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APPENDIX
4
THE AVIARY OF IDOLATRY





LIKE THE PRINT, IT IS ABSURD.

It is all a matter of preference instead of fact. The birds are made by man, wrought by his thoughts, they sit in the aviary, and of course, they do not fly.

 

We'll become more aware of this later.

Meanwhile, that is where we are in many dominant circles, like hobgoblins in academic and political - not to say, military - groupings. The world has gone mad with idols, and they exact an appalling toll. Ask any desolate, destitute kid in the Sudan, in Yugoslavia, any roiling, toiling peasant in Russia, where crime and distortion has made of "freedom" a risk factor comparable with absolutist power; and the "free" still ponder their idols, and say, Give me Communism, give me Capitalism in Moscow, but give me my wages! where the prisoners lack food and medical care, while wages lack and facilities fold (Time, June 15, 1998 ), where Orthodox Mass increasingly replaces massed parades, and wingless birds do not fly.
 

 

THE PERFORMANCE OF MANKIND

Why is there such an abased, abrasive performance from man to man! Why in the round more and more, at levels of power and performance, is there this insane emphasis on idols, that are to justify folly, embrace the young in their scorching hold, as did the literal, metallic idols of old, searing the flesh so that you could smell it (II Chronicles 33:6), as much as you smell nowadays, famine and desolation while guns roar and food vanishes!

It is all a question of what man is for; and in vast masses, mental morasses, they deem themselves fit for surviving. They do it by cunning in politics and often enough in churches, where phrases and assurances do NOT mean what they say, but continuance, existence, survival is what is 'OBVIOUSLY' necessary.

Such was not the case with Jesus Christ, who deemed survival a small thing compared with the execution of duty, the performance of sacrifice, the rescue of the perishing and the finding of the lost (Matthew 16:21-27). Even then, even Peter tried to stop Him (16:22), with whatever kindly motive. But it was not to be; for price is payable in full for sin, and He has His hand pierced in providing cover, now presented to seal with life, those deserving death; and God does seal with the Spirit those who are His (Ephesians 1:1-4).

As to power, that belongs to God as we have seen from the first, in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock; and to clasp it to himself, man falls into obscurity, as a lustful, vicious, marauding creature who would at worst seriously defile the name of beast; who, left to himself, arrogates a deity he does not have, a destiny he cannot create, and an assurance as without foundation as is the bottomless pit!

 

THE FOOLISH PHENOMENON OF INVENTING GODS

We considered in Ch.305ff., 294ff.), the foolish phenomenon of inventing gods, machining deities, populating the mind with its creations and then calling them gods, gods newly arrived, as Moses put it to his generation some thousands of years ago, involved in much the same thing, as seen in Deuteronomy 32:

"They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.

They sacrifice to demons, not to God,
To gods they did not know,
To new gods, new arrivals
That your fathers did not fear.

Of the Rock who begot you,
you are unmindful,
And have forgotten the God
who fathered you.

And when the Lord saw it,
He spurned them,
Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.

And He said, 'I will hide My face from them.
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.

'They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God:
They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.
But I will provoke them to jealousy those who are not a nation.
I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled in My anger,

'And shall burn to the lowest hell:
It shall consume the earth with her increase,

And set on fire the foundations of the mountains...'"

Thus does Deuteronomy 32 proceed, until it reaches the outpouring of His mercy on their desolation at the last, latter in the chapter, which should be studied rigorously, for from the first it has told the last.

Meanwhile, we are seeing it all over again. What the Jewish people asked for, they (at very long last) got; and what the Gentiles are seeking for, they are getting, now in full measure, so that the whole scope of the sovereign discipline of God is coming upon a world which is beginning to wonder what hit it! Setting on fire the foundation of the mountains does not now seem quite so superciliously poetic! It is divine judgment which is hitting the world, precisely as Jesus said:

"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breast which never nursed!'

They will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!" - Luke 23:28-30.

He proceeds to show the development in its earthy roots: "For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"

It is now dry.

Matthew 24 (see SMR Ch.8) in great detail, with other passages noted in that exposition, shows how the Gentile world is to receive what it asks for, after very long delay, and a large series of processes outlined by the Lord. He is very patient and so often people seem to imagine that He is ineffectual, who is longsuffering, or impotent, who holds His power with restraint, but will judge, and that according to plan; as is happening with the most minute precision.

