By examining what Scripture reveals about divine rejection of certain altars, an important truth emerges that must inform our understanding concerning divine rejection of certain instrumental music used in worship.
Divine Rejection of Altars
Scripture explicitly reveals to us that there were altars made by humans that God rejected:
Deuteronomy 7:5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
God commanded His people to destroy these altars of the Canaanites as well as all their objects of false worship. It is important to note that the altars were not themselves objects that were worshiped; they were man-made objects that were used in worship.
Those altars were made by people who were made in God’s image. Although they were cultural products made by such people, God rejected those altars and demanded that His people do likewise.
Divine Rejection of Instrumental Music Used in Worship
Just as God commanded His people to reject the altars of those people, so His people were to reject as well the other facets of how they worshiped their false deities (Deut. 12:29-30). Because this divine mandate necessarily included their instrumental music that they used in worship, we see that God rejected their instrumental music used in their worship as well as their altars.
The fact that people made in the image of God made that instrumental music did not mean that music itself had to have been acceptable to God for use by His people in worship.
In response to this line of reasoning, some claim that God created all music. Such a claim has no explicit biblical basis.
Even so, to arrive at that position, some say that God made people in His image and they are sub-creators so that He is the Creator of all music in that way.
By the same reasoning, we would have to hold that God is the Creator of all altars. Yet, we see that God demanded the complete rejection of pagan altars.
If one, therefore, yet takes the approach that God is the Creator of all music, then one would not have any basis to deny that there is also instrumental music that God created that He wants His people to reject. That conclusion, however, is precisely what many believers who reason in these ways will not accept.
Just as God has rejected certain altars, so He has rejected certain instrumental music used in worship. The image of God in man does not mean that God will accept whatever instrumental music humans have chosen to use in worship.