The True God Gives Immortality
1 But you, our God, are kind and true and patient. You rule the universe with mercy. 2 Even if we sin, we know your power and are still yours. But because we know that we belong to you, we will not sin. 3 Knowing you is perfect righteousness. Recognizing your power is where immortality begins. 4 We have not been misled by any evil product of human skill, by any useless object painted by some artist, or by any idol smeared with different colors. 5 The sight of such things arouses the passions of foolish people and makes them desire a dead, lifeless image. 6 Anyone who makes such a thing or desires it or worships it is in love with something evil, and gets what he deserves when he places his hopes in it.
The Foolishness of Worshiping Clay Idols
7 A potter works the soft clay and carefully shapes each object for our use. Some things he makes are put to good use, and some are not, but he makes them all from the same clay, and shapes them in the same manner. The potter himself decides which objects shall be used for what purposes. 8 He is a human being who was himself formed from earth only a short while earlier, and after a little while, when he must return the soul that was lent to him, he will go back to the same earth. He is a human being, but he wastes his labor shaping a useless god out of the same clay that he uses to make pots. 9 His life will be short, and he will soon have to die, but he is not concerned about that. He wants to compete with those who work in gold, silver, and bronze, and make things like they do. He takes great pride in the things he makes, but they are counterfeit. 10 His heart is made of ashes. His hope is cheaper than dirt. His life is not worth as much as his clay, 11 because he never came to know the God who shaped him, who breathed into him an active soul and a living spirit. 12 He thinks of human life as just a game, a market where he can make a profit. He believes that he must make money however he can, even by evil ways. 13 This man, who makes idols and fragile pots from the same clay, knows better than anyone else that he is sinning.
The Punishment of the Egyptians
14 But the most foolish of all people, showing less sense than babies, were the enemies who oppressed your people, O Lord. 15 They thought that all their pagan idols were gods, even though idols cannot see with their eyes, cannot breathe through their nose, cannot hear with their ears, cannot feel with their fingers, and cannot walk on their legs. 16 Someone whose spirit is only borrowed made them. No one can ever make a god that is equal to a human being. 17 Every person will sooner or later die, but anything he makes with his wicked hands is dead from the start. He himself is better than what he worships. He at least is alive, but what he worships is not, and never has been. 18 Such people worship the most disgusting animals, including even the least intelligent ones. 19 Even as animals they are not attractive enough to make anyone want them. God himself passed them by when he put his approval and blessing on the rest of creation.