Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Is the Problem with a Graven Image?

 

Today, the Ninth of Av in the Jewish Calendar, we read in the Torah that G-d’s anger is kindled when we do two things: make a graven image, and do evil.

“Doing evil” seems easy enough to understand – G-d wants us to do good. It is not hard to see why acts of kindness and holiness are what we need in order to improve the world, to make the most of our lives.

But why are graven images – idols – such a problem? Of all things we can do or make, why is this one singled out?

Man is insecure. There are many powerful forces beyond our control and our understanding. These forces seem to hold our lives in their hands, and they are fundamental forces like wind and rain and sea and volcano and sun. In turn, they may be influenced or manage by what might be called “higher order gods” – Luck, or Fate, or any of a number of named deities in the Greek, Norse or other pantheons.

In a primitive world, people simply worshipped the natural force itself. Slightly more advanced societies named deities as being in charge of their respective natural component. But it really all amounted to a cargo cult of sorts: paying off the appropriate deity by means of sacrifice and suffering would do the trick.

Note that idol worship was tightly connected to doing evil: buying off the deity cost, in sacrificed foodstuffs and children and virgins, not to mention the hearts of vanquished enemies. And if the god was satisfied, then he did not care what men did between them. Might made right. Once the volcano deity got his virgin, the powerful people in the village could go back to whatever it is they liked doing, which usually involved being unkind (to say the least) to others.

This all seems so deliciously unconnected from our modern, technologically advanced world. After all, even the words “graven image,” and the concept of idol worship, sound like a quaint notion from an ancient past. But think about it: are people today really so secure about the Big Bad World that they won’t seek out an idol?

Think, for example, about superheroes in film and television. As religion fades, superheroes have come back into fashion. Some of them (Ironman or Batman) are ordinary men who harness their ambition to become extraordinary. But most have magical powers that make them better than mere mortals. Deities from ancient pagan worlds are coming back as superheroes: Thor and Loki and others.

Why are we attracted to superheroes? For the same reason the ancients worshipped idols: Superman gives us an alternative to taking responsibility for our own world. Who are we to change the world, when there are superheroes out there who are so much more capable than a mere mortal? It is all an excuse for passivity, for choosing to become a cheerleader instead of taking the field.

Beyond the silver screen we also have no shortage of idols. Chief among them is Gaia herself. Just as with ancient deities, she has many names: Mother Earth, Nature, Sustainability, The Planet, etc. And Gaia is mad. Through her priests, scientists, she threatens apocalypse and ruin, hurricanes and climate change and global warming and droughts and ozone holes. Independence from her clutches is wrong, so we are told that everything mankind does to improve the world is in turn evil, and sure to lead to our destruction. Thus we are supposed to condemn GMOs and effective pesticides and herbicides, and ban mysterious chemicals that somehow supposedly lead to reduced sperm counts. Even air conditioning and modern medicine are clearly wrong, and only serve to anger The Planet.

We placate Mother Earth’s appetites by sacrificing our lawns by not watering them, by sorting our trash into different piles, by spending more money for “organic” produce. We buy Toyota Piouses, and mount money-losing solar arrays on the shady street-side of the house so that everyone can see them. We pass endless regulations that make life more difficult, all for the sake of The Environment. Best of all, we get to signal our greater piety by sacrificing others. Just as liberals are in favor of raising taxes on Other People, so, too, Earth-Worship involves endless rounds of Making Other People Suffer.

Idols come in many shapes and sizes, of course. We worship Authorities and Experts, people who Know Better, by virtue of being Authorities and Experts and Scientists. Best of all, of course, are Experts in Government. Government, of course, has the power to coerce, which means it has the power to not merely convince us that they are right, but to shortcut the whole sticky persuasion thing and force us to accept their authority.

It is government that represents the worst combination of Gaia and superheroes and coercive scientists. Government does not have to convince people. It has the power to override the objections of us great unwashed idiots who are not convinced by the rhetorical flourishes and apocalyptic nonsense.

