“Within you is hidden the treasure of treasures,” the poster assured me. Looking closer, I read about the teachings which the free weekly classes offered, promising tools that would let me discover new heights of reality, follow my ‘Innermost Being,’ and ‘fuse myself with the divine.’
I’d read some interesting posters as I backpacked 360° degrees around the world in 180 days, researching how Christian students keep their faith during secular education. Already at Canadian universities, I’d seen hallways papered with evidence of how far Western cultures have fallen from the foundation of God’s Word. But this poster at an Australian university telling students they were divine? That was a first.
An Ancient Deception
The claim that we, as humans, can be like God might sound appealing. But it’s a fatal falsehood old as Eden and Lie #2 of four trademark deceptions that multiple false teachings share in common. Like Lie #1, which my last blog post unpacked, this deception first appeared when Satan tempted Eve to break the commandment God had given:
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”1
Satan, however, lured Eve with the line, “You will certainly not die. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”2
A Recurring Theme
This ancient lie continues surfacing across multiple false doctrines today, as the poster I spotted in Australia demonstrates. Many mystic religions, whether forms of Eastern Spirituality or Western New Ageism, revolve around the idea that humans are inherently divine. Some loose spin-offs of Christianity also promote versions of this teaching. Mormonism, for instance, states that our Creator was once just a human and that one day we too will become “gods” like him.
Even atheistic worldviews like Secular Humanism, which officially claim not to believe in any god, must ultimately adopt a version of this lie. For one thing, nobody can absolutely claim there’s no god anywhere—inside or outside the universe—without being all-knowing. And an all-knowing entity is, by definition, like God. Even by saying, “There probably is no god,” people coronate human reasoning as the final authority for truth. But if human reasoning is the authority for truth, then it’s up to humans to define good and evil, to decide who counts as a “person,” and to authoritatively command our own lives when, biblically, these traits all belong to God. In other words, humanism essentially claims that we have evolved to become gods ourselves.
An influential modern movement called Transhumanism elaborates on this idea even further, claiming the next stage of “human evolution” will involve using technology to become like gods—even to the point of (supposedly) achieving immortality. As popular Transhumanist Ray Kurzwiel put it,
Evolution moves towards greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love. In every monotheistic tradition God is likewise described as all of these qualities, only without limitation: infinite knowledge, infinite intelligence, infinite beauty, infinite creativity, infinite love, and so on . . . evolution moves inexorably towards this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal. We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spiritual undertaking.3
Responding with Truth
Clearly, the idea that “we can be like God” is very much present in today’s world. Detecting even a hint of this message in any form should immediately raise massive red flags for biblical, critical thinking because it blatantly contradicts Scripture. But we can respond to this lie by going back to the truth of God’s Word, which says in Psalm 100, “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.”4 In Isaiah 43:10 and 11, God also assures us, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.” By applying Critical Thinking Check Number 1, Check Scripture, we can ultimately recognize any teaching which claims that “we can be like God” for the deadly deception it is.
For more on how to think critically about any faith-challenging message, stay tuned for future blog articles and my new video series, CT (Critical Thinking) Scan, available now on the AiG Canada YouTube channel, the AiG Canada Facebook page, and Answers.TV.