A Theology of Idolatry

The first five books of the Bible lay the foundation for the kind of relationship that God wants to have with His people. He wants to walk with them; talk with them; have them know Him; and receive their worship. The overarching concern in establishing this relationship was that God is a “holy” God. “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy. . .” (Leviticus 11:44). The basic meaning of the word holy (Qadosh) is “set apart”, “apartness”, “distinct”, and “unique”. This idea of “separateness” is at the very core of who God is; how He works; and how any human being must relate to Him. It comes through in all His creative design (Genesis); interaction with mankind (Genesis –Numbers); and in the ethical, moral and civil obligations given for interaction between man and man, man and earth, and man and God (Leviticus- Deuteronomy). Stated simply, you can’t understand the Pentateuch, or the God of the Pentateuch, without some understanding of His “separateness”!

This “separateness” is front and center in Genesis chapter one where God’s creative work makes a clear separation between: (1) God and man (2) man and animal, and (3) male and female. All of these “distinctions” or “separations” in creation are reflections of His divine image. After the fall, we see two more important areas of separation: (4) good and evil; and (5) the holy and the profane. These five areas of separation became the foundation to the spiritual, civil and social health of the nation of Israel, as well as, all cultures and civilizations to follow. When any of these distinctions are blurred or deliberately crossed; chaos, confusion and destruction follow.

It is no wonder then that one of Satan’s primary strategies in His war against God will be an attempt to blur these lines of separation with the ultimate intent of erasing them altogether. Satan hates God and seeks to attack Him in any way possible. Since frontal assaults do not work well for him, he seeks to attack God by marring or destroying the distinctiveness of his creation or His image in us. Satan’s ultimate goal is to mar or, if possible, erase the “distinctiveness” of God’s image as so uniquely seen in the human race and thereby creating havoc and ultimate destruction to a society or culture.

Satan has been quite successful and thereby relentless in following this strategy. Fallen civilizations and cultures of the past are silent witnesses to this truth. Our own American culture is becoming a present day example. America’s founding was highly impacted by the Judeo-Christian faith and ethic. We openly acknowledged the transcendence and sovereignty of God (In God we Trust is still our national motto); taught the difference between good and evil as found in holy scripture; placed the dominion and well-being of humans in the proper biblical place – far above that of animals; understood the physical and social distinctions of male and female; held life as a sacred gift from God; and despised a profane man or woman. But alas, that was the America of yesterday! Every one of the five major “separations” mentioned above has all but vanished from the American norm. We are Godless and profane – and if you don’t believe that just look at a billboard, read a book or watch evening television. The battle that now rages is the one to destroy the distinction between male and female with the resultant evil of same-sex marriage. When this last distinction is destroyed, chaos and confusion will follow. God will not be mocked!

Satan’s strategy of erasing the Divine lines of separation begins with the mind. Through vain and worldly philosophies the so called “intellectual elites” planted and preached the ideas that dethroned God, elevated man, undermined absolute truth, destroyed moral values, devalued human life and is presently removing the family structure upon which civilizations are built. Ideas are powerful! Unfortunately, ideas have consequences. What I think carries over into what I do. Character is connected to the intellect. Ideas impact values. According to historian Paul Johnson, the killing fields of Cambodia came out of philosophical discussions (ideas) in Paris!

Is there an answer? Yes! The answer is the radical transformation of the heart and the renewing of the mind in truth – God’s truth! Can it happen? Oh, yes! Will it happen? Well . . . that depends on you and me!

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