But let us return to our aviary.
 
 

THE BIRDS WHICH WOULD FLY IN THE AVIARY

1) There are the PERSONAL IDOL-BIRDS. These come from the perspiration of man, cultural, psychological, sociological, biological. Imagining many things which are never seen, never have the capacity to fly, they place them in the aviary, equipped with electronic voices, and programmed motions. They do not move much, for it is very hard; they do not ascend, because they are not alive, and the pretence is pretension. But they have them move about horizontally.

Their noise is raucous, their recordings are in fact hideous, like the shriek of cockatoos disturbed. They deliver songs of survival, praise for their makers and assaults on the builder of their masters, being earthy birds, birds which do not fly. They have model names like Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, Darwinian, Punctuationist, Marxian, Nihilist, Idealist, Socialist, Communist, Communalist, Pragmatist, Existentialist, Babble-Babel and Bauble, Survivalist, but the performance of all models is much the same: they do not fly. They do not create; neither do they work nor have they worked, nor do they adequately describe what has worked. And there are many more, for the fingers of the artisans are busy, and the money is available for the time, to create what does not create.

They preach goodness, do evil, as far as lies in their programs; for their provisions are for enlightened self-interest, which they crow about constantly. If I do this for you, will you do that for me! is their cry. If you don't, I shall claw you and spoil you: this is their becoming song. Power-politics on a small or large scale, this is their little dance, which they do amongst the polluted dust at the bottom of the cage. They are programmed to "learn" what pays, to find what will make the least marks on their paper plumage. They say, "Excuse me!" and "By your leave!" whilst programmed to get what they can. Their foundation is distrust, and indeed their programs do not allow for trust; for their makers cannot fashion it at all. One reason is this, that their parameters are not trustworthy; it is all survival, no principles but power, not code but survival. This is called their "interests".

Their builders, idol-makers, have this principle: God was not very nice when He made things, but we are very nice! We are better in living than He was in creating. Thus we shall care for the sick, the lost and the lonely, and disbelieve in God, because, although He is there, since He likes to be believed in, we shall withhold belief, just as an estranged husband may withhold alimony, to "show her". Better than God, whom they slander or slight with callow caricature, they build on themselves and invent gods; and put them in plastic coats in their theological aviary. They like to keep them there, and oil them from time to time when their screeches are also grinding noises, as in the Sudan, and in China, and in India, and in Yugoslavia, as in the Palestinian show-down, as has been in Iraq and Iran, as in Tibet and East Timor.

It does not seem to occur to these idol-makers that their God built with better facilities than they possess, that in creation He was not operating by courtesy of the natural objects that they suppose, contrary to the testimony both of His word and His works (SMR Ch.2, That Magnificent Rock Ch.1,  A Spiritual Potpourri, Chs. 1-9, Hebrews 11:1-4);  and that He is not to be outdistanced by what He makes, repository of His own works, from His own being! (cf. SMR pp. 100-101 - *30, and *31; 88-99).

Better than God, they yet fall beneath their idols, which are really quite otherwise programmed; and do not work, for such things as goodness and honesty and truth, peace, sound justice, and the beauty of holiness are not to be found by mere thought. Their existence does not depend on scheming. These invisible entities are not found in matter; and it matters not at all what is done to matter, it does not understand. Nor do they who follow it, as if they could force their desires and designs upon it; nor have they ever done so in history in their arrogant schemes; they do not succeed, nor can they.

2) Then there are the VICARIOUS IDOL-BIRDS. Here man sees that he is incapable of playing God, and the entire mental confusion of making your maker and having no one to make you. So he decides to go up one rung, in his mind. It is "Nature" which makes gods, and nature has made these birds. So man picks up pieces of living things, and moves about in snippets of their DNA to make new sorts of birds which, while they do not fly, at least are slightly unpredictable.

  “Nature made us!”  they cry.
 

Although it neither stirs to life,

nor makes it,

neither is ever caught constructing DNA

nor does it develop morals,

having evidence neither of spirit nor of mind,

but only of the massive working of a mind it does not control,

does not possess and cannot produce:

yet "it's Nature which is the basis!",

irrationally, pretentiously,

in school and University, they screech.

