Old man on a cloud?

by André Piet
February 21st, 2013

Last week I had, after the completion of Dutch language lesson, a conversation with a Polish lady. She asked me about my activities and before very long we had an animated conversation about God and the Bible. She said that she believed in God, but certainly not in the presentations of Him, as she had been shown from childhood years on. She was referring to the well-known images in churches and cathedrals of "an old man on a cloud." I could not help agreeing with her most heartily. Paul, in his days, also knew of such images, all too well. He writes about that in Romans 1.

21 because, knowing God, not as GOD do they glorify or thank Him, but vain were they made in their reasonings, and darkened is their unintelligent heart. 22 Alleging themselves to be wise, they are made stupid, 23 and they change the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of a corruptible human being and flying creatures and quadrupeds and reptiles.

By picturing the incorruptible and unseen God and by making an image of Him, man devalues Him to the level of a corruptible creature. It was Israel expressly forbidden to do so (Ex.20:4,5). Isaiah 40:17 declares:

And all the nations are as nothing in front of Him. Limited and a chaos are they accounted by Him.

Then, the rhetorical questions were added:

Then to whom will you liken God? And what likeness will you arrange for Him?

It is the glory of God's that, by definition, He cannot be pictured. He is the CREATOR and, therefore, of a totally different order than the creature.

Now to the King of the eons, the incorruptible, invisible, only, and wise God, be honor and glory for the eons of the eons! Amen!
-1Timothy 1:17-


Translation: Peter Feddema

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