Friday, April 4, 2014

"City of God" VII.25-27

Chapter 25-26:
Whether Atys, the Magna Mater cult, we see that the gods are guilty of the worst atrocities and by no means should be considered 'gods' at all.

Chapter 27:
The lesson in all of this is that we are to worship the true God alone, and not to involve in our worship of him any created thing.
Wherefore if with temple, priest, and sacrifice, which are due to the true God, any element of the world be worshipped, or any created spirit, even though not impure and evil, that worship is still evil, not because the things are evil by which the worship is performed, but because those things ought only to be used in the worship of Him to whom alone such worship and service are due.  But if any one insist that he worships the one true God,—that is, the Creator of every soul and of every body,—with stupid and monstrous idols, with human victims, with putting a wreath on the male organ, with the wages of unchastity, with the cutting of limbs, with emasculation, with the consecration of effeminates, with impure and obscene plays, such a one does not sin because he worships One who ought not to be worshipped, but because he worships Him who ought to be worshipped in a way in which He ought not to be worshipped.  But he who worships with such things,—that is, foul and obscene things,—and that not the true God, namely, the maker of soul and body, but a creature, even though not a wicked creature, whether it be soul or body, or soul and body together, twice sins against God, because he both worships for God what is not God, and also worships with such things as neither God nor what is not God ought to be worshipped with. 
Christians must not worship idols, or other spirits, or other people, or even any good things, because doing so involves a double evil--the evil of treating something as God that is not God and the evil of ignoring the true God.
The way we worship is important when we're thinking about who we worship. Unlike the pagans, we should not mutilate ourselves in our attempts to worship God, or indeed involve any created thing in that worship. This principle is of course solidly Biblical, and repeated throughout both Testaments.

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