 

  Like black cockatoos flocking

In horrendous crescendo.. . their artless song echoes brazenly,

A tumultuous tirade of noise.

 

 

So vicarious idolatry arises. Forces become manufacturers, action becomes thought and the grinding noises as men hammer each other, become creative. These birds, made by Nature, are then worshipped. They neither make nor create, but they are worshipped: a vicarious idol grouping, served in fevered imagination, by the many, like the animists of old; held to be the forces which matter, the things which move mountains, the ultimates and the great. 'Nature' is adorned with what it never uses, functions with what it has never shown, is possessed of what is never seen, is worshipped though it is without wit or wisdom, the mere repository of what it has neither effort nor capacity to create, does not create, is barren of means to create, a mental malady, a mixture of disparates conceived in death and born of fantasy. (Cf. SMR Chs. 1,2,10, and Index under Principles, Evolution, Thought, Language, Series, Creation.)

 

3) But then they go further: it develops at length into hilarious idolatry.
THERE ARE HILARIOUS IDOL-BIRDS.

Ceaselessly chattering, they never cruise, for they cannot fly.

They perceive that "Nature" had a beginning, that it does not build up, so they attribute it all to "Nothing". Nothing, defined as deficiency in toto, this did it! Wholesale inability performed; utter non-existence, why this is the REAL force, the TRUE basis! It is gala day for man, a giant leap forward in thought is this after-thought... What has no force is the force; what is not there to create, it is this which created. What better expression of the long-standing divine characterisation of it all in Romans 1:18-22. This is "very deep" and fit only for the cognoscenti; but it is a just and grave mockery of the vicarious idolatry which preceded it; and besides, it is very amusing, if poignantly, this nervous-breakdown of unbelief.

But God is not mocked. The world reels in its unenlightened self-interest, its bogus creativities, and it is furious at its own incapacities, and resolves to try harder, filling its idol aviary with ever new 'gods', new-born gods, freshly fathered and feathered from the imagination which God constructed for man, when He made matter, mind and spirit, and made of man a trilogy, fathered from His Trinity (SMR Chs. 1-2, 10).
 
 

PRINCIPLES OF NON-FLIGHT

While this proceeds, the screeching in the aviary is all but unbelievable; but they call it music, realism and such like things, to make the pain less.

Yet God proceeds. His zealous insistence on truth, like the jealousy of a man for his bride, is not dimmed by more lies. While He has been patient, the thing must come to an end, as He has described so often in Isaiah, declared in Moses and manifested in the words of the apostles. It is not a playground (Cf. II Peter 2, Isaiah 51:6, 65-66, Psalm 102, Deuteronomy 30-33).

"Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?
Is here a God besides Me?
Indeed there is no other Rock:

I know not one.

{Has Rome not learned to read - cf. Psalm 18:31, or does it assess that it knows more than God, in that idol-type!}

"Those who make an image, all of them are useless,
And their precious things shall not profit:
They are their own witnesses:

They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed,
Who would form a god or mould an image
That profits him nothing..." (Isaiah 44:8-10).

Provisions for ... the few, who could hide it out while the mountains, with nuclear aid, might toss about above. Underground in the scope of things?

Again, He says,

"A deceived heart has turned him aside;
And he cannot deliver his soul,
Nor say, "is there not a lie in my right hand?" (from Isaiah 44:20).

"You," He says, "are My witnesses, and My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me,
And understand that I am He.

Before Me there was no God formed,
Nor shall there be after Me.

I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides Me there is no Saviour" - Isaiah 43:10.

Better than God? More ethical, more noble, more caring than the Lord! Show it! Their works are without power, without purity and without truth. Man is not so made and cannot so be re-made.

Yet they try, and pour money into nations or continents as in post-World War II Marshall Aid; they form, but they do not reform. Mercy is not wrong, but false hope is so.

