Who Are the "Gods" Referred to in Psalm 82?

Who are the "gods"?

  • Both

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Neither

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    30
Status
Not open for further replies.

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Not to mention the fact that the Psalmist could easily have referred to them as angels or demons or spirits.

There are reasons for that, some of which I have already listed:
a) an angel is a messenger from God. It wouldn't have made any sense to list them as messengers.
b) the OT doesn't really have a worked-out demonology, and given how demons are described in the NT (and they are never described as fallen angels), then that wouldn't work here.
c) The text lists them as elohim and beney elim, and the passage parallels the beney ha-elohim in Ps. 89. That's the clinching argument right there.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
There are reasons for that, some of which I have already listed:
a) an angel is a messenger from God. It wouldn't have made any sense to list them as messengers.
b) the OT doesn't really have a worked-out demonology, and given how demons are described in the NT (and they are never described as fallen angels), then that wouldn't work here.
c) The text lists them as elohim and beney elim, and the passage parallels the beney ha-elohim in Ps. 89. That's the clinching argument right there.

Where in Psalm 89 is the term used?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Where in Psalm 89 is the term used?
verses 5-8. It uses divine council language. The Hebrew isn't identical to Psalm 82, but the family range of terms is. Council of the holy ones in the sky. I think the Hebrew is bene elim, or something like that. That kind of stuff.

And Psalm 82/89 fits perfectly with the territorial rulers of Daniel 9-10.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
verses 5-8. It uses divine council language. The Hebrew isn't identical to Psalm 82, but the family range of terms is. Council of the holy ones in the sky. I think the Hebrew is bene elim, or something like that. That kind of stuff.

And Psalm 82/89 fits perfectly with the territorial rulers of Daniel 9-10.

There's nothing in those verses that I can see which refers to anything other than humans (in comparison to God). According to the artcile posted by Turretinfan on AOMIN the term translated as "gods" in Psalm 82 only occurs that one time. I don't speak or read Hebrew so I don't know. Is that true? I'm afraid I don't see anything in Psalm 89 which requires the interpretation you are arguing for.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
There's nothing in those verses that I can see which refers to anything other than humans (in comparison to God)

They are in the sky or heavenlies, for one.
According to the artcile posted by Turretinfan on AOMIN the term translated as "gods" in Psalm 82 only occurs that one time

The term is elohim. It's not used only once. The term itself is used thousands of times. In any case, Turretinfan is committing the word = concept fallacy, and I have pointed to lexical similarities elsewhere. The term is also used in Job.

I don't speak or read Hebrew so I don't know. Is that true?

I read Hebrew every day. Turretinfan is completely wrong.
I'm afraid I don't see anything in Psalm 89 which requires the interpretation you are arguing for.

Human rulers don't live in the sky. It is as simple as that.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
verses 5-8. It uses divine council language
Matthew Poole agrees with this interpretation for Psalm 89. But in Psalm 82 he sees it as purely reference to the rulers of the earth. Any ideas why he might take that view?

Also, why are the rulers in Psalm 82 called children of God?
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Also, why are the rulers in Psalm 82 called children of God?

The technical term is "sons of God." It has a very specific function in Ancient Near East culture (no, I am not forcing the Bible into a grid; I'm just laying the context). This topic has resulted in several nightmares on PB in the past. I've documented all of the scholarly literature on the topic..
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
They are in the sky or heavenlies, for one.


The term is elohim. It's not used only once. The term itself is used thousands of times. In any case, Turretinfan is committing the word = concept fallacy, and I have pointed to lexical similarities elsewhere. The term is also used in Job.



I read Hebrew every day. Turretinfan is completely wrong.


Human rulers don't live in the sky. It is as simple as that.

Of the verses you mentioned there are two which refer to those who are in the heavenlies. V. 6: "For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?" This is basically saying: "who amongst even the most illustrious creatures can compare to God?". And v. 7: "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him." This is a reference, indeed, to those who are in Heaven: the saints. Are these the gods of Psalm 82? I think not. In Heaven there are the angels and the saints. But no-one in Heaven, or even in Hell, can "die like men". They (who were on Earth) are already dead (in that sense). There is the second death remaining for those in Hell but that is hardly to "die like men". Indded no immaterial being can "die like men" for men are material beings. "Die like men" is meant in the sense that though these men were exalted above their peers, they shall end up as the common man.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
This is basically saying: "who amongst even the most illustrious creatures can compare to God?".

No, it isn't. It is divine council language. You just admitted you don't read Hebrew. While my font ability online is limited, we are trying to walk you through some of the Hebrew connections.

And elohim in the ancient world could sometimes mean residents of the spirit realm. It didn't always denote Nicene ontology.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I went through some of the more technical aspects here.

And here is a repeat summary:

It can’t be human, since Jewish elders weren’t given authority over the nations (28). Further, God’s divine council is in the heavens, not on earth.

Other biblical passages where elohim is used to mean something other than God or human rulers:

  • Job 1.6: the beney elohim came to present themselves before God.
  • Judges 11:24; 1 Kgs 11:33. Gods of other nations
  • Deut. 32.17; demons (shedim)
  • 1 Sam. 28.13; the deceased Samuel
  • Gen. 35.17; angels or Angel of Yahweh.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Christ's use of it is definitive and that use makes it clear it is referring to human rulers. We do not need to immerse ourselves in "semitic culture" in order to understand the Bible. We only need to read it, plainly.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Christ's use of it is definitive and that use makes it clear it is referring to human rulers.

