The Danger of Lesser Gods

Little gods.
It’s been with us since the garden,
the desire to deify ourselves,
to create little kingdoms over which we rule,
to control people, circumstances, and even
the greater God.
And you have to admit, we’re pretty cool.
Humans have amazing capabilities
and tremendous achievements across the board.
Sometimes, I want to worship us, too.
We’ve all felt the draw, haven’t we?
In the presence of a great leader, artist, musician, healer, or beauty,
our hard-wired bent toward worship makes the static, ratchet alarm
of a Geiger counter detecting the source of a possible target of our devotion
and without the warning of God’s word, we might just bow down
to our own reflection.
I see that syndrome at work in an ad, airing in Rhode Island,
designed to promote the Cardiovascular institute at RI Hospital:
Their tag line: “Our experience prepares us for yours – it may be miraculous but it’s anything but a miracle.”
In other words, don’t thank God for the outcome, be sure to thank us, the humans wielding the scalpels.
Does that scare anyone else?
I get it. In my lesser moments, I want to be worshiped, too. I’m a glory stealer.
That’s often, admittedly, why I stand so close to God
– for the hope, perchance, that some of the admiration aimed at Him might fall on me.
But, as amazing as we are in our moments of greatness –
The heights of our arias,
The pinnacles of our careers,
The tops of our game,
The firsts in our fields,
it’s easy enough to draw back the curtain and expose the Oz of our existence
simply by turning on the evening news.
Countries invading weaker nations.
Meth-head parents leaving their children to wander alone, hungry and cold, in the woods.
Murder-suicide among the rich.
Sex-trafficking among the poor.
And us, the little gods, lacking for answers within ourselves.
No match for the problems we create,
Never mind for systemic woes or catastrophes of nature.
We are so small.
And yet, He has designed us for a greatness of our own
when we remain in proper relationship to Him.
Can you see the beauty of the design?
Isn’t it more inspiring to trust in Him
than to trust every aspect of our fate to men with the scalpels
or power ties
or gold medal Oscars
or guns?
Psalm 8
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2     Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
The order matters, loved ones.
The object of our worship makes a difference.
Don’t offer your complete devotion to humanity – we can’t even save ourselves.

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    The Conversation

  1. Another inspired reflection on culture.
    I agree that this push to deify humankind is scary.
    Praising God that only He is God. Amen

  2. Anonymous says:

    My vision was once in the hands of a very skilled doctor. He removed a tumor from my optic nerve and restored my vision. Yet, each time we met to discuss what needed to be done, he would recommend an action and I would say, “First I have to pray about it before I make a decision.” After several weeks, and decisions taken to my Father, we went ahead with my surgery. And my tumor was benign and my sight was restored. And as this doctor talked to me about the success of his surgery, I told him I was grateful God skilled him for the surgery I needed, and I thanked God for the success of the procedure. The doctor shook my hand and said, “Well, your God surely took good care of you.” He wasn’t being sarcastic, he was just involved in the whole process because he knew I went to God with every decision and had faith that He was the one to heal me. Sometimes we believers fail to let others know on Whom we rely. No, doctors don’t perform miracles. They use their knowledge and skill but it’s still God who does the miracles.

  3. backcheck says:

    Very poignant article. Thank you. It reminds me of that movie Malice with Alec Baldwin in the court room and he says, “You ask me if I have a god-complex? I AM GOD!”

    But you don’t have to be a world-renown cardio-thoracic surgeon to have a god-complex. In fact, people like Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer and the rest of the Prosperity Pimps preach this on a weekly basis…that we are, in our own rights, a little god. In fact, they say that God (the real one) would want it this way for us to be “little gods”. That’s not only heretical teaching, that’s blasphemy of the highest nature. Thank you for this article and I hope the people who really need to read it, do. In the meantime, please know that I am praying for you and your ministry. As a Brother-in-Christ, I know that we can never have too much prayer. God bless you.