“We are stoning you, not for doing a good work, but for blasphemy; though you are only a man, ou claim to be God.”
Is it not written in your law: I said you are gods? [see Ps 58]. . .[but] if I am doing it [the work of my Father] , then you will known for certain that the Father is in me and I am in the Father [Jn 10:33-34, 37-38]
Any claim that humans are divine is sure to set off an argument among certain groups. Some disclaim that at all, reading this passage as simply Jesus claiming to be who he was, the only begotten Son. But much more is alluded to.
First, Jesus’ quotes from Psalm 58, where the psalmist asks of the Jewish judges of the people, “divine as you are. . . .” and of course the serpent in Genesis says to the woman as regards the tree, “God knows in fact that the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods.” [Gen 3:5]
In ancient folklore from which much of Genesis and Exodus were taken, even among the Jews, there was no question that there were many gods. Over the centuries Yahweh became the chief God, presiding as chief God at the heavenly council. Eventually he supplanted all gods, and finally the Jewish faith took on its now chief characteristic–true monotheism.
To be in the image of God suggests that we are in some ways at least like God–I have always concluded that this meant that our thinking was like God, allowing us to contemplate Him and of course communicate with Him.
But Jesus, I think makes it quite clear in this discourse that we are divine creatures, holding within us the spark of God as our central being. The translation (New Jerusalem Bible) lower cases the word god when referring to humans and uppercases it when referring to the Creator.
I have no expertise as to whether or not this is discernible in some way in the original manuscripts or not. As it is, it suggests that saying we are divine in no way bridges the chasm that still exists between God and ourselves. We may have attributes of God, both apparent and still hidden (many believe we have psychic senses as yet mostly untapped for instance), yet we are in no way equal to God.
This makes perfect sense to me, for Jesus makes this most clear when he tells the Jews, that they need not believe he is the Son of God by what he says, but surely if he “does the Father’s work” it must be proof that “the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.”
And can that not also be true of us? Certainly. For we are forever praying that we too may do the Father’s will. We say it in the Lord’s prayer, and we are mindful of Jesus in the Garden when he said, “and yet let your will prevail.” Thus Jesus has said that when the works we do are clearly the work of the Father, that the proof is clear.
So I take from Jesus that we too are divine, able to do the Father’s will, and in so doing, proving that the divine is in us, and is our truest “self”.