Saturday, November 21, 2009

Documenting Daniel O. McClellan's Errors with Psalm 82

Well I had thought the issue would be laid to rest, but Mr. McCllelan felt compelled to make a response to Dr. James R. White's exegesis on Psalm 82 and the so-called Divine Council. Before delving into the issue, I'd like to point out to the reader the first error Daniel makes in the very first, and very awkwardly long sentence,

James White responds on his blog to a Roman Catholic youngster going by the name Carmenn Massa who apparently criticizes White and his colleagues concerning some other exchange about Jerry Shirts's use of Michael Heiser's scholarship regarding Psalm 82. Massa has been active on some Facebook message boards, and while he has a decent working knowledge of the catechisms and his own dogmas, he's woefully unprepared to engage LDS scholarship directly.

Jerry Shirts is actually Kerry Shirts, a lay Mormon apologist who goes by the nick 'The Backyard Professor', though he holds no credentials in theology, early patristics, Hebrew, Greek, Scriptural exegesis, or in any other matters which are neccessary for expounding the sacred mysteries of the Gospel. But Mr. Shirts seemingly doesn't let his numerous [documented] errors stop him from presenting faulty arguments, isolated texts, long-refuted assertions which when scrutinized turn out to be nothing more than 'fluff'. One of those badly mutilated Scriptural texts Mr. Shirts, like many Mormons, attempted to present as proof for the plurality of Gods (and the divinity of Man) was Psalm 82. We will examine Psalm 82 in just a few moments.

Secondly, Mr. McCllelan states I

...apparently criticize[d] White and his colleagues concerning some other exchange about Jerry Shirts's use of Michael Heiser's scholarship regarding Psalm 82.

No matter how many times I searched and searched, I simply could not find an email in my inbox, junk, or even spam box from Mr. McCllelan contacting me to confirm the true nature of my article regarding A&OMin and Heiser. I even checked my Facebook email to see if Daniel left a message there, or a wall post: nothing. No, instead Mr. McCllelan went by the information provided by Dr. White's formal response to my said article. Had he taken the time to read what I actually said, he would have found that I wrote responding to Mr. Rich Pierce, the President of Alpha and Omega Ministries. So, truthfully, the person I criticized was Pierce, not White, nor any of his other colleagues, as McCllelan asserts. Further, my article had nothing to do with Kerry Shirts, nor Dr. White for that matter, except that both were mentioned indirectly as the reader may clearly see. My article focused on responding to Mr. Pierce's assertion that Heiser's work promotes henotheism, and so has nothing to do with Mr. Shirts at this point. If McCllelan would have continued looking further, he would have also noted my response to Dr. White's post. In my response, I apologize for the errors I made, which open letter to James White and Rich Pierce may still be read. I also clarified my position so that any confusion regarding my stand would be done away with.

-EDITED UPDATE- March 14, 2010 -

The above is for the most part correct, however even though I did not attack Dr. White up front, the underlining subtlety was most certainly there, and so Dr. White was very correct in saying I took a shot at him and the ministry. I did in fact use the Mormon issue as an opportunity to attack, and attempted to justify it by following up in another article all the while maintaining a semi-apologetic appearance. The same can be seen in the above paragraph as well. However, let us not turn aside from the fact that Mr. McClellan did not attempt to contact me to verify any of it. I thought it wise to delete the posts containing the attack and follow up since there is truly no more need for them, and why bother keeping a blatant sin like attacking someone public? But those said posts are still available in note-form hidden in my Facebook note archives, and can be made privately available for anyone wishing to read the letter or the posts for themselves to verify the accounts. Dr. White's post is still available to my knowledge, so the reader may see all for himself.

Mr. McCllelan in the next sentence says regarding me,

Massa has been active on some Facebook message boards, and while he has a decent working knowledge of the catechisms and his own dogmas, he's woefully unprepared to engage LDS scholarship directly.

Him calling me "woefully unprepared" produces a bit of a chuckle considering Mr. McCllelan has to date refused to answer any of the objections, arguments, or documentation I present in Christianity's defense against the Mormon misinterpretation of God. The reader will remember Mr. McCllelan's gross attitude towards me in his "responses", which to be perfectly honest were nothing but paragraphs of insulting verbiage. His behaviour, especially being an Oxford graduate, would be expected to meet a higher standard, but sadly this just isn't the case. I invite the reader to judge by reading that dialogue here.

