From this question, and the comments, I am under the impression that Isaiah 44:6-8

6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.

8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

implies to many Christians that an omniscience God knows of no other gods because there are no other gods.

He is the only God ... He also says that He knows of no other God

there is only one God, period, He just said so

Psalm 82 seems to indicate otherwise

1 God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.

3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.

4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.

5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

This Psalm is quoted/referenced later by Jesus in John 10:33-36. Other scriptures that seem to indicate multiple gods is 1 Cor 8:5-6

How do non-LDS Christians (the other question was focused on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints understanding of the Isaiah verse), interpret these scriptures together? Or am I misunderstanding other Christian's interpretation of Isaiah 44?


4 Answers 4


If you interpret gods in Psalm 82 in the metaphorical sense, the contradiction evaporates. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

Over the centuries, Israel's faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him.

CCC - 213

and I don't think any other Christian denominations would disagree with that sentiment - although the degree to which denominations understand every jot of the Bible literally varies.

The 10 Commandments are literal commandments, and although "you shall have no other God before me" does not imply that there are no other gods, nor does it imply that the other gods are alive. In fact, the commandment today is often metaphorically interpreted as not making money, fame, power, sex, pleasure etc.. your god and worshiping that instead of the one true creator God.

Idolotry consists in divinizing that which is not God

CCC - 2113

And what Isaiah 44 shows, in context is that, God is:

infinite, infallible, and independent of the created order

CCC - 213

If we trust Him, and His knowledge is complete, then who are we to question His knowledge of the existence of other gods.

Now, one would have to assume that God was having Isaiah speaking in circles if He didn't really mean 'know' as something specific. Because he's certainly acquainted with Baal and he knows the demons who haunt the earth and those who He flung from heaven. He knows about angels, he knows that He created man in His likeness. He knows that the deceiver, Satan, tempted Eve to "be as gods" so He knows that it is always in our hearts to worship new and various and weird gods. And, He's always saying, in words one would have to really try hard to misunderstand, "don't do that".


The Bible recognized many God’s from the beginning. In fact the very first commandment recognizes many gods for it says:

Exodus 20:3 English Standard Version

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

When God introduced himself to the Egyptians who worshiped many of these false God’s he used the name ‘I AM’ because they thought their gods were real and existed but God let them know in power that, no no, only ‘HE IS’. Their gods ‘WERE NOT EXISTING’ by comparison. In other words ‘I AM that I AM’ or ‘there are no other gods that I can see’. I came from eternity without beginning and my power has no limits, they are nothing.

Therefore when God recognizes no other gods he is simply saying ‘I AM’ and ‘THEY ARE NOT’ and thereby reinforcing the first commandment.

The second reference where you have God recognizing other gods, this is not unusual. The only unusual aspect is that here it does not seem to referring to idols (unless under some metaphor) but to powerful judges that are representatives of God himself. Sometimes men can be considered a god, or like God:

Exodus 7:1 English Standard Version

7 And the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.

In whatever sense the Psalm is referring to people or idols as gods, it does not change that fact that there is only one real God and only one that we must serve. There is no contradiction in the many ‘only one God’ and ‘many gods’ referred to in scripture.

  • You are saying: there are many gods (first half), but only one for us (in regards to salvation)
    – depperm
    Commented May 10 at 13:56
  • 1
    @depperm No, he is saying throughout that none of the other 'gods' are actually Gods. There is only one God in existence anywhere. Moses didn't get changed into a God. He was made like God unto Pharaoh in the arena of judgment. Commented May 10 at 16:01
  • @MikeBorden I did specify gods (lowercase g) and he does state: the very first commandment recognizes many gods that seems pretty clear, but I did want to make sure I understood hence my comment
    – depperm
    Commented May 10 at 16:09
  • 3
    @depperm - Mike Borden has explained it the way I meant it. There is only one God, many idols and sometimes, though rare, the scripture uses the name, more like a metaphor, as a reference of relations between mortal humans, where one acts as a judge of another, or a powerful relation over another. There is only one God and that is why he demands all exclusive worship.
    – Mike
    Commented May 11 at 0:42

Apparent contradiction between Isaiah 44 and Psalm 82?

6 “This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let them foretell what will come.

8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? - Isaiah 44:6-8

1 God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: 2 “How long will you[a] defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?[b] 3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. 5 “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ 7 But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” 8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance. - Psalm 82:1-8

Does not the Devil say to Eve the by sinning one would be like a god? ”For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Obviously, Satan is speaking metaphorically!

Any apparent contradiction in these two passages of Sacred Scriptures may well come down to how some interpret the texts in question, especially from Psalm 82 and the interpreted meanings of some of the ancient Hebrew terms or words employed.

