9 For equally hateful to God are the ungodly and their ungodliness;
10 for what was done will be punished together with the one who did it.
11 Therefore there will be a visitation also upon the heathen idols,
because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination,
snares for human souls
and a trap for the feet of the foolish.
12 For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication,
and the invention of them was the corruption of life;
13 for they did not exist from the beginning,
nor will they last for ever.
14 For through human vanity they entered the world,
and therefore their speedy end has been planned.
15 For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement,
made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him;
he now honoured as a god what was once a dead human being,
and handed on to his dependants secret rites and initiations.
16 Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law,
and at the command of monarchs carved images were worshipped.
17 When people could not honour monarchs* in their presence, since they lived at a distance,
they imagined their appearance far away,
and made a visible image of the king whom they honoured,
so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one as though present.
18 Then the ambition of the artisan impelled
even those who did not know the king to intensify their worship.
19 For he, perhaps wishing to please his ruler,
skilfully forced the likeness to take more beautiful form,
20 and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work,
now regarded as an object of worship the one whom shortly before they had honoured as a human being.
21 And this became a hidden trap for humankind,
because people, in bondage to misfortune or to royal authority,
bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name that ought not to be shared.
22 Then it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God,
but though living in great strife due to ignorance,
they call such great evils peace.
23 For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries,
or hold frenzied revels with strange customs,
24 they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure,
but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery,
25 and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
26 confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favours,
defiling of souls, sexual perversion,
disorder in marriages, adultery, and debauchery.
27 For the worship of idols not to be named
is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
28 For their worshippers* either rave in exultation,
or prophesy lies, or live unrighteously, or readily commit perjury;
29 for because they trust in lifeless idols
they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm.
30 But just penalties will overtake them on two counts:
because they thought wrongly about God in devoting themselves to idols,
and because in deceit they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness.
31 For it is not the power of the things by which people swear,*
but the just penalty for those who sin,
that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011