Making God Up As You Go Along

idol.jpgJohn Calvin on devising our own ‘gods’:

“The pious mind does not devise for itself any kind of God, but looks alone to the one true God; nor does it feign for him any character it pleases, but is contented to have him in the character in which he manifests itself.  …But we are all alike in this, that we substitute monstrous fictions for the one living and true God—a disease not confined to obtuse and vulgar minds, but affecting the noblest.  …Almost every man has had his own god.  To the darkness of ignorance have been added presumption and wantonness, and hence there is scarcely an individual to be found without some idol or phantom substitute for Deity.  Like water gushing forth from a large and copious spring, immense crowds of gods have issues from the human mind, every man giving himself full license, and devising some peculiar form of divinity to suit his own views.  …What right have mortals thus to decide of their own authority in a matter which is far above the world?” (Institutes I.II.3, I.V.11, 12, 13)

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