I find it ironic McCllelan asserts my inability to engage the arguments directly yet he clearly dismissed everything I presented then abruptly ended the conversation altogether, and then turns around to start a thread which I am not involved in, stating that I, in fact, am the one who cannot engage. Interesting, Daniel, very interesting.

Besides his shots at me, Daniel takes quite a few more shots at Dr. White during his attempted rebuttle. White argues from the perspective that the gods in Psalm 82 are human rulers. This interpretation is fine by me as I've repeatedly stated before. In fact, I direct the reader to Sam Shamoun's piece regarding the subject. However I like to argue from the view that even if these beings are "gods", creatures set into motion by Yahweh, the passage in no way whatsoever supports the polytheistic Mormon doctrine as taught by Smith and his successors.

In response to White's assertion, viz.

Here we have the key to the passage, for this is a psalm of judgment against the rulers of Israel. God takes his stand in His own congregation, that being His own people, Israel. (Is the Mormon my Brother?)

McCllelan says,

It is not a judgment against Israel. It is a judgment of the gods of the foreign nations. The word elohim does not refer to humans. It cannot refer to humans. The closest it comes is Exod 7:1, where God tells Moses he will make him an elohim as far as pharaoh is concerned. It is not a taxonomic designation there, but just rhetoric. As far as pharaoh is concerned, Moses is as a deity. The verb נתנ and the inseparable prefix לְ makes that clear. If Moses were being called a god over pharaoh, or were in some way identified as an actual אלהים, the preposition עַל would have been used.

I wish more LDS missionaries would admit what Mr. McCllelan has surprisingly admitted regarding Moses acting as God towards Pharaoh. In any case, the error here is when McCllelan says of elohim, "It cannot refer to humans." But the Psalms themselves refute this quite easily.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions - Psalm 45:6-7

As Shamoun correctly notes, this Psalm is addressed directly to the human King of Israel. And this human King is explicitly called "God."

In Hebrew the passage reads,

כִּסְאֲךָ אֱלֹהִים עוֹלָם וָעֶד שֵׁבֶט מִישֹׁר שֵׁבֶט מַלְכוּתֶךָ
אָהַבְתָּ צֶּדֶק וַתִּשְׂנָא-רֶשַׁע
עַל-כֵּן מְשָׁחֲךָ אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן שָׂשׂוֹן מֵחֲבֵרֶךָ

In the LXX,

ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος ῥάβδος εὐθύτητος ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου

This should not be passed over lightly. For the writer of Hebrews, probably St. Paul or at least a Christian Jew with the same OT knowledge as found in Paul, uses this very passage to demonstrate the explicit Deity of Jesus Christ.


In Greek, the passage reads,

προς δε τον υιον ο θρονος σου ο θεος εις τον αιωνα του αιωνος ραβδος ευθυτητος η ραβδος της βασιλειας σου ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην και εμισησας ανομιαν δια τουτο εχρισεν σε ο θεος ο θεος σου ελαιον αγαλλιασεως παρα τους μετοχους σου (Byzantine/Majority Text [2000])

This from the Tischendorf 8th Ed.,

προς δε τον υιον ο θρονος σου ο θεος εις τον αιωνα του αιωνος και η ραβδος της ευθυτητος ραβδος της βασιλειας σου ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην και εμισησας αδικιαν δια τουτο εχρισεν σε ο θεος ο θεος σου ελαιον αγαλλιασεως παρα τους μετοχους σου

Now let's compare the LXX passage with the NT application and see its usage word for word,

ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος ῥάβδος εὐθύτητος ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου

προς δε τον υιον ο θρονος σου ο θεος εις τον αιωνα του αιωνος ραβδος ευθυτητος η ραβδος της βασιλειας σου ηγαπησας δικαιοσυνην και εμισησας ανομιαν δια τουτο εχρισεν σε ο θεος ο θεος σου ελαιον αγαλλιασεως παρα τους μετοχους σου

Thus, contrary to Mr. McCllelan's claim, the Hebrew elohim clearly can and is used of human beings depending on the context.

