John Calvin explains idolatry…
“Now so that when we think about God we might learn to imagine no earthly thing but pass beyond this world and not stay on our own senses and fantasies, it is said that God dwells in the Heavens, (Job 22:12) so that we should know that it does not lay in our power to enclose Him in this world and to conceive what He is (for we can never comprehend Him – our senses are very limited), but rather that we should learn to reverence Him with all humility.” (Psalm 2:4; 24:1)
“For this reason it is said that God is above in Heaven. (Job 22:12) And if this was well known to us, it is certain that all superstition would easily be redressed, as indeed it springs from the fact that men want to comprehend God according to their own capacity, whereas they are not able to hold Him. For their senses would always want to be occupied in searching out curiously what God is and so then they invent Him, and conceive Him to be such a one as seems best to them, as though God was carnal. And this is the reason why He draws us so carefully from there and shows us that we must imagine nothing about Him that we think good, for it is blasphemy and sacrilege to transform Him like that, because we turn His truth into a lie, as St. Paul speaks of it.” (Romans 1:25)
“All they that forge idols and transform God according to their own minds are falsifiers, not for falsifying any public writing or matter of record, but for abolishing the majesty of God, and this is such a heinous treason against God that it passes all others. Therefore all they which build such foolish fantasies according to their own appetite are guilty of such treason. So much the more then ought we to remember this lesson well which is taught us here, namely that God is above, so that as often as we speak of Him we may know that our senses will fail us and vanish away a hundred times before we can come to that highness, and that we must worship Him humbly, conceiving nothing else about Him but as He has taught us by His word. For that is all our wisdom, and as I have said, if this doctrine were well imprinted in our hearts, the world would be purged of all superstitions that have always reigned in it.”
“How does it happen that men have forged idols like that and thought that God was not near them unless they had some remembrance, as they say, or figure of Him? It was because men took the liberty to comprehend God and to think something about Him that never was. This was then the fountain of all superstition, and when men did make them visible shapes that way, it was because they did not know the highness of God, nor His incomprehensible majesty. And this is what we are taught when the people of Israel, requiring some visible sign to represent God, said, We want Him to go before us, that is to say, We will have Him there as a subject to us. (Exodus 32:1) However, we must not force God that way, but as I have said, we must reverence Him with all humility. And furthermore, when men thought to serve God according to their own fashion and framed laws for themselves saying, This will be good, and Such a thing will be acceptable to God, it was because they wanted to make Him like themselves, as though He delighted in all the small toys which they had invented, that is namely outward things, and so doing they transformed God, as though they would pull Him out of His heavenly seat to draw Him down here, or as though He was a creature and a fleshly thing.” – All quoted from Calvin’s 85th sermon on the Book of Job, pertaining to Job 22:12
On one hand we are called to ‘know God’ and on the other, the pursuit of this knowing may in fact border greatly upon heresy and blasphemy; think 2nd commandment. We spoke about this last evening in Sunday school; It got me to thinking. We have the manifestation of God in flesh in Jesus. I expect, we have to be careful when thinking on this doctrine.