Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thank you for joining us! Coming up in today’s broadcast in our Understanding the Scriptures segment, Dave and Tom will continue their discussion of the doctrine of salvation centering on Jesus’ fulfillment of Messianic prophecies.
In Religion in the News, “Cheerleading for Christ,” and “Biblical Belly Dancing”: We’ll look at that topic. And in this week’s Contending for the Faith segment, we’ll examine the question, “Just what kind of peace does the Prince of Peace offer?” We hope you can stay tuned.
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Now, this week’s cover article: The 19th installment of our ongoing in-depth look at Dave Hunt’s book Occult Invasion. Along with Dave, here’s T. A. McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Chapter 17 of Dave Hunt’s book Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church, addresses the subject of God’s created beings desiring to be God. And that’s what we’re going to be discussing today. Dave, I’m sure the idea that mankind has the potential to be God is shocking to some, but it has an overwhelming appeal to a great many others. Now, according to the Bible, desiring to be God was the first sin committed throughout all creation. We can turn to Isaiah 14, and I’ll read a couple of excerpts from the different verses. Verse 13, it says…we have Lucifer speaking here, and he says, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” Verse 14: “I will be like the Most High.” We could turn to Ezekiel:28:2, where he says, “And you say, I am a God.” Now, Dave, this is at the heart of it. This is the lie.
Dave: Yeah, well, Tom, maybe we really need to think about this clearly. First of all, when he says, “I will be like the Most High,” what is he saying? Well, on the one hand, he seems to acknowledge that there is the Most High. On the other hand, he does away with the Most High, because if I can be like the Most High, then he’s no longer the Most High. So, there isn’t a Most High anymore. So, in one stroke, Lucifer has done away monotheism, the belief in the one true God. Just what does that mean? That I’m a god, spelled with a little “g.” Charles Capps, for example, says, “We were created to be gods over the earth, but remember to spell it with a little “g.” Now, he’s one of the leaders in the Positive Confession Movement. What do you mean? Well, if I’m a god spelled with a little “g,” just what really does that mean? What has that done? Has that elevated me, or has it demoted God? I mean, is He still greater? Am I still dependent upon Him? Or am I one of these? Well, Kenneth Copeland says, “Man was created in the god class. We are a class of gods.” What does that mean – a class of gods? Now, all I know is from the Word of God where God says, “I am God; there is none else. Is there a god beside me? I know not any.”
And then, this one who claims to be the Supreme God, the Creator of the universe, there is none like Him, He says, “You say to the gods [this is Jeremiah 10 – spelled with a little “g” now] who have not created the heavens and the earth, they will perish from under this heaven and from this earth.” You claim to be a God, but you’re not the Creator of the universe.
Tom: Dave, these guys like to quote John:10:34, where Jesus said, “Is it not written in your law, I said ye are gods?”
Dave: Yeah, well he’s quoting from Psalm:82:6, and Jesus is doing what He often did. For example, He said, “Well, who do you think the Messiah is? Oh, the son of David,” Jesus says. “Really? Well, if He’s the son of David, how come David called him ‘Lord’?’” And they had no answer. He’s driving them back to the Scriptures to make them think. And Psalm:82:6 says, “I have said [this is God speaking] ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” The next verse says, “And ye shall die like men.” Okay? It doesn’t sound like He’s elevating them very much.
Now, there are a number of explanations. Some people have tried to say, “Well, what He meant was, the word there means ‘rulers,’ so He’s saying ‘you’re rulers,’” and so forth. Well, in fact, it says, “God judges among the gods,” you know, verse 1. Now, I think something more is said. Jesus is saying – he’s driving them to the Scriptures – “‘I have said you are gods.” Where did God say, “you are gods”? Well, I think we have to go back to Genesis 3, and there, it’s Lucifer who makes the promise that you can be one of the gods. Then, what these positive confession teachers are teaching is that man was made god over the world, and he lost his godhead – Satan took it, you know. And now, what we’ve got to do is get that back.
