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When God first gave His Law to mankind, He began with a statement of who He is: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt" (Exodus 20:2) with a warning that Israel was to have no other ...
The short answer for me is that I do not think it is okay to have any images of God. 15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are. [Deuteronomy 4:15-20] Let us observe the reasoning of God, here is why God says there ought to be no images made of HIMSELF. 1. You do not know what I look like [Deuteronomy 4:11-15] 2. I did not reveal myself to you in a manner that you could know [Deuteronomy 4:15] 3. The word in verse sixteen is correctly translated "image" and not "idol" coming from the Hebrew פֶּ֖סֶל - meaning image. 4. Further do not even have them so that you will in no way be enticed into worshipping them [v15-18] 5. And do not be tempted to give glory to things that are seen but rather worship Me who is unseen. [v19] 6. The word "idol" does not appear in this text, it is merely the word "פֶּ֖סֶל" (idol is an interpretation of the word image, we call it idol because it is an image designated for worship, however, no such distinction appears in Hebrew). Conclusion, in effect God bans two things, the manufacturing of images in any form as the pertain to the divine person and the worshipping of physical objects. Historically speaking, this passage coupled with Exodus 20:3-4 was never interpreted by the Jewish people to be one in the same, there were two separate commands. Do not worship other Gods and do not try and create an image of God. In the Hebrew a parody on the creation story is found in Deuteronomy 4:15-20, God says do not make a "סָמֶל תַּבְנִית" or "figure in the likeness of" which we find God does that for humanity " בְּצַלְמֹו בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים" but God does it in a slightly different way as accorded to the Hebrew, He does not make art, but rather ambassadors (that is the meaning behind the different Hebrew yet being translated the same). Herod the Great in Masada and all of his private palaces never has any images of creatures, but rather only patterns. He does this in accordance with Jewish law and what was the traditional interpretation of the passages. People like John of Damascus defended the veneration of images and their general manufacturing, while others were opposed, the opposition was actually the tradition.Synod of Elvira and Eusebius of Caeseria as early as 300 AD were opposed and the use of images in the Church was prohibited until Constantine legalized Christianity and pagan and imperial imagery was used. Now, I don't agree with making pictures of Christ because as per the argument in the Old Testament we do not know what Jesus looked like and I think God wanted it to be that way, plus why should only one of the ten commandments change. When we draw Christ, I believe that we devalue Him, for: "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem." Isaiah 53:2-3. He was never about the looks, Christianity is unique because our God cannot be drawn, He is bigger, so don't cheapen Him. That's my take on it.
I think those advocating for images as a way to worship God suffer from the same complex as the Israelites when they rejected a God that they could not see and preferred a human king so that they could be like other nations,1Samuel 8:5.The Catholics find it difficult to woship a God that they can not see,hence their temples are full of images of the Saints to whom they do obeisance. "Though you have not seen Him,you love Him;and even though you do not see Him now,you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy..", 1Peter 1:8. Our love and faith for and in Him is what makes our worship fervent,and not images of Him.
God clearly forbade the making of idols or images of anything or anyone anywhere. That is all encompassing, but that will NOT deter idolators from their favourite toys. MORESO, THE PICTURE OF JESUS IS NOT KNOWN! What has passed around as the picture of Jesus is just some human creation. His form is never given in the bible. So people are holding on to some imagination of someone. No picture of Jesus or anyone. Your bible is enough. Bless.
The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: "Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure...."(Deut 4:15-16.) It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. "He is the all," but at the same time "he is greater than all his works."(Sir 43:27-28) He is "the author of beauty."(Wis 13:3.) Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim. Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (year 787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons - of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new "economy" of images. The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone. Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.
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