Pop star Justin Bieber has defended himself after some fans accused him of comparing himself to God on social media.
Bieber shared a photo of himself from earlier this week sleeping with his dog and the caption: "and on the 7th day [...]"
The young pop star then received a rash of criticism from some who thought the musician was comparing himself to God in Genesis 2:2, which reads: "By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work" (NIV).
Bieber clarified his intent on Instagram on Thursday, writing: "AND MY GOODNESS I WAS MAKING A REFERENCE, I AM NOT COMPARING MYSELF TO GOD IM THE FARTHEST THING FROM!!!! IT WAS MY WAY OF SAYING HOW IMPORTANT REST IS.. WHEN THERE IS NOTHING TO PICK AT ME FOR YOU MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING BUT I GET IT YOU NEED RATINGS AND TRACTION YOUR BLOGS. But if truthfully if you were offended it was in no way shape or form me comparing myself to the most high."
The 22-year-old star has not been afraid to express his evangelical faith before, and has been open about his close friendships to several prominent pastors, including Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York City and Judah Smith of The City Church in Seattle, Washington.
When Bieber debuted his "Purpose" album earlier this year in Los Angeles, he was accompanied by Smith onstage as the two discussed the new album and spirituality.
Smith has previously said that Bieber should not be judged differently due to his celebrity status, suggesting that the young pop star is very similar to other men his age.
Bieber has been involved in some difficult legal issues earlier, including being arrested in Florida on suspicion of drunk driving, and facing charges of vandalism.
"I think people would be surprised to discover that their challenges and struggles are not too dissimilar to us, average ordinary people. We're all looking for essentially the same thing and I think that's faith and hope and love and meaning, and of course satisfaction, peace, joy," Smith told Fox 411 last year.
Lentz also referenced his friendship with Bieber in a social media post this week, posting a photo of himself with the pop star and rapper Lil Wayne.
The evangelical pastor wrote in the photo's caption that Christians must avoid classifying people based on limited information, such as their celebrity status.
"[…] Because these individuals are 'well known', immediately it will elicit reactions [...] mostly harsh, because it's easier/lazy to classify that which you can't fully understand, than to pursue depth and reasoning. Projecting insecurity and bad motives is a full time job for too many people..If they were not well known'? Much more palatable for people! Why? Because we classify that as well and are not threatened by things that fit neatly into our ready made classification prism," Lentz wrote.
The pastor added that Christians must work not to dispense love and grace how they see fit, but how God sees fit, suggesting that God distributes his grace "quickly and freely."
"Should make it really easy for all of us who claim to follow Jesus, to show grace and love exactly how we were given it: freely and quickly, regardless of our SHARED, INHERENT 'class'. Sinners [...] grace?? It changes the story," Lentz added.