Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Creating God in our own image: Is 40:18-20

"To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, a goldsmith plates it with gold, and a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; he seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter." (Isaiah 40:18-20)
What is the difference between God and an idol? An idol is created by man, but God is the creator of everything. When I was in college, there was an architect major that had a banner on his drawing board that read, "And man made God in his own image." While being blasphemous, it is often all too true. Far too often we tend to reduce God in our own estimation and imagine Him to be something of our own creation. Instead of letting God be God, we want to put Him in a box. We want to reduce Him to what we can comprehend and understand. When we do this, our "image" of God can become a idol that we worship. For example, we worship an image of God that is all love, but reject the truth of God that He is also just and will return one day to judge the quick and the dead. We worship a God that always answers prayer and believe that God will always cause our way to prosper, but we ignore the fact that it is the purposes of God that will stand forever, not our own purposes. We want God to be what is convenient to us; to meet all our needs and wants; but this is not the God who is the creator of the heavens and the earth. How do you know if you are worshiping a God who is created in your own image? Consider the following:
  1. Is your God moody? Does He have "bad days". Is He irritable, touchy, always ready to criticize?
  2. Does your God look the other way when it comes to sin? When you sin, does He say, "that's OK, don't worry about it"? For you, repentance is not necessary, after all, God understands.
  3. Does your God always agree with you? Does His will always seem to line up with your own?
  4. Is your God so predictable that you're never surprised by what He does? Is your worship of God dictated by your own agendas, schedules, and protocols?
  5. Is your God a God that never imposes His own wishes, will, and purpose upon your life? Is your God tolerant of your own plans even when they differ from His own?
  6. Is your conversation with God primarily one way? Is He a God who is to be directed and commanded? Do you go to Him to tell Him what you want rather than listening to what He wants?
  7. Is your God a God that is limited by the physical world? Can He only perform "miracles" as long as He invokes physical laws and processes to accomplish them? Is He a God that is limited to the natural rather than the supernatural?
I suppose that there are many other things we could add to this list, but these are just a few indicators that we are worshiping an image of God that is of our own creation rather than worshiping the true God who dwells in unapproachable light. God strictly forbid the making of any graven images of Himself to worship. The reason is because He wants us to always remember that God is not like anything of this creation. He is not like an animal or object that we can see, touch, and handle. In fact, God is not even of this creation. God always existed and is the creator of all we see. God never wants to be reduced in the eyes of His people to just another part of His creation; like a tree, rock, or animal. Consider some of the following attributes of God:
  • God is the "I Am". He is who He says He is. We cannot put Him "in a box" since He himself is the creator of the box.
  • God's purposes and plans are established forever. It is our schedules and agendas that must yield to His plans and purposes. It is not up to us to dictate to God when and how He shows up. We must let God do what He chooses to do.
  • God is to be feared. We must never let our familiarity with God to cause us to be casual with Him. He holds our very life in His hand and in a moment, if He so desired, He could bring an end to that life.
  • God never changes. If there are times when we feel distant from God, its not God who moved. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is us who go through changes, not God.
  • God defines the supernatural. When God moves supernaturally, He is doing what is natural to Him. It is only supernatural to us. All that He does is supernatural.
God is awesome! Dear God, open our eyes that we may see You as You truly are. Help our knowledge of You not to be limited by our preconceived ideas or our limited understanding. We ask that you will reveal Yourself to us, that we might know You, and that we might be changed into that self-same image. Lord, our knowledge and our study is not enough, we need to see You. O Lord, show us Your glory!

David Robison


  1. Anonymous7:57 AM

    Great article - thanks !

  2. Anonymous11:58 PM

    I find it interesting that you considered the phrase "Man has made God in his own image" blasphemous towards God. I have used that phrase often when thinking about how we (allegedly God's people) have reduced God to a benign despot who just happens to agree with us on just about everything. Thanks for a great article!