A Rebuttal to my Rebuttal

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The LDS man that many of you have become familiar with as “V” has now requested that I post the email that he received from Ben McGuire, the author of the FairMormon article on Psalm 82:6 that I posted not too long ago. This is his rebuttal to my rebuttal. I will be working on my response soon, but I just wanted to point out a couple of things right now. First, Vincente, who now requests that he be named, did not answer for himself. He requested the author answer for him. This is something the LDS do often. They want you to to talk to the missionaries, or will point you toward LDS apologetics sites like FairMormon, or a talk from General Conference. Second, the author, even though his article was posted on the FairMormon site wants to make clear that neither his article or his comments represent FairMormon or LDS beliefs. This is another LDS tactic. They will make arguments defending their belief, or their apostles and prophets will make a very doctrinal claim at General Conference, but they will turn right around when they are questioned or proven false, and say, “that wasn’t official doctrine.” While no Christian would claim to speak on behalf of “Christianity” as a whole, we stand behind our convictions personally, or we admit that we are wrong, because those convictions, at least should be, formed by the Holy Spirit’s illumination of the Bible. With that said, here is the response that I received:

 

Vicente, I am one of the volunteers, who helps answer questions for FairMormon. As a volunteer, my answer reflects my own opinions and shouldn’t be taken as representative of either FairMormon or the LDS Church. You may get other responses. You asked:

>>Could you help me answer some of his questions?<<

I am going to give you an idea about what I would say – but, for the record, I do not want to have a sort of proxy argument with this guy through you. So, first a little advice.

My essay lays out some interesting ideas I have had. I am not married to all of them. However, most of his arguments can be had against the sources I use. They deal with a biblical text that doesn’t already have an evangelical ideology superimposed on it. It isn’t worth arguing about these kinds of issues with people who already have their minds made up. In particular, facebook and other social media make a terrible place to try and witness to people. There is a sense of anonymity that comes with the internet that badly changes the way these discussions go – it makes them more argumentative, and both sides usually walk away thinking they are more right than when they started. I don’t encourage it. If you really want to argue with this fellow, I would start by scrapping my essay, and move to my sources. Let him challenge other ‘christians’ who disagree with him. Then it’s not about the Mormon overlay. And trust me, he will disagree with the others too – because their views don’t fit that model. Academic scholarship has rejected the notion that the ‘gods’ in Psalm 82 are human judges for more than 60 years now. It was first introduced in academic literature by Cyrus Gordon. I knew him and heard him lecture (back when he was still alive). Things haven’t changed much. The problem is that Evangelicals in particular believe that the Bible is a self-revealing text, completely accurate. The idea that we have of a progressive revelation of God absolutely drives them nuts. But you don’t start with a fringe sort of issue like this and work you way onto the major issues. As you have seen, in my comments above, we touch on agency, the fall of man, the atonement, the creation – all of these fundamental ideas about belief and existence and religion – and for most of these we are worlds apart from Evangelicals in particular. It is no wonder that he can’t find a nice thing to say about my essay.

So here are some comments:

1: “The author does point something out that is important in reference to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The word Elohim in Hebrew is a plural noun. Yet it is used almost exclusively with singular verbs. Technically a grammatical error, it points to the singular nature of God while hinting of a plurality or complexity to that God.”

This is a sort of odd thing to say since Psalm 82 (the part of the Old Testament in question) uses it both ways in the first verse. What he actually meant to say is that when the term elohim is used to refer to God (the God), then the verbs are singular that are associated with it. When it is used to refer to other things (which is not as rare as your friend suggests) it often comes with a plural verse. For an easy and objective resource on this, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elohim

“The word Elohim occurs more than 2500 times in the Hebrew Bible, with meanings ranging from “god” in a general sense (as in Exodus 12:12, where it describes “the gods of Egypt”), to a specific god (e.g., 1 Kings 11:33, where it describes Chemosh “the god of Moab”, or the frequent references to Yahweh (Jehovah) as the “elohim” of Israel), to demons, seraphim, and other supernatural beings, to the spirits of the dead brought up at the behest of King Saul in 1 Samuel 28:13, and even to kings and prophets (e.g., Exodus 4:16).[3] The phrase bene elohim, usually translated “sons of God”, has an exact parallel in Ugaritic and Phoenician texts, referring to the council of the gods.[3]

Elohim occupy the seventh rank of ten in the famous medieval Rabbinic scholar Maimonides’ Jewish angelic hierarchy. Maimonides said: “I must premise that every Hebrew knows that the term Elohim is a homonym, and denotes God, angels, judges, and the rulers of countries, …[5]”

Obviously, it isn’t a grammatical error (not if it occurs more than 2500 times). It may well be the product of a language that doesn’t have such strict grammatical rules as modern English does. (But if it is a grammatical error, we have to wonder why God makes it so many times in the Old Testament, right?)

