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

Polytheism's Attractiveness

The pull is still there.

Genesis 1:14–19

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

The most significant thing about this passage (at least when it was written) is something we don’t even notice today—the sun and the moon aren’t gods. Back then, there were as many creation stories as there were civilizations. These creation stories were typically polytheistic dramas with lots of personality conflicts. They made for great storytelling but not much else.

Moses delivered an insulting contrast. There is no sun god or moon god or rain god. The sun, the moon, and the rain were all created by the one true God.

This was a tough sell. People look to their gods for protection. They want life to be safe and controllable. In a drought they need to be able to bring rain by sacrificing to the right god. That’s comforting; life is under control. Polytheism gives everyone a reason for why bad things happened—a reason they can manipulate.

But Moses wrote of a creator who isn’t safe—a creator who’s far less controllable than the “characters” everyone else is worshiping. The one true God embarrasses us with His power and His goodness. He cannot be comprehended, and He cannot be controlled.

That’s intimidating.

We’re not immune to the natural human tendency to believe in the God we’d like to have instead of the real one. That’s why so much of modern Christianity is that syrupy, “Smile. God loves you” bumper sticker religion.

We hear all the time that we need to accept Jesus as our savior. What happened to, “Lord”? Aren’t we supposed to swear fealty to Him as our Lord? Aren’t we also supposed to act like He is our boss? Isn’t heaven reserved for the ones who take His lordship seriously?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 7:21

We need to rid Christianity of the ways that we distort our view of Him to suit our wishes. We must stop being in denial about who He is. The church needs to take the real LORD seriously.

But the solution isn’t just trying harder; we need the Holy Spirit to intervene. We need a revival.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

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Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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