GODS OF OUR OWN CREATION

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann, 1889 (from here)
Christ and the Rich Young Ruler by Heinrich Hofmann, 1889 (from here)

On The Nature Of The Choice

The creation story in Genesis says God made us in His image, but what does that mean? Consider what happens when someone takes a photograph of you. That photograph is an image of you. Now imagine the absurd. What if that photograph thought it was you?

It is a silly thing we do, but we do it anyway. What is that? We create the gods we desire. When we create gods of our own desire, we put our own desires — our own will — before that of the One in whose image we were made.

How does this irrational process work? We begin by trying to “reason” our way out of a dilemma. From the day of our birth, we have two basic choices.

  • It is all about me.
  • It is all about the One who made Everything.

The First Choice

What if we choose the first choice. Selecting the first choice quickly leads to desperation, even insanity. It confronts us with an insurmountable obstacle. It raises a question we cannot answer. If it is all about me, why then am I not God, the One in control of All That Is?

Therefore, we reason. We scheme. We devise alternatives and solutions. Instead of turning to the One who made Everything, we make our own, less fearful gods.

What are less fearful gods? Because they are of our own making, these are gods we can understand and manipulate or they are simply softies.

We can proliferate a seemingly infinite variety of gods. Thus, we have the Greek and Norse mythologies, the Great Spirit of the Indians, the Hindu pantheon, the nirvana of Buddhism (that is atheistic “god”), an austere and vengeful Allah, and so forth.

The Egyptian god Anubis (a modern rendition inspired by New Kingdom tomb paintings) (from here)
The Egyptian god Anubis (a modern rendition inspired by New Kingdom tomb paintings) (from here)
The Chariot of Zeus, from an 1879 Stories from the Greek Tragedians by Alfred Church. (from here)
The Chariot of Zeus, from an 1879 Stories from the Greek Tragedians by Alfred Church. (from here)

On the other hand, some just pretend to ignore the choice. These worship the world itself. They adore the power of the state. They strive to continually dwell in pleasure such as that we call sex. They accumulate stuff. Or they endlessly seek to elevate themselves above all others (until we put them six feet below everyone else).

Others worship more distant gods. Deists worship a god who made everything and just walked away from all His Works. Some who call themselves Christians worship an endlessly forgiving, supposedly loving god, a softy who does not hate sin. What we do does not matter to this god. Because “God is Love,” salvation is for everyone including those who refuse to repent of their sins. What sins?

Galatians 5:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

No matter what kind of god we create, unless we worship the One True God our lives remain meaningless (Ecclesiastes).

The Second Choice

The second question threatens our egos with annihilation.  If it is all about God, then “I” don’t matter. “I” am just here today and gone tomorrow, all as if “I” had never been. All my loves and all my works matter not.

Yet this second choice is only rational choice. Because God is God, because He created All that is, All Creation speaks of Him.

What happens if we turn to the Creator, the One who made Everything?

Christianity tells us — Jesus tells us — God loves us, that we matter because we matter to Him.

From the Bible we learn that God is Love. We also learn that God is Truth, God is Just, God is full of Grace and Mercy, God is Faithful, God is Wisdom….. From the Bible we learn that God is not like us. He is a Spirit, and He is Holy. What is surprising is that God still cares about us. God is not one-dimensional, just about love, nor is He a softy, but He still loves us, and that in spite of the fact we are sinful.

Because God loves us, out of an abundance of Grace Jesus paid in full the price of our sins. He died for us. Tortured to death by members of our own race, He died for us upon a bloody cross, and He forgave us even as our brothers took His life.

What sort of God is it who requires such a price for sin and then pays that price Himself? He is the One True God in whom we can place our trust.

Solving The Riddle That Is Sin

What is it then that separates us from God? Why do we struggle to know and trust our Creator? Is it Satan? Does Satan keep us from God. No. Satan is a symbol of evil, but he is not the counterpart of God. Satan is an archangel whose pride in himself drove him from God. His counterpart is Michael the Archangel.

What then is Satan to us? He is our model for bad behavior. He is our tempter. When we refuse to turn to God, refuse to love our Creator and disobey our Maker, we behave as Satan behaves. Satan, not Jesus, then becomes our role model.

God, because He wants us to love Him of our own will, has given each of us a choice. Just as Satan did, we can choose to make it all about me. We can rationalize, pretend we are not doing just that. We can even admire our skill using the gift of reason. But the first choice, making it all about me, while it might seem “rational,” is still a choice to separate ourselves from God. Thus, that first choice will still lead to desperation and perhaps insanity.

What can we do instead? What is our alternative? Just as countless saints have done before us, we can choose to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

Because He loves us, we can depend upon God to keep us whole. Therefore, for our own sake we learn must love Him in return. Eventually, because God is God, we will love Him just because He deserves our love.

Does it seem unfair that God should confront us with such a choice? If it does, it is because we still imagine a God made in our own image. Because we do not deserve to be worshiped, no God made in our image deserves to be worshiped.

