By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
If God, the God of the Bible, is an all knowing God and could have prevented an evil world; why didn’t He? Is there a good purpose for evil?
1 John 5:21 – “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”
1 Corinthians 10:14 – “My dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
I would like for us to consider the following question related to idolatry:
What Is The Cause of Idolatry?
To a secular, superficial thinker, the perils of idolatry may seem very small to non-existent. Since man is incurably religious, the seeds of idolatry are within each of us. The secret roots of this sin reside in every human heart. The cause of idolatry is the natural corruption of the human heart. It’s not surprising that Calvin said “The human heart is an idol factory,” because there’s no end to the number of idols we are capable of producing. Almost anything or anyone can become a potential idol!
Our Adamic nature shows itself in a thousand different ways. Idolatry is an act of the sinful nature (a work of the flesh) – an act of the unregenerate human heart. It is the great disease of which all the children of Adam are infected since birth.
Jesus said, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’” (Mark 7:21-3).
According to Paul in Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; IDOLATRY and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul is saying that idolatry is the natural product of man’s heart. It’s a spiritual weed which is always ready to bring forth!
Man will worship something. If not God, then an idol! There is no third option. A distorted view of God and reality always characterizes the religion of the natural man (1 Cor. 2:12-14). God is a Spirit and natural man often craves after something he can see and touch. In the beginning God created man in His image and since then man has not ceased to return to compliment. Man brings his god down to his own level. Natural man allows his morality to determine his theology rather than the reverse. The song writer expressed his concern this way, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the One I love, here’s my heart, Come take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” Because the seeds of idolatry are always present in the human heart, we need to heed Paul’s warning to “Flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14).