Why does the Bible warn against idolatry?

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By BibleAsk Team


Idolatry

The Lord Himself warns us against idolatry. The Second Commandment states:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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; you shall not bow down to them nor [a]serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20:4-6 also Deuteronomy 5:8

The making of images or sculptures for the purpose of religious veneration is breaking to God’s commandment. The scriptures teach that idolatry and the veneration or worship of images is going against God’s will.

“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:15-19).

Idolatry is evil because no image can ever resemble the infinite God: “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?… ‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One” (ch. 40:18,25). Therefor, we must not compare a man-made object to the Creator. Jeremiah declares: “Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge; every metalsmith is put to shame by the carved image; for his molded image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them” (ch. 51:17). Idols are false gods because they have no life in them. And Jeremiah adds: “They [the idols] are futile, a work of errors; in the time of their punishment they shall perish” (ch. 51:18).

In the New Testament, Paul declares of those who try to make representations of God: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:22-23). Concerning these men, Paul warns: “Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts” (Romans 1:24).

John teaches that those that practice idolatry will be judged by fire at the Day of Judgment, “but the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). For this reason, the apostle admonishes all saying: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

The Bible clearly condemns religious iconography and all forms of idolatry. There is not one single text, in both the Old and New Testament, that supports the worship of images in order to get closer to God. Those that follow this erroneous doctrine have clearly broken the Second Commandment of God and followed the traditions of men.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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