Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Response to Steve Hays on the Second Commandment

This is not a full rebuttal to what Steve Hays wrote on the second commandment (link to Steve's post). Instead, it is a heavily short-handed rebuttal, written with his high level of understanding of Scripture and theology in mind. The goal is to persuade him, not to respond to the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox errors on this subject (themselves differing from one another).

Steve makes an argument that is similar to the argument that John of Damascus used to justify the making of images of Jesus. The argument boiled down is that the absolute prohibition on making representations of God was limited to the time before the incarnation.

There is one critical flaw in this argumentation: Theophanies. Whether or not Moses saw something capable of depiction, other men did. Those men lived before Moses, such as Abraham, and after Moses, such as Joshua saw the Lord in human form.

Consider this:

Deuteronomy 4:15-19
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

Rather than treating the comment "for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire" as being the reason why the commandment was imposed, may I suggest to Steve that a better way to understand it is in reverse. To avoid fanning the idolatrous temptations of the Israelites, God did not reveal Himself to them in any form. The formless revelation of God, therefore, is an object lesson to how He wishes to be honored: without images made by man.

Finally, let me provide the second counter-example. For whatever reason, Christ when resurrected concealed himself from being recognized by his appearance. Thus, Mary Magdalene does not immediately recognize him, nor do the disciples on the road to Emmaus, though evidently Jesus did look the same - even down to the scars whose inspection by Thomas Christ welcomed.

God has nowhere indicated any desire to be honored through man-made images of Him. I realize that many "Protestants" as well as some others who profess to follow Christ make or use purported[Fn1] images of Him without intending to use them as part of "worship." Nevertheless, the only obvious reason for depicting Jesus Christ is because he is God. It's not for a group photo of Nazareth high school, nor is it a booking photo at the Sanhedrin detention center. The point for Christians that makes Jesus Christ of any interest is the fact that He is the Son of God.

Now, there are sometimes other reasons to have images purporting to be of Christ. For example, one might provide a display of such images simply to show the foolishness and self-contradiction of attempts to image Christ, who is in heaven.

But if you wish to see an image of God, do not give up hope. Men (humans) are made in the image of God, and particularly husbands are in God's image:

1 Corinthians 11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

For those who wish to see Christ imaged - there is one divinely sanctioned representation:

1 Corinthians 11:24-26
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

So, let's view Christ that way - through the non-likeness of the bread and wine, worshiping and reverencing God in the way in which He wishes to be worshiped, not with our own imagination, but according to His Word.

- TurretinFan

36 comments:

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I think there is a big difference when it comes to intent in understanding the second commandment. It is all in the context of worship. If I make an image of God or of anything in the created order for the purpose of worshiping it (or have it "guide me" in worship), I am in violation of the commandment. I am not in violation (though the Amish believe I am) when I draw a picture of a bird, or a rock, or a stream, or the sea merely to enjoy its beauty. On the other hand, I would not make any kind of image of God the Father since He is not part of His created order and no man has seen Him. Created things we should feel free to depict, whether it be in pictures, words or in song.

I used to be quite opposed to any kind of depiction of Jesus in film or children's storybooks. But as long as I explain to (my child, for example) that an actor is depicting Jesus in the film in order to tell the Bible story, then I don't see a problem. Further, I am careful to clear up any inefficiencies or inconsistencies in the Bible story that we may find in the film or book. They understand, as I explain it to them, that we don't know what Jesus looked like, and He probably did not look like the actor. Kids aren't stupid. Just take a little time to make things clear to them.

Coram Deo said...

Well said, TF!

As someone else has pointed out on this selfsame subject, the Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 109 speaks clearly and Biblically to this matter:

Q109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

A109: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense: Whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God has appointed.

Thanks for a well considered and thoughtful post on a very important, and too often misunderstood and neglected subject.

In Christ,
CD

Craig French said...

Pilgrimsarbour,
I'm afraid you don't seem to understand how powerful images are, nor how man constantly acquires images and makes new ones always.

Contrary to what you said, Jesus said when you look at Him you see the Father. He conveyed the fullness of Deity, including His Father, through His flesh.

Depict Christ = depicting (more like, perverting) the Godhead.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons* in any kind of image or likeness of any creature

*( either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly)

The parenthetical statement which I removed to make my point can throw us if we're not careful. At issue is the making of any representation of God as a created being. We are not to depict Him in any way as a creature because He is the Creator and is above (apart) from that which He created.

Since the incarnate Jesus did live fully as a human being, I do not feel we should apply the WLC in exactly the same way as we would to the Father. I also do not have an issue with depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove, since He appeared as such.