2: “The first question I have for this LDS author is in his reference to Elohim being the Hebrew word for God. It has always been my understanding that LDS believe Elohim to be the proper name of “Heavenly Father.” Do they also acknowledge it to be the generic word for god, or in their belief system, “gods,” as suggested here, similar to the Islamic belief that Allah, the generic Arabic word for god, is also the proper name of “the God?””

The LDS view of Elohim as a name for God the Father comes from a formalization made around 1916, to help avoid confusion in popular usage in the LDS Church. Prior to that point in time, we find the different terms for God often used interchangeably. When this was instituted at the beginning of the 20th century, it became a modern reference, not meant to be read back onto the Old Testament text. FairMormon has a wiki page on it here:

http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/ Elohim_and_Jehovah

“The LDS use of the name titles Elohim and Jehovah to designate God Our Heavenly Father and His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ respectively is not meant to insist that this is how these titles were always used anciently, including in the Holy Bible. Rather, these titles are a naming convention used in the modern Church for clarity and precision. Since Christ may be spoken of as “the Father” in a great many senses, the modern Saints use these name-titles to avoid ambiguity, regardless of which ‘role’ of a divine Personage is being discussed.

Since this terminology was not standardized for convenience and clarity prior to the twentieth century, readers are cautioned not to expect the early writings of the Church to always reflect this practice, which arose only decades later. Likewise, attempting to read the Bible as if its writers followed the same modern practice is anachronistic, and may lead to confusion and misinterpretation. ”

Because of this, I can answer his question for me (I am the author) by saying that I follow (somewhat loosely) academic biblical scholarship with its documentary hypothesis. If we go back to that wiki link, we can find this (which I don’t agree with entirely – but it is close enough to start a conversation if necessary):

“The choice of word or words for God varies in the Hebrew Bible. According to the documentary hypothesis these variations are evidence of different source texts: Elohim is used as the name of God in the Elohist and the Priestly source, while Yahweh is used in the Jahwist source. The difference in names results from the theological point being made in the Elohist and Priestly sources that God did not reveal his name, Yahweh, to any man before the time of Moses.”

In this sense, Elohim is very much a generic label or word meaning God, as opposed to a proper name – although eventually, when the text of the Old Testament was edited into the way it is today, that distinction was lost, and was subsequently used as a proper name (something like the LDS attempts to formalize that language a century ago).

3: “The other difference I would state right off the bat is that it is assumed by the author that the “Elohim” that are being referenced to in Psalm 82 are actual “gods” reigning over other realms. In context, Christians would see this passage as speaking to the “human” leaders of Israel. We can debate over whether or not Yahweh was referring to those humans as “Elohim,” and what the significance of that is, but that would be a substantial difference as to how we would go about interpreting this passage, and this would also bring light into why Jesus quotes this verse when speaking to the Pharisees, the leaders of Israel in His day.”

Most Biblical scholars disagree. The view that I present comes from Deuteronomy 32, where the entire world is divided into different groups, according to the number of the sons of God. (This is usually taken as referring to a group of angels or divinities of some sort). Psalm 82 recognizes this group of divinities, and portrays YHWH calling them out for not doing what they are supposed to do.