Some Christian denominations have an unique understanding of how to interpret Psalm 82.

Jesus quotes Psalm 82 in John 10:34. The term ”gods” in Hebrew is elohim. The term elohim is most frequently used to refer to the one true God, but it does have other uses. It is very possible this Psalm is referring to another meaning than the one true God!

Yes there is only one true God, but the term “gods” has many possible meanings within Scared Scriptures.

Psalm 82:6 reads, “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”

In John 10, Jesus cites Psalm 82:6 and repeats the statement that “you are gods.” The context is a confrontation between Jesus and the Jews at the Festival of Dedication. They ask Him to reveal plainly if He is the Messiah (John 10:24). Jesus responds that His actions prove He is the Messiah, and then He claims equality with God by saying, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). At that, the Jews pick up stones to stone Him for blasphemy (John 10:31–33), but Jesus reasons with them by quoting Psalm 82:6: “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside - what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” Who are the “gods” of Psalm 82:6, and what exactly is Jesus’ point in saying, “You are gods” in John 10:34 (or “ye are gods” in the KJV)?

Let’s start with a look at Psalm 82, the psalm that Jesus quotes in John 10:34. The Hebrew word translated “gods” in Psalm 82:6 is elohim. The term elohim is most frequently used to refer to the one true God, but it does have other uses. Yahweh is referred to as the Elohim above all elohim (Psalm 95:3). Other uses of the term elohim include spiritual beings such as angels (Job 2:1; 38:7); demons, idols, and gods of foreign nations (Genesis 35:4; Deuteronomy 32:17; 1 Kings 11:33); and the disembodied dead (1 Samuel 28:13). The Hebrew word elohim is also translated “judges” in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8, 9, and 28. Whom, then, does God call “gods” in Psalm 82:6? There are two main views:

  1. The “gods” are supernatural beings who rule under God. Psalm 82:1 says, “God presides in the great assembly; he gives judgment among the gods.” In the Hebrew, the phrase translated “great assembly” speaks of a divine congregation or a divine council. Some interpret this passage as God warning that those in the divine council who continue making unjust decisions will die “like mere mortals” and “fall like all other rulers” (Psalm 82:2, 6–8). God created hell for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41), and we know He will bring justice to them at the right time. They will fall like mere mortals.

  2. The “gods” of Psalm 82 are human magistrates, judges, and rulers who have been granted authority in the earth. In this view, the whole point of Psalm 82 is that earthly judges must act with impartiality and true justice, because even judges must stand someday before the Judge. Psalm 82:6 and 7 warn human magistrates that they, too, must be judged: “I said, ‘You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere men; you will fall like every other ruler.” According to this view, God has appointed men to positions of authority in which they are considered as gods among the people (see Exodus 7:1). Calling a human magistrate a “god” indicates three things: 1) he has authority over other human beings, 2) the power he wields as a civil authority is to be feared, and 3) he derives his power and authority from God Himself, who is pictured as judging the whole earth in Psalm 82:8. Human rulers are to remember that, even though they are representing God in this world, they are mortal and must eventually give an account to God for how they use that authority.

Now, let’s look at how Jesus uses this passage. When Jesus quotes Psalm 82, He says that the statement “you are gods” was directed to those “to whom the word of God came” (John 10:35). That is, those who received the message of God were called “gods.” Jesus had just claimed to be the Son of God (John 10:25–30). The unbelieving Jews responded by charging Jesus with blasphemy, since He claimed to be God (verse 33). Jesus then quotes Psalm 82:6 and says, “If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?” Jesus’ point is this: you charge me with blasphemy based on my use of the title “Son of God”; yet your own Scriptures apply the same term to others besides God. If those who hold a divinely appointed office or those who have a divine position in the spiritual realm can be considered “gods,” how much more can the One whom God has chosen and sent (John 10:34–36)?

Mormonism uses these texts as proof texts to show the eventual divinity of man. However, neither of these passages is proof that man can attain godhood. We must beware of the lie that the serpent used to deceive Eve in the garden: “Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). This was a half-truth. Their eyes were opened (verse 7), but they did not become like God. In fact, they lost authority, rather than gaining it. Satan deceived Eve about her ability to become like the one true God, and so led her into a lie. Jesus defended His claim to be the Son of God on biblical and semantic grounds—there is a sense in which influential men and spiritual beings can be referred to as “gods”; therefore, the Messiah can rightly apply the term to Himself. Human beings are not “gods” or “little gods.” They will never become gods. God is God, and we who know Christ are His children. - What does the Bible mean by “you are gods” / “ye are gods” in Psalm 82:6 and John 10:34?