In every case, though, we are not to make any image of any kind in order to worship it or to aid us in worshiping what we believe to be the true God, since any image is bound to be dishonouring to Him in some or multiple fashions.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Contrary to what you said, Jesus said when you look at Him you see the Father. He conveyed the fullness of Deity, including His Father, through His flesh.

The part of your statement I emphasised is correct. But I do not believe Jesus intended us to understand that when the disciples looked at His face that God the Father has a face exactly like Jesus'. God is a Spirit and does not have a "face" as such, even though there are anthropomorphisms in Scripture that talk about seeing Him "face to face." (1 Cor. 13:12)

What you are saying, Craig, is that whenever the disciples thought about Jesus they were sinning if they at all thought about the way he looked physically. I don't believe that. Even if their memories faded and they couldn't completely bring his face to mind properly, let's remember that there is a measure of subjectivity in all human cognition of appearances that should not be thought of as sin.

On the other hand, we in the 21st century have no idea what Jesus looked like. Since He was/is human, I don't feel the issue applies to Him in quite the same way as it does to the Father. Nor am I ignorant of the power of images in the lives of men. I was raised Catholic, if you get my drift.

Craig French said...

Pilgrim,
Jesus is fully Divine and human...one PERSON. A Divine PERSON.

Representing his human form must be an attempt at representing His Person, otherwise He would actually be *two persons*.

As I mentioned, He said that you see the Father when you look at Him...his flesh is a divine canvass as He is a Divine Person united to a human nature. You may "feel" that we can physically represent Him, but you've offered no biblical warrant and seem to take biblical warning re: images with a grain of salt.

You may also "feel" you may represent the Holy Spirit as a dove, but the divine revelation was given to us in words, the physical revelation does not belong to us...without a direct revelation from God, rest assured that using our own images will distort the truth.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Jesus is fully Divine and human...one PERSON. A Divine PERSON.

Interesting that you don't add as emphatically "A Human PERSON."

You are correct. He is both. But I can't help thinking you may have lost sight of His humanity in your (perfectly understandable and laudable) desire to obey the second commandment as best you can.

I am not free to depict Jesus as a dog, or a cat, or a parakeet [even a Holy Paraclete :-)] because they are God-made creatures and cannot themselves be a depiction of God in any way. But Jesus is/was human. Now I understand the argument that says "we are sinful and don't know what he looked like and we'll get it wrong." I can't disagree with that. However, is there nothing about the incarnate Jesus that is (dare I say) creaturely? Yes, He is eternal God, but is He eternal man? Was he human before the incarnation? Or is humanity something that the immutable God "took on" at the incarnation? My (scholarly) friends tell me that God made no change to Himself at the incarnation, and I respect that because it's consistent with His attribute of immutability. By the way, this is a different matter, in my view, to the question of eternal Sonship.

Sorry, very large rabbit trail there...maybe for another post.

Craig French said...

Pilgrim,
You have a fundamental error to correct...a common one, but an error nonetheless.

The Son took on a human nature, not a human person. The hypostatic union is a union of natures, not persons...Christ is 1 Person with 2 natures.

Here's how WCF VIII states it explicitly:
"The Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin; being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man."

You have lost sight of the fact Christ is one Person, and as the Incarnate One, He is the penultimate anthropomorphism. He conveys God perfectly because He is God. He conveys that perfectly through flesh because He is also man in perfect, inseperable union with His Divinity.

Turretinfan said...

Christ took on a human nature. As such in one person is he is both human and divine. He is both fully God and fully man, in one person. It's equally proper to call that one person "human" with reference to the human nature and "divine" with reference to the divine nature.

In any event, imagined depictions of Christ's human nature are inadequate to represent his person, since his person is both human and divine.

I think your point, CF, is essentially on the mark: to try to depict the "human person" (as though it can be separated from the "divine person") is virtually Nestorian.

-TurretinFan

Craig French said...

TF,
I'm not sure I'm following you. On the one hand, I'm not sure I said anything contrary...but on the other, it seems you may be saying something different.

Turretinfan said...

I hope we're saying the same thing differently. Perhaps not?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Craig,

I never said that Jesus was not a "person" from all eternity. Please don't attribute to me things I did not say. There is One Being called God and He exists in Three Persons from all eternity. Is that satisfactory? But I'm still waiting to hear a response to any of the questions I actually said above in my previous posts. I asked very specific questions. Are you willing to address them?

I do not separate the natures of Jesus. But now I perceive the necessity of asking the question, how is it that Jesus was human from all eternity without having had a human nature?

