“Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.”
(Reference: Romans 1:22-25 )
I have sat with this verse for at least a whole day now – perhaps more.
Does humanity desire things of the flesh? Yes! In place of God? I am not sure.
And even if I “crafted” an accompanying “exhortation, it would just be an exercise in theological rhetoric. We know (at least I know and I assume you know) this verse is talking about making statues and idols, and trying to imbue them with significance and meaning beyond the materials they are made of and the things in our world they represent. And because the people the writer of Romans were foolish enough to do this, God let them go wild being immoral and impure, and degrading anything in their reach.
So the question becomes, beloved, have we exchanged the glory of God for the items and images in our lives and in our world? And interesting test would be to ask if you think God has given over the current society, leaving them/us to whatever sinful desires, impurities and immoralities we chose? Because if that is so, then maybe we have given up the glory of God and have taken on instead the fallible items of this world that rot and fade away.
Another interesting idea exchanging the truth of God for a lie. We (meaning global society aty large) have so many images and ideas of what God is and what the Divine wants that it is hard to discern who has the most authentic and truthful God in their faith beliefs. Can you, beloved, describe who the true God is? The tendency would be to say, “It is MY God because . . . “ Just as likely is to say, “It is OUR God because . . . “ But I suspect we are talking about our faith and not God.
May be the truth of God is that there IS a God. And this God has expectations of how the Lord’s people should live. We have a multitude of ways and theories of how we should live. But do we live as if there is a God? That is, another reality apart from the world we are in?
I seem to be making a strong argument for humanity desiring things of the flesh in place of God. It is easy to do because all of humanity is so fallible. But even in the face of my strong argument – that seems to write itself once you get on the correct soap box – I am not convinced that we are a mortal/bird/animal/reptile worshiping people. Our scientific knowledge precludes that. I do think, however, we push God aside to make room for the human things we think are important. I think too we degrade ourselves when we do that – instead of holding our relationship to God as the most important thing in our lives.
May you, beloved, keep all things in their proper place according to God’s order and plan. Selah!