Project the ruined man into immensity, and a ruined god is the result, only the ruin is worse than the ruined man. In the magnified man there is magnified evil and intensified failure. That is the history of all idolatry. Man having fallen, demanded a god, and having lost the knowledge of the true God, has projected into immensity the lines of his own personality, and thus has created as objects of worship, the awful monsters, the service of which, in process of time, has reacted in the still deeper degradation of the worshiper. All false deities are distortions of the one true God, and the distorted idea is the result of the ruin of the image of God in man.
Referring to the idolatry of Ephraim, the prophet Hosea declared, "And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsman." "Idols according to their own understanding." That understanding being darkened, the idol resulting was a libel upon God.
—G. Campbell Morgan
When God said, ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the likeness of any form; thou shalt not bow thyself unto them nor serve them,’ it was because he knew that if men, who had lost their sense of Him and His presence, made something to represent Him, it would be a false representation, and men would thereby get false notions of Him, even as they sought to worship.
The essential fact of God is that He is limitless, that He is eternal, that He is self-existent, there being no end to His being, and no limit to His power. Limitlessness lies at the heart and center of the thought of God, and the moment a man makes an image, he denies the essence of God. For that reason God forbade that there should be the making of any images; for, not only is the image false, it is misleading.J. Vernon McGee's book Love, Liberation & Law, also quotes Morgan:
To pass on to children a wrong conception of God . . . is the most awful thing a man can do . . . When a man puts something, as the object of his worship, in the place of God, he passes on the same practice to his offspring. What a terrible heritage he is thus handing down to the child!
But notice the gracious promise standing side by side with the waring: . . . "Showing mercy unto a thousand generations of them that love Me, and keep My commandments."... Here is a remarkable comparison-God visits the iniquity to the third and fourth generation; but He shows mercy unto the thousandth generation! If a man will commit to his posterity a worship which is true, strong, whole-hearted, and pure, and will sweep away all that interferes between himself and God, he is more likely to influence for good the thousandth generation that follows him than a man of the opposite character is to touch that generation with evil.... Whenever a man stops short of that face-to-face worship of the Eternal God, he is working ruin to his own character, because he is breaking the commandment of God. (Morgan, The Ten Commandments, pp. 34, 35)