Romans 1:23 NASB
“and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
We worship the created and not the creator. That’s Paul’s point in this passage, our suppression of the truth and living in unrighteousness has led to the worship of things that God has created himself. Paul is being very specific in the words he is using here, alluding to Psalm 106:20. Pagan worship was prevalent in ancient Israel, even to the point of the Exodus from Egypt when the Hebrews worshipped the golden calf. Despite the great evidence of God’s creation, law and incarnation, man exchanges the Creator for physical things that God Himself has given to man through His creation.
Man worshiped Pharaohs and Kings who are made in the image in God. But man is not God, only made in His likeness so to worship Him. Man worshipped animals and the sun and the moon for the blessings they provide in their lives. But this worship ought to be given to the One who created those animals and the sun and moon! Today, we are no different. We worship careers, and sacrifice our families for money, we worship our sex lives and sacrifice our children to the god of pleasure and connivance. We worship material possessions and horde treasures in our homes knowing we can’t take it with us to the grave. We worship entertainment and spend more time fixated to screens then we do to the Word of God. More time spent feasting our eyes on our phones and tv’s over time spent with God reveals our love of self and pleasure over our love of God. We don’t think of it as worship, but it is worship because we declare it more important then God with the time we spend with them.
The depravity of man hasn’t declined simply because our civilization is more advanced then it was 2000 years ago. We’ve simply deceived ourselves and suppressed the truth just like men and women before us. The only way out of this depravity is to humbly cast off all idols and not allow ourselves to be captive, thinking we are wise, when we’re just fools.