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“Why do people have such misconceived ideas about God?”
Humans around the world disagree on the idea of ‘God.’ Competing claims span the millennia, across all cultures. In ancient times, the Mesopotamians had their favorite gods and the Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures possessed their own pantheons.
It is no secret that people today also hold disparate views of God [and Gods].
Historically, humans have arrived at variations on the God theme due to their experiences in nature, as well as their needs and fears. In primitive religions, the Gods often related to things people could not control.
Creatively perceived collections of gods purportedly “controlled” nature, or other mysterious aspects of existence but they required appeasement as well.
Devotees sought physical representation of their Gods — the idol industry has been around a very long time (Jer. 10:1-9; Acts 17:16ff; 19:24f).
Hand-held, handcrafted deities enabled the people to move their gods about and in some sense manage them.
Many contemporary religious expressions are not really much different from the primitive ones. Gods are often defined by the wants and needs of individuals and groups.
The propensity to make an “idol” of what one values (or fears) most in one’s life is a common human trait.
Confusion about the God of the Bible is a result of the innumerable ways the Book is interpreted. It also unfortunately arises from the checkered reputation He acquires from those who claim to carry His Name. No wonder He gave those who would follow Him the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:7)!
In our struggle as finite, temporal creatures to understand the infinite, eternal, Creator, we find we cannot contain Him in any one vision (Ps. 90:1-2; Isa. 55:6-9).
The impossibility of reducing God to a set of propositions helps us remain humble, resist the urge to make Him into our image, and seek to know and be known by Him.