This isn’t particularly controversial (except perhaps among Evangelicals – and even not all of them). You can read a bit about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Council

4: “I find the reference to Heavenly Father, or Yahweh, in this passage, being referred to as “Elyon, the Most High.” The LDS do not maintain, or at least it was taught by Joseph Smith and other LDS prophets, that Elohim, or Heavenly Father, has not always been a god, but was at one time a man, who was a spirit child of another god, who was a spirit child of another god, and on the chain goes back to eternity past. If this is the belief of LDS, then how could they possibly refer to Heavenly Father as the “Most High,” or as the author will later refer to, “God of gods?” Heavenly Father is still subject to, and worships, His Heavenly Father. He is also subject to continued obedience and performance as “a god” according to the laws of the priesthood that are greater than He, and is subject to removal as god if He falls out of line with those laws. This is not characteristic of one that Christians would refer to as the“Most High.” In fact, it’s not even characteristic of what Christians would refer to as “God,” or worship as God. If there is a God higher than Heavenly Father who is truly the “Most High,” then why wouldn’t we worship that god, or at least worship that god, and every other god that outranks Heavenly Father, along with our worship of Heavenly Father?” LDS maintain that if there was a time when God the Father was not God the Father, then it was before the beginning of creation (before Genesis 1:1) and at some completely undefined point in the past. For us, and our existence, and for the existence of the divine assembly (which LDS believe was part of that creation by God), God the Father has always been God. So in this sense, this is an argument pulled out of context. In a sense though, LDS believe in continuing revelation and a progressive revelation from God. Brigham Young taught that:

“When God speaks to the people, he does it in a manner to suit their circumstances and capacities. He spoke to the children of Jacob through Moses, as a blind, stiffnecked people, and when Jesus and his Apostles came they talked with the Jews as a benighted, wicked, selfish people. They would not receive the Gospel, though presented to them by the Son of God in all its righteousness, beauty and glory. Should the Lord Almighty send an angel to rewrite the Bible, it would in many places be very different from what it now is. And I will even venture to say that if the Book of Mormon were now to be rewritten, in many instances it would materially differ from the present translation. According as people are willing to receive the things of God, so the heavens send forth their blessings. If the people are stiffnecked, the Lord can tell them but little.”

The point here is that God speaks to his people so that they can understand Him. When Joseph Smith speculates about the past of God, and about our future, there isn’t ever any implication that we should worship anyone other than our God, our Father. Nor is there any suggestion ever that someone further back on that possible chain would be in direct control. There isn’t a hierarchy of sorts stretching back – and this view badly misunderstands what LDS understand by deification or the end of man. We do have scripture that directly deals with this issue as raised – it is in 2 Nephi 2. Here are verse 14-15 and 26:

And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon. And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter. … And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

Let me interpret. God’s plan for us is about the “end of man” – that is, what happens to us after our mortal probation. God wants us to have agency (defined here as being able to act instead of being acted upon). The fall happens, the atonement redeems men from the fall, and those that embrace the atonement become free forever (having eternal agency) to act for themselves, and not to be acted upon. In other words, this is Lehi’s logical extension of the question of choice in the garden coupled with becoming like God knowing good and evil. In this sense, God the Father is never in a position where He “is subject to removal as God”. Since space is limited here, this is an oversimplification, but it is more accurate than the caricature I read above. There is no “rank” created by this infinite regress of Gods. All are alike.

5: “At this point, Yahweh pronounces that these“Elohim” will die like “Adam.” They make an argument that if they die “like”Adam, then they must be different than Adam. I don’t think this is necessarily true since Yahweh is already making a contrast between their positions as“Elohim” and dying like “Adam.” Needless to say, it is shocking to even suggest that gods are able to die, much less die because they are being punished by other “gods” for not being “god-like.” Again, if “gods” can die and be punished, Christians would not see them as gods, and it would follow that this could also happen to Heavenly Father, who in this verse is pronouncing this“judgment,” at least according to the LDS interpretation of this passage.”

I think that it is important to remember that the name Yahweh never appears in Psalm 82. I tend to agree with most of this by the way. These aren’t Gods – these are divinities. Which can be seen in the links I provide above. These elohim are not creators. They shouldn’t be equated with the Most High. They are divinities or angels or whatnot that are given authority over the kingdoms of the earth. Part of the point of the Psalm isn’t just to criticize them for not doing their job, it is in a sense to point out that they are incapable of doing their job – and so to plead with YHWH to become the ruler of the whole earth, and not just Israel.

6: “The author now compares these “Elohim” dying to the fall of Satan, equating Satan as “a god,” and part of the “divine council.” These gods dying and falling is equated with Satan and his angels losing their immortality and being cast out of heaven. Once again, the statement is made “human rulers always die while the gods only die sometimes.”This is completely foreign thought to Christianity. It is hard to tell if the author is equating angels with these “gods” completely, or if he is just making an analogy.”

