Thursday, September 03, 2020

Lost touch with reality? Maybe this is why!

Idol worship, in both its ancient and modern forms, involves a movement away from the domain of the real and thus a concomitant inability to engage the real accurately. In speaking of the false worship of the Israelites, the author of 2 Kings says, “They went after empty idols [hebel] and became empty” (17:15). The prophet Jeremiah echoes this sentiment, saying that in departing from true worship of Yahweh, the people of Judah “went after emptiness, and became empty” (2:5). So idolatry’s trajectory away from the real leads the worshiper finally into a vacuum, a total disconnect from reality—the idol worshiper has become like the insensate idol. As such, she or he is in the end totally unable to use the senses to connect to the domain of the real—God’s truth, beauty, goodness, and oneness as these can be accessed through encounter with God’s creation, which God has given as a gift. Human encounter with God’s glory has been exchanged for an encounter with false images so that humans lack the glory of God.

The good news, on the other hand, is that when we participate in worship of the one true God, the result is that we become increasingly sensate and insightful——we see, hear, smell, and touch the God~crafted reality of the created order, and we correctly recognize that it points to truths about God’s very self. And in so doing we are set free to be fully human once again; that is, we are increasingly conformed to the image of the Son, the truly human one, the one who fully images God.—Matthew Bates in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, 155

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