Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Suppression Of Truth (part 4)

What is the end of this becoming foolish and its expression of foolish statements?  Paul writes that the ones who did not glorify the Creator God, nor give Him thanks, but became futile in their thoughts with darkened hearts, who claimed to be wise but instead became fools, “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles” (Romans 1:23). 

What Adam and Eve accomplished was indeed the beginning of idolatry, and it began with self-worship, along with a complete disregard of their God and a forgetfulness of the Creator.  A forgotten Creator, together with self-worship, can be seen when Eve gives birth to a son and declares herself to have been able to create a man.  With that, man, rather than continuing to comprehend himself as the steward of life, now looked at himself as being able to bring forth life---as god-like. 

There is an implication that once the Creator God is shoved to the side and replaced by another creator, then the fact that there was an act of creation (along with an associated gifting of responsibilities) by that Creator falls quickly from the mind.  Having forgotten their Creator, and no longer bearing in mind that they were part of a good created order, Adam and Eve (and those to whom they gave birth) could look around them, observing the entire order of nature, and surmise that the animals that they saw had brought themselves into existence, that they could also pro-create and generate life, and that they were therefore worthy of worship as well.  So began the interminable fall into the practice of idolatry that has gripped mankind from the very beginning.  The Scriptures seem to insist that it is only the grace of the covenant God of Israel that enables one to break free from the ingrained tendency to idolatry, so as to be able to see the Creator in His glory, and in doing so, seek to honor and give worship to Him.      
With mankind having made its nearly irrevocable fall into idolatry, worshiping that which is not the Creator God, and thereby deciding for themselves that there is no god beyond himself and that to which he ascribes divinity, Paul continues his potential reflection on the creation story and insists that “God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:24). 

The Creator God was to be honored by mankind’s stewardship of His good creation, but man, as can be observed from the fall and all that followed, had and has an altogether different plan.  It becomes patently clear from Genesis that the serpent merely simply seized upon the desire of the human heart to honor only self, and Paul, because of his constant assertion that the God of Israel is ultimately in control of all things, describes this as the Creator God giving humanity over to the desires of the heart. 

With this self-honor, in truth, the opposite transpired.  With this self-honor, impurity imposed itself into the world.  With this self-honor came dishonor.  That dishonor, resulting from the rejection of their God’s plan for them, manifested itself in death.  The blame for this does not lie with the serpent, but with mankind alone, who alone was created as the divine image for the cosmos.  This dishonor came at their own hands, as humanity is said to have engaged in the process of dishonoring their bodies through their own decisions and actions---doing so among themselves.  What had been made in perfection and for life was now subject to the dishonor of death, far removed from the God-glorifying honor of the Creator, which is the purpose for which they had been created. 

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