Next, McCllelan says,

God is also not standing in the congregation of Israel. That terminology is never, ever used this way. In fact, to stand in a council means you do not conduct or preside over it. The next portion ("He judges among the gods") means the same thing. He is one of the divine judges. The gods are not being judged at this point in the text, they are judging alongside Yahweh.

Once again, contrary to Daniel's assertions, the text says something quite the opposite. The NASB says, "God takes His stand in His own congregation." The Hebrew word translated into English as "stands" is nitzabh, which "denotes a deliberate and formal act, connected with a definite purpose. I Sam. 19:20.” J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, l972), II, p.105. In the LXX, the word for "stands" is esth [Strong's 2476], and is used in Psalm 82:1.

In 1 Sam. 19:20 we read,

Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing [Strong's Heb. 5975; Strong's Grk. 2476 from LXX] and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied. - NASB

I also will note, to further show the reader the errors in McCllelan's statement,

That terminology is never, ever used this way. In fact, to stand in a council means you do not conduct or preside over it.

the following passage:

The LORD has taken his place to contend; he stands [Heb. 5324; Grk. 2476] to judge peoples. - Is. 3:13

Both 1 Samuel and Isaiah clearly show that Mr. McCllelan's argument is in error. In light of this, we know that God judges in the midst of the gods, presiding over this Council. He is not simply one of them, but He is the Supreme Judge, the President. If the gods are judging alongside Yahweh, it is only because He alone has allowed them to do so.

At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. The LORD your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven. May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you! How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ And you answered me, ‘The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.’ So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes. And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ And I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do. - Deuteronomy 1:9-17

If the above passage refers to human judges, made in the image of God, how much more so would it apply to divine beings in Heaven who are their prototype? The formula is the same be they human or divine.

Of the other passages McCllelan mentions, viz. 1 Kgs 22:19; Isa 6:1; Dan 7:9-10; Job 1:6; Zech 3:1, 3, 4, in which he claims "you will see the subordinates always stand before the presiding authority, who is seated", I only answer that 1 Samuel and Isaiah disprove that theory. But we wil cite those passages just the same in their context, which when taken into said context further prove Mr. McCllelan's theory erroneous.

1 Kings 22:17-23

17So he said,
"I saw all Israel
Scattered on the mountains,
Like sheep which have no shepherd.
And the LORD said, 'These have no master.
Let each of them return to his house in peace.'"

18Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?"

19Micaiah said, "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.

20"The LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that.

21"Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.'

22"The LORD said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.'

23"Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you."

There is no formal judgment here as seen in Psalm 82. Rather, God is having a meeting with His heavenly hosts, inquiring what they think should be done about the matter at hand. The senerios in Psalm 82 and the above passage are too different to make any sort of comparison.

Isaiah 6:1-7

1In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

2Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.

3And one called out to another and said,
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory."

4And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.

5Then I said,
"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."

6Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.

7He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven."

Once again there is no council or judgment here as seen in Psalm 82, no condemnation of men or divine beings so-called. Simply because God is sitting down really proves nothing unless the same senerio we are examining may be also be found here as well.

Daniel 7:1-12

1In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a (A)dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.

2Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.

3"And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.

4"The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.

5"And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!'

6"After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

7"After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.

8"While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.

9"I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.

10"A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened.

11"Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.

12"As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

Verse 10 brings to mind Revelation 20:11-15, wherein the books are opened while God is seated on His Throne as He judges mankind. Unlike the first to references provided by Mr. McCllelan, this one actually shows God in judgment. And He indeed is seated. But remember, folks, Mr. McCllelan has made the following assertion,

In the following scriptures you will see the subordinates always stand before the presiding authority, who is seated...

But if we compare the above passage from Daniel with the passages from 1 Samuel and Isaiah, we see too that the President of the Council may also stand, not neccessarily always sit. This particular passage from Daniel does not substantiate Mr. McCllelan's claims.

Job 1:1-12

1There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.

2 Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.

3 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was (H)the greatest of all the men of the east.

4His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

5When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.

6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

7The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."

8The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."

9Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?

10"Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

11"But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face."

12Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.

The assumption is made the God is sitting during this time, but the text doesn't actually say that. Further, this isn't a council or judgment of any kind; rather, it's a dialogue between God and one of the renegade angels, viz. Satan. Again this doesn't follow the senerio as found in Psalm 82.

