue, however, I will do so only in the format I outlined in post 63 of this thread. Before I had a chance to reply to your response, you bombarded me with a couple of others. I am spread out over several discussions on these forums and have a busy life away from here. Please respond to post 91 and wait for my reply... I can commit to a lengthy linear discussion, but not on multiple fronts --- I simply don't have the time. Thanks for your understanding...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
I acknowledge that the existence of multiple deities was assumed by some of the biblical writers... please do not read anything into that concerning my own beliefs. If you are interested in continuing to dialogue, however, I will do so only in the format I outlined in post 63 of this thread. Before I had a chance to reply to your response, you bombarded me with a couple of others. I am spread out over several discussions on these forums and have a busy life away from here. Please respond to post 91 and wait for my reply... I can commit to a lengthy linear discussion with you, but not on multiple fronts --- I simply don't have the time. Thanks for your understanding...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

dberrie2020

Well-known member
dberrie2020 said: READINGS OF PSALM 82 IN CONTEMPORARY SCHOLARSHIP---The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

http://www.jhsonline.org/Articles/article_144.pdf

It is a commonplace of biblical scholarship to affirm the mythological character of Psalm 82. Most scholars by now agree that the -'!+ that come under divine judgment and are condemned to death in this Psalm are not human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council.1

If you would spend HALF of the hundreds of hours you obsess over Ps. 82, and spend that time instead studying and addressing all the "only one god" passages, that would be a breath of fresh air.

I'm sure most scholars are aware of those verses.

Worthless self-serving rhetoric.

PROVE that "most scholars by now agree with [this]".

Cite a thousand of them, along with their citations supporting this bogus claim.

That seems like the rhetoric of a worried man.

What is your evidence the majority of today's scholars don't agree Psalm 82 isn't about "human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council."?
 

Bonnie

Super Member
I'm sure most scholars are aware of those verses.



That seems like the rhetoric of a worried man.

What is your evidence the majority of today's scholars don't agree Psalm 82 isn't about "human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council."?
And the rheroric of someone who Doesn't nave a spiritual leg to stand on is to repeat the same old rhetoric over and over again, while ignoring all of the Bible verses that put his one Bible verse in proper perspective and refusing to answer simple questions--isn't it? Just to have fun?
 

Aaron32

Well-known member
And the rheroric of someone who Doesn't nave a spiritual leg to stand on is to repeat the same old rhetoric over and over again, while ignoring all of the Bible verses that put his one Bible verse in proper perspective and refusing to answer simple questions--isn't it? Just to have fun?
This could be said of both sides in this forum.
 

dberrie2020

Well-known member
And the rheroric of someone who Doesn't nave a spiritual leg to stand on is to repeat the same old rhetoric over and over again, ....

What is there about most scholars now believing the reference to the gods of Psalm 82 are not humans, but divine beings--are you claiming is not having a leg to stand on?

READINGS OF PSALM 82 IN CONTEMPORARY SCHOLARSHIP---The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

http://www.jhsonline.org/Articles/article_144.pdf

It is a commonplace of biblical scholarship to affirm the mythological character of Psalm 82. Most scholars by now agree that the -'!+ that come under divine judgment and are condemned to death in this Psalm are not human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council.

And, BTW--that's an article which has just been posted here recently--and met with the same ole tired "Taint so!!!" responses.

Care to engage the actual article?
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
I'm sure most scholars are aware of those verses.

Could you please identify these "most scholars" by name, and provide citations proving they agree with you?

Thanks in advance... ;)

That seems like the rhetoric of a worried man.

<Chuckle>

And you would be mistaken...

Your comment "seems like the rhetoric of a [...] man [...] with a bankrupt theology".
;)

What is your evidence the majority of today's scholars don't agree Psalm 82 isn't about "human leaders, or judges, but divine beings, members of a divine council."?

What is YOUR evidence that they DO?

You haven't provided ANY evidence to support your bankrupt claim.
But why would I expect any evidence from a Mormon? ;)
 

dberrie2020

Well-known member
Good morning dberrie... thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm more than happy to continue dialogue, but I would need a specific question related to the topic of this thread, which is not a general discussion of hermeneutics or views of the Bible... these subjects are appropriate to other forums here at CARM, not this one.
A good morning to you, Johnathan.

Fair enough. I suppose I approached the discussion in the vein that if the Biblical writers themselves believed in the reality of the divine council of the heavenly gods, found in Psalm82--then the idea those gods were mere imaginary idols, or humans-- could be eliminated.

That approach is in lieu of those who post the "no other gods" verses ---in hopes it might cover up or cancel out the idea these were real, heavenly gods, in the eyes of the Biblical writers(s).

The significance of that can't be overstated, IMO. I understand that might be a caveat which you may not want to involve yourself in, but I do appreciate your interactions, nonetheless.
 
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