So when parents want to try to treat their son who suffers from an illness, government can step in and save the day, making sure, through endless processes and experts and authorities, that the child will surely die. And it will be for Charlie Gard’s own good, don’cha know.

It all comes together in the same problem: people who do not want to take responsibility for their own lives need to make themselves small, need to make excuses for why they have not personally tried to fix the world. So they vote for liberals, they drive their Prius to shop at Whole Foods, they believe in experts and other superheroes, and they expect government to solve every problem.

Death is not the enemy. Death comes to all of us, sooner or later. The enemy is a life that is not well lived, a life in which we avoid risk because we are playing it safe – only to die in the end anyway.

And here it comes full circle. The problem with graven images are they are external, shared images, but the spiritual path for each person must, in Judaism, be internal. Each person has their own unique path, with a conversation – words – at the heart of that internal quest. The Torah has no illustrations, and the prophets never painted. Words engage with each person’s soul,

It is words – the spoken word – that is at the heart of the Torah. Words talk to the soul, not, as do graphics, to the eyes. People perceive the same words differently, each engaging with their own imagination to give the words life.

Idol-worship represents wasted opportunity for individual development. A graven image externalizes responsibility.

May we all make the most of our time on this earth, to take personal responsibility and grow, to create and do good.

There are 60 comments.

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  1. Bob Wainwright Member

    I always understood the prohibition to mean merely that you can’t worship graven images. But later I was told it meant you can’t even make a statue or any type of image at all, even if it’s not for worship. And that is what the commandment says literally. Neither make nor worship. I’ve wondered, Does modern Judaism view statues in public places as a form of idolatry?

    • #1
    • August 1, 2017, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I do protest only slightly as a long time comic book fan. I grew up with the genre, and so I enjoy it a lot as entertainment — however nothing more than that. Indeed, though some of the stories seek some depth, the solutions will always be shallow due to something like “Superhero Ex Machina.” Considering that nowadays our political and cultural battles are compared to things like Harry Potter or Star Wars or other such fiction, there’s plenty of truth in what you say. They taken something fun and changed it to something it shouldn’t be.

    It also makes me think of discussions I had during the original health care debate, a friend of mine kept throwing around the “5 million uninsured” number. I noted that the number was a tool to encourage passivity. There’s no way an individual can help with the health care costs of 5 million people! Why best let the government handle it then. It encouraged passivity, and caused an individual to ignore the needs of those individuals near him.

    • #2
    • August 1, 2017, at 10:50 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Excellent post, iWe. I’ve always had questions about graven images and what that meant, and you’ve explained it beautifully. This comment below was very clarifying. I could certainly see the evil against G-d’s law, but hadn’t thought about all the other actions. Thank you!

    iWe: Note that idol worship was tightly connected to doing evil: buying off the deity cost, in sacrificed foodstuffs and children and virgins, not to mention the hearts of vanquished enemies. And if the god was satisfied, then he did not care what men did between them. Might made right. Once the volcano deity got his virgin, the powerful people in the village could go back to whatever it is they liked doing, which usually involved being unkind (to say the least) to others.

    • #3
    • August 1, 2017, at 10:58 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):
    I always understood the prohibition to mean merely that you can’t worship graven images. But later I was told it meant you can’t even make a statue or any type of image at all, even if it’s not for worship. And that is what the commandment says literally. Neither make nor worship. I’ve wondered, Does modern Judaism view statues in public places as a form of idolatry?

    Not exactly. The commandment is about idols, not images, but you need to suss out the original Hebrew to see it.

    In Jewish Law, one just needs to make humans flawed (no deity would be). One friend and acclaimed artist always leaves out the ears, for example.

    • #4
    • August 1, 2017, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Bob Wainwright (View Comment):
    I always understood the prohibition to mean merely that you can’t worship graven images. But later I was told it meant you can’t even make a statue or any type of image at all, even if it’s not for worship. And that is what the commandment says literally. Neither make nor worship. I’ve wondered, Does modern Judaism view statues in public places as a form of idolatry?