And TF, I'm just asking questions. The reason I do this is to learn. I don't think it's necessary to be labeled a heretic (virtual Nestorian) in the process, though I suppose I should be flattered you acknowledged me at all. Again! Look what I have to do to get your attention! :-)

Craig French said...

TF-
I think we are saying the same thing :)

Pilgrim,
we're talking past each other, I'm afraid. You think I've inferred things you didn't mean, but you have done the same. I never said Jesus had a human nature from eternity past. He assumed a human nature at His Incarnation.

In order to answer your questions, you must first attend to your error:
You have implied (if not stated) that Christ is two persons: a Divine Person, and a human person.

Once you accept and understand that He is 1 Person, you will begin to see that everything I said was completely relevant to your questions.

As TF noted, what you've asserted is Nestorian...those who are okay with images of Christ are functionally Nestorian, when men say Christ is two persons, they are materially and functionally Nestorian.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

There are two aspects to Christ's personhood, divine and human. I never intended to say that Christ is two persons. Please show me where I said that Christ is two persons and I will retract it immediately.

I have to leave now but will back later in case you require a reply.

Craig French said...

Here's how I concluded you believed Christ to be 2 persons. I quoted WCF, and then I said this:
"Jesus is fully Divine and human...one PERSON. A Divine PERSON."

To which you replied:
"Interesting that you don't add as emphatically 'A Human PERSON'."

I took this to mean Christ is composed of two persons.

Turretinfan said...

"I don't think it's necessary to be labeled a heretic (virtual Nestorian) in the process, though I suppose I should be flattered you acknowledged me at all. "

I don't think I called you a Nestorian (virtual or otherwise), brother.

I think my comments were predicated on a "two persons" view that you have explicitly rejected.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Interesting that you don't add as emphatically 'A Human PERSON'.

I said this because it was curious to me that someone might take your statement to mean that you reject the humanity of Jesus by only identifying Him as a Divine Person, although in the same sentence you identify Him as "fully human." I saw an inconsistency there and was hoping you would clear it up. Why you thought I was claiming that Jesus is "two Persons" I'll never understand.

natamllc said...

I weighed in with an opinion over at Triablogue after CD's comments to Patrick, there last week.

I read carefully Steve's followup comments in defense of Patrick and the cartoon depicting a guru and another guy in period costume discussing following him but not by twittering. It is easy to conclude the artist meant for us to believe the guru is Jesus and the other guy is one He is calling out to follow Him?

I will now weigh in here after reading TF's well reasoned thread and CD's remarks primarily.

There are several verses and some ideas that come to me from the verses I would like to make comments about.

Let me lay out the verses first.

This first one is particularly to respond to these words TF wrote above: There is one critical flaw in this argumentation: Theophanies. Whether or not Moses saw something capable of depiction, other men did.

In light of those words I would offer these verses to embellish the record more keenly and perspicaciously: Exo 24:9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,
Exo 24:10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.
Exo 24:11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.


With regards to my artistic talents, which have been recognized to some degree, in that several of my art works have been commissioned and paid for, so I guess beauty by oil painting and pencil drawings by me is in the eye of those who put up the money and paid for my works, so I can speak to the cartoon published over at Triablogue last week depicting the guru and the other guy, but not to this latest fad sweeping the nations of the world, that of twitter followings?

My fall back position with regard to depicting artistically God in any form comes out of these verses:

Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.


and

Col 2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Col 2:14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Col 2:16 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
Col 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.


Seeing God, those who were called upon to have a meal with Him, eating and drinking with Him as we read there above the citation from Exodus 24 and then seeing that those Commandments have been abolished in Christ, I would point to something else the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians and conclude my remarks on this matter:

cont'd

natamllc said...

continuing from my last post, here:

Php 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.
Php 1:16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.
Php 1:17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Php 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Php 1:19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance,
Php 1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.


Considering the "purposes" for which anyone would draw a cartoon depicting two people in period costume with a caption putting over a powerful message of "Truth" is a difficult issue to come down on one side or the other side, and not both, in light of the wisdom we gain from Paul's writings to the Philippians that he coops every malicious attempt to defame Christ and the Gospel message and also uses every honorable attempt to reflect Christ and the Gospel by others in his own personal ministry.

Do we not learn from this Apostle, that, pure speculation now, if he were alive physically in our day and age and saw that cartoon published on Triablogue last week he would not then somehow advance it for the Glory of God and not be so concerned about whether or not the 2nd Commandment was being violated, as it seems the argument goes here with the cartoon?

