I opened the Bible and read John 10:33; Mark 2:7 and Luke 5:21. There were two definitions for blasphemy. The first was, when the religious leaders accused Jesus, being a Man making Himself God and the second was when He forgave the paralytic of his sins. According to the scriptures, anyone who tried to do the things for which only God had the authority to do was guilty of blasphemy.
I brought these scriptures to the attention of my mentor and elder, Father Christensen who said to me, “According to our father, Athanasius of Alexandria, ‘the Lord Jesus Christ was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us. For as the Lord, putting on the body, became man, so we men are deified by the Word as being taken to Him through His flesh. For He was made man that we might be made God.’ Augustine of Hippo declared, that He, the Lord ‘hath given them power to become the sons of God. Therefore, if we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.’“
I pondered these words for a moment and then, I said, “I seem to recall Gregory of Nazianzus imploring humankind to ‘become gods for (God’s) sake, since (God) became man for our sake.‘”
“Yes. He argued that the mediator ‘pleads even now as Man for my salvation; for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He make me God by the power of His Incarnation.’ When Jesus asked, ‘Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?’ He was quoting Psalm 82:6 where the psalmist called men gods and sons of God. So, you see we are both.”
Father Christensen stood up, signalling that our chat was over so I wasn’t able to ask him if it was considered blasphemy for priests to forgive sins. I thanked him and quickly left his office. I went into the chapel and sat down, deep in thought. Paul, the apostle taught that men are sons of God but did that make them gods?
I opened my Bible and read Psalm 82:6 which said, “Ye are gods and children of the most high.” Then, I read the verses before that one. And it was clear that the psalmist was talking about the judges of Israel.
They were judging the people unjustly, showing partiality to the wicked, not protecting the poor and the orphans, showing justice to the afflicted and needy or delivering the poor and needy from the wicked. They were like gods in the sense that they were governing the people. In verse 6 they were called gods but in verse 7 it said that they were going to die like men. I realized that these men were not gods as in the divine sense. God gave them the authority to judge others like He gave Adam and Eve the authority to rule over all the earth. Perhaps it made them like gods because they ruled over the rest of God’s creation but that didn’t make them nor the judges divine like God.
I closed my Bible and rose from the bench. It was time to go into the confessional booth and listen to confessions. At the back of my mind, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was about to commit blasphemy.