Deifying Mankind

“The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them all”

Psalm 89:11

If we base our knowledge on the theory of evolution we might unwittingly find ourselves right where the world now finds itself. We are led to believe that the world is in crisis by way of living creatures becoming extinct and a change in the climate that will lead to the destruction of all things living, including mankind.

Listening to David Attenborough one could easily be led into thinking that evolution is guided by the intelligence and will of the creature. While he doesn’t say so directly in as many words this subtle implication is clear. He marvels at the beauty, complexity and built-for-purpose intricacies of living things but attributes them to the living thing itself as though it had guided its evolution into the perfect creature it is without any input from outside its being.

If (as many believe) living creatures have evolved, i.e. intelligently and purposefully created themselves to perfection, then the highest order in the creation must also have created itself. The highest order in the creation by far is mankind. What we have in the theory of evolution is therefore the deification and worship of man. This began in the first days when Adam and believed Satan’s lie, “You will be like God” and “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:5, 3). Ultimately, the worship of man is worship of Satan because it is his lie.

Peter (2 Peter 3:1-13) and Paul (2 Timothy 3:1-9) warned of the perilous times ahead that will result from believing Satan’s lie. The circumstances they describe are now evident. Attempts by mankind to improve itself have proven and will prove futile. Knowledge may have increased but character has not changed. Education has not improved man’s character. It has opened up new ways to express sinfulness. Turning from God, who alone gives life, means a decline into physical and spiritual death (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27). Deifying mankind will not prevent climate change in the future (see e.g. Revelation 6:12-17). Human effort to save this world will prove futile. Only Jesus Christ’s return will save the world (Matthew 24:22). Yes, we should care for our environment as a delegated responsibility from God (Genesis 2:15) but not as an act of deified mankind in defiance of our Creator (Revelation 4:11).

The Idol of my Heart

“He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth” Zephaniah 2:11

One thing that mankind cannot deny is that he will worship something. Ultimately if that something is not God it will be himself albeit disguised in some religious or moral garb. All the false religions and objects of worship have man at the pinnacle. This is very clear in those who worship the theory of evolution. They believe it in spite of the evidence being contrary because it puts mankind in the place of God as Creator. In essence the theory of evolution has man responsible for creating himself and this includes moral values; hence our current national moral corruption and bankruptcy. Paul put it this way, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:24-25). What is “the lie?” I believe the lie is the one from Satan in Genesis 3:5, “You will be like God.”

God created man in His image but ever since the Garden of Eden people have been creating gods in their own image. We do this because it feeds pride. King Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance in creating a golden image of himself and demanding all bow down and worship his image is a good example. Daniel had informed him that it was the Lord who had given him the empire and that He would also take it and pass it on to another. The image of the statue of gold, silver, brass, iron and clay represented the passing of the kingdoms. In defiance of the Lord Nebuchadnezzar had a statue created that was made all of gold. In doing so his statement of defiance against God was that he built the empire and that he would cause it to endure forever. He then demanded worship as if he were God.

The idols we worship today may not always be statues or physical images but they always put oneself in the place of God. We may worship our work or our sporting heroes, our moral uprightness or we may worship some person. The one with a spirit of criticism worships himself. The way to ascertain what we worship is to discover what it is we will not surrender if Jesus asks us to. It is not a matter of whether it is good or bad but whether we prefer it to Jesus Christ. If we do, that is an idol. We may even have an erroneous view of Jesus that we worship. An example of this is one who is legalistic in their walk with Jesus. Ultimately, they worship themselves.

When Jesus returns, “He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth.” However, if we truly are disciples of Jesus Christ, we have done so and maintain a watch over our hearts to ensure we do not allow anyone or anything to usurp God’s rightful place of worship, especially not ourselves.

Beware the Snare

“God, I thank You that I am not like other men.”

“God, be merciful to me a sinner” Luke 18:11& 13.

This parable was spoken by Jesus of a man who sincerely believed that he was living a life that pleased God. He kept the commandments with regard to morality, ritual and especially spiritual exercises. He went daily to the temple to pray, fasted twice each week and tithed all his possessions. He did not extort money or possessions from others and neither was he unjust toward others. He was faithful in his relationships. He was certainly faithful to his Jewishness and was thankful for his exalted position in the temple and community. This was a righteous man that the population would have looked up to and sought to follow as a role model.

There was nothing outwardly wrong with the things that he did. However Jesus points out a flaw in his motive. He saw himself as different from others with regard to righteousness. In his mind he had achieved this level of righteousness by his own effort and that God blessed him because he pleased God by his life. This is why he looked down upon one who did not have all the advantages he had.

We can fall into the snare of having the wrong motive. We may want to prove to Jesus that we are worthy of His name by disciplining ourselves to live a morally righteous life with all the right spiritual exercises. We may feel that we have to prove to Jesus that we are worthy of His love. We may want to prove to other Christians that we have advantages because we are worthy of them. This is the working of pride. The fact is we are not at all worthy.

We know we have this attitude when we become critical of others (like the Pharisee in the parable) who we consider don’t measure up. What we are doing is despising them as unworthy of Christ’ love and kingdom. In a personal context Paul writes concerning this attitude, “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ” (Philippians 3:7).

Jesus ends this parable by telling us that it is the one despised who went home justified. He came to the temple to pray but he knew he had no basis for God to show him favour or to even hear him. His only prayer was for God’s mercy toward an undeserving helpless sinner. Praise God that Jesus said that he went home justified or who could be saved?

Those of us who have had the advantage in life of coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour ought never forget that we were no different to others who are yet to receive Him (1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 2:3). Those advantages were not because we were better or more deserving than others (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8). They are the outworking of God’s grace of which we are stewards and for which we should be very thankful. Jesus said, “The Son of man has come to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and that is our mission as well. It is not to look down upon others as the Pharisees did but to show mercy by lifting them into the presence of Jesus Christ just as another faithful servant once did for us.