Well, that wouldn’t be true, because then Eve would have said to Satan, “What do you mean you’re promising me I can become one of the gods? I am one of the gods! I was created in the god-class. I’m already a god. What are you offering me?” No. He was offering her something that she didn’t have but that she wanted. And when she got it, by rebellion against God. And we are little gods, Tom. Let’s get that clear. Spelled with a little “g.” That’s the problem with this world. We’ve got about 5 billion – no, 6 billion little gods running around this world, each one trying to rule over his own little empire. We’ve got a clash between little gods, and there’ll be no peace, no hope, until all of these little gods abdicate the throne of his life and comes under a willing submission to the one true God and acknowledges His superiority – that He is totally other than we are, and that we are totally dependent upon Him. We walk in obedience to Him. But that was the ambition that drove Eve, and now, what does God say? Well, go back to Genesis 3 and see what He says: God says, “The man is become as one of us.”
So, God is saying, “Indeed, he has become a little god. He’s a rebel, a pretender. And he’s a little god now. And this what He wants to be.” And because of that, God threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.
So, but now, Brigham Young, for example, speaking…
Tom: Well, but, Dave, before you get to that, the incredible thing about what we’re talking about today is how pervasive is the idea that we can be God, or that we are God and don’t realize it, from the different perspectives, we just see it time and time and time again, and… You know, as you mentioned, you quote two who would claim to be Christians and a movement that would claim to be evangelical – the Positive Confession Movement, and so on – this is at the heart of their beliefs. So finding it in so many diverse places is rather shocking. However, God’s Word lays this out for us: Daniel:11:36-37, we have the idea that was offered in the Garden of Eden to Eve, now we find it at the end of time in the heart of Antichrist, who would raise himself up to be worshiped as God. Verse 36 says, “Then the king will do according to his own will. He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god; shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper until wrath has been accomplished.” Second Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Now, I’m quoting those scriptures, because we see the lie, that is, that we are gods – not only beginning in heaven with Lucifer, then offered by him to Eve, and now we have, at the end of time, this goal, this objective, not only of Lucifer, of Satan, but of the Antichrist as well. So, we’re going to see it coming from all different areas, whether religious, or scientific, or…
Dave: Well, let’s look at some of those. But going back to what I was saying back there, the most blatant one is, Brigham Young says, “The devil told the truth. I do not blame Mother Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. That’s how we become gods.” So, Mormonism is actually based upon the belief that the lie that the serpent told Eve that destroyed the human race is really the gospel truth. Now, you mentioned it’s everywhere. It comes in a number of forms. Carl Rogers, who at one time was a professing Christian – he was in seminary – and he turned away and he became one of the leading psychologists, as everyone knows. He called “self” the god within, and advocated worshiping at the altar of self.
Here’s psychiatrist M. Scott Peck – his books are among the favorites of many pastors – they’re very high on the list. It was high on Christianity Today’s list of favorites. And listen to what he says: “To put it plainly, our unconscious is God – God within us. God wants us to become totally, wholly God, a new life form of God – to become Himself, or Herself, or Itself – this is the destiny, man’s evolutionary destiny.
Now, let’s take, well, Alan Watts. He was an Episcopal priest who turned Zen Buddhist Master. He said, “The appeal of Zen, as of other Easter philosophies, is that it unveils a vast region where at last self is indistinguishable from God.”
Or let’s take Rodney R. Romney, pastor of Seattle’s First Baptist Church, downtown. He wrote a book titled Journey to Inner Space: Finding God in Us. And he says, “To know God, to love God, to understand God, is finally to realize one’s own godhood.”
Or let’s take Michael Aquino, a Major in the US Army, speaking on Oprah Winfrey’s show, a leading Satanist. And you know, we have Satanist chaplains now in the Army. And he said, “We are not servants of some God. We are our own gods.” Okay?
Well, let’s take Morris Cerullo. He says, “When we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God.”
Or Kenneth Copeland says, “Man was designed, or created, by God to be the god of this world.” He says, “We are a class of gods – we’re created in a god class.’ Now what does that mean? It’s the lie of the serpent.
Tom, it is found everywhere.
Tom: Well, it’s in all – as we know, and many of our listeners know, it’s in all religions. It’s the heart of Hinduism, of Buddhism, which is atheism. But still, this is promoted by the Dalai Lama. We have the Religious Sciences, Science of Mind…
Dave: And, Tom, the Dalai Lama gets the Nobel Peace Prize, and what is he doing? He’s going around the world initiating people into Tantric Tibetan yoga – Deity Yoga, he calls it – teaching us that we all can become gods, Bodhi Sattvas, he calls them, but also they’re gods. It’s just astonishing, Tom! Astonishing.
