Aug 24, 2011

Blockheaded Idolators

Isaiah 44:12-20 shows the foolishness of making and worshiping idols - really worshiping any created thing besides God. A man takes half of some wood and burns it for warmth and cooking; with the other half he shapes an idol and worships it. His first action shows his own power over the material, while his second action shows he thinks the material now has power over him.  Beyond this humorous and pointed picture, I have a few observations related to technology.

First, the same set of skills can be used for good or evil purposes. Woodcarving can be used to make useful tools or an idol. So, it is not the skill itself, but how it is applied and directed by the heart that is foolish and sinful.

Second, the person with enough knowledge, skill, and wisdom to make a suitable idol (and build a suitable fire) does not see the foolishness of these actions. As v. 18 says, God has shut their eyes and hearts to see the truth. Who else can do so? In spite of their abilities with technology, they do not see the spiritual reality. So technical skill does not necessarily bring discernment.

Third, the idol-maker is attempting to make something transcendent from something perishable. Our worship of technology is not that new. It is easy to find people that proclaim some new technology will be the great savior of mankind, whether radio, television, internet, genetically modified foods, or whatever. We are just as foolish to think the perishable can replace the transcendent, imperishable God in our souls.

I leave you dear reader with one thought: what technology do you see yourself or others invoke in terms of salvation? Beware (and I say this to myself as well) lest we play the fool Isaiah described.

No comments:

Post a Comment