My position is, out of an over abundance of prudence, I will not draw cartoons that "seem" to violate the Commandments abolished by Christ's death, burial and resurrection, with captions that convey a message of Truth, yet, if others do, whenever I have opportunity, I will take every advantage, as I believe Patrick did, in that case, to convey the message of the Gospel simply because I cannot get around the fact that Paul wrote, and I reiterate again, here:

Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.


The cartoon, it seems to me, can be used for evangelistic purposes?

If it is "offensive" to some, as it was to CD and others, then, as a Christian, if I am the artist who created it, I might want to then express my apologies to the offended Christian/s, taking it to heart basis this admonition and New Testament rule and seek for reconciliation and peace with my offended brethren mindful that the purpose of the cartoon was evangelistic in nature attempting to fulfill my ministry which is to proclaim Christ to those, as yet, found and saved and brought out of darkness and into His marvelous Light, being born again and nourished on sound doctrine within the Holy Christian Church we, who are the Elect, are called to dwell in fellowship with worldwide:

1Co 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 10:32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,
1Co 10:33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

Craig French said...

Pilgrim,
I'm glad you reject that Christ is made up of 2 persons. You are merely a functional Nestorian, which is better.

I'm not sure why it was curious that I refer to Christ as a Divine Person...He was fully Divine and a complete Person before His Incarnation. My emphasis is on the unity of the two natures and the singularity of Christ's Person. It isn't that I'm "over-emphasizing" His Divinity over against His humanity...because they are in union and He is One Person, His humanity conveys it.

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure why you insist on calling PA a functional Nestorian. It doesn't seem either accurate or helpful to the discussion.

-TurretinFan

Craig French said...

I am sorry if it does not seem helpful. I like to remind myself that I'm a functional atheist when I sin and that I'm a functional open theist when I curse my circumstances.

I've find it quite accurate, and helpful in battling my own functional unbelief.

Turretinfan said...

Well, maybe I've misunderstood your usage. How does he function as a Nestorian?

Craig French said...

TF-
This would be an example of what I surmise to be PA's "functional Nestorianism"...I'm open to correction:

"I would not make any kind of image of God the Father since He is not part of His created order and no man has seen Him. Created things we should feel free to depict, whether it be in pictures, words or in song."

Craig French said...

^ The implication being that since Christ became Incarnate, portraying Him is okay.

Either PA believes portraying the divine is okay (which is an outright repudiation of the 2nd commandment...which I know he doesn't repudiate,

or

He believes an image of Christ may portray His humanity but does not communicates His deity...which is "functional nestorianism".

Turretinfan said...

Ah - I think I see what you mean. The functional Nestorianism is the separation of the divine from the human, correct? In other words, the argument implies a Nestorian view of Christ, though PA (thankfully) denies that the Nestorian view of Christ is correct. Have I understood you?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

I do not argue for the separation or disunion of the divine from the human in Christ's nature as a Nestorian would. I merely posit that since Jesus was/is human, we are not in violation of the 2nd commandment by depicting him as a human being. We do not have permission to depict Him as represented by any other creature, even a lamb. Again, in any case, we are forbidden from worshiping Him by means of images, nor can we worship the image itself.

There is a distinction between the divine nature and the human nature, that is, they are different from one another, each having its own properties. Is this not so? If I am wrong about this, then we are all divine by your definition.

I have spent a lot of time arguing with my Catholic friends online about the distinction between Christ and His Church, that is, that they are unified yet different from one another, but to no avail. He is perfect, but His Church (militant) is not yet perfect. I have yet to persuade anyone I have talked to that Christ and His bride, though "one flesh," yet retain distinct properties one from another. Thus their whole argument for RCC authority is based on this inseparable blending between Christ and His Church, ensuring a "perfect" bride of Christ that can never promulgate any wrong doctrine or practice.

Do I have the same problem here? The two natures of Christ, both human and divine are unified as one and yet retain distinct properties. You guys think I'm wrong about this? If so, please explain.

Craig French said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Turretinfan said...

PA:

You seem to be arguing that we are permitted to picture Christ, because Christ is truly man.

What about the prohibition on picturing God?

Why does that prohibition not apply to pictures of Jesus?

- TurretinFan

Craig French said...

TF-
that was precisely what I meant.

PA-
You are right to distinguish the two natures. We agree...the flesh Christ took upon Himself did not become divine, nor did His divinity become human: These are to be distinguished as you have noted...they have different "properties".

Being distinguished they are yet united in one Person, and in Christ's humanity He conveys God...because He is God. If He didn't convey God, we could not look upon Him and "see" the Father.

This is why I said Christ is the penultimate "anthropomorphism".

Lucian said...

