Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
In the Gates

God beyond Description

The Second Commandment

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The Commandment

God is holy, and He calls His people to be holy by worshiping and serving Him only. He will allow no admixture of pagan practices in the worship and service of His Name, nothing that reduces His immensity, restricts His sovereignty, compromises His holiness, obscures His uniqueness, or otherwise profanes His Name.

Exodus 20.4-6

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Deuteronomy 5.8-10

“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’”

1 Corinthians 10.14; 1 John 5.21

In the Scriptures we find various descriptions and depictions of God in created forms – fire, smoke, mountains, heavens, thrones, weaponry, and so forth. The Lord uses these to enhance our understanding of His greatness and purposes, and to draw out our adoration and worship of His splendor, power, majesty, sovereignty, steadfast love and faithfulness, righteousness, wisdom, grace, and more.

These abstract ideas defy encoding in finite forms, although finite forms can help us in understanding such ideas and the God Who embodies them. Hence, as the Scriptures use such forms to teach us about God, we may use them – and others – for our instruction and edification, as aids to worship and not objects thereof.

God is so great, so vast and holy and utterly incomprehensible, that to bind Him to some material form is to deny His infinite character and to impose limitations on Him and on the worship which we owe Him.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.



T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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