Thoughts on reading Barth (C. D. I-2, p. 304)
".. Yahweh is not zealous against (idols) only for the sake of His own honor, because He is the one God of the people of Israel. On the contrary, they are "other" (Isa. 44:9ff) and "strange" first of all to Himself. They are of a different nature and kind. And for this reason, that they can have such representatives and substitutes in the images which are made by human hands, whereas He, Yahweh, cannot be rrepresented by any human work. For His name is Holy. .... "
Barth is on to something here. God is not threatened by competition with 'other gods'... whatever man attributes to such beings is simply a reflection of his own present interests and hungers. Man is threatened by the vagaries of agricultural production, war, fertility, etc. and he fashions images or statues that provide an outlet for those things. God is not immediately threatened by this... for they reflect man's ignorance of His own Person and Sovereignty. It is when man presumes to erect idols representing Himself or the occupants of His Heaven that God takes fierce umbrage.
How arrogant of man to think that He can "create" anything to accurately express fundamental truths transcendent to himself and all creation. What handiwork of his could reflect the "otherness" of God? Even the glorious angels are not accessible to him. Man must receive whatever knowledge of God and heavenly things as he can assimilate as a child receives milk from his nursing mother. Apart from God reaching out to us we are blind and dumb and lame. We are not only lacking in knowledge we are physically, spiritually and emotionally impaired.
(Joh 3:6 NKJ) " 6 "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
God stands above man and calls him to knowledge of Himself... from that awakening, all of which is God's initiative, man first is able to have even a glimmer of true light shining in his life. From that point all that was "old" now becomes tawdry and cheap in comparison. What matter is the "new", the joyous discovery of the Kingdom that was hidden but present all along. There is first the cringing shame of self-discovery, the awareness of sin. Then there is the incredulous news that those sins are not only forgiven but washed away through the blood of Christ and then, in crowning trumpet sounds, the glorious news that he is adopted as a son (or daughter) and is a joint-heir with Christ.
What of man's hands could do justice to this? All our best works are nothing but caricatures communicating error more than truth. But the Gospel... the Word of God which is the Kingdom of God and its King... that is all.