“Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
To study the imagination in light of Scripture would be very beneficial to us, yet we can only take a brief glance at the subject here. Even so, we shall come to understand that this part of our being must also submit to God’s cleansing power.
The imagination vs. God’s word
The prophet Jeremiah writes, “And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me” (Jeremiah 16:12.)
Notice how the people chose to live in opposition to the revealed word of God. They trusted and followed their own imagination rather than the truth.
The word “imagination” is translated in three ways in the Old Testament. 1. Formation. 2. Device. 3. Stubbornness. Jeremiah uses the third meaning throughout his prophecy.
What is the imagination?
The imagination is the human faculty which forms and gives shape to things that do not yet exist. Every artist, designer, and inventor makes use of this. Unfortunately it is the stronghold of unbelief, which is clearly seen in religion and evolution.
Talk to the unsaved about the Lord Jesus Christ and you will soon encounter the evil heart (imagination) of unbelief. We will hear comments like, “If God is a God of love …” – “It is impossible” – “It’s too good to be true” – “I will get to Heaven my way.”
Amongst Christians evil imagination has a foothold. Speak about the need of sanctification and we will hear remarks such as, “It sounds like legalism” – “God knows I’m only human” – “Once saved, always saved.”
In both camps we see how unbelief warps the imagination, thus the word of God is rejected. The fact is that each one considers the way of holiness too hard. Unbelief is a poison that destroys the soul.
A purified imagination
Cannot the Holy Spirit heal this part of our nature too? Cannot our imagination be filled with praise, love, faith, and thankfulness toward God? 1 Chronicles 29:18 reads, “O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee.” So yes, our imagination can be used for the things of God rather than those of the flesh. Isaiah declares, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind (imagination in Hebrew) is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3.)
Our hearts will never be established until our imagination is sanctified. The imagination must be fixed upon God.
In rejecting God’s word mankind creates a god after his own imagination, but many Christians are doing exactly the same thing. By going our own way we prove that our imagination is diseased and saturated with the poison of unbelief.
God desires to sanctify this faculty by casting out all unbelief. Then we will walk in His way and according to His word.