At Wired last night we took a look at how idolatry affects us. We may not bow down to graven images but idolatry still gets a hold of all of us.
God crafts us into his image, breathes his breath into us to make us alive, and gives us a task to do: fill and subdue the earth. Have dominion over the earth and care for it like God would care for it. We are to be God's representatives carrying God's authority on the earth. At least that was the plan...
Being ambassador was not good enough for humanity. They wanted to be equal with God and so Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and their minds were open, becoming like God. This disobedience got them kicked out of the Garden and made them lose some of their authority over the earth. Child birth became painful making the task of filling the earth difficult and by the sweat of their brows the earth would barely yield crops making the task of subduing it difficult. They are sent out to wander, an action of being lost and purposeless. The action of eating the fruit was misplaced worship. Instead of worshiping God we end up worshiping things. Paul says in Romans 1:21-23:
We are predisposed to take things and make them the ultimate thing, putting them in the place of God. We exchange our ability to bear God's image for other things instead. Money, looks, friends, and family are all good things but they are not God and when we put them in God's place they become evil things. The Psalmist warns the effects of idolatryYes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them - Psalm 115:4-8We become what we worship. When we make something other than God the ultimate thing we lose our humanness because we no longer look like God, the image we were created in. We feel like we don't matter when we don't have money, or we feel ugly or fat, or if we don't have friends. We feel this way likely because we have taken those things and placed in the God's spot. We have a predisposition to do so but luckily there is a solution
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. -Romans 5:17Jesus is the solution to our predisposition to idolatry. As Jesus moves about Israel he heals people of their blindness, their deafness, their muteness, their leprous hands, their crippled legs, and he raises people from the dead. He is reversing the effects of idolatry that the Psalm talks about! We were not created to be rich, or popular, or attractive, all the things that the television tells you that you need to be. We were created to represent God, to bear his image, by loving God, loving one another, and loving Creation. When we put God in the spot he is meant to be in then we become truly human.