“Blogging the Institutes” is my on-going attempt to paraphrase John Calvin’s work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. You can find out more about the series in the Introduction. For all the posts in this series, check out the Master List.
No Knowledge, No God
If true knowledge of God fuels the true worship of God, then those who think their superstitions are true worship are wrong. They argue that having some kind of passion for religion is enough to count as “true worship.” They don’t understand, however, that true worship must conform to God’s will. God cannot deny Himself. In other words, He must always be as He really is! You must come to Him on His terms. He is not like clay, which can be fashioned into a shape determined by an individual’s own whims.
It’s easy to see how superstition, although it attempts to please God, actually mocks Him. Instead of worshipping God as He has laid down for us in His Word, superstition usually focuses on things which God doesn’t really care about. This causes superstition to miss out on the things which God truly takes pleasure in.
Consequently, those who set up a false way to worship God end up merely worshipping their own ideas or imagination. In fact, many of these people wouldn’t even pretend to be interested in God at all, unless they could make up their own way to worship Him, which they usually do. The apostle Paul deems this vague and ambiguous “knowledge” about God as actually being ignorance: “At that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods” (Galatians 4:8). Elsewhere, Paul says that when the Ephesian Christians did not have correct knowledge about God, they were even without God Himself (Ephesians 2:12).
Therefore, it doesn’t really make any difference whether you believe in one God or in many gods. As long as you don’t have true knowledge of God, you don’t have God, only an idol. Even Lactantius says, “No religion is genuine unless it is in accordance with truth.”