“You shall not permit a sorceress to live. Whoever lies with an animal shall be put to death. Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction.”
At first glance, these three unpardonable sins of Exodus 22 seem to have no obvious correlation other than the severe penalty they incur, but notice that all three crimes here subvert man from his highest, most divine-like state to his basest, most animal-like state.
Think of it this way. God created us in His image and likeness, which I believe relates to our reason in two ways: first, in our rational will from which we choose good from evil, and second in our rational imagination from which we participate in God’s creative enterprise. That’s ultimately what art is: our God-given ability to synthesize forms and principles we discover in the real world and dress them up in fictions and paintings and monuments of our own. We aren’t capable of speaking real worlds into existence like our Father can, but from the realities that surround us we shape and mold and manufacture little inventions of our own. From sonnets to fairy tales to air planes to rollercoasters.
But that’s where the problem comes in. That’s where our strength becomes our downfall. Because when that artistic expression leads us to worship the works of our own hands rather than glorify God, and when we mutate and mutilate the real world to match our own fantasies, death is the only end. For instance, it’s man’s genius to invent an allegory about talking lions and fawns and witches that gives fresh insight into Christ’s glorious gospel, but man’s atrocity to worship fawns and lions and witches as in reality. It’s man’s genius to make children’s movies about a beauty who falls in love with a beast as a basic lesson about the softening of pride by love, but man’s depravity to fall in love with an actual beast in reality. And it’s man’s genius to weave tales of magic sorcerers who serve as symbols for virtue and vice, but man’s devilishness to try to become a sorcerer in reality.
It’s the image of God that matters, friend! He’s the defining line between craftsmanship and idolatry, between genius and insanity, between an abundant life and a slow death.