Thou shalt have no other gods before me. When we read this commandment, we think of all the man made idols that exist in other religions. We think of the giant, gold statue that Nebuchadnezzar erected and forced the entire Babylonian nation to worship. We think of the golden calf in the wilderness. We think of these other gods, and we laugh at how absurd people are for worshipping such things.
The fact is that these gods are not gods at all, they are idols. What’s the difference? A god is something we look to for salvation, something which is in control of our destiny. An idol is the object we act upon in order to control that god. The golden calf was the object that they used to attempt to control God. Do you really think that they believed the calf was going to produce milk from it’s golden udders?
Then who or what are the actual gods? In answering this, I am combining Allah, Brahman, and other universal deities with the Christian and Jewish God. In general, these universal gods are all different sides of the same coin.
As humans, there are actually only three possible gods that we think might be in control of our salvation and our destiny: God, a human master, and ourselves. In all possible cases, these are the only possible masters we can be enslaved to. In all decisions, we have chosen one of these three as our master. And for most of us, we do not have a human master that we are forced to be enslaved to.
On the other hand, the plethora of idols are all created to help us control on elf these three gods. The ninety cubic, golden statue in Babylon was worshipped to control Nebuchadnezzar by winning his favor. He, as the human master, was the actual god being worshiped.
Today, we talk about money and family as potential idols. Thsee are idols that are trying to control the only god that is influenced by it, ourselves. We try to give ourselves money, a good family, a great career, so that in turn we will control our own destiny and save ourselves. These are the idols being worshiped in order to appease the god, I.
Ultimately ,there is no human god because god cannot be controlled or swayed by our own intervention. Call it grace alone, predestination, existing out of time, or whatever, but god cannot be controlled. And this statement renders every idol, even the idols that many have turned Christ and the Holy Spirit into, as useless.