"YE SHALL BE AS GODS"
IN THE TEMPTATION of Eve,
the devil said, "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5), "knowing good and
evil." Without a doubt, the New King James rendering of this is better,
"You will be like God." Behind this is the Hebrew word Elohim,
which is the plural for gods. But, like in Genesis 1:1, it is here used
of Almighty God, being the plural of majestic reference (as the verb "created"
is singular in Genesis 1:1). Eve knew nothing of "gods" (just the one God),
that came about with time and mankind’s departure from God (Romans 1:21ff).
Therefore, "God" best represents what is meant here.
The imagination of Eve was stirred. In some way beyond her immediate
human experience she could be like God. The devil is pointing her in the
route he had taken. The devil had taken his eyes off of God and placed
them upon himself. The rest of it is history. The devil became the devil.
Even in the temptation of Jesus, the devil wants to play the role of God
(Matthew 4:9,10). Paul warns about falling into the same condemnation of
the devil (1 Timothy 3:6; Jude 6). And so with mankind throughout history,
it is not enough to be made in the image and likeness of God, men want
to be God. The devil says, "Ye shall be as gods."
"Ye shall be as gods" is seen in the ancient concept of the "divine
right of kings," emperor worship, and in the totality of the modern, socialistic
state that replaces God to control the lives of its citizens from the cradle
to the grave. This can be seen in apostate religious systems wherein a
man would be called "the Lord God, the pope" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), others
being unduly exalted, and men arrogantly asserting themselves as determining
the eternal destiny of their fellow mortals. Then in saying that it doesn’t
make any difference what a person believes, just so he is sincere, each
person becomes his own god. Humanists in times past have subtly pushed
religion aside in our society, but now dropping all subtlety, they have
dethroned God with an intolerance that equals that of the radical religious
zealots of the past. Legally God cannot be found in the public school system.
Humanism sits enthroned. If a one-world government comes, there will be
no place for the recognition of God in it.
We could go on. Man, in essence, wants to be God. He wants to determine
and take life by abortion. Reportedly having successfully cloned animal
life, he wants to clone human life. Then when certain DNA and genetic codes
are cracked, attention is drawn to the great discovery. Just look at our
learned men. How smart they are! But the great and intricate mesh of intelligence
as see in the genetic reading points to higher and supreme intelligence.
It points to God. But man, who in his mind has dethroned God, will not
admit this. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are gaining acceptance, already
being legally accepted in some parts of the world. Job said that the Lord
gives and the Lord takes away (Job 1:21), but modern man would look upon
this as his prerogative as he tries to play the part of God. We are thankful
for the medical profession that traditionally is devoted to life, health
and healing, (but death is another thing).
However, there are other thoughts. Perhaps all have agreed with what
has been written so far. Now let us have a closer look. All of us were
made in the image and likeness of God for the glory of God (Genesis 1:27;
Romans 3:23; Isaiah 42:8; 1 Corinthians 10:31). That being the case, the
Lord Jesus Christ said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness…" (Matthew 6:33). God must have first place in our lives,
or no place. Anything that comes before God, in essence, becomes God to
us (as it has taken the place of God). Therefore, if we leave God out of
our lives or put Him in second place, living selfishly, we have become
our own god. Perhaps not consciously, or even intentionally, we have succumbed
to the temptation of Eve, "Ye shall become as gods." How foolish!
In conclusion, let us be happy and content with the exalted honor
and dignity God has placed upon us. Only doubts and thoughts inspired by
the devil would make us feel otherwise. Man’s elevated position and dominion
are first mentioned in Genesis 1:26-28, but this is dealt with more extensively
in the 8th Psalm. Fittingly the Psalm starts out by drawing attention to
God, "O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who
hast set thy glory above the heavens." Then the writer considers man and
his favored position. Finally in ending the Psalm, lest too much attention
has been given to man, he returns to words addressed to God, "O LORD our
Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!"
Having just now quoted the first verse of this Psalm, let us begin
with the third verse and go through the last verse again. May we learn
to think and respond accordingly. God has so wonderfully created us and
placed us in our given domain. Why would we ever in any way want to try
to usurp the position and glory that are His, or even think about doing
so? He is the Creator. We are the creature.
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and
the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful
of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made
him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and
honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou
hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts
of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsover
passeth through the paths of the sea. O LORD our Lord, how excellent
is thy name in all the earth!