by Shane Williams
via The Lilbourn Light, Vol. 8, No. 4, Aug. 2007.
Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 B.C.) is described in the Encyclopedia Britannica as "Rome's greatest scholar." He wrote more than 400 books on many subjects. Among his writings is this statement: "They who first introduced images of the gods removed fear and added error."
This thoughtful statement helps us understand even more why Moses reminded Israel at Sinai of God's form. "You saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire" (Deuteronomy 4:15).
It also highlights the reason behind God's command prohibiting any physical depictions of Him "lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure" (Deuteronomy 4:16).
"You shall not make for yourself any carved image of 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" (Exodus 20:4).
We cannot love and serve the Lord in an acceptable manner unless we have an accurate understanding of His character.
Any physical portrayal, however, whether with pictures, symbols, or statues, distorts our awareness of His true character and lessens a healthy respect for His awesome holiness and power.
If we knew what God really looked like, we would inevitably make an image and seek to understand Him through that image, instead of through what is revealed in His Word.
If Rome's greatest worldly scholar could see the dangers of misrepresenting deity, how much more should we who have God's Word, which makes us complete for every good work, understand the danger?
Our desire must be to have proper respect for God and to grow in our knowledge of Him. We are made in the image of God, let us not make Him in our image.