This reminds me of a few things St. Paul teaches us in the Scriptures:

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. - 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. - 1 Corinthians 10:20

In Isaiah 44:1-8, two great truths are very clear: That the people of God are a happy people, especially upon account of the covenant that is between them and God and secondly that, as the people of Israel of God are a happy people, so the God of Israel is a great God, and he is God alone (verses 6-8).

Isa 44:1-8

Two great truths are abundantly made out in these verses:

I. That the people of God are a happy people, especially upon account of the covenant that is between them and God. The people of Israel were so as a figure of the gospel Israel.


II. That, as the Israel of God are a happy people, so the God of Israel is a great God, and he is God alone. This also, as the former, speaks abundant satisfaction to all that trust in him, v. 6-8. Observe here, to God's glory and our comfort,

  1. That the God we trust in is a God of incontestable sovereignty and irresistible power. He is the Lord, Jehovah, self-existent and self-sufficient; and he is the Lord of hosts, of all the hosts of heaven and earth, of angels and men.
  1. That he stands in relation to, and has a particular concern for, his church. He is the King of Israel and his Redeemer; therefore his Redeemer because his King; and those that take God for their King shall have him for their Redeemer. When God would assert himself God alone he proclaims himself Israel's God, that his people may be encouraged both to adhere to him and to triumph in him.
  1. That he is eternal-the first and the last. He is God from everlasting, before the worlds were, and will be so to everlasting, when the world shall be no more. If there were not a God to create, nothing would ever have been; and, if there were not a God to uphold, all would soon come to nothing again. He is all in all, is the first cause, from whom are all things, and the last end, to and for whom are all things (Rom. 11:36), the Alpha and the Omega, Rev. 1:11.
  1. That he is God alone (v. 6): Besides me there is no God. Is there a God besides me? v. 8. We will appeal to the greatest scholars. Did they ever in all their reading meet with any other? To those that have had the largest acquaintance with the world. Did they ever meet with any other? There are gods many (1 Co. 8:5, 6), called gods, and counterfeit gods: but is there any besides our God that is infinite and eternal, any besides him that is the creator of the world and the protector and benefactor of the whole creation, any besides him that can do that for their worshippers which he can and will do for his? "You are my witnesses. I have been a nonsuch to you. You have tried other gods; have you found any of them all-sufficient to you, or any of them like me? Yea, there is no god," no rock (so the word is), none besides Jehovah that can be a rock for a foundation to build on, a rock for shelter to flee to. God is the rock, and their rock is not as ours, Deu. 32:4, 31. I know not any; as if he had said, "I never met with any that offered to stand in competition with me, or that durst bring their pretensions to a fair trial; if I did know of any that could befriend you better than I can, I would recommend you to them; but I know not any." There is no God besides Jehovah. He is infinite, and therefore there can be no other; he is all-sufficient, and therefore there needs no other. This is designed for the confirming of the hopes of God's people in the promise of their deliverance out of Babylon, and, in order to that, for the curing of them of their idolatry; when the affliction had done its work it should be removed. They are reminded of the first and great article of their creed, that the Lord their God is one Lord, Deu. 6:4. And therefore,

(1.) They needed not to hope in any other god. Those on whom the sun shines need neither moon nor stars, nor the light of their own fire.

(2.) They needed not to fear any other god. Their own God was more able to do them good than all the false and counterfeit gods of their enemies were to do them hurt.

  1. That none besides could foretel these things to come, which God now by his prophet gave notice of to the world, above 200 years before they came to pass (v. 7): "Who, as I, shall call, shall call Cyrus to Babylon? Is there any but God that can call effectually, and has every creature, every heart, at his beck? Who shall declare it, how it shall be, and by whom, as I do?" Nay, God goes further; he not only sees it in order, as having the foreknowledge of it, but sets it in order, as having the sole management and direction of it. Can any other pretend to this? He has always set things in order according to the counsel of his own will, ever since he appointed the ancient people, the people of Israel, who could give a truer and fuller account of the antiquities of their own nation than any other kingdom in the world could give of theirs. Ever since he appointed that people to be his peculiar people his providence was particularly conversant about them, and he told them beforehand the events that should occur respecting them-their bondage in Egypt, their deliverance from it, and their settlement in Canaan. All was set in order in the divine predictions as well as in the divine purposes. Could any other have done so? Would any other have been so far concerned for them? He challenges the pretenders to show the things that shall come hereafter: "Let them, if they can, tell us the name of the man that shall destroy Babylon ad deliver Israel? Nay, if they cannot pretend to tell us the things that shall come hereafter, let them tell us the things that are coming, that are nigh at hand and at the door. Let them tell us what shall come to pass to-morrow; but they cannot do that; fear them not therefore, nor be afraid of them. What harm can they do you? What hindrance can they give to your deliverance, when I have told thee it shall be accomplished in its season, and I have solemnly declared it?" Note, Those who have the word of God's promise to depend upon need not be afraid of any adverse powers or policies whatsoever.

Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Isaiah 44

  • +1 well explained, I feel like the explanation gets a bit iffy on there is a sense in which influential men and spiritual beings can be referred to as “gods”; ... Human beings are not “gods” or “little gods.” They will never become gods I don't know how this jumps from you could be called X, but you will never be X. That said I am looking for opposing views to try to better understand other's perspective
    – depperm
    Commented May 11 at 0:49
  • 1
    +1 for highlighting the original lie where the adversary claimed Adam and Eve "could be like God" if they disobeyed their Creator. The Shema declares there is only one God, but people worship many different gods, whether in the spiritual realm or here. Celebrities and elite sports personalities are given god-like worship and adulation by millions of people. People worship money, success, possessions. It is a form of idolatry. Yet some people think they will become gods and goddesses in the spirit realm?
    – Lesley
    Commented May 14 at 9:46

To start off with, let it be clear that there is only one God according to Deuteronomy 6:4, period The following verses confirm this fact.

Isaiah 43:10, (partially) and vs11, "And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. Vs11, I, even I am the Lord; And there is no savior besides Me."

Isaiah 44:6, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me." Now that this is established let's move on to the context of why Jesus Christ quoted Psalm 82:6?

It starts at John 10:30, where it literally says, "I and the Father, We are one." How are they one? It goes without saying they are one in purpose but this is not the point Jesus was making at John 10:30. John 10:31, "The Jews took up stone "AGAIN to stone Him." At vs32, "Jesus answered them, I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" John 10:33, "The Jews answered Him, For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man make Yourself out God." I'm not aware of anybody being stoned for being one in purpose?

Please notice how Jesus answers them. What He says (and here Jesus is being His own commentary by quoting Psalm 82:6) "Has it not been written in you Law, "I said you are gods?" His answer has nothing to do with Him and the Father being one in purpose. John 10:35, "If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and Scripture cannot be broken), vs35, do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and SENT INTO THE WORLD, "You are blaspheming, because I said, "I am the Son of God?" Here is what the Apostle Paul stated at Galatians 4:8, "However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those WHICH BY NATURE ARE NO gods."

Verse 37, "If I do the works of My Father (notice again Jesus refers to "My Father), do not believe Me." Vs38, "but if I do them though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father." So what was the point Jesus was making by Him quoting Psalm 82:6?

What Jesus is simply doing is taking the Jew's statement about Him blaspheming to its logical conclusion to show they are being inconsistent. In effect, Jesus is saying "If you say that I am blaspheming, you must also hold that God is blaspheming because He said to those by whom the word of God came, "ye are gods."

Or to put this another way, Jesus' usage of Psalms 82:6 was to imply that what the Scriptures call humans "allegorically," He was in actuality since He does what only God can do, hence John 10:38. So the point of what Jesus said at John 10:30 was to show He and His Father are one in nature or essence, that's why no one can snatch the sheep out of His hands or the Father's, John 10:27-28.

Jesus had said that the sheep are equally safe in His hand and in His Father's hand. The power of the Son is equal to that of the Father. Jesus asserted the essential unity of the Father and the Son in the word "one" (hen). It is a neuter number to indicate equality of essence, attributes, design, will and work.

Jesus distinguishes the "I" from the "Father" and uses the plural verb "are" denoting "we are." Thus these words separate the persons within the Godhead, but "one" asserts their unity of essence or nature as identical.

At John 10:24 the Jews asked Jesus to tell them plainly who He was. This verse is plain. He does not say "I am Christ," but "I and my Father are one"--God!

The Jews, no matter what their motive understood Jesus correctly. There could be no mistake about His meaning. "Again" refers to John 8:59 at which time the Jews also attempted to stone Him for blasphemy intending to kill Him.

Regarding the context of the Psalm itself these men who are addressed in this Psalm are rightly called "mighty ones." It clearly says that these "elohiym" "judge," ie perform the act of judgment, and do so unjustly (vs2). That would make them "judges" by definition, and corrupt judges at that.

After identifying their corrupt judgment, it goes on (vs. 3-4) to admonish these judges (these who are "judging" unjustly) to correct their behavior by defending the poor and fatherless, do justice (as a good judge should) and deliver the poor and needy from the hand of the wicked. Vs7, "Nevertheless you will die like the men that you are."

For more information regarding the Judges at Psalms 82:6 I post the following link of "Keil & Delitzsch" which I find very informative. Just scroll down to verses 5-7. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kdo/psalms-82.html

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .