What is idolatry?

What exactly is idolatry?  This probably seems like an odd question.  In scripture, the subject of idolatry is one of the most covered topics.  The question, however, is not whether God commands against idolatry, which He most assuredly does, but what is it?  The argument has been made that when praying to an image or a statue, it is not idolatry as long as it’s done in reverence to the person or “saint” the image represents, and as long as you do it in the worship of and love for God.

In Ex 20 (the Ten Commandments) God commands against worshiping “graven images or any likeness” stating,

“You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them” Exodus 20:5

God is so adamant about this that it takes three verses to cover this one commandment.  He refers to the idolaters as “them that hate Me.”

images of idolatry
Do any of these men hate God?

Webster defines idolatry as “the worship of a physical object as a god.”  This is a very simple and concise definition, but it does not cover the full scope.  What about the worship of God through a physical object?  Does God appreciate your worship even if it comes through a statue or a painting or a “holy” wall or a big black box?  As long as you are worshiping God why does it matter how you do it?

Want to know the answer to these questions?  Continue reading “What is idolatry?”