Imaginary gods

In Acts 17:29, Paul says that because we are made in the image of God, “we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” A common critique of many religions, not just Christianity, is that they were all created out of a need to understand the universe; a divine being was the best explanation our ancient, primitive ancestors could come up with based on their limited understanding of how the universe really works. We of course are much more enlightened and clearly understand more than they did.

I completely disagree with this notion. The truth is, there is a deep desire in this world that nothing can satisfy. We were created to experience intimate, unbroken fellowship with God and yet that communion has been severed by sin. We all search for something to fill that void. It may be sports, it may be romance, it may be promotion, it may be wealth, it may be power, it may be influence, or it may be another idol from our modern-day pantheon of false gods, but in the end, we’re all looking for something to fill an infinite void. The problem with an infinite void is that it could only be filled with something—or by Someone—of equal size. An infinite void must be filled with an Infinite Being. As Augustine once so rightly said, our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.

God is beyond our ability to manufacture. He exceeds the scope of our wildest imagination. He fills the deepest longings of the human heart. How could we hope to manufacture such a Person? Indeed, we could never. And thus we run from idol to idol, hoping to fill an infinite void, we ruin relationships hoping they will satisfy the deepest longings of our heart, and we miss out on the fact that, as Paul so eloquently put it, God “is actually not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).