It is just an analogy. The Hebrew there (as I point out) actually reads “the shining ones”. Well what does that mean? It cannot refer to mortals – nowhere in all of Israelite literature are mortals ever referred to as “shining ones”. Adam is sometimes described as one (before his fall). And then we have the morning star (in both of its meanings – as Lucifer and as Jesus), and so on. The point was that there is a cultural context to understanding this as referring to anything but men. Early Israelite belief had a more nuanced view of divinities. Even later Judaism had a more nuanced view (if you looked at the link on Elohim, you might have seen this comment: “Elohim occupy the seventh rank of ten in the famous medieval Rabbinic scholar Maimonides’ Jewish angelic hierarchy.” All of this gets flattened in early Christianity with its stricter monotheism (of sorts). So to suggest that these are angels is likely the way it would have been viewed within early Christianity, and not quite the view of early Israelite religion.

6: “Here the author equates the “sons of God” in the Old Testament with the LDS concept of the “divine council.” Christian interpretation has always seen “sons of God” in the Old Testament as referring to angels, and in some of these references, you have Lucifer (Satan) appearing with these angels. Of course there are many LDS that would equate angels with pre-existent spirit children, and in some cases, equating angels with those saints that have died and gone back to Heavenly Father, as in the case of Moroni. Again, all of these ideas: divine council, sons of God being equal with“gods,” etc… are all foreign concepts to the monotheistic worldview of Judaism, which is the source of the Old Testament in question.”

As should be clear from the wiki link above to the Divine Council, this is not the LDS view of the Divine Council. Judaism ends up being strictly monotheistic. It doesn’t start that way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotheism ”

However, the text is consistent with the hypothesis that Judaism was originally a form of monolatrism. Archeological evidence and literary criticism both suggest that the actual origins of Judaism lie in the history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, c.1,000-586 BCE. Both kingdoms had Yahweh as their state god (i.e., the god of the royal court and of the kingdom), while acknowledging the existence of other gods. In the 8th century the Assyrian royal propaganda claimed universal dominion (meaning dominion over all other gods) for the Assyrian state god Ashur. In reaction to this, certain circles in Israel stressed the unique power of Yahweh as a sign of national independence. When Israel was destroyed by Assyria (c.721 BCE) refugees brought this form of theism to Judah, where it was upheld during the reigns of at least two kings. At this stage (late 7th century), Judaism was not strictly monotheistic, but Yahweh was recognised as without peer and supreme over all other gods.”

Among biblical scholars, there is wide acceptance that Israelite religion became more monotheistic over time. Psalm 82 represents a doctrinal window into that process at a specific point in time (when it was written). In this sense, it doesn’t have to relate well to either later developments in Jewish belief, or developments in early Christianity, or to Mormon beliefs – all of which are further along this process of development.

7: “Again the author equates the heavenly hosts with other “gods,” and there is simply no reason to get this from the text. The Israelites, as were the pagan nations around them, were drawn toward the worship of the “created” rather than the “Creator.” (Romans 1:25) Many of the foreign pagan gods were equated with the sun, moon or other parts of creation. This does not mean that these are actual gods that are in competition with Yahweh, nor are they gods that are legitimate gods, but not the “rightful” gods of Israel, as LDS would believe them to be.”

He may not see any reason to get this, but Biblical scholars do (and I reference them). So his criticism should perhaps be more rightly aimed at them. LDS wouldn’t view these as rightful gods either. But then, LDS have a sense of progressive theology – a revelation of God that increases as mankind is better able to understand it.

8: “The wording used by the author disturbs me at this point. The author states, “The implication here is that God “ordained that it [mankind] should worship idols and the heavenly bodies.” He goes on to say, “This apparent acceptance of polytheism however did not appeal to later Israel,” and “the LXX (the Greek Old Testament) modified these verses to avoid the possible interpretation of polytheism.”

I simply cannot believe that the author is arguing that polytheism was condoned by Yahweh until the time of the prophet Jeremiah, and that these other gods are true gods that have revealed themselves to these other nations, and should be worshipped as gods by these other nations.”