    Not exactly. The commandment is about idols, not images, but you need to suss out the original Hebrew to see it.

    In Jewish Law, one just needs to make humans flawed (no deity would be). One friend and acclaimed artist always leaves out the ears, for example.

    Interesting contrast to ancient Grecian art where the artist tried to convey an image of human perfection – what was sometimes called “arete.”

    • #5
    • August 1, 2017, at 11:11 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    • #6
    • August 1, 2017, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Painter Jean Member

    My understanding is that the prohibition has to do with fashioning an image in order to worship it. After all, God commands Moses to have a bronze serpent made, and after it is made up, it is put on a pole and the people are cured by looking up at it (precursor of Christ on the cross).

    • #7
    • August 1, 2017, at 11:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Painter Jean Member

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    • #8
    • August 1, 2017, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    I’ve always viewed icons/paintings/statues as akin to family photos and/or holy reminders of those who inspire us. Even representations of Christ can’t/don’t attempt to fully convey the entirety of who he is for Christian believers.

    • #9
    • August 1, 2017, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Chuck Thatcher

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

     Even representations of Christ can’t … fully convey the entirety of who he is for Christian believers.

    Just so. Hence, some of us would say that any representation, regardless of the number of dimensions, is a misrepresentation and thus a violation of the commandment. Similarly, if God is spirit, any physical representation is a misrepresentation.

    • #10
    • August 1, 2017, at 12:43 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Chuckles (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Even representations of Christ can’t … fully convey the entirety of who he is for Christian believers.

    Just so. Hence, some of us would say that any representation, regardless of the number of dimensions, is a misrepresentation and thus a violation of the commandment. Similarly, if God is spirit, any physical representation is a misrepresentation.

    I’m not sure this applies, but it reminds me of our efforts to “know” G-d. On one hand, we know that G-d can’t be described; in Hebrew “Ayn Sof” is sometimes used (without end). And yet we ascribe all kinds of attributes to G-d–compassionate, angry, and so on. An interesting paradox.

    • #11
    • August 1, 2017, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Chuckles (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Even representations of Christ can’t … fully convey the entirety of who he is for Christian believers.

    Just so. Hence, some of us would say that any representation, regardless of the number of dimensions, is a misrepresentation and thus a violation of the commandment. Similarly, if God is spirit, any physical representation is a misrepresentation.

    However, one must also – as a Christian – recall and include Christ’s humanity lest we get lost in the ever-present Gnosticism that seems so attractive today. We can’t ignore these words of Jesus to Philip in John’s gospel [14:9]:

    “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” [NABRE, Kindle Edition]

    Just a thought…

    • #12
    • August 1, 2017, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    • #13
    • August 1, 2017, at 1:44 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    it reminds me of our efforts to “know” G-d. On one hand, we know that G-d can’t be described; in Hebrew “Ayn Sof” is sometimes used (without end). And yet we ascribe all kinds of attributes to G-d–compassionate, angry, and so on. An interesting paradox.

    I think we can, in a way, “know G-d,” but it is a spiritual connection, not a quantitative appreciation. In our world, G-d is not in nature, and He has no physical form (save for a spiritual presence in each person). But the emotions described in the Torah are emotions that people have as well.

    • #14
    • August 1, 2017, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe: Idol-worship represents wasted opportunity for individual development. A graven image externalizes responsibility.

    Darn right.

    • #15
    • August 1, 2017, at 1:59 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    @deanmurphy, we are embodied spirits…We need contact/relationship: Christ on Mt. Tabor and in Gethsemane asked Peter, James and John to join him in these seminal moments…Representations are often connected with specific events in Christ’s life/certain aspects of his character: evoking his inexhaustible love and compassion with the sacred heart and divine mercy images. They’re points of contact – hopefully not ends in themselves.