Tom: Dave, let’s look a little bit more at those belief systems that would claim to be Christian. For example, Eastern Orthodoxy. I have a quote here from Christoforos Stavropoulos, an Orthodox scholar, and he’s explaining the heart of Eastern Orthodoxy. I’m quoting: “In the Holy Scriptures, we read of a unique call directed to us. You are gods, all of you. [I don’t know where he gets that idea]…”
Dave: Well, he’s quoting from Psalm:82:6 and John:10:34. Tom, I didn’t really finish. Let me just interrupt for a moment and go back. So, Jesus says – he’s quoting where it says, “I have said you are gods.” Where did He say it? God said it to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they rebelled. They became little gods. That’s where He said it, and they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. So this wasn’t something good. This was something bad!
Tom: But he goes on, and he says…
Dave: He makes it sound like it’s good…
Tom: Of course, and this is a…that’s why I said, “Where is he getting that idea?” Well, he does say it’s from Psalms, from John:10:34, but as we’ve explained, this is a perversion of what the Scriptures are teaching. Anyway, he goes on to say, “As human beings, we each have this one unique calling: to achieve theosis. We’re each destined to become a god, to be like God Himself.
Now, that’s Eastern Orthodoxy, and we know from other writings that that’s at the heart of it.
Dave: Tom, let me go back again. What does it mean to become a god? How can I become a god? Now, if I’m not the God, the one-and-only true Creator of the universe, and I’m a god, what does that mean? Am I something in myself? Or am I drawing this from Him – somehow, He’s making me…. Well, he says, “to be like God himself.” That’s exactly what the serpent said. “I will be like the Most High.” So there’s no longer a Most High, but we’re like Him. On what basis did we become like Him? Did we, as… well, let me quote – here’s Spencer W. Kimball, a former Mormon president. And listen to what he says: “In each of us is the potentiality to become a god. Man can transform himself. He has in him the seeds of Godhood that can grow. He can lift himself by his very bootstraps.”
So, if I’m going to be like God, how am I going to become like God? Well, He’s not going to make me that way because He calls that rebellion. So, I’m going to somehow make myself like God. What does that mean? I have lowered God down to my level. I have not raised myself to His level. I’m now denying that there is the one true God, the Most High. And now, there are a lot of little gods running around out there, and, Tom, this is the worst rebellion that anybody could be involved in, and yet, here it is!
Tom: It’s the lie from the beginning!
Tom: Dave, we shocked some people fifteen years ago, when all we did was quote from the Mormon prophets, demonstrating that they believed they were becoming gods. All right? Now…
Dave: People didn’t want believe that.
Tom: Now, today we see that Mormonism is being accepted more and more as Christian –
as orthodox Christian – when their belief system is antithetical to what the Bible teaches….
Dave: Right! And, Tom…I interrupted you.
Tom: Okay, go ahead.
Dave: We’re interrupting one another, but that’s good. Why not? Why not accept Mormonism? After all, they believe in a God. And isn’t that good enough – some higher power? I think God would be a little bit upset. More than upset, He tells us in His Word, if somebody claims that He is a man. And the Mormon god was a sinful man on another planet, redeemed by another Jesus, who, through eons of time, somehow exalted himself to become a god, and he’s one of trillions of gods. I don’t think that the one true God, the Creator of this universe, who says, “I am God, there is none else,” and who condemns all false gods, I don’t think He wants to be called a false god. In fact, the Bible – in the Bible, God says, “God is not a man that He should lie, or the son of man…” And yet the Mormons make Him out to be a man. Jimmy Carter, for example, was upset when the Southern Baptists held their convention in Salt Lake City, and he said, “These are Christians, just like we are. Don’t try to convert them.” So, Tom, it seems that we live in a day when it doesn’t really matter. Truth doesn’t matter, as long as you talk about God or some god, or some higher power. That’s not what the Bible says. Sorry, I interrupted you.
Tom: See, when you try to appeal to things like logic, or to the Scriptures, we’re called intolerant. Back around New Year’s, Larry King Live has Robert Schuller and the head of the Mormon Church and Bishop Desmond Tutu – and these guys are all talking about a “Jesus” and about unity, and anybody listening to this who has an understanding of what the Scripture says – what are these guys talking about? What Jesus are they talking about? They’re not talking about the Jesus of the Bible or the unity that the Bible talks about.
Dave: Tom, this is the whole idea now that is sweeping the world. At Babel, God confounded their languages and scattered them. Now, the whole idea is we’ve got to get back there! Everybody get together…. And that was what this program that you’re referring to. Actually, it was Christmas Eve. There was Larry King Live with Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the Mormon Church and the Mormon Tabernacle. This was just acceptable, and he...really, I watched it! He came off very well. “Mormonism is Christianity.” But their “God” is a man, who exalted himself to godhood, and he’s only one of trillions of them out there, and their “Jesus” was not God when he came to this earth. He wasn’t born of a virgin. He was born when “Father God,” who was a man with a physical body like us, came to this earth, had sex with Mary, brought forth the body of “Jesus,” who was on his way to Godhood and had to get a body. Salvation in Mormonism is not a free gift. It is not eternal life. But it is exaltation to godhood that you earn. So, I mean, look… “What are you guys tryin’ to do?”
Tom: “Are you trying to confuse us with facts here, and with…
Dave: “Yeah, what are you guys doing? You’re just putting the Mormons down.” No, we’re not putting the Mormons down. We wish that the Mormons themselves would face up to what the Bible says. They’ve got the wrong God, the wrong Jesus, the wrong salvation, and so forth. And it’s not mean and nasty to say that. I think it’s loving!
Tom: Well, Dave, at least we could say that they do not have the God of the Bible. They do not have the Jesus Christ of the Bible.
Dave: Tom, the most loving thing I can do is to try to turn people back to the Scriptures and say, “You’d better check it out from the Word of God. Don’t just believe it because somebody says so. Or because we say so!”
Tom: Dave, a couple weeks ago we talked about the contemplative movement – mystical Christianity; actually Catholic Mysticism. And the idea and the goal of that is union with God. Now, some people…
Dave: The goal of yoga – self-realization – to realize that I am God.
Tom: Right. So, this is the heart. This goes back to the Garden. This is the heart of the lie that we’re trying to lay out for people today if they’ve not heard of this. This is the ultimate lie – that man is God. Now, Dave, as you know, I grew up a Roman Catholic, and these teachings – I mean, Mormons and all Protestants were, you know, cults of some form or another. That was our view back then. Now things have changed. But what I didn’t realize that within Roman Catholicism, and not just this idea of “union with God” was among the mystics – the Catholic mystics – but it’s in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Let me read this to you: “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God – the only begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that He, made man, might make men gods.”
Now, if people are shocked about Mormonism, I would have the Roman Catholics out there call their local parish priest and ask him, “What’s the meaning of this?” Because these are quotes – this is from Saint Athanasius, from Saint Thomas Aquinas. And then if that’s not enough, we have Pope John Paul II, in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, on page 195, he writes, “Man is called to cooperate with God in his salvation and divinization [becoming divine!]. The divinization of man comes from God.” I’d like to have that explained.
Dave: Yeah, what does that mean? Well, Tom, I hope that we’ve at least given people something to think about out there. And I hope we’ve driven them to the Scriptures, where God says, “I am God. There is none else. Is there a god beside Me? I know not any.” And this ambition that somehow – you know, it goes back to something we’ve talked about way back there a number of times – in prayer! Is prayer a religious technique to get my own way? Is there some way that I can impose my will on the universe, if I know how to make a positive confession, or whatever technique you want, and the New Agers have all kinds of techniques. Or is prayer – is that a means of submitting my will to God? And am I really asking God to answer my prayer, you know? Then it depends whether it’s His will, His way, His time. Or am I trying to persuade Him to do what I want? Do I want God to give me what I want or what He knows I need, in His wisdom? Am I going to play God or am I going to submit and say, “Not my will, but thine be done”? And will my prayer be “according to Thy will?” Well, the Positive Confession people say that if you say you’re praying “according to His will,” well, that’s a lack of faith. We have to decide this, Tom.
Tom: Yeah, one other aspect about it to me that’s fairly simple, this idea that we are God or becoming God – I mean we’re finite. God is infinite.
Tom: God is transcendent. He is not a part of His creation, or evil, and all that, or He’d have to take credit for it. But He’s not. Sin, and the idea, as we mentioned earlier, that we’re rebels. We are becoming gods, but rebels after God. Elevating ourselves to the throne of God. It’s impossible. Just impossible.
Dave: But this is the heart of it, and this what the gospel is: Repentance from that rebellion and accepting Christ as the One who died in our place and paid the penalty for our sins. That’s all we’re trying to say. Let’s get back to the Bible. Search the Scriptures daily. See what they say. Don’t take our word for it.