The Lion and the Man

This is the Lion Man. It is the oldest carved figurine in the history of the world, approximately 35,000 years old. Unless you don’t accept carbon dating. Then your guess is as good as mine. In general, scholars can’t determine if the figurine is a male or a female. Still, they call it Lion “Man” and not Lion Figurine. Or Lion Statue. The scholars also believe that the statue is likely a representation of a god or goddess.

Now, there may actually be older figurines, but either they didn’t survive or they haven’t been found yet. So they don’t count right now. As for the Lion Man, I think he has a special significance for people.

I believe he illustrates that the human obsession with idols goes back as far as the existence of modern humans. The urge to make images of our gods is deeply ingrained within us and helps us understand why God addressed this problem in the 2nd Commandment. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” That’s not something we think about in this modern era. However, most pastors would quickly point out that modern humans have their own kinds of idols. We don’t carve them anymore. But we print them on special paper that can’t be counterfeited. We idolize singers, actors, and athletes. We become addicted to them. The list goes on. God tells us not to make graven images. He means more than carving little figurines.

Who Made the Gates of Hell?

I’ve posted about some locations on our planet that are labelled as the Gates of Hell. Also, I’ve suggested that the Gates of Hell are easier to find than the Gates of Heaven. Let me finish with one more representation of hell, a sculpture by Rodin.

Rodin created this representation of the gates of hell after being inspired by Dante’s poem, The Inferno. I don’t think many people today are familiar with The Inferno. They may have heard of it, but very few have actually read it. It is not full of action heroes. It does not have romance or comedy. It does not have transporter beams or light sabers. Actually, it’s a very depressing picture of people suffering in hell. I write about the sculpture and the poem because we need to think about hell.

Today’s world doesn’t pay much attention to hell. As the standard argument goes, a good and loving God would never send people to a place of eternal torture. The other side of that argument, though, would say that a good and loving God could never allow evil, sinful, hateful people into a place that is supposed to be free of evil, sin, and hate. It’s a classic problem. How does God solve it? First, he provides a way for sinful people to be cleansed and made holy. Secondly, he gives people the freedom to choose to be cleansed and made holy. Last, he provides a place for people who choose not to be cleansed and made holy. As Dante wrote about the gates:

“Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My Maker was Divine authority,
The highest Wisdom, and the primal Love.
Before me nothing but eternal things
Were made, and I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, who enter here.