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Came here from Dan’s reminding me on his blog of Stuff You Missed. It was a really interesting article, tough sledding for an Ignorant Old Man, but after looking up words, it came together very well. Glad I read it.
What does this really mean if all of these gods are equally man-made?
If el and elohim, and El and Elohim and Yahweh, and Ba’al, and the entire ancient Canaanite and Sumerian pantheons — and the Egyptian and Greek and Roman pantheons, and the Logos and “Christ” — all share the same deficit of truly credible evidence as actually existing in reality, what, then, does this really all mean?
(And the Norse and Hindu and Incan pantheons, etc, etc.)
Even if a historical messianic Jesus actually existed, and was executed under Pilate and believed to have been resurrected at the beginning of the C.E., what would this all mean?
What would the massive edifice of Christian theology mean, which is under construction now for 2000 years? Or the small Mormon annex?
What if the evidence supports as fully justified the conclusion that these gods are all equally and purely man-made? And that neither burning bosoms nor ‘good tastes and deep vibrations’ — nor any other variety of religious experience among Homo sapiens — are reliable or credible evidence for either divinity or truth?
What, then, do these scholarly papers and their impressive, annotated bibliographies actually mean?
What would Psa 82 and John 10:34 mean, even with a perfect understanding of authorial intent and meaning?
Surely they’re not reduced to meaning nothing. Surely the erudition and time and effort are not a waste.
A masterpiece, Daniel. Short and to the point. Thank you.
What really is “proof texting?”
Anyhoo, great article on an interesting topic.
Perhaps you could comment upon how Joseph Smith’s sermon on this topic fits in with your analysis.
I actually would like to see how Joseph Smith’s earlier sermons fits in with current understandings of Psalm 82, as well.
David Bokovoy’s FAIR presentation on Joseph Smith’s notion of the divine council is probably your best bet there:
I cannot tell you all how happy I am to see an essay by Dan McLellan on Interpreter. He is one of my favorite LDS authors–I’ve followed his blog for years. Thanks Dan!
Thanks for the kind words! Sorry I haven’t been updating my blog much recently, but I’m beginning a PhD program now and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say in the coming months.
Very interesting and thought provoking article.
I believe that Psalms 82 and related passages in the New Testament provide wonderful evidence that man can become god.
Indeed, it is impossible to be a son of god without embodying godhood.
My very simple minded approach to Psalms 82 is that there is only ONE God with a capital “G” while there are many gods with a minor “g”‘. All of the gods with a minor g are essentially an extension of their creator.
There are no other Gods with a capital G beside the one God spoken of in Psalms 82.
All of the gods with a minor g have been created. (Organized from existing intelligence) .
God with a capital G was never created or organized.
He is self existent, from everlasting to everlasting, as clearly documented in the four standard works.
He derives his power from no other source.
He IS the source.
He is the Only Self Existing-Sovereign-Omnipotent-Supreme Power in all creation.
None of the gods with a minor g are self existent and sovereign.
They have all been created by God through God’s ONLY BEGOTTEN SON and they all derive their power and authority from Him. (and always will).
Once this is understood, it is a beautiful truth to realize that mortal man can attain godhood through the grace of God and His gospel.
Sadly, some of the content in what is known as the King Follett Discourse, as well as the couplet, ” “As man is now, God once was; as God is now man may be.” which is credited to Lorenzo Snow, erroneously leads people to believe that there are many Gods with a capital G, like the God in Psalms 82.
Sadly, that content leads many to believe that the God mentioned in Psalms 82 was once a mortal man.
I believe such a teachings are contrary to the verified word of God and they constitute blasphemy.
It is difficult for Mormonism to enjoy some degree of credibility in sharing the beautiful doctrine of how we can become the sons of god, with the protestant world, while blaspheming the only true God.