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Designer Deity

February 26, 2010

Francis Turretin, Calvin’s 17th century successor at Geneva spoke about the idea when Adam fell and “engendered” a false faith from the lie of Satan.  We can say several things about this false faith. First, it is closely related to idolatry. And fundamental to idolatry in biblical terms is the idea of an exchange – swapping the true God for something else. As St. Paul can say, “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” (Rom. 1:25)

This idolatrous exchange can happen in various ways. Someone might exchange the true God for an alternative deity, such as pagan god/god’s. In the OT it was “Baal” who tempted God’s people. Another way is the exchange of the true God who gives and blesses, to something else which gives supposed blessing, such as sports, sexual attraction or money, etc. (Eph. 5: 5). Or the exchange may seek to modify God’s character, changing out attributes we think problematic to make a God more convenient and even in our image. Like today’s postmodernism, and even secular thought. But the last kind of idolatry is the hardest to spot and see, because we can use Christian vocabulary. We continue to speak about God, even enthusiastically, and even about Christ and the Gospel, but all along we are operating with an imitation forged by our own sinful imaginations. “When we suppress certain truths about God (his holy wrath against sin) or distort others (e.g. his love) to produce our own “designer deity”, then we are guilty of false faith, and are left with a “counterfeit God” and Gospel.” Does it happen today?  All day, everyday!

“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” (2 Cor. 11: 2-4)

Fr. R..

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3 Comments
  1. Today, the Church of Christ, as perhaps never before.. is being tempted, the temptations are subtle often, but yet even sometimes, it is bold and in your face! Our adversary, “the world, the flesh, and the devil”, have taken a foothold in western culture. Everything is turned on its head! We question everything! Our Adversary is square centre in the Church, pulpit, theology, ethics..both moral to sexual. Nothing remains sacred anymore! Over-reaction?

    “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5: 21)

  2. Reblogged this on Irishanglican's Weblog and commented:

    I re-post this once again! 2018

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