twenties Counterfeit Gods Discussion, Chapter 2

In chapter two of Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller addresses the contemporary cultural idol of love an romance. Employing Jacob’s relationships with Rachel and Leah, Keller shows how making romantic love a centering purpose for you life ultimately undermines and even destroys meaningful and healthy relationships. Here are a couple of questions for you as you read and apply the chapter.


  1. What are the stories and movies which feed the graven image of love and romance?
  2. Keller exposits Genesis 29. Read that chapter and note any passages which speak to you and any passages which you do not understand or stir up further questions.
  3. Each person mentioned in Genesis 29 is dealing with some level of idolatry. What idols do Jacob, Laban, Lean, and Rachel serve?
  4. If idolatry can lead you to “break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance in order to hold onto it”, how does this play out in the character’s lives? How does it play out in your life?
  5. Are there gender differences? How do men and women approach their desires and dreams differently? How do men and women approach love and romance differently?
  6. What idols do you face? How can you discover what they are?
  7. Share a story when you faced cosmic disappointment or disillusionment. How has God employed that circumstance in your life?
  8. How does one free one’s heart or self from the love or pursuit of an idol?
  9. How does knowing the “true bridegroom” change you?


  • Company, by Stephen Sondheim was shown on Great Performances last
  • Thomas Chalmer’s sermon, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection” can be read here.

Dawn Treader’s Conclusion

The High School Dawn Treader’s finished the Voyage of The Dawn Treader last night at Panera. As always, I had a great time.

Though I often drone on and on about Lewis, the Chronicles of Narnia have been very helpful as a source of illustration (as the congregation of GPC can well attest). I have enjoyed tremendously our sojourn in Lewis this past summer and fall.

The Dawn Treader is all about the virtues which the poet’s ascribed to Sol or the sun. I was struck last night by the scene in which Caspian, much to his crew’s dismay and displeasure, decides to go with Reepicheep into the utter East. After being confronted by Aslan in his berth, Caspian relents and submits to his crew’s wise counsel. I was perplexed as to why Lewis would put this curiously negative story at the very end of the book. I was perplexed until I read again Lewis’ lines from his homage to the planets in a poem by the same name. Sol is the one whose “sword of light hurts and humbles.” Ah, that’s it. Nothing hurts and humbles like standing in the light, and there is no better response to the Light than repentance and humility. I think this is why Lewis put this story at the end: the most important virtue imbued by Sol is not liberality, knowledge, or gold, but rather a humble repentance.

In honor of our completion of the book, here are Lewis’ words on Sol from “The Planets”

“…Far beyond [Venus]
 The heaven’s highway hums and  trembles,

Drums and dindles, to the driv’n thunder
Of SOL’s chariot, whose sword of light
Hurts and humbles; beheld only
Of eagle’s eye. When his arrow glances
Through mortal mind, mists are parted
And mild as morning the mellow wisdom Breathes o’er the breast, brodening eastward
Clear and cloudless. In a clos’d garden
(Unbound her burden) his beams foster
Soul in secret, where the soil puts forth
Paradisal palm, and pur fountains
Turn and re-temper, touching coolly
The uncomely common to cordial gold;
Whose ore also, in earth’s matrix,
Is print and pressure of his proud signet
On the wax of the world. He is the worshipp’d male,
The earth’s husband, all-beholding,
Arch-chemic eye…”

 Incidentally, the church in which I first served as youth pastor has an homage to Sol in it’s sanctuary. For their part the building is one of the last remaining Art Deco school buildings in the state. In case you were wondering, Sol is flanked by attending angels and the remaining planets. Dante has both philosophers and theologians inhabiting the sphere of Sol in his Paradiso.