God is not mocked, though with their "potent" idols, they try it like foolish adolescents in some abominable school, erected without foundation and without truth, in a mythical profusion of mental confusion which results in louts, stylish louts, cool louts, but selfish louts, who rejoice in their sophistication ... louts, interested in enlightenment so long as it survives, and they with it, and as handsomely as possible, or as surely; for their 'faith' is in themselves, and in their idols, which screech in cages, cages full of idols, personal idols, vicarious idols or hilarious idols, which have neither heart nor conscience, neither minds nor spirits.

This sunken generation is considering going underground altogether, into the earth, so that they could be safe from the heavens: an aviary underground, where non-flight is not so humiliating, to form an alliance of peace, where soulless lives and heartless minds may construe in the dark, what shall be next. They almost did it literally in Moscow in its huge underground

It is not necessary. It is not effectual in the end, but how it mirrors the predictions already, as the day merely begins to draw near, even from very long ago! (Luke 23:28ff., Revelation 6:16-17, Isaiah 2:10-19). . What shall be next is judgment!
 
 

THE FLIGHT OF THE SAVED IN THE STRENGTH OF THE SON

Meanwhile, the salvation of the Lord is unchanged (see Item 17 above). It is still true, while it is yet day (for the night is coming in which no man can work - John 9:4), that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:17-38), and that Christ is the door through which a person may enter

and be saved assuredly and for ever (John 10:9,27-28);  that His flesh is meat indeed through the faith-reception of which is life eternal (John 6:50-62, Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:1-13), and that He as the Lamb of God was sacrificed, though He is now in heaven awaiting the time of His return to perform very just judgment (Acts 3:19-22, Hebrews 9:25ff., Matthew 24:24-29). Though those words of "eating" be spirit and life (John 6:60ff.), not matters for gnawing, neither are they matters for ignoring (John 1:12-14, 3:17-19,32-36).

HIS DEATH for sin, as a sufficient and seemly sacrifice for it, is still as available as at Calvary. There to the thief - eyes opening at last so that he saw Him (John 6:40), and seeing believed, Christ declared: "TODAY, you will be with Me in paradise!" (Luke 23:43). "WHEN" you come into your kingdom, said the thief, remember me. WHEN! Was there unknown horror and certain desolation coming to this dying thief, on the threshold of biological death and the quivers at eternity?

Not at all. Faith is not like that. God is not like that! TODAY, replied the Lord, covering the case put: TODAY, you will be with Me in paradise; for the work was finished (John 19:30), and there were those of the apostles who would see Him coming in His kingdom, without FIRST TASTING DEATH (Luke 9:27). THAT assurance to the thief was the fierce contrast with the failure of man through sin, that that very day, in the face of such misused force, the realities of faith would be unveiled: for as Paul says,

"God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation, that whether we wake or sleep, so we should ever be with the Lord"(from I Thessalonians 5:9-10).

The flight of faith in the SIGHT of fact and the LIGHT of the Lord is what is needed, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only available salvation, the only attested and verified salvation, the only predicted salvation, the only universal salvation, though they be few enough who partake of its universal offer and who will be saved (John 3:16-19, Isaiah 43:10, Acts 4:11-12, Galatians 1:6-9, Daniel 7:14).

And the dirt of the birds attests, they are no birds of paradise. Freedom is not created by man: either by Communism's inhuman fiasco, or by the burning as of liberty's pure light, from the political image of freedom;  for the image is defiled without the One who created freedom. Liberty is  found only in the Lord (John 8:30-31), and the world is increasingly clearly under sentence, and cannot find liberty, but only loss, in the end, of the life of the soul in its final dis-repose with its screeching idols.

COME! It is time to seek the Lord:


"Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts,
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon" - Isaiah 55:7.

"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon while He is near" - 55:6.

Soon there will be no more time;
and always, there is no other God.

Incomparable in majesty, He is unmatched in compassion, infinite in understanding and despises mean spirited self-interest, once for all showing the way in the sacrifice of the Cross, the obedience to death of His sent Son, the only Saviour, for whom nothing was too much trouble, and no trouble was nothing (cf. Isaiah 42:1-4). It is that, or the AVIARY OF IDOLATRY, where there are ONLY very foolish birds, programmed in the end, by the lost.

(Cf. Matthew 25:1-13, 31-46. For further on idolatries, see That Magnificent Rock, Ch.6, and 7, and SMR pp. 842-884. )