Zechariah 3:1-7

1Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
2The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"

3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.

4He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, "Remove the filthy garments from him " Again he said to him, "See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes."
5Then I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by.

6And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,

7"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.

Yet again, even though the person is standing, God Himself is not said to be sitting. Simply because a person stands in council or judgment in the OT doesn't neccessarily mean he himself is being judged, or that he's simply judging alongside others.

McCllelan also asserts that Yawhweh is one of the sons of El Elyon. This is true in a sense, since El Elyon is Yahweh whose only begotton Son is Yahweh Memra who assumed human flesh. Genesis 14:22 specifically labels El Elyon as Yahweh, thus proving McCllelan's assertion once again is erroneous.

Moving on, Mr. McCllelan goes on to say,

White saying that a Christian must assume the univocality of scripture, thus meaning Psalm 82 must be perfectly in harmony with John 10. This means White can twist Psalm 82 to fit his interpretation of John 10. He wouldn't dare think about using Psalm 82 to interpret John 10, though. It's the very definition of the hermeneutic circle, and it's one of the most egregious logical fallacies there is.

I think Dr. White himself provides a good enough answer to that,

This text is cited in John 10:34. Only a (today) relatively small percentage of modern "scholarship" will care about how this text is used in John. That is, outside of believers, how this text was understood centuries after its original writing is irrelevant, since they believe the Bible to be merely a collection of books without any coherent, let alone consistent, message. And amongst liberal Christians who do not hold to a canonical view of inspiration and consistency, it is common to ignore the relationship of one's interpretation of one text in relationship to another (for an example of how the Psalm can be handled in such a fashion, see Marvin E. Tate's comments in the Word Biblical Commentary series, volume 20). But for the believing Christian, Jesus' use of the text must be taken into consideration, and I truly believe that the exegesis offered above fits perfectly with Jesus' own citation of the text and conclusions drawn therefrom.

McCllelan further says,

First, it's a direct allusion to Deut 32:8 and 4:19. Second, no, there is no assumption. The conclusion is that since the verb נחל (to inherit, take possession, possess) is in the imperfect, the sense is not that he has always owned the whole earth, but that he will or just previously has taken possession of the whole earth. He was taken over the stewardships of the negligent gods. Again, and I cannot seem to make this clear enough, this is a direct allusion to Deut 32:8 and 4:19.

Again, since El Elyon is clearly Yahweh, McCllelan's claim is shown to be simply fallacious in light of the sacred texts. God may rule through judges, divine or human, just as He ruled Israel through Kings and Prophets. Their jurisdiction over the people does not in any way indicate Yahweh Himself is not ruling, but simply that He is the Supreme Lord and God whom those said rulers and judges must give answer.

McCllelan says of White,

I would have posted it [his response to White's exegesis] on my blog if I was looking for him to respond. I know he's not going to be willing or able to engage this discussion, but at least others can find some better information than what he's offering.

As folks in the Old West would say, "Them's fightin' words." Seeing as how White is a very busy man, making it highly unlikely he'd respond to a mere thread which lacks in substance (but makes up with insult), I decided a few hours would be well invested refuting Mr. McCllelan's assertions. Hopefully he will make his dissertation available on his blog, and when that happens rest assured a response to that will be found here at Amnos Tou Theou.


Now that we have seen quite clearly God presides over this council in Psalm 82 as the Supreme Judge and Supreme Deity, how does this in any way support the Mormon polytheism? It doesn't. As I pointed out in my article from July in response to Kerry Shirts' misuse of Heiser,

Let it be said here that in Mormonism there is no Supreme Being. Elohim was a man who worshiped his god. Eventually he got glorified. His god was once a man who became glorified, etc, etc, etc. McConkie tells us that the…

“plurality of gods exist . . . there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods." (Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake: Bookcraft, 1991), 576-577)

“It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.” (Smith, HC 6:305)

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

"Here, then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God. And you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves--to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done--by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (Joseph Smith, The King Follet Discourse)