This really seems to me to be deliberate misrepresentation of what I wrote. Other than the part that really disturbs him. The problem is that this is pretty standard fare from Biblical scholars. What is bizarre is the assumption that ancient Israel believed exactly what he believes about God, or that his own understanding today should be read backward onto the Old Testament so that it is in perfect harmony with his own interpretations of scripture. That is nonsense.

9: “Here the author explains a bit further about who these “gods” are. They are “gods,” under Heavenly Father, but ruling over nations. Here’s the scary part about the conclusion that the author is drawing:”

See, he is flattening it. He wants to see all of the Old Testament happening in the same context as the New Testament, happening in the same context as his own belief. He wants to think that what he believes about God is identical to everything everyone else has ever (truly) believed about God. There is a name for this – presentism. This is simply the application of Israel’s early monolatrism. They eventually grew out of it.

10: “In conclusion, what the author has argued for is the rightful delineation of demons that are over nations and territories as legitimate “Elohim,” who also are the model of the type of “gods” that we will one day become, according to LDS theology.”

I haven’t argued any of this at all. And I am the absolute authority on what I have argued. What I have suggested is that in an ancient Israelite context, (not a modern LDS context), the Israelites believed that there were a host of divinities, and each of them was given authority over a part of the people of the earth. YHWH was given authority over Israel. In the context of this Psalm, the impotence of the other divinities is revealed, and only YHWH is left, to take rulership over the entire earth (and not just Israel).

You should understand too, though, that this is just the background for the Israelite Psalm. This is not what the New Testament is going to do with it (which is something different).

11: “The author is making a case that Jesus is equal with the Father, yet that goes against several points of LDS doctrine. LDS teach that Jesus is the firstborn spirit child of Elohim, our Heavenly Father. He was chosen to play the role of Savior, and LDS teach that Jesus became a god, but do not believe that Jesus has the same authority as the Father, and simply by virtue of the fact that Heavenly Father is Jesus’ Father and progressed to godhood before Jesus, Jesus would be inferior to Heavenly Father. This is the very reason why LDS are taught they are not to pray to Jesus or worship Jesus, but only pray to and worship Heavenly Father.”

Let me preface my response to this by suggesting that I know a lot more about LDS doctrine than this individual does.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/what-mormons-believe-aboutjesus-christ

“We believe Jesus is the Son of God the Father and as such inherited powers of godhood and divinity from His Father, including immortality, the capacity to live forever. While He walked the dusty road of Palestine as a man, He possessed the powers of a God and ministered as one having authority, including power over the elements and even power over life and death.”

As above, this person is ignorant about LDS views on defication – so the argument earlier still doesn’t work here. And, contrary to that last statement, we have examples like 3 Nephi 19:24 –

“And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire.”

And there we go – the Nephite disciples praying to Jesus. I think that we run into real problems here in this response in that it trying to compare what I have written or to place it within a sort of framework of Mormon theology that isn’t really on the mark.

12: “On a side note, Jesus said He “gives” eternal life. Giving eternal life is different from “paying” eternal life or “rewarding”eternal life. LDS distinguish between general salvation, which they say is by grace, or “given,” and individual salvation, which must be “earned” by following celestial law. Individual salvation would be equated in the LDS mind with “eternal life.” Yet Jesus says He “gives” eternal life. As the Apostle Paul clarifies in Romans 4:4-5; 11:6, you can either have grace or work. There is no way to combine the two.”

Again, there is a bad misunderstanding here. Mormonism in general rejects the notion of earning salvation. 2 Nephi 25:23 tells us that “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” And this means that everything we do – none of it is capable of bringing us salvation. Only by grace can we be saved. Of course, Mormonism also suggests (as I pointed out earlier) that a key element in our purpose is to learn to choose – to make choices, to know good from evil. If God has predetermined man’s end from the beginning, if God determines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell – independent of what we do, then we are only acted upon. We have no agency. We do not actually choose. Instead, Mormons understand that grace is something that comes to us as we accept it. And to accept it, we need to be sanctified by the Spirit. And so we become changed. That’s a gross oversimplification probably. But I categorically deny the notion that you can be saved without faith – and as James tells us, faith without works is dead. The whole question of which comes first is something of a hair splitting exercise. If we aren’t keeping the commandments (or trying to) then we have no faith.

