Psa 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
One of my Facebook friends asked for someone to explain Psalm 82:6. She mentioned that some in the Word of Faith movement have taken this verse and the use Jesus made of it way out of context to suggest that we as believers in Christ can become gods. I, personally, have had very little contact with this movement, so I have no direct knowledge of the sense in which they take these Bible passages. But in any case, here is my answer to her question. Good thing I saved what I had written because when I posted my reply her question and my response disappeared from my screen.
This is a very difficult and obscure passage of Scripture. I placed a note in my Bible study resource, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, which may provide some help in beginning to understand what it means:
I have said. Psa 82:1, Exo 21:6; Exo 22:8, 9; **Exo 22:28, *Joh 10:34, 35, 36.
gods. Heb. elohim. Here there is a special use of elohim (just as at Psa 8:5 there is another and different special use of elohim), where elohim refers to divinely appointed magistrates, kings, or judges, as “gods.” These officials were not considered deity, for it is explicitly stated (Psa 82:7) that they shall die like men, and are rulers of the people, Exo 22:28. As rulers in Israel only, not the nations, they were “the Lord’s anointed,” and were thus types of Christ, the great anointed one. If Christ were not truly God, they could not in type have been called gods. In contrast, when Christ is called God, it is in reference to his true deity, in combination with an attribute or action belonging only to the supreme God. William Kay notes that they are called “gods” because God’s word came to them (Joh 10:35), “investing them with his prerogative of judgment.” Dr. Michael Heiser in his study, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, more accurately sets forth the Biblical uses of elohim in six categories:
(1) Yahweh [or Jehovah], the God of Israel, Gen 2:4, 5; Deut 4:35; [Gen 1:1; +Gen 19:29; +Exo 2:24; 1Ki 8:23; Neh 9:6, +Psa 45:6; Psa 95:3; *Psa 97:9];
(2) The members of Yahweh’s council [the Divine Council], Psa 82:1; Psa 82:6;
(3) Gods and goddesses of other nations, Jdg 11:24; 1Ki 11:33;
(4) Demons (Hebrew: shedim, Deut 32:17; Psa 106:37);
(5) The deceased Samuel, 1Sa 28:13;
(6) Angels or the Angel of Yahweh, Gen 35:7 (page 30).
What all the figures on the list have in common is that they are members of the spiritual world (page 31). Thus the elohim in Psa 82:6 are divine beings, not human judges. +Psa 82:1, Psa 86:8; %Psa 96:4; %Psa 96:5; +*Psa 138:1, Gen 3:5; Gen 6:2, Exo 4:16; Exo 7:1; +Exo 12:12; Exo 22:8, 1Sa 28:13, 2Ch 24:23, Isa 36:13, Joh 1:1; +*Joh 10:30; +*Joh 10:33; +*>Joh 10:34, *Rom 9:5, *Tit 2:13, 1Jn 5:20.
children. or, sons (Young). Psa 9:20; Psa 29:1, 2; Psa 58:1, Gen 6:2, Deut 14:1; Deut 32:19, Job 1:6; Job 2:1, +*Mat 5:9, Luk 6:35, +1Jn 3:1.
most High. +Psa 7:17; Psa 18:13; Psa 47:2; Psa 78:17; *Psa 83:18; Psa 92:1, +**Gen 14:18, +Num 24:16, Deut 32:8, +Mar 5:7.
The ESV translates what in the KJV is “congregation” as “in the divine council” at Psalm 82:1. This “divine council” is seen in many other places in the Bible as given in my cross references at Psalm 82:1. Not included among those references but should also be considered is the “let US” make man in “OUR image.” While Genesis 1:26 is usually understood as a reference to the Trinity, it is possible that it is a reference to the “divine council.”
How all this contributes to understanding what Jesus meant when He cited this verse at John 10:34 would take further careful study and comparison of Scripture with Scripture.