I will note also the lyric from If You Could Hie To Kolob,

If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

In Psalm 82 we are shown the Supreme God to be Yahweh, but the Mormon Church denies this, claiming that Yahweh (or Jehovah) is Jesus Christ only, and that Elohim was once a mortal man who ascended to Godhood by following and fulfulling perfectly all the requirments needs. If this were true, and Elohim was once a man who became God, how is it that He has now made Himself Supreme Judge over all the gods in existance? It doesn't make sense, is inconsistent, illogical, and frankly I've not had an answer from any Mormon apologist on this issue. But supposing those gods in Psalm 82 were exalted men who once lived on our planet Earth, then surely this would explain why they are subordinate to God and subject to His judgments. But again, we run into a problem: These gods are disposed of, rejected for their sins, doomed to die as mortal men. Mormonism does not teach that once a person becomes deified he is subject to eternal damnation, rather, the Church teaches that deified Mormons will continue forever as gods, from everlasting to everlasting (cf. D&C 132). There is not one hint of a scruple of a hint in Mormonism's teachings that the exalted ones will be subject to possible damnation by Elohim. But Psalm 82 paints quite a different picture. Would the Mormons only admit that these are merely human judges, or at best, angels, they would not have this kind of difficulty. Simple because the gods are called bene elohim, "sons of God", does not mean they are truly divine sons, but can be used as a metaphor to describe the close relationship between these beings and God. St. Timothy is described as St. Paul's son, yet we all know very well that Paul was not Timothy's biological father.

In Job, the sons of God approach Him, and Satan - which Scripture clearly calls a "god" - is in their midst. It simply does not make sense that Satan would enter with the gods into Heaven's Court, but is more probable that he would enter with his brethren by nature: the angels.

With Christ's usage of Psalm 82 we see more clearly that these gods simply must be human beings. The Pharisees saw Christ as a mere human being, and this mere human being declared, "I and the Father are One (Jn 10:30)." To which the Jews declared, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." It follows from pure logic alone that Christ's quoting from Psalm 82 is simply this:
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?

In other words, "If he called those men gods, and the Scripture cannot err, do you say I'm blaspheming when I proclaim myself not to be a god, but simply the Son of God?"

Mormon apologists may dismiss Christ's interpretation of Psalm 82, as Daniel McCllelan, Kerry Shirts, and their fellows shamelessly do, but as for me and anyone else dedicated to the Gospel of the Logos, I think it's safe to follow Christ's clear understanding of the controversial Psalmist passage. And again, even if one insists these "gods" in Psalm 82 are truly heavenly beings, so be it, as this does not in any way support the plurality of Gods or the very doctrine of Elohim and Yahweh according to Mormonism.


  1. You can find my response on the original thread at MADB. It was too large to post here, and I apparently can't cut and paste the link.

  2. I would like your insight about Mack's claim that the Bible was written in "Ancient Hebrew" and that it is a lost language and the Hebrew of today cannot be used to understand the "Ancient Hebrew."

    Considering the lengths that the Israelite scribes went through to preserve God's Holy Writ throughout the millenniums, the concept of "Ancient Hebrew" being a lost language seems just plain silly.

    Andy(akaSeerone at CARM)

  3. Carmenn....Daniel stated that the Strong's Concordance was a one hundred year old joke.

    That sounds like the opinion of a very desperate individual that has no true rebuttal.

    What say ye?


  4. Andy-

    I didn't say it was a lost language. I said it *was* a dead language. There's a big difference, and I explained it very clearly. A dead language does not evolve through oral usage. Latin and Biblical Hebrew are two good examples. It doesn't mean they're not used, it just means they're not vibrant, growing, and spoken.

    You have been ignoring everything I've said on the subject, and now you're asking for the opinion of an individual with no training whatsoever on the subject as if what he guesses is going to bear at all on the discussion. This is a perfect example of how lost you are in this regard.

  5. Andy-

    Regarding your next post, Carmenn uses Strong's, which means he doesn't know Hebrew and doesn't know how wrong Strong's is. Again, that you seek an uneducated opinion here is a testament of how little you understand this issue.

  6. Apparantly using Strong means one has no knowledge of Greek or Hebrew. I don't think that needs any comment. I suppose the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon is wrong too, along with Thayer and Bauer.

    Daniel, thanks again for another example of your childish behaviour. Didn't need another example, but thanks just the same.

