In the Image of Man
And Man Said,
‘Let Us Make God In Our Image, According To Our Likeness’ – (Genocide 1:26)
Yes I know… the above title may look somewhat like a meaningless misprint at first glance, but sadly, I can assure you that it’s not. Ever since the dawn of time, it seems as if earthly man, dissatisfied with the dictates and desires of the one, eternal, almighty God and Creator of the entire universe, has sought to dethrone, diminish, and “dumb-down” the God of heaven, by characterizing, compromising, and/or cramming Him into some more easily understood, man-made, more man-pleasing – or at least more familiar to man – earthly creature or caricature.
From the very earliest example of worship which God required, we see that man was not satisfied to simply submit, obey, and give God what He desired, but sought to “create God in his own image,” by giving God what man desired instead, while at the same time, apparently thinking that that would be acceptable. Man was, of course totally wrong (Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4), repeatedly! And yet, he still remained totally committed and undeterred in his prideful, disobedient, and irreverent pursuit of error.
As time went by, man continually sought to restructure, recreate, and recast God and His divine desires, into some of a more self-satisfying and man-made mold. And so, instead of simply submitting to the straightforward instructions which the God of heaven had so carefully and lovingly laid down for His creation to follow, man continually sought thereafter to offer to God in worship, all sorts of substitutions which man had arbitrarily decided – and outrageously somehow justified in his own deluded mind – would be okay. From the Israelites’ golden calf (Exodus 32), to Nadab and Abihu’s burning desire for their unauthorized addition to worship (Leviticus 10); to King Jeroboam’s ‘more convenient,’ counterfeit worship practices somewhat “like” God had ordained, but which he had still “devised in his own heart” (1 Kings 12:25ff); to the man-made doctrines and commandments of men which Jesus said rendered “vain” the worship of any and all of those who would practice such substitutions (Matthew 15; Mark 7), man has never stopped seeking to diminish, dethrone, and re-create the God of heaven, into man’s own “much-less” mold, in man’s own mind; into something that the God of heaven never has been or ever will be: subject and in submission to human desires, dictates, and deviant derivations (2 Peter 2 and 3)!
But man wasn’t content to stop at simply recreating worship into something more man-designed and desired, but actually also foolishly sought to go so far as to create and then to serve and sacrifice to all of his humanly-devised “gods” themselves – which were nothing more than the perverted manifestations of men, women, beasts, and earthly things, then perhaps combined with some other-worldly and/or fantastic delusions from the mind of men. But all of these things God Himself had strictly forbidden since He led His people out of bondage (Deuteronomy 5, 13; Jeremiah 10; Acts 17 + 18; Romans 1; and etc.).
I was recently reminded of this as my wife and I returned home one evening and found our daughter doing her homework on the living room floor, with one of the latest, computer-generated “superhero” movies going on T.V. As I later considered the characters, it occurred to me just how similar these so-called “superheroes” all were, to the ancient idea of the many false gods man has made in his own image over the millennia! Just as those false gods were nothing more than merely the human, animal, imagination combinations of men’s minds, only supposedly possessing the grossly amplified, over exaggerated or magnified muscles, powers, or uniquely-modified attributes of the creatures they resembled, so too, are all of these so-called but imaginary “superheroes” of today. Fantasy manifestations of men and women combined with the exaggerated attributes of everything from ants, to spiders, to bats, to panthers, to wolverines and everything in between; as well as from the most basic of hulking muscle-bound monsters to the most technologically-advanced and flexibly iron enhanced and clad warriors and more, all clashing in world-cringing combat – very much as the false and imaginary “gods” of old were believed to do.
I am just incredibly grateful to know (1 John 5:11-13), that unlike either the false, man-made gods of old, or the imaginary man-made “superheroes” of today’s movies, my hero – Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God Himself – is very alive and real, and not some imaginary, techno-imagery which was created and lives on only in the minds and on the screens of mere mortal and misguided men. Neither does my Hero have to “suit up” to be powerful, but actually had to strip Himself of some of His power and put on human flesh just like me, in order to come and save me (John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8). And my Hero is more powerful than all of man’s imaginary so-called “superheroes” put together could ever be, even if they did live – which they don’t – because His power extends beyond the grave. And one day He’s coming back to take me home to live with Him forever. Now, how’s that for power?
(Author’s note: On Sunday, November 13th, we here at the Lord’s church in Cleveland, Oklahoma, will be starting a several-part sermon mini-series on this very subject, Lord willing, with vital insights and applications into its ramifications for today and on into eternity. These sermons should all soon thereafter be available for your listening/learning pleasure, at: www.clevelandok.church, under the “Resources” tab, in the “Sermon Audio” section. God bless + good studying!)