As we look around us, we see nations and cultures in disarray. There are so many things going wrong, that is would be quite easy to despair. Where to start? What battles should we fight, and what should we let alone? This is itself quite an important issue, as Martin Luther once wisely noted. “If I profess, with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle fields besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them” (Ps. 115:4-8).
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Summary of the Texts
We have noted this principle from Scripture before, but it is necessary to state it again in order to make a particular application. We are seeking to understand the disintegration of the culture around us, and in order to do this rightly we have to keep coming back to the foundational principle. Worship drives and shapes all of human existence, and it does so according to this principle: you become like what you worship. Note this principle in our texts. The idolaters in Psalm 115 are worshiping idols that have mouths, but no ability to speak (v. 5). They have eyes, but are blind (v. 5). They have ears, but they are deaf (v. 6). Their noses don’t enable them to smell (v. 6). Their hands cannot handle, and their feet cannot walk (v. 7). Those who make these idols are just like these idols (v. 8). You become like what you worship.
In the other direction, with regard to salvation, we see the same thing. As we behold the glory of the Lord (which we do in worship), we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory. We become increasingly like what we worship (v. 18). Because we worship Jesus Christ, the true and final man, we are growing back up into our full humanity. The image of God is being restored in us by this means. At the coming of the Lord, the capstone of this process will be placed at the top of the living temple. We will become like Him, and why? Because we will see Him as He is (1 Jn. 3:2).
Now what does this mean for the materialistic atheist, or for the new age neo-pagans? Both of these groups believe that ultimate reality is infinitely malleable. The materialist believes that matter is eternal and that, given enough time, anything can turn into anything else. In the beginning was an enormous amount of hydrogen, with lots of potential. This is what evolution is all about. Anything can morph into anything else. And for the neo-pagans (and the ancient ones too , the same basic process is occurring, just with a different explanatory mechanism. For Ovid, chaos gave birth to the gods, and they in turn shaped other stuff. And for the rest of his book Metamorphoses,
shape shifting was the order of the day. This is basic to the unbelieving mind. And it is the theological/religious explanation for all forms of gender bending, not to mention Michael Jackson’s face. People today genuinely believe that it is possible to “reinvent oneself.”
Sexual boundaries follow the same kind of pattern. The revolt of our current generation against the triune God (who made heaven and earth) is a revolt in the direction of a pagan polytheism—multiple gods, multiple voices, multiple laws, and a general clamor out of which it is possible to select whatever suits him at the time. The political name for this is pluralism, and the philosophical and cultural name for it is postmodernism. Radically relativistic (whether it means to be or not), it has fallen off the cliff and cannot be prevented from eventually hitting the craggy rocks below—nihilism and despair. But while falling, a number of people have the temporary sensation of absolute freedom, and they seek to use that freedom in the creation and pursuit of various sexualities. And that is why we are now dealing with metrosexuals, sodomites, catamites, lesbians, virtual perverts, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals—not to mention the ecclesiastical variants, the lesbyterians. Sometime in the next ten years, look for more to push to the front of the line, all demanding societal respectability—pederasty and bestiality included. But because all this is a function of sexual postmodernism, we should simply call all of it pomosexuality. You cannot believe that ultimate reality is ultimately malleable, and yet not believe the world we live in is equally malleable.
And God Divided Everything
But in the world created by the triune God of Scripture, the boundaries don’t blur—like a watercolor left out in the rain. God divides, and He loves to call those divisions good. God created heaven and earth, which created the fundamental division between that which is God and that which is not God. The gulf there is an infinite one, and God called what was on the other side of the divide from Him good (Gen. ). Having done this much, God was on a roll, and He divided the sun and moon, the sea and dry land, the earth and sky, and He kept calling all of it good (Gen. 1:4,10, 18). And then, at the pinnacle of creation, male and female He created them, in the image of God He created them (Gen. 1:27). God made Adam into two, so that He could bring Adam and Eve back into one— with a richer unity this time, one that presupposes genuine division.
Worship Shapes Culture
If you want to be healthy, you should eat three good meals a day. This is generally true. But if you apply the rule when you are in the grip of the flu, all you are doing is giving yourself something to throw up. In this fallen world, should the laws reject pomosexual marriages, liaisons, and perverse unions? Of course. But should we fight the battle there when the general pattern of worship is given over to pagan assumptions? You are only giving the culture something to throw up. This does not mean that there is no Savior for our culture; it simply means that our culture is not that savior. It means further that our culture is the skid row bum needing to be saved. And so what should we do? Worship the Father in the power of the Spirit in the name of the Son.