Read: Philippians 3:7-21
Idolatry is defined in the catechism as putting your trust is some object other than God.
Historically, and externally, when we think of idolatry, we think of the worship of personal gods and goddesses. Every group of people in history has had gods like this (think of the Egyptians, the Canaanites, the Greeks, the Romans, etc.). This form of idolatry also includes such things as sorcery, superstition and prayers to the spirits of the dead.
But in the modern world, a world of science and technology, a material and comfortable world, man seems to have advanced beyond trusting in such unknown, invented, spiritual deities. Man, today, seems to know better than to have all these gods. Man looks at the gods of Greek mythology, and laughs at them.
Regardless, every person has his gods. Man was created a religious being, a creature who has an innate need for a being greater than himself, on whom he can depend. Man will look for security outside of himself.
And so, today, man's idols are mental and material. As such, they are no different than the gods of the ancient religions.
By “mental”, I mean that man comes up with his theories and philosophies, attempting to explain this world apart from the True God revealed in the Scriptures, and leading man in the end to ignore the spiritual and focus on the physical world, especially himself and his happiness in this world.
Atheism, very popular today, says there is no personal God or spiritual realm and that the world is simply material and physical. The emphasis in education falls then, on the physical sciences, on what can be discovered by research.
Agnosticism will admit that perhaps there is a God and a spiritual realm, but says that this is irrelevant and that God cannot be found anyway.
Pantheism says that this entire world is god, that he is the spirit that fills the universe, just as you have a spirit in your body. Trees, birds, the sun, men and all things are parts of god. God is not a distinct separate being from this creation.
Humanism says that man is the ultimate end of all things, and that man is free to do as he pleases in this world. The ultimate goal of man's existence is his own freedom and happiness. Humanism is the philosophy behind education and government in the modern day.
Materialism, or worldliness, is another denial of God. The opposite to godliness, it is godlessness, living “without God in the world” (Eph 2:12). People will put money, fame, family, pleasure, all things related to their earthly life first, living only for a sense of fulfillment in some aspect of life here on earth.
So many today have these mental and material gods for their idol. They may not even know the words, “atheism, pantheism, humanism, etc.” but these philosophies have influenced the whole human race.
We need to see that the reason for these gods is that man in his heart does not want to serve God, but wants, instead, to live for himself. This is true for each of us too. Very easily, we create idols in our own hearts, objects of worship, goals, things on which we trust, that have nothing to do with God. We pursue these gods, putting them before spiritual interests, and as a result suffer spiritually.
Oh may God give to us hearts of true devotion to him!
Rev. Rodney Kleyn (Wife: Elizabeth)
Ordained: Sept. 2002
Pastorates: Trinity, Hudsonville, MI - 2002; Covenant of Grace, Spokane, WA - 2009Website: www.reformedspokane.org/
Address7317 N.Deschutes Dr.
State or ProvinceWA