In His greatness, G-d gives Mankind free-will to do many things, even to deny G-d's very existence.
We have a tradition that there was a lustful attraction to worship idols during early world history. This lasted through the fourth century BCE.
Although idolatry is expressly forbidden by G-d, within three generations Adams descendants rationalize that idolatry is noble because it provides a mechanism by which Man can better relate with G-d.
Corruption soon sets in and false prophets show up. Eventually most of Mankind abandons both G-d and their responsibility to obey His instructions for living.
Paganism takes hold and it turns G-d into a person. In contrast, Judaism teaches that man can become like G-d.
The Oral Torah (Mishna Avoda Zara 54b) records the following discussion between our Sages and the Roman nobility.
"If (your) G-d is against idolatry then why doesn't He destroy the idols?"
The Sages responded: "If people would worship only that which does not contribute to the functioning of the world then G-d would have eradicated them. However, since people worship the sun, moon, and stars, then why should G-d destroy his world because of fools?"
"So, why doesn't G-d only destroy the idols that the world doesn't need?"
The Sages answered, "If G-d did this then it could be misunderstood, because people would use this to validate the worship of those idols that the world needs to function."
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