Manufactured gods (Part 2)

“As the first commandment emphasizes the fact that there is but one God, in protest against the worship of many gods, the second places emphasis upon His spiritual nature”[1]. Exodus 20:4-6 states, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments”. The second commandment confused me a little. It seems simple, “don’t make any graven images of anything” but through further study I understand that it’s more like “don’t make any graven images of anything, with the intention of worshiping it as a god”. This makes more sense because if it was intended that we not make artistic renderings of birds, plants, fish, and celestial objects ect. then that would be a contradiction since, for example, God told Moses to make two angels for the lid of the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:18-20) and Solomon the decorated the walls of the temple with carved images of angels, palm trees and flowers (I Kings 6:29).

So, in addition to not putting people, ideas, or objects in place of God, we should take heed the message of the second commandment and be very careful in our attentions to religious objects like portraits, statues, (foods—grilled cheesus) or any other likenesses of religious entities and or Biblical beings (why exactly do people hail Mary?) because they can very easily go from religious artifacts to idols.

p.s. Images of God, Jesus, Mary, or any other Biblical personality is just asking for trouble anyway since we don’t know what they looked like.

[1] Francis D. Nichol Ed., The Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. I, Hagerstown: Review and Herald, 1978, 602

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