Romans 8:31-39 New King James Version (NKJV)

God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[a]

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

9 thoughts on “GODS OF OUR OWN CREATION

  1. Wow, Tom. This is just perfect. I really like how you’ve shown the nature of people, how if we aren’t worshiping God we’ll simply be worshiping something else. Power loves a void and in a political context, that void often becomes the State.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh I so agree with this post Tom. False idols seem rampant these days with people putting their faith in everything but God. This is why, I believe many folks hold so hard to their political ideology, it’s what they put their faith in and if they are somehow shown to be wrong, well then their whole world collapses.

    I suppose it’s been this way since the beginning as you amply show but I don’t see things improving without some sort of serious reckoning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @Tricia

      Thank you for your comment.

      Many of us are putting the cart before the horse. Because it is an indication of our morality, I think our politics is important to God. Nevertheless, it is our moral character that concerns Him, not how well we run our government.

      If we allow God to save our souls, I suppose He will also save our country. Who knows but Him?

      What I think each of us must remember that saving our country is incidental to saving our souls, including those of our neighbors. Hence, I think we need to pray for a revival. We need to live out our faith. We need to put God first in our lives, and when we participate in politics we need to do so in a way that gives glory to our Lord. Which is all easier said than done.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I sure agree with that. And it’s very much easier said than done, that’s true! We have no choice really and that’s why I get more frustrated when some on the right act just as ugly as any far left nut when discussing politics. It’s just wrong, no matter if the side you’re backing has the more high ground.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A somewhat less absurd example can be drawn. Instead of this:

    Consider what happens when someone takes a photograph of you. That photograph is an image of you. Now imagine the absurd. What if that photograph thought it was you? It is a silly thing we do, but we do it anyway.

    … consider what happens if, some years from now, an artificial intelligence — an android — is constructed in the image of a human (which is what “android” means), and it becomes convinced that it is human. Less silly and in fact quite believable; though we are not there yet, we likely will be in within the lifespans of some alive today.

    This raises philosophical issues including what it means to be human, but those are sideways to the point you’re making.

    But it would be interesting to talk to such a newly created person about Christian theology, for it asserts that such an artificial person was created by God, even if indirectly. Similarly, if God is in charge of evolution, it still means that humans were created by God, even if indirectly, and this would refute nothing of what you’re laying out.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. @Keith

    Interesting speculation. Thank you.

    Here is some speculation of my own.

    Androids

    I think the theological issue with androids revolves around whether or not we can create one that has a will of its own. Isaac Azimov’s science fiction speculated that we could, but I don’t recall that his books spoke directly to the religious implications of android. Wikipedia says Azimov was atheist, a humanist, and a rationalist. I suspect you would know more about that than me.

    Frankly, I have my doubts about our ability to create an android with a will of its own. That would be a self-directed creature that establishes its own goals and chooses its own methods to achieve those goals. Even if we manage to develop hardware capable of supporting such a creature, how would we write the program? Just the same, some people will try. If they succeed, I hope they are familiar with Azimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.

    Assuming we could create self-willed artificial intelligences, would such intelligences have souls? Could an artificial intelligence be a child of God? We “create” children. Would God regard a self-willed android as equivalent to one of our children? Since God allowed us to create the android — gave us the ability to create it — I suppose so, and I guess that is what you are getting at.

    Theory of Evolution

    I don’t know if God created us via an evolutionary process. I understand that quite a few scientists consider the matter settled, but I just roll my eyes heavenward. The Theory of Evolution is a good theory, but we don’t have incontrovertible proof that it is true. I also think believing the Theory of Evolution with a religious conviction makes no sense. How can anyone do that and still condemn Creationism as religion, not science? Yet that is what some people do.

    Curiously, some of the Azimov’s Foundation series involve the accidental creation of the “Church of Science” in the plot. Never read those books, but I suppose they would be interesting.

    Is the Theory of Evolution compatible with the Bible? The Catholic Church thinks it is. I suppose at least some of the major Protestant denominations do as well. Shrug.

    I don’t think Moses meant the Genesis account to be allegorical. When I read Genesis, I consider the fact that Mose wrote to the people of his era. Since the Theory of Evolution (assuming the theory is true) would have confused the theological message (and Moses would not have known anything about it), he obviously would not and could not have spoken to it. Hence, the Creation Story in Genesis is as close to the truth as the Hebrews were capable of understanding the truth.

    When God inspired his prophets, the Bible does not say He passed out doctorates in science. Similarly, even though the Bible provided the Hebrews healthy dietary habits and sexual practices, God did not issue anyone degrees in the biological sciences. Nevertheless, some people just can’t stand the fact we just might actually be the aunts and uncles of some monkeys, not even cute monkeys. So there is a knee-jerk reaction against it.

    We should never forget God has a sense of humor. Who knows what He might have done or do? After all, didn’t that Cosmic Prankster create us? Well, at least some people think so.
    😉

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