Christians are called the children of God, and children normally grow up to be like their parent(s). Does this mean that we will become God? What will our resurrected state be like? John had something to say about these issues in 1 John 2:28-3:2:
Dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are…. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
There are some interesting thoughts in this passage. First, John admits that what we will be like has not been revealed. We can speculate about these matters, but we should admit that we don’t really know what we will be like nor what life will be like in eternity. We do know this much: we will be free of the trials and sorrows of this life (Revelation 21:3-5). That is certainly a wonderful insight.
John also stated that we are “born again” in this life and that we are also called the “children of God.” But we are still limited human beings. We can be children of God and be “born again” without being “Gods.” We have to be careful how we interpret such expressions in terms of what our nature and life might be like after the resurrection.
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but this does not mean that we will be spirits without bodies. In the resurrection we will be “clothed” with an imperishable and immortal nature (1 Corinthians 15:52-53). We will be raised with a “spiritual body” (verse 44), which will be a state of existence given to us by God. This tells us that we will be qualitatively different, but this difference is not something we can explain or understand in this life.
This makes it doubly important that we clarify our assumptions about the next life—and that we use terms as carefully as possible. For example, there is a big difference between “become God” and “become like God.”
We may become “like” God in certain ways. God is spiritual, and we shall have spiritual bodies, so we will be “like” God in one sense. Indeed, we are already made in the “image and likeness” of God. We are to exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which reflects the mind and nature of God’s love. We are to become “like God” in this way as well, even in this life.
But to believe that we shall “become God” contradicts the Bible’s teaching about the nature of God. God is one being, not many separate beings. God is eternal and uncreated. But we do not have a past eternity, and we were created by God. Therefore, we are less than God, and can never be all that God is, and we can never be God, for that word implies being eternal, being uncreated, and being all-powerful. We do not have life within ourselves, as does God. We must be given life by God. He will give us eternal life, but that life is not inherent in us, and we cannot give it to others, as God can.
Some people use John 10:34— “you are gods”—in support of the idea that we shall become God. But Jesus was not commenting on the question of what we will be in the resurrection. In this passage, Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6, in which the Hebrew word translated “gods” is elohim. In context, it refers to unjust human judges (Psalm 82:1-2, 7). Jesus says the following in John 10:34-36:
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 the Scripture cannot be broken—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, “I am God’s Son”?
In John 10, the Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of blasphemy because he had claimed “to be God” (verse 33). Jesus was saying, in effect, the following: “If Scripture can call unjust human judges “gods,” how much more can the name ‘Son of God’ refer to me?” Jesus was not telling the Jews that these unjust judges were Gods. As the psalm says, they were mortal. Rather, Jesus was cautioning his hearers about their own unjust condemnation of his use of the term “Son of God.” Both the psalm and Jesus were talking about mortal human beings. The question of what we will be like after the resurrection has nothing to do with John 10:34.
In the resurrection, we will be like Jesus Christ, and that will be wonderful. We will be God’s children forever, living in perfect joy and happiness, and we thank God that we can become his children even in this life, through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.