Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Bible clearly points out that God does not want us to make images of him in any form. Making images of gods is very common all over the world and that dates back to early human history. These images commonly called idols are worshiped by some and despised by others. People’s attitudes towards them have been judges variously all over history. For example:
“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it.
Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “Nations and peoples of every language, this is what you are commanded to do: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.” Daniel 3:1-6 (NIV)
There are other images people hold of God; these are images of people, they include images of fathers, religious leaders (called by various names), political or national leaders and so on. God does not approve of these too. The scripture says:
“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” Matthew. 23:8-10 (KJV)
These figures have held many people in “mind captivity” all over the ages. People have related to God according to how they perceived or related to these “god figures”. For example, when we say God is our father, the image of an earthly father pops up. If people had a good “father – child” relationship, they are glad and happy with God as father; they recoil, if they had a harrowing experience with an earthly father; at that point they are bemuses about the idea that God can be a father.
There had been many religious leaders or leadership institution that people adore and honour. They represent God in people’s minds; they become images that people hold in highest esteem. People call them leaders, fathers, God sent, and many other names like that. These in many instances posed great dangers, given their human frailty; in many cases these “god figures” had succumbed to their human weakness and wrecked the faith of many people. Those occasions have driven many people away from God; in some cases some people who were established in faith had abandon their faith in God completely. The church history is chequered with a lot of these experiences and it has made evangelism difficult in many places.
There have been great leaders who came to leadership with great zeal and fervour. They had great accomplishments but failed to deliver in morals and were not accurate in judgement in some decisions; they failed the test of being “gods”. Their followers usually get discouraged and disappointed. The unfortunate thing is that many people pass on this experience to God. They see God as inadequate and unable to deliver on his promises.
Men are not gods and there are no gods except the almighty God. Men who play god are in error and should stop; the glories derived from such efforts are false. Great men of God are still men and subject to the passions of men. People should wipe off the god images they hold of other people both physically and mentally. This will save them from error, pain and mental agony that accompany human failures that belittle people including the “god figures”.
God almighty through Jesus Christ has made himself available to all people. Those who seek him find him. The scripture says,
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:12-13 (NIV)
It is true that God has placed people along our part to help us in our relationship with him; we should appreciate and honour them but we are never allowed to see them as God. They are not.