Wednesday, August 25, 2010

R. Scott Clark on the Second Commandment

R. Scott Clark has extensive notes on the Heidelberg catechism, including notes on the questions related to the second commandment (link to notes).

The following is just a portion of his notes on the second commandment, since I'm reluctant to do a bulk quotation from his outline:

2. Worshiping the Right God Rightly

1. God's Attributes

1. Communicable

2. Incommunicable

2. Representations v. Reality

1. Gregory I: "Books for the people"

2. Second Helvetic Confession (1561/66) Art. 4.3. The Scriptures of the Laity. Furthermore, wherever we turn our eyes, we see the living and true creatures of God which, if they be observed, as is proper, make a much more vivid impression on the beholders than all the images or vain, motionless, feeble and dead pictures made by men, of which the prophet truly said: "They have eyes, but do not see" (Ps. 115:5). Lactantius. Therefore we approved the judgment of Lactantius, an ancient writer, who says: "Undoubtedly no religion exists where there is an image."

3. Sec. Helv. 4.4 We also assert that the blessed bishop Epiphanius did right when, finding on the doors of a church a veil on which was painted a picture supposedly of Christ or some saint, he ripped it down and took it away, because to see a picture of a man hanging in the Church of Christ was contrary to the authority of Scripture....

4. The purposes of pictures

1. Worship/Inspiration (cult)

2. Instruction (culture)

5. Iconodules v. Iconoclasts (8th-9th centuries)

1. Icon worshipers (Nestorians)

2. Icons and the person of Christ

6. The Reformed Rejection of Images

1. The Creator/creature distinction

1. Creatures may be imaged, but not worshiped

2. The Creator may never be imaged.

3. Second Helvetic Confession (1561/66) Art. 4.2 Although Christ assumed human nature, yet he did not on that account assume it in order to provide a model for carvers and painters. He denied that he had come "to abolish the law and the prophets" (Matt. 5:17). But images are forbidden by the law and the prophets (Deut. 4:15; Isa. 44:9). He denied that his bodily presence would be profitable for the Church, and promised that he would be near us by his Spirit forever (John 16:7). Who, therefore, would believe that a shadow or likeness of his body would contribute any benefit to the pious? (2 Cor. 5:5). Since he abides in us by his Spirit, we are therefore the temple of God (2 Cor. 3:16). But "what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (2 Cor. 6:16). Images of Saints. And since the blessed spirits and saints in heaven, while they lived here on earth, rejected all worship of themselves (Acts 3:12f.; 14:11ff.; Rev. 14:7; 22:9) and condemned images, shall anyone find it likely that the heavenly saints and angels are pleased with their own images before which men kneel, uncover their heads, and bestow other honors? But in fact in order to instruct men in religion and to remind them of divine things and of their salvation, the Lord commanded the preaching of the Gospel (Mark 16:15)--not to paint and to teach the laity by means of pictures. Moreover, he instituted sacraments, but nowhere did he set up images.

2. Pictures and the Doctrine of Christ

1. Two Natures

2. One Person

3. The incarnation

1. A cause for worship

2. Not a license for icons

3. Denial of pictures is no more denial of humanity

7. Word Signs v. Picture Signs

1. Picture signs necessarily distort in ways word signs do not

2. No picture of the 2nd person is ever accurate

3. Every image of the second person is necessarily the product of the human imagination

4. Jesus and the Apostles left us the Word not pictures

5. Pictures (and films) are theology of glory, word is theology of the cross (1 Cor 1-3; Romans 10; 1 Peter 1.8)

3. The Word at Sinai

1. The same Word who spoke at Sinai became incarnate

2. The Son prohibits images

3. The Word Incarnate

4. Word and Sacraments: God's Pictures for Us


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