13: Since the author has already referred to John 1, the question must be asked, if Jesus was in the beginning with God (John 1:1), how could God have made Jesus “a god?”

The “in the beginning” refers of course to Genesis 1:1. Jesus pre-exists the acts of creation that created our earth. The primary distinction between LDS beliefs and most protestants is that we believe that Jesus pre-exists as a person (identifiable as Jesus perhaps). Whereas most other Christians understand that the human part of Jesus couldn’t pre-exist, and so Jesus (in John 1:1) doesn’t really exist as Jesus, but as the second person of the Godhead – fully God, and not yet fully man. I like the way that Catholic theologian Brendan Byrne described it ( http://www.jtc.edu.au/profile/brendan-byrne ):

“By the same token, it is important to stress that in speaking of pre-existence, one is not speaking of a pre-existence of Jesus’ humanity. Jesus Christ did not personally pre-exist as Jesus. Hence one ought not to speak of a pre-existence of Jesus. Even to use the customary expression of the pre-existence of Christ can be misleading since the word “Christ” in its original meaning simply designates the Jewish Messiah, a figure never thought of as pre-existent in any personal sense. But in view of the Christian application of “Christ” to Jesus, virtually as a proper name and in a way going beyond his historical earthly existence, it is appropriate to discuss the issue in terms of the pre-existence of Christ, provided one intends thereby to designate simply the subject who came to historical human existence as Jesus, without any connotation that he pre-existed as a human being.”

Mormonism of course, believes that His humanity also pre-exists (the same with all of us) and so we can refer to a pre-existent Jesus in a way that others cannot.

14: “Since Moses was made “Elohim” to Pharaoh, do LDS believe that Moses was a literal god? If so, was Yahweh condoning the worship of Moses by Pharaoh, if Pharaoh would have repented from the worship of the Egyptian gods?”

No. No. That was easy.

15: “The author is now equating “sons of God” in the Old Testament with “sons of God” in the New Testament. While this is a possible way to interpret this phrase, it isn’t the only way. Context is always important when examining the meaning of any particular word, phrase of passage. When we examine the passages in the Old Testament speaking of sons of God, we find it’s rather easy to think of them as supernatural beings, whether angels or otherwise. When we come to passages in the New Testament, such as John 1:12 mentioned by the author, the context clearly refers to human beings as the sons of God. It is not mandatory for us to apply what we learn about sons of God in the New Testament back on the Old, or what we learn about sons of God in the Old Testament to the New.”

Right. Just as I don’t have to apply what Mormonism believes today back on the Old Testament, or the opposite. It is funny to find this here, it makes much of the comments more than a little hypocritical. One of the problems with the New Testament is that there are two men who are called the sons of God. The first is Jesus (which we all know about) and the second is Adam. I think what the responder is missing is the obvious point in John 1 – that is, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” It is Jesus who makes them the sons of God. And by comparison, they are sons of God like Jesus (who is getting into trouble for calling God His Father, right?) not sons of God like those in Psalm 82.

16: “This is the paragraph where the entire argument that the author has built up until this point comes crashing down in one contradictory swoop. The author has maintained up until this point that“Elohim” does not refer to “human beings” as “judges” as the Christian interpretation of Psalm 82 and John 10 maintains.”

I couldn’t, of course, put all of the Heiser article into mine. But, it is the function of Moses to speak with God face to face that makes him a part of the Divine Council, not the fact that he will judge Pharaoh in God’s place (although that works too). I think this is a bit of misrepresentation.

17: “The first time the Pharisees wanted to stone Jesus in John 10 was because Jesus claimed to be equal with God. The second time the Pharisees wanted to stone Jesus in John 10, it was because they understood exactly what Jesus was saying. If Jesus was quoting Psalm 82 to diffuse the Pharisees’ anger by reminding them of their equality with Him as “Elohim,” then they wouldn’t have still been mad. The Pharisees were angry with Jesus because He pointed back to Psalm 82, which condemned the false, human judges of Israel, and applied it to the Pharisees, and in doing so, condemned them as false leaders, as Jesus so often did in the gospels.”

Yes, we understand he has a different interpretation, and that this interpretation is theologically driven. I don’t share his theology. I am relatively indifferent to his concerns on these points.

I think I am about done there. It’s late here.

Good luck, and feel free to write back.

Ben McGuire