What about the prohibition on picturing God? -- Why does that prohibition not apply to pictures of Jesus?


Because on Sinai we saw no image. In the Incarnation, we did.


worshiping and reverencing God in the way in which He wishes to be worshiped, not with our own imagination, but according to His Word.


Does "His Word" include Exodus 25:18 and 26:1 ? I don't know about you, but to me it does.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Since Jesus did appear on earth to men by the will of Him who sent Him, I do not think God intended us to understand the second commandment in application to His Christ. Men saw him, men remembered what He looked like. Men undoubtedly recalled His Holy visage as they thought about Him, as they prayed, as they ministered. Were they sinning when they did that? Why or why not? Please explain. (cf. WLC Q109)

The prohibition regarding images made for worship or aiding us in worship remain in force, however.

I'm still hoping you guys will address any of the questions I've laid out over several posts and in several different threads, including the post just before this one. Should I continue to hold my breath or can I breathe now?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Thank you, Craig, for your response, which I saw immediately after posting my request for some answers to my previous questions.

Anything else you want to go into?

Pilgrimsarbour said...

If you or TF have anything to add, I'll get to it at another time as I'm going offline now.

Viisaus said...

Lucian:

"Because on Sinai we saw no image. In the Incarnation, we did."

Here is a good rebuttal to that argument:

http://74.6.239.67/search/cache?ei=UTF-8&p=william+baldwin+icons+nestorianism&fr=yfp-t-701&u=members.surfbest.net/pages@surfbest.net/bible/papers/eastern_orthodoxy.htm&w=william+bill+billy+baldwin+icons+icon+nestorianism&d=c042rbZfVLhf&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=7mEC0hhwetXzYZlvP4Bw6Q--

"Orthodox icons deny the reality of the Resurrection and the Ascension. If the Incarnation implies a right and duty to make icons of Christ, the Resurrection and Ascension rescind that right and duty. At the Incarnation, God took on a body such as we know and understand. We can draw it. Who can draw the body Christ has now? To be sure, it is the same body. But it doesn't look the same. Paul speaks of the difference between the "earthy" and the "heavenly" body as the difference between a grain of wheat and the stalk that grows from it. He does so to emphasize that we do not know with what kind of body we will be resurrected. This much we know: "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor 15:35-49). It is the heavenly body that Christ has now."

Christopher said...

Not to butt into a conversation regarding Christology (it would seem), but I am surprised that while Theophanies were brought up, other Old Testament aspects were not.

Please allow me to number and detail what I am referring to in a defense against icons and images following the resurrection:

1. The Second Commandment prohibits worship of graven images in order to have idols to worship as the surrounding pagans did. It did not prohibit the making of images for use in worship however, as this would contradict God's command to weave cherubim (a created heavenly being) into the curtain of the Tabernacle, or the forging and forming of cherubim on the mercy seat. Indeed, in one instance, an object which Christ uses as a type of Himself is ordered to be made (the brazen serpent) which people were commanded to look to for salvation from the snake bites! It could be argued that this is physical rather than spiritual, but Christ says "just as." How does this not in the human mind conjure up an image, whether real or idealized?

2. The brazen serpent is made with the intention of saving the Israelites who looked to it after being bitten - so "salvation" was gotten through an object. After time, the object in itself was made into an idol and this displeased God...did God not see this coming, and is there a fundamental difference between "honor" and "adoration" in this instance?

3. If the defense of the above is "God said it was okay for that," then there needs to be a fundamental doctrinal and biblical discussion of such exceptions, including the use of exceptions as types of Christ (something which one would think would avoid using exceptions).

4. Iconodules being functional Nestorians ignores that both the Orthodox and Lutherans have and defend images, and they tend towards the Alexandrian Christological school. As the Orthodox would say, "icons are for persons (hypostases), not essences," so to have an icon of Christ is to image the person through the human nature. It is actually those more Antiochian leaning Christians who deny images (at least in Protestantism).

5. Aside from Zwingli's alteration of the patristic idea of Alloeosis, I have yet to see a way to respond to the biblical statements implying worship of the person of Christ through the human nature (by the wise men and Thomas for example). In the one case of the wise men, it is explicit that "the child" is worshiped, and not "God." This would seem to violate the creature/creature divide, which is something the commandment against images was emphasizing. How can matter be worshiped, even in the personal union, if nothing changed in the incarnation regarding how the commandments are understood?

6. There are still Theophanies in the New Testament, so that use here seems to be superfluous. Also, God made us and knows that our minds often form images (and intentions are just as important as deeds before God), so why even have Moses describe theophanies???

Just some thoughts and clarifications.

Chris