The Bible states that God made man in His own image (likeness). Man was given the ability to make decisions; basically, to choose the direction which he would take. He could, in fact, choose to accept or reject God’s directions. When Eve and Adam led the way into independence, by their self serving appetites, the way was open for God’s creations to make God into the image of their imaginations. Over the years, man began to form God into an image that would be tangible and pleasant to one’s eyes. The incorruptible image of God was made into corruptible images, such as birds, four footed beasts, and creeping things. (Rom. 1:23) Man began to make a religion based on man’s senses. Reason began to dwarf faith. Feelings overshadowed spiritual reality. Sight focused on carnal pleasures. Hearing became selective. Tasting and smelling were geared to edifying the cravings of the self created. By man creating a god in the image of their own imaginations, they opened the door to a total rejection of the living God. Soon Satan became the “god of this world,” (II Cor. 4:4) and the kingdom of darkness began its earthly reign.
God’s response to the open rebellion of man was three fold. In Romans 1, it is stated that God did three things in response to man’s rejection of Himself. First, He gave them over to “uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts” (v. 24, 25) for man began to replace spiritual truth with fleshly pleasure. They would actively pursue sexual gratification as a way of fulfilling their internal void. Religious prostitution became an avenue of worship. Secondly, God gave them up unto “vile affections” (v.26, 27) as the downward spiral of mans independence from God continued to gain momentum. Soon, sexual gratification transcended from male and female to the desiring of physical fulfillment with those of the same gender. Finally, God gave them over to “a reprobate mind” (v. 28- 31) for their minds created a fury of actions that exhibited the characteristics of the god of this world. (Satan) Parading the “fruit of the flesh” before their Creator, man began an open rejection of God, not caring what would be the consequences of this action. (v.32)
Throughout the chronology of man’s life, we see brief intervals of renewed spiritual truth. Revivals and crusades have attempted to break the descent of man by promoting a return to the Creator. But as history shows, these movements have been short lived. Man would return to God and spiritual rebirth would be experienced. But as quickly as Divine revelation would be experienced, a return to a self realization and a new promotion of man’s creativity of God would once again reappear. Even today, man continues to create God into his own image by presenting a “gospel” that is not the Gospel. (Galatians 1:6-9)
One can readily see that many churches are nothing more than man made organizations that have been conceived by their own creativity. Just because individuals use the word “church” to describe their gatherings does not mean God is involved. Throughout history man has worshipped a god created from their imaginations or created a substitute for God. May God forgive us.