Idolatry: Ignorance or Arrogance

The first four of the Ten Commandments relate directly to Israel’s worship of God because they had been led out of Egypt, out of slavery (Exodus 20:1-11):

You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make a graven image (of a god).
You shall not misuse the name of God.
You shall keep holy the Sabbath of God.

Clearly, proper worship is front and center in God’s instructions. Other nations did not have these laws, and yet they are judged and in some cases exterminated because of their idolatry. Is this, as some modern atheists have suggested, just a prideful, jealous deity in a bad mood?

Even a casual reading of the TANAKH, our Old Testament, shows that, while God is just, He also is kind, merciful, and very patient with his wayward subjects. He can hardly be called impetuous or prideful.

Moreover, if He is the Creator of all things and the highest of all good and goodness, it would not be right for Him to encourage or even allow His creatures to worship anything or anyone less. To do so would be unloving, and to allow anyone to believe in beings which don’t exist would be deceptive.

The harsh reality is that the so called “gods of Canaan,” against which Israel was so often warned, demanded child sacrifices and encouraged immorality in their worship.

Paul explains that even without the good news of the Gospel, the nations already stand condemned, since they have rejected the plain evidence of Creation itself, and along with that, the Creator. Instead, they have become the creators of man-like and even animal-like gods and goddesses which bore no resemblance at all to a kind and compassionate Creator/Redeemer (Romans 1:18-23).

So, as we contemplate the lostness of humanity, let’s not write it off to mere ignorance and lack of opportunity. Let’s not pretend that all religions really are saying the same thing. Let’s begin where God begins, and admit that both the vastness and the order of Creation are enough to bring anyone to seek the One true God who created us.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Romans 1:20

Leave a Reply