In 2013, when I was living in Seoul, some people in my circle and I myself were interested in photography. Most of us were international students, who enjoyed travelling and taking pictures (of nature, place, food, and people), especially during the weekends, aside from our primary jobs to study and research.
We realized the rare opportunity to explore new places and make the most memories of our temporary stays in a foreign and culturally rich country like South Korea. (Back then, YouTuber was not as popular as today, so photography was still preferable to videography.)
Frankly speaking, I myself like both taking pictures and being taken the pictures (of course, as long as the results look great). One day during those times, a probing question came to my mind—it was something like: “Why do you care so much of images?”
And soon I was reminded of the following Bible verses:
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them…” (Exodus 20:4-5)
In the ancient times, statue (or sculpture) was probably one of the most fascinating products of technology in the civilization. People might be amazed by the carved image in the form of animal or human they adored. (Even today, we might be left wondering about the beautiful man-made images usually found in temples or historical sites.)
There is absolutely no problem with admiring or appreciating the artistic senses of human, which I believe, are God-given. And this is true, not only for sculptures, but also for any other form of human’s masterpieces, such as paintings, photographs, videos, movies, and even music.
However, problem comes when we become too obsessed with these images that we think we can no longer live without them—that’s how people can be trapped in idolatry, which is essentially a practice of worshipping creation (or creatures) rather than the Creator.
Whether we realize it or not, we all work to build an image (i.e. reputation). We want to look good before others. We want them to appreciate us. We want them to trust us. This all is virtually reflected in social media, where people are encouraged to like, follow, or subscribe. We are often tempted to measure one’s impact by the number of likes, views, citations, comments, followers and/or subscriptions he (or she) gets.
Don’t get me wrong—I am not saying that we cannot build all these masterpieces; in fact, we should (because we are responsible with all the talents and abilities that God has given us to glorify the Giver and edify others).
The problem arises when we are concerned more with looking good than being good; when we find ‘fulfillment’ in being superior to others; when we seek man’s approval beyond God’s approval. After all, all the images we build are temporary—why do we still feel empty even after getting all the favors of men?
C. S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Paul the Apostle wrote, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) and “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Ultimately, the question we must ask ourselves is “Do I want to glorify God or myself?”
Stated another way, “Will I worship the Creator or the creation (or the creatures, including myself)?”
Many people struggle with this because they do not believe in God in the first place. If we reject the Creator, then we have no idea to whom we should devote ourselves. As a result, we will keep revolving around the vicious cycle, which only leads to frustration and disappointment, as we would end up devoting ourselves to a fragile substance.
Human brain is believed to be the second most complex structure after the universe. Human body is by far the most complex information-management and processing system in the universe. The control center of the human body is the human brain. It makes more sense to believe that humans are created by the Great, Intelligent Designer. We are not accidentally formed by random collision of physical matters in the universe.
Human being is God’s masterpiece—we are uniquely created in the image of the Creator: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27).
Therefore, every life is precious in the eyes of God and the true purpose of life can only be found in Him.
Building an image that lasts is all about glorifying the Creator.
Every breath we take is His miracle, it reflects His glory.
Every move we make is His miracle, it reflects His glory.
Every image we create is His miracle, it reflects His glory.
What a beautiful truth that we are created in the image of God. Thus, God alone is worthy of our devotion and worship.
The Creator must simply be at the center of all creation. God must be at the center of our lives.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV
A night reflection
Vancouver, November 30, 2020