That is by no means clear. If Christ meant it to mean just human rulers, then he has denied his own deity.
We do not need to immerse ourselves in "semitic culture" in order to understand the Bible. We only need to read it, plainly.

Please throw away all of your commentaries. You don't have to immerse yourself in Semitic culture (not sure I ever said that). But you do need to know the languages to comment on this debate (since it hinges on key Hebrew phrases).

I also notice you didn't deal with any of my points.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
And to simply "read the Bible plainly" begs the question. I do read it in Hebrew and the meaning is plain--my interpretation. You read it in a derivative translation and the plain meaning is different.

In any case, no one simply reads it plainly. People read medieval catholic views of angels into what the Bible says about malakim and cherubim. People read Cartesian notions of spirit into what the Bible calls "ruach."
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
This does not in any way logically follow.

Presumably, the argument that Jesus said, "Ye are gods" means human referents. That means when confronted with the claim of deity, Jesus' saying "ye are gods," which we take to have human referents, must also apply to Jesus. If "ye are gods" = humans, and Jesus places himself in this context, he's human, too.

But in any case, I can theoretically concede that Psalm 82 is talking about human rulers (though human rulers never meet in the sky nor does the phrase ever mean that elsewhere). I still have Psalm 89, passages in Job, etc.
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
Presumably, the argument that Jesus said, "Ye are gods" means human referents. That means when confronted with the claim of deity, Jesus' saying "ye are gods," which we take to have human referents, must also apply to Jesus. If "ye are gods" = humans, and Jesus places himself in this context, he's human, too.

And on your interpretation, in exactly the same fashion, if "ye are gods" = whatever creatures you are arguing it means, and Jesus places himself in this context, he's angel/[insert type of creature here] too.

We know that Jesus has human nature, and had when he spoke as recorded in John 10. We also know that he never took the nature of angels/[insert type of creature here]. So the explanation that Jesus is reasoning from lesser to greater referring the text to humans as proposed above is vastly more persuasive than the view you are arguing for, even on your own logical criterion.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
And on your interpretation, in exactly the same fashion, if "ye are gods" = whatever creatures you are arguing it means, and Jesus places himself in this context, he's angel/[insert type of creature here] too.

I thought I mentioned that it means place of origin, not ontological status. I reject the idea that elohim in the ancient world defined a metaphysical entity (which rejection, of course, follows since I don't hold to polytheism).
We know that Jesus has human nature, and had when he spoke as recorded in John 10.

Agreed, but it is a stretch to think that he and the Pharisees were debating Chalcedonian ontology.

We also know that he never took the nature of angels/[insert type of creature here].

Agreed, since on my gloss elohim refers more to place of origin than ontology.
So the explanation that Jesus is reasoning from lesser to greater referring the text to humans as proposed above is vastly more persuasive than the view you are arguing for, even on your own logical criterion.

Given my clarifications, it is not more vastly persuasive. There are numerous threads on this topic. I've produced hundreds of articles and book sources on it.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
So the explanation that Jesus is reasoning from lesser to greater referring the text to humans as proposed above

But simply on that argument alone the conclusion (the greater, which presumably means God) doesn't follow. That's precisely the point. The Pharisees accused him of claiming to be God and supposedly Jesus responds "god in the Bible means human rulers." The Pharisees would then retort, "Yeah, but that's not how you are using the term." At the very least, on that gloss Jesus would be guilty of equivocation.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
... supposedly Jesus responds "god in the Bible means human rulers." ...

This is a very uncharitable and inaccurate reduction of the point being made by those who disagree with you. If you'd said, "... supposedly Jesus responds "god in the Bible Psalm 82 means human rulers." you'd be on track.

Jesus is very clearly affirming that "ye are gods" in Psalm 82 is referring to those "to whom the Word of God came", and the Pharisees recognize that this is true. If Jesus isn't referring to human rulers here, then as far as I can see He has literally no point against the Pharisees.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
This is a very uncharitable and inaccurate reduction of the point being made by those who disagree with you. If you'd said, "... supposedly Jesus responds "god in the Bible Psalm 82 means human rulers." you'd be on track

Fair enough. I meant to say Psalm 82.

Jesus is very clearly affirming that "ye are gods" in Psalm 82 is referring to those "to whom the Word of God came", and the Pharisees recognize that this is true.

I can hypothetically allow that, and I think I conceded the possibility above, since this is only one of many places where my view is evident.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
The difficulty with that is it has Jesus saying, "I'm not divine but human just like you." Of course, Jesus could be adding a new dimension to the interpretation. As it stands, as Psalm 82 and 89 parallel each other in part, and Psalm 89 clearly has the beney ha-elohim in the clouds, that rules out human judges.
I don't agree that such is the implication of Jesus' words, if he takes the passage to refer to human judges. One may properly take them in this sense:
If ordinary human authority may be referenced in their office as "gods," even moreso Christ, the Son of God in his position​

I don't think Jesus gives any ground to his challengers. Rhetorically, they have chosen their attack, and he meets it. They charge Jesus with blasphemy for saying he was one with the Father. On my read, Jesus proves that God has granted those human officers a certain dignity as the language will allow. By those rhetorical rules, one would expect or even demand that the Christ speak thus.

Even if his enemies deny the fully divine dignity of the Christ, they still lose the argument. Jesus, of course, means that he is entitled, and even takes the unity he speaks of further (if possible) than his enemies dreamt.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top