    • #16
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Before we go entirely off the reservation, I just want to thank @iwe for another very helpful post! And thanks to all for a fascinating discussion… :-)

    • #17
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:08 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    @deanmurphy, we are embodied spirits…We need contact/relationship: Christ on Mt. Tabor and in Gethsemane asked Peter, James and John to join him in these seminal moments…Representations are often connected with specific events in Christ’s life/certain aspects of his character: evoking his inexhaustible love and compassion with the sacred heart and divine mercy images. They’re points of contact – hopefully not ends in themselves.

    Hopefully. It seems like we need to be on guard for, though. If I lift my eyes to the Icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and ask for her help to bring the blessings of Her Son and His Father into my life, I worry that my action could have the wrong effect because I’m not regarding the picture properly.

    I keep the Icon in my office to remind myself to pray.

    • #18
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    Please understand that I find Ricochet a rich and wonderful place, in no small part because it is the rarest of places where intelligent, informed and devout Jews and Christians can have substantive conversations without giving or taking offense.

    I know and appreciate that Christians often feel the need to append their understanding to my posts. I take no offense, even though I do not share that understanding. Judaism does not seek a universal consensus in the way that Christianity often does. We are more than fine to agree to disagree, and I try to always avoid going “into the weeds”, since I know it will not be constructive.

    To more directly answer your question: Martin Luther once removed images, in the belief/hope that those images were the reason Jews did not flock to Christianity. Jews did not change, and Luther was, to put it mildly, not happy about it.

    The dominant rabbinical view is that, despite incompatibilities, Christianity is NOT idol worship as it is defined in Jewish Law.

    • #19
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  20. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iWe (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    Please understand that I find Ricochet a rich and wonderful place, in no small part because it is the rarest of places where intelligent, informed and devout Jews and Christians can have substantive conversations without giving or taking offense.

    I know and appreciate that Christians often feel the need to append their understanding to my posts. I take no offense, even though I do not share that understanding. Judaism does not seek a universal consensus in the way that Christianity often does. We are more than fine to agree to disagree, and I try to always avoid going “into the weeds”, since I know it will not be constructive.

    To more directly answer your question: Martin Luther once removed images, in the belief/hope that those images were the reason Jews did not flock to Christianity. Jews did not change, and Luther was, to put it mildly, not happy about it.

    The dominant rabbinical view is that, despite incompatibilities, Christianity is NOT idol worship as it is defined in Jewish Law.

    Thanks for that clarification. I find these discussions timely and illuminating.

    • #20
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):
    How do you view the Iconicism of Christianity?

    God is the only one left out, there are Icons of Christ, Mary, the Saints… Worship is reserved for God, but reverence and adoration are given to the others.

    Is it Idolatry?

    We Christians believe that Christ is God – He is emphatically not in the same category as the saints.

    That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.

    @deanmurphy, we are embodied spirits…We need contact/relationship: Christ on Mt. Tabor and in Gethsemane asked Peter, James and John to join him in these seminal moments…Representations are often connected with specific events in Christ’s life/certain aspects of his character: evoking his inexhaustible love and compassion with the sacred heart and divine mercy images. They’re points of contact – hopefully not ends in themselves.

    Hopefully. It seems like we need to be on guard for, though. If I lift my eyes to the Icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and ask for her help to bring the blessings of Her Son and His Father into my life, I worry that my action could have the wrong effect because I’m not regarding the picture properly.

    I keep the Icon in my office to remind myself to pray.

    Asking intercession for needs is something Christ modeled in the Our Father. Glad the icon brings a holy reminder to “come away and rest”.

    • #21
    • August 1, 2017, at 2:18 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    I would disagree. Death is my enemy – by faith or science I will see it ended

    Further, how are idols different from worship of God? Is not an omnipotent God also taking responsiblity?

    • #22
    • August 1, 2017, at 4:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    I would disagree. Death is my enemy – by faith or science I will see it ended

    I see death as a motivator for being productive and good – that is why G-d limits lifespan in the Torah. It is our lives that matter, and I agree that we should devote our lives to things that combat time (medicine, loves, institutions, technologies, etc.).

