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In the Gates

Guard against Reducing God

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

We must be very careful in the use we make of art forms relating to God. They should be such as encourage an expansive, rather than a limiting view of God. This is perhaps why, in the construction of the Tabernacle and the Temple, so much of the beauty and majesty of those edifices is represented in abstract forms – colors, shapes, textures, overlays, and so forth.

Even in writing or conversing about the Lord we must be careful lest our language tend to reduce the greatness of God rather than to exalt Him. And when, in our worship, we invoke only the forms of popular culture to express our understanding of and love for God, we are again in danger of reducing Him rather than of exalting Him as we ought.

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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