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Images of God (4)


Looking to images of God causes us to misrepresent God in our minds, essentially causing us to worship a false god.

image

2. Images mislead us, for they convey false ideas about God. The very inadequacy with which they represent him perverts our thoughts of him and plants in our minds errors of all sorts about his character and will.

Aaron, by making an image of God in the form of a bull-calf, led the Israelites to think of him as a Being who could be worshiped acceptably by frenzied debauchery. Hence the “festival to the Lord” which Aaron organized (Ex 32:5) became a shameful orgy. Again, it is a matter of historical fact that the use of the crucifix as an aid to prayer has encouraged people to equate devotion with brooding over Christ’s bodily sufferings; it has made them morbid about the spiritual value of physical pain, and it has kept them from knowledge of the risen Savior.

These examples show how images will falsify the truth of God in the minds of men. Psychologically, it is certain that if you habitually focus your thoughts on an image or picture of the One to whom you are going to pray, you will come to think of him, and pray to him, as the image represents him. Thus you will in this sense “bow down” and “worship” your image; and to the extent to which the image fails to tell the truth about God, to that extent you will fail to worship God in truth. That is why God forbids you and me to make use of images and pictures in our worship.

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 46–47.



Posted 2008·10·24 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Idolatry · J I Packer · Jealousy (of God) · Knowing God · Papism · Regulative Principle

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