Monday, March 10, 2014

Mormon Monday: The Fallacy of Making God in Our Image

There is something that has been bugging me lately, so I wanted to interrupt my Plan of Salvation series to talk about it today. I'm going to try and explain this clearly, but I'm not quite sure how to put it into words, so I hope this comes across the way it is intended.

I know that God is real. He has existed before this world and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So, why is it that we try to hard to interpret who God is according to our own values?

Too often, I hear people say, "I'm trying to fit the Lord into my life," or "This is who God is to me." It doesn't really matter what your personal opinions are about God. We don't define Him. The difference between our Heavenly Father and every other God that has been conceived on this planet is that we were created in His image. The other gods were created in ours.

A good example of this is the Greek and Roman gods. They are spiteful, selfish, unpredictable, and unfaithful. They have no 'godly' characteristics that would cause man to try to be better than his natural self. Instead, they promote the idea that if the gods themselves can't practice self-control, why should man even try? The only thing that makes gods like that 'godly' is the fact that they are (almost) immortal and physically stronger than regular mortals. However, as far as moral character goes, they are lower than the humans who reside on the surface of the planet.

What is an idol?

It is a creation of man that fills a certain need. An idol can be a statue that we claim has divine powers or it can be something as simple as a computer game that has become more important than our church callings. Anytime we create something, place something above God, or worship a creation of man, we are participating in idolatry.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) we believe that God is our Eternal Heavenly Father. We believe that He has a perfect body of flesh and bone, and that He is perfect and just. However, we don't try and define Him. Instead we try to understand Him.

We shouldn't be trying to figure out who God is to us. Instead, we should be trying to figure out who we are to Him. We shouldn't be trying to figure out how to fit Him into our lives, but instead, we should be trying to figure out how we fit into His great and wonderful plan. He has things for all of us to accomplish, but if we try and change Him to fit our needs, we are going to find that we are not on His side after all, and that we are worshiping a God of our own invention. Anytime we define God according to our own moral standards, we are creating a god in our own image.

We don't define God. He is already a real, complete being. God has decreed rules and laws that we can read in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and that are given to us through his latter-day prophets. We have been given prayer to speak to him personally. God isn't going to change his mind because we don't agree with Him. God doesn't hear our moral ideas and decide that we are correct. Instead, He requires us to obey his commandments, and if we do, we are blessed and experience true happiness.

Stop fighting God's commandments. Repent and change and come to Him. Don't try to make Him come to you.

I'm trying to do the same. We are all lost sheep trying to find a shepherd. Some people have settled on science to be their shepherds, others have settled on wealth, or even mortal heroes. Don't settle for idols. They are crafted by imperfect beings, and will only lead you away from true happiness. Learn about God. Don't try to imagine Him and don't try to change Him to suit your desires. Instead, try to discover who He truly is.
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I want God to define who I am. As I come to know him and grow to be more like him, I know I will gradually come to understand Him. God is not incomprehensible. He wants us to understand Him and to become like Him. We all have the potential to do so. I want everyone to feel the joy that the gospel brings into this fallen world that we live in.

God is real and unchanging. I know this to be true. He loves all of his children, and waits for them to choose to receive the wonderful blessings that He has in store for them. I testify that as we put aside our own desires and ideas of 'right and wrong', our minds will be illuminated with truth. All truth comes from God.

God loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way.

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