Then Man Made God in His Own Image

Love and blessings ekklesia.

Idolatry, or polytheism, is humanity's nature and norm. It is his default setting predetermined by his fallen nature. From the womb we all went astray, the Word says often (Ps 51:5, 58:3, Pr 22:15, Isa 48:8, Eph 2:3). We all entered life drawn to worship something other than Yahweh. Whether it be a hand-carved statue, an animal, the ideal family, emotional overeating, a political figure, constant attention, needing to control, or a codependent relationship we struggle to let go of, unhealthy dependencies and devotions define the human race. It would be a grave misrepresentation to assign polytheism only to Hinduism, Animism, and other openly polytheistic religions. Even born-again Christians, those regenerated and indwelt by the Spirit of God, can experience unhealthy dependencies and devotions (1Jn 5:20,21, 1Co 7:23) if we are not spiritually proactive to grow in the opposite direction Godward.

The Anatomy of Idolatry

Idolatry or polytheism is not complicated: we create a deity that is simply a projection of our wants and needs. If we analyzed every manmade god ever created, we would discover each one to be a projection and deification of some human impulse. The more complex deities are simply elaborate combinations of multiple human impulses. Left to ourselves, we worship our wants, we worship our needs. Paul understood this and cut through idolatry's sneaky fog in Colossians 3:5 (NKJV, underline added): Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
    Notice Paul simply lists human wants and needs that have been reshaped into a religious form. If we do not understand this, really understand this deep down, we will never get free from unhealthy dependencies and devotions. Worse, we will keep trying to make God into our own image, into the image of our own issues.


Different Names & Forms, Same Theology, Same Psychology
    The names and forms of gods vary in different cultures and time periods, however, the substructure is always the same: our wants, our needs. For example, the Egyptians created Heket, a goddess of fertility. What society wouldn't want reproductive and agricultural fertility? They also created Khepri, a god of rebirth and renewal. Don't we all wish for an occasional renaissance in our life? The Greeks created Aphrodite, the famous goddess of love and sex--cravings we all certainly have. Mohammed created the Allah of the Koran, a moon god with toxic anger issues--something we all could struggle with if we do not deal with injustice correctly, like the Ishmaelites (Gen 16).
    The list could go on forever. Humanity simply religifies its own traits, cravings, issues, hurts, and fixations. The temptation to do this is massive. Add to this the demonic factor and suddenly these idols come alive through false revelations and false manifestations (2Th 2:9, Ex 7:11,22).


Christian Idols
    John said, "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols" (1Jn 5:21). He did not mean avoid worshiping the Greek gods and going to their temples, though this would be one application. Rather, he meant any and all fixations, any and all objects of devotion, above the one true God. John's words are all-encompassing like the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:3). Only in the second commandment does God address the popular forms of idolatry of the day (v4), i.e., carved images.
    Many born-again Christians are fiercely monotheistic in their words, but polytheistic in their attitude and actual behavior. If we are not growing in self-awareness and learning consistently, we will reshape God in our minds into a lesser being reflecting our own issues. We will recreate God in our own image.
    What about our legitimate wants and needs? We all have them, do we not? If we do not submit these to the Lord's presence daily, and relinquish their fulfillment to His time and His way, they will shapeshift our mental view of Him. Once our mental model of Him distorts, our attitude and theology distort. Once our attitude and theology distort, we start behaving and making decisions according to this new version of God (god). Then we wonder how our life, or certain areas of our life, became so desolate and so cursed. What happened? We created a god in our own image.

The Acquiescent God