Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Problems Unlikely to Beset the Reformed Churches

How to react when God sends his lightening bolts against your graven images? Rio's answer seems to be repair it: (link).

Let's hope that they get the message more quickly than the Philistines did!

1 Samuel 5
1And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. 2When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 3And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
4And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day. 6But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof. 7And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
8They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither. 9And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
10Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
11So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. 12And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

Praise be to the God who is not worshipped with the works of men's hands, as though He needed anything,

-Turretinfan

15 comments:

TheoJunkie said...

Hey... I guess I haven't been to your actual blog in a while. ... living in reader land... Nice new look!

You might be interested in RC Sproul's radio message (from 2/9/08) on the Jerusalem Decree (gentile converts vis a vis food sacrificed to idols, etc). link

In it, he tangents on the history of images (including Calvin's statements on the matter).

A statue of the Incarnation is something that might be somewhat debatable as to whether it is a graven image of God. Truly, it is an image of the GodMan, but then, it is not an image of The Son... there is a difference.

Turretinfan said...

Hi TJ,

Thanks for your comments.

I'm puzzled by your attempt to distinguish between the Godman and the Son.

If your point is just that graven images are insufficient to convey the entirety of Christ, I fully agree.

But that's even true of statues of mere men. Take the statue of Admiral Lord Nelson for instance: link.

-Turretinfan

Hidden One said...

How exactly is Rio supposed to be repairing it when the storm "did not damage the statue"?

Nice picture, though.

TheoJunkie said...

No, that wasn't my point. I'm sorry I wasn't clear. I agree that no image of anything can convey the entirety of that thing. However, my point was that it seems that an image of Jesus Christ-- provided that one does not bow down before it and worship it-- is not an idol.

The Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, is Spirit and cannot be seen. The Second Person is infinite.

The Incarnation of the Son is flesh, is human, is finite, has been seen.

Therefore, it would seem that making an image of the Godhead (Father, Son, or Spirit) or any Person therein is both impossible and derogatory to Him.

However, making an image of Jesus Christ the Incarnation, is hypothetically possible (for he has been seen, even if the artist hasn't seen him) and no more derogatory than a statue/painting/etc of any other person.

TheoJunkie said...

By the way, TF, I have read your comment definition links. If you have rejected my original comment for one of the reasons you posted, I am at a loss to understand which one. As a friend, I would appreciate your guidance if I have transgressed something.

Turretinfan said...

TJ,

I'm pretty sure you'll find that the second commandment explicitly forbids not only the worshipping of, but even the making of representations of God.

Christ is God.

Therefore, making (and not only worshipping) representations of Christ is forbidden.

Christ's divinity is an objective reality. Thus, I would not make an exception for say, an Ebionite, who fails to acknowledge Christ's divinity.

Maybe I'm still missing your point, though. Maybe your point is that the artist is portraying Christ as a man. If so, I'm not sure how that helps.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

TJ,

No - I held your original comment because I thought it would be confusing.

My not publishing people's comments doesn't mean that they have transgressed anything.

Sometimes it just means I need more time to respond.

-Turretinfan

Turretinfan said...

HO,

I think that when I originally posted the link, the article had different wording - as the damage report per my memory was different. Perhaps I misread the article originally, though.

In any event, it would not have been the first time the statue has been repaired:

(link)

-Turretinfan

TheoJunkie said...

I do not intend to cast any doubt as to Jesus Christ's divinity. Neither do I suggest that Christ's human nature and his divine nature are any way separate.

I point out merely that because he was also human, that making an image of him the man (which is all that one would be able to do anyway), seems to be a different ball of wax than trying to make an image of the eternally spiritual Son (Second Person).

So yes, my point is that if the artist is portraying "Christ the man who walked the historical earth", then this is not the same as if the artist were trying to portray the divinity of Christ.

Again, I have my doubts regarding the artist's intent with the statue at Rio. The mere enormity of the statue (i.e., "larger than life") tends to make me think that the artist was attempting to capture Christ's divinity. (But as said, there is a small chance that the artist was merely advertising in a large way the Christian foundation of the city).

Turretinfan said...

Dear TJ,

I don't think the two are separable in view of the Incarnation.

There's really no reason to portray Jesus at all, except for who is: God in the flesh.

-Turretinfan

TheoJunkie said...

Thanks, TF.

Lucian said...

The lack of any possible comparison between icons and idols arises as clearly as daylight from this short and simple passage of Holy Scriptures. Yet Your eyes are blinded and do not see that Light.

Turretinfan said...

The lack of comparison is obvious? What an odd claim.

The difference between icons and idols is largely arbitrary and/or imaginary.

-TurretinFan

Lucian said...

Tell it to Moses and Samuel! :)

Turretinfan said...

There is no need, Lucian.

Neither of them would imagine such a difference.

Nor would any of the prophets or apostles.

-TurretinFan