The reality that we know so well imposes itself with resounding force, since we are very conscious of our fragility, of our submission to illness and dissolution, of our scarce awareness of the soul and the Spirit, and even, on not a few occasions, of our scarce awareness of what properly concerns the human being.
However, not a few spiritual masters, philosophers and humanists have not only raised this question, but have also maintained it. In the Christian Gospels, for example, we find that Jesus Christ, being about to be stoned by the Jews -because as a man, he proclaimed himself to be God-, answers, according to John’s testimony: “Is it not written in the law? I said that you are gods”. (John 10:34)
The “Law” referred to in the text of John is Psalm 82:6:
“I said, ‘You are gods,
And all of you children of the Most High;
But as men you shall die,
And like any of the princes you will fall.
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For thou shalt inherit all nations.
If we analyze the context in which such words are spoken, it becomes evident that the term “gods” refers to persons who maintain a certain authority and prestige among men (magistrates, judges, etc.) who have received their power and authority “by divine decree” and are therefore considered as representatives of God before men. In other words, characters considered as “gods” before the people, but mortal.
Can we therefore consider that Jesus’ words refer to human beings as gods, as immortal beings?
The divine nature of the human being was a concept that was very present in antiquity, particularly in the Pythagorean tradition. Plato, for example, speaks of “the divine in us” (“Timaeus” 90 c), alluding to the rational part of the soul. Now, for Plato, man is a soul (eternal and immortal), united to an animal, mortal body. In this sense, the philosopher understands the body as the prison of the soul. Plotinus, the epigone of Plato and his philosophy, in the first treatise of “Aeneid” (I, 10) (“On what is the animal and what is man”), raises the same issue, pointing out that the human animal is bipolar by nature, in the sense of being composed of a vivified body (the lower beast) and a soul (the true man):
“Beast” is the vivified body; but the true man is another.
Although, as he has told us before:
“But the goal of our endeavour is not to be free from guilt, but to be god.” (I, 2, 6)
In “Aeneas” (V,8,30), Plotinus records that the (divine) Man and “Total” has been transformed into his own creation, that is, into a mortal man:
“He creates this other form of man in which he has been transformed. For having become a man at this time, he ceased to be the total Man”.
More explicitly this is shown by the Roman writer and grammarian, Macrobius (4th century), who in his “Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis” (“Commentary on Scipio’s Dream”, by Cicero), goes so far as to state
“The soul is not only immortal, but also a god. Now, if a man who has been received in the divine condition from his body tries to say to a man buried in this life: “Know that you are a god”, he does not make the mortal participate in a privileged way, until the mortal has understood his true nature, lest he come to think that what is mortal and obsolete in others also receives the qualification of divine”. (“Commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio” II, 12, 5-6)
And add, in the same line as Plotinus:
“The visible man is not the true man, but the true man is he who governs the visible man. (“Commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio” II, 12, 9)
The classical texts coincide, therefore, in affirming that the true Man (divine) has ended up transforming himself into the natural and visible man (mortal man), but also, that man can become god, through his soul, that is, that a mortal man, can transform himself into immortal. Therefore, we can read in the first book of the hermetic texts (attributed to the mythical Hermes Trismegistus), chapter X, (“The Key”):
“So we dare say that man is a mortal god and that a celestial god is an immortal god.”
Such a transformation (from a mortal man to an immortal man) would take place when the human being begins to change his way of thinking, in the sense that he becomes aware that, in his highest aspects, he is divine. Thus, in the first book of the hermetic texts, chapter XI (“Intelligence to Hermes”)”intelligence”, declares Hermes (the man-soul who aspires to become divine:
“Nothing prevents you from believing yourself immortal and knowing everything, the arts, the sciences, the customs of all animals. Rise above all heights, descend below all depths, gather within you all the sensations of created things, of water, of fire, of dry and wet. Suppose that you are everywhere at once, on earth, in water, in heaven; that you have never been born, that you are still an embryo, that you are young, old, dead, beyond death. Take in everything at the same time: times, places, things, qualities, quantities, and you will understand God. But if you close your soul in the body, if you reduce it and say: “I don’t understand anything, I can’t do anything, I don’t know what I am or what I will be, what do you have in common with God?
The Golden Rosicrucian School, on the other hand, reminds us that the human being is linked to a spiritual principle or spirit spark atom. Because of such a link, we can say that we are spiritual beings or potential gods. However, it becomes evident that this is not enough to define us as gods. If we have, for example, the seed of an apple tree, we cannot say that we already have a tree, much less its fruits. It is clear to all of us that, before we can enjoy apples, we must bury the seed, wait for it to germinate, take care of its progress (remove the weeds, protect it against pests, water it…) and, only after a process of several years, if everything goes well, we will finally be able to enjoy the apples of our tree. In the same way, when the inner principle present in the human being germinates, we stop being potential gods, and we can say that we are beings in the process of becoming gods.
But only when our “inner tree” has grown and matured enough to bear the fruits of a new consciousness, a universal consciousness, in which all separateness has been dissolved, only then can we properly say: we are gods, for then we participate in the consciousness of our inner god.