  7. Oh, and Mr. McClellan, you may want to hold back from critiquing my every syllable {which you horribly twist} before actually reading my article to your "response."

    "As I quite clearly explained to you, (1) Mormons are not polytheists, they're monolatrous (just like you), and (2) I am not trying to prop up Mormonism in any way, shape, or form. I am correcting atrocious exegesis and absolutely nothing more. I will not explain this again, and if you insist on presupposing it again then our conversation is over. Like I said before, if you want to interact with a scholar as a scholar then you have to act like one and not like a child. I'm growing impatient of your reluctance in that area." - Daniel McClellan

    You seem to forget that people are actually reading your posts, and the Internet has a very long memory. The above will be dealt with in my second response. Once again, thanks for the examples :-)

  8. Well Dan, I really did not expect any thing of substance from you.

    You are nothing more that a street punk, smarty pants, know it all that has wasted his education because you cannot see the forest for the trees.

    You are all hung up on meanings of words without the consideration of context and you attack anything that proves you wrong like a starving junk yard dog in heat.


  9. I have a pet phrase that truly applies to you and all your kind....Common sense is a precious commodity that I find lacking in this generation.

    That can be applied to grasping context. Grasping context through studying and cross referencing the word with meditation to the point of almost being there....just this side of a vision, where you can hear the back ground sounds, smell the surroundings and literally hear the voice of Jesus or the Apostle or the Prophet...or the Father as they speak the words we see written in God's inerrant Holy Writ.

    You have made a mountain out of a mole hill and have gone to great lengths for nothing, because context proves you wrong son.

    There is but the ONE AND ONLY will never be a God....wake up already.


  10. Here is a little ditty that Dan McCllelan said about Jesus....

    That's how Jesus understood it, but that's not how it was originally understood. Try again.

    How do you debate a person like that?


  11. Pax-

    Yes, using Strong's for exegesis means you don't know Greek or Hebrew. Period. There's no debate there, and you can hardly assert that you know either.

  12. Pax-

    When you can use your real name then you can enter a discussion concerning blogging etiquette with me.

  13. Andy-

    If all you have to say is "Nu-uh!" then please don't waste my time with such lengthy ways to do it.

  14. Dan

    And that coming from someone who thinks he knows better than Jesus. What a joke.\!

    Thanks for proving that you don't give a lick about context and that your so called "education" was a waste of time.

    Are you going to tell everyone that you also claim that God had sex with Eve and Cain was born?

    That really gives you credibility.....NOT!!!


  15. Pax-

    My bad. Thanks.


    You apparently didn't read any of my responses concerning Gen 4:1. I don't think that God had sex with Eve, and I state that quite emphatically. I have no doubt that what I actually think means little, and that you're happy to continue asserting what you do above despite knowing it's not true, but for the sake of people who are concerned with the facts, Andy's statement is untrue.

  16. Dan...If my statement is untrue, then what is all that, that you posted in CARM saying that God had sex with Eve to produce Cain?


  17. Andy-

    I said the text says that, and I showed that it absolutely does. I never said I thought that's what really happened. In fact, I explained quite clearly that the text is not consistent or accurate. Again, you're not paying attention.

  18. It is the Bible dude...How can the context not be accurate?

    Oh...that said you knew the context better than the one who wrote it...God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit. That is really sick dude and you lost all credibility with that one.

    What is it with you?

    You think you are the only one with the truth and all the scholars that compiled the various Bibles are wrong.

    You are dangereously close to going completely apostate. And that is a cousin of THE ANTI CHRIST.


  19. Andy-

    How can it not be accurate. Very easily. The assumption that the Bible is perfect is one of the most fundamental and dreadful exegetical errors that can be made. It's a shame it's so common and so deeply ingrained. I also don't really care if that grates against your sensitivities. As long as you cannot respond to the facts your sensitivities are quite irrelevant.

  20. Andy-

    Regarding what I posted at CARM: I never said that God had sex with Eve. I said that Gen 4:1b states that God procreated with Eve, but I also stated that the first half of the verse says the opposite. You weren't paying attention and decided to make up what you wanted my statement to be.

  21. Dan

    The bottom line is you make God Cain's daddy instead of Adam.

    You are trying to change what the Scripture plainly states.


  22. Excellent Carmenn...absolutely excellent!!!