    Life is not something that G-d values for its own sake. For us, life is an opportunity, and it comes with a guaranteed exit.

    • #23
    • August 1, 2017, at 5:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):
    Further, how are idols different from worship of God? Is not an omnipotent God also taking responsiblity?

    G-d did not make Himself omnipotent in our world. He ended his work, and gave it to us to finish. We are free to make choices, and responsible for them. G-d’s spirit is ensouled within us, and we are capable of incredible things (for a limited time only!). But as the Torah makes clear, we are G-d’s agents in this world, and G-d avoids open miracles (because otherwise one would not be free to choose otherwise).

    So, no: G-d makes it quite clear that He is not responsible. We are.

    • #24
    • August 1, 2017, at 5:45 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  25. Boss Mongo Member

    iWe: May we all make the most of our time on this earth, to take personal responsibility and grow, to create and do good.

    Outstanding. Thank you.

    • #25
    • August 1, 2017, at 5:54 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. Doug Watt Moderator

    From Exodus 25, Ark of the Covenant:

    17 Thou shalt make also a propitiatory of the purest gold: the length thereof shall be two cubits and a half, and the breadth a cubit and a half. 18 Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle. 19 Let one cherub be on the one side, and the other on the other. 20 Let them cover both sides of the propitiatory, spreading their wings, and covering the oracle, and let them look one towards the other, their faces being turned towards the propitiatory wherewith the ark is to be covered. 21 In which thou shalt put the testimony that I will give thee. 22 Thence will I give orders, and will speak to thee over the propitiatory, and from the midst of the two cherubims, which shall be upon the ark of the testimony, all things which I will command the children of Israel by thee.

    • #26
    • August 1, 2017, at 6:49 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Painter Jean Member

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.B

    Because one isn’t worshipping the thing made of plaster, wood, or paint, one is worshipping that which the plaster, wood or paint depicts. It’s like looking fondly at a photo of a loved one: you don’t have fondness for the paper and the ink, you have fondness for the person pictured, which the photo brings to your mind.

    • #27
    • August 1, 2017, at 7:05 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  28. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Dean Murphy (View Comment):That begs the question then. How is a venerated and worshiped image of Christ not an Idol?

    Please know, I don’t mean to demean anyone’s faith. I’m truly curious. I’m struggling with my own faith just now, and someone finding God at the feet of a statue of Christ raises my question.B

    Because one isn’t worshipping the thing made of plaster, wood, or paint, one is worshipping that which the plaster, wood or paint depicts. It’s like looking fondly at a photo of a loved one: you don’t have fondness for the paper and the ink, you have fondness for the person pictured, which the photo brings to your mind.

    Good point.

    • #28
    • August 1, 2017, at 7:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. iWe Reagan
    iWe Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    From Exodus 25, Ark of the Covenant:

    …Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle.

    Doug – are you asking whether the cherubim are graven images? If so, the answer would be “no” – in part because the cherubim are not images of anything one can see in the normal world.

    And the cherubim were not something we worship. The Ark was kept in the holy of holies, out of sight from all but the High Priest, and seen by him only once a year.

    If I missed your point, please don’t hesitate to restate it!

    • #29
    • August 1, 2017, at 9:38 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  30. Doug Watt Moderator

    iWe (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    From Exodus 25, Ark of the Covenant:

    …Thou shalt make also two cherubims of beaten gold, on the two sides of the oracle.

    Doug – are you asking whether the cherubim are graven images? If so, the answer would be “no” – in part because the cherubim are not images of anything one can see in the normal world.

    And the cherubim were not something we worship. The Ark was kept in the holy of holies, out of sight from all but the High Priest, and seen by him only once a year.

    If I missed your point, please don’t hesitate to restate it!

    My point was that the Christian iconoclasts never can seem to find these verses. We don’t worship the cherubim.

    O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
    Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
    All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
    All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
    Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
    Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.

    • #30
    • August 1, 2017, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • 5 likes

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