The First Commandment
You shall have no other Gods (before me).
What does this mean?
We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.
The biggest problem of writing this I already know will be everything that must be left out. But there is one thing based on the first commandment that I am 100% convinced of, and I know that it would cause the most bile from the “important” parts of our culture. I take Luther’s explanation to be the definition of having a God. Whatever you fear, love and trust the most is your god. And we all have a god. You might even have a non-Holy Trinity, trinitarian god. What you fear, love and trust might be different things. Like Moloch, Beelzebub and Mammon all contending for prime slots and biding their time to turn on each other, Screwtape having been eaten long ago. So, in my experience, there is no such thing as atheism. The recent “new atheists” were simply self-worshippers. Loving and trusting their own cleverness above all things. But even the much more honorable ones, like the French existentialists, were not really atheists. They feared most that acknowledging God would separate them from their fellow man. That is a good fear when dealing with a generic god. Moloch demands the sacrifice of your kids. Mammon demands your friends. Beelzebub, order. All of them separate you from your humanity. Fearing that was wisdom from the Frenchies. But the revealed God is Jesus Christ. Nothing common to man is uncommon to God in the incarnation. (“one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity in flesh, but by the assumption of the humanity into God.” – Athanasian Creed)
The big question of the first commandment, and my most condescending moment, is that many of us don’t even rise to the self-awareness of the “new atheists”. Do you know what you fear, love and trust above all things? If you don’t you probably have an idol erected before God. And our hearts are constant idol factories. Just when we might think we’ve torn down one, we’ve re-used the same building materials to erect another. We tear down our fear of confrontation, to erect a pride of our newfound hero, ourselves. We tear down our trust of cleverness to erect a fear of intelligence. We tear down our love of our own stomach to erect a trust in our own abstemious piety. And to be cognizant of this is what it means to be spiritual. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is only in the mirror of the divine law, which reveals the wisdom of God, that we are able to remove the false idols. Our eyes are not clear enough. But even knowing is not enough. The law of God is good and wise. It holds perfection before our eyes. But it has no power to change us. The fear makes us cower. It is what we love, it is who loved us first that enables true worship. The Gospel is that you do have a God, and He is not terrible, but came humbly, on the cross, for you. Fear can grow to love and trust.