God in our Image


When a sixties rock band and a sixteenth century reformer says the same thing, it may be worthwhile to take notice.  On the cover of one of their records, the band Jethro Tull, had something printed that looked like a quote from the King James Bible, complete with old fashioned font, narrow column and decorated first letter. 
 

In the beginning Man created God;
and in the image of Man
created he him.

 

Although the statement may appear at first to be aimed against God, it is clear if you read the whole quote on the cover, and from the lyrics on the record, that this was not the case.  Being a British band, they were launching an attack on hypocrisy, on people trimming their religion to suit themselves and on the gold and glamour of high Anglicanism.
 

John Calvin said almost exactly the same thing of the religion around him in his day:
"In seeking God, miserable men do not rise above themselves as they should, but measure Him by the yardstick of their own carnal stupidity, and neglect sound investigation... They do not therefore apprehend God as He offers himself, but imagine Him as they have fashioned Him in their own presumption" (I:IV:1).

This is the most subtle, and a very dangerous form of idolatry:  that in our minds and conversations, we trim God to a size and shape that suits us. Then we worship this “man-made god” instead of the Lord of all creation as He reveals Himself to us in Scripture.
 

“All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless.”   - Isaiah 44:9
 

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” - Isaiah 45:22