Back On the Horse…
In the last post in this series, part 2, we ended with this quote by Owen:
Mankind seem to have always had a common apprehension that there was need of a nearer and more full representation of God unto them, than was made in any of the works of creation or providence.
Owen’s statement here, I believe, could offer us some insight into the idolatrous bent and affection found in man. If man has within him a natural desire or need of knowing God, though corrupted by the fall, then man’s desire to worship someone or something would certainly be another evidence of God’s self exposition to reveal His image. What I find so wonderful about all of this, is that God, even after the fall, still seeks to reveal Himself in an innumerable amount ways to a world full of fallen, unthankful creatures.
But in the pursuit hereof they utterly ruined themselves; they would do what God had not done. By common consent they framed representations of God unto themselves; and were so besotted therein, that they utterly lost the benefit which they might have received by the manifestation of him in the works of the creation, and took up with most foolish imaginations. For whereas they might have learned from thence the being of God, his infinite wisdom, power, and goodness—viz., in the impressions and characters of them on the things that were made—in their own representations of him, they “changed the glory of the invisible God into an image made like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things:” Rom. i. 23.
…… it is granted, that God hath placed many characters of his divine excellencies upon his works of creation and providence—many [characters] of his glorious presence upon the tabernacle and temple of old—but none of these things ever did or could give such a representation of him as wherein the souls of men might fully acquiesce, or obtain such conceptions of him as might enable them to worship and honour him in a due manner. They cannot, I say—by all that may be seen in them, and learned from them—represent God as the complete object of all our affections, of all the actings of our souls in faith, trust, love, fear, obedience, in that way whereby he may be glorified, and we may be brought unto the everlasting fruition of him. This, therefore, is yet to be inquired after.
Until Next Time…
All this is done in the person of Christ. He is the complete image and perfect representation of the Divine Being and excellencies.
(All quotes taken from – The Works of John Owen, Volume 1, The Glory of Christ)