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  #1  
Old Oct 4, '06, 8:46 pm
Robert1333 Robert1333 is offline
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Default Images of God the Father

Does anyone know why the Church permits the making of images of God the Father? i.e., on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the famous painting of God creating Adam, God is represented as an old man. There are also many depictions of the Trinity, some by famous renassaince artists, where God sits on a throne as an old man.

I'm no Iconoclast: it seems fine to me to have icons or paintings or statues of Mary, Jesus, angels, or saints. But of God the Father?
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  #2  
Old Oct 4, '06, 8:51 pm
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Why not? God the Father has given us a living image of himself - his son Jesus.

For this reason, if you look at many paintings of the Trinity, Father and Son are shown looking more or less the same, the father being older, grey-haired and more heavily bearded. In fact some Trinity paintings show three young men, all looking identical, to represent the Trinity.
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  #3  
Old Oct 4, '06, 8:54 pm
batteddy batteddy is offline
 
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Quote:
God is represented as an old man. There are also many depictions of the Trinity, some by famous renassaince artists, where God sits on a throne as an old man.
As described in the Book of Daniel.

Doesn't seem to be a problem to me.
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  #4  
Old Oct 4, '06, 9:08 pm
Lillith Lillith is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

I only know of that one picture of God the Father...the sistine chapel...

It is breathtaking I hear...only art that beautifully done would be fitting, and I think that it why I know of only one
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  #5  
Old Oct 4, '06, 9:19 pm
Robert1333 Robert1333 is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

I appreciate both of your responses. But I'm not really convinced.

If the description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel is what justifies depicting God as an old man, then why didn't Jews do it, before the Incarnation? I think I know why, and it's because they felt too strongly the prohibition against idol-making, and because they felt that their invisible God was altogether impossible to represent.

And I don't see why the Incarnation gives us license to paint an image of the Father either. And if it did, would it also permit us to make a statue of God the Father? Say I found an old statue of Zeus--one that was so beautiful it would be a shame to throw out. Could I move it into the Church and put it next to a statue of Jesus and a Dove (the Holy Spirit)? Or like those giant statues of Buddha in parts of Asia, could we make Buddha-like statues of "God the Father" next to similar statues of Jesus?
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  #6  
Old Oct 4, '06, 9:38 pm
Gottle of Geer Gottle of Geer is offline
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Unhappy Re: Images of God the Father

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillith View Post
I only know of that one picture of God the Father...the sistine chapel...

It is breathtaking I hear...only art that beautifully done would be fitting, and I think that it why I know of only one
## I loathe the Sistine chapel paintings. I would happily hear they had been blasted to atoms.

The problem is, that there is no obvious distinction in method or manner or even Divine attributes between a painting of God the Father, & a Renaissance painting of a Classical god such as Zeus or Poseidon.

The paintings on the SC lack all sense of the numinous, ISTM - they could be anybody: figures from Classical myth or history, or Renaissance men (and females) about town. There is no hint of the sacred, let alone the specifically Christian - yet this is meant to be a papal chapel. Pius V was right - in fact, the whole thing should have painted over, not just the nude bits.

The Orthodox have the right idea - they keep to icons. Even a whore can look like a virgin martyr in one of those - but too many Renaissance representations of saints, the BVM, the Blessed Trinity, the individual Divine Persons, end by looking anything but sacred; they too often debase what they depict. Sad

As for depicting the Divine Persons, the Holy Spirit looks like a dove, and nothing more. IMO, it would have been better if the Church had been content to depict them non-figuratively - the Father, by a hand, say, as on a well-known marble tomb from 359 AD at Rome. Besides, depicting God is impossible - it leaves out what is most important theologically - that God is God. The moment He is depicted representationally, He is levelled with every figure with a human face

Besides, the Church nowhere defined that such pictures were obligatory - only that they were allowable. But the same could be said of wars of defence: that doesn't mean one wishes to engage in them, only that it is not altogether & always wrong to do so. And so it should (because it could) be with pictures of God. ##
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  #7  
Old Oct 4, '06, 9:54 pm
Robert1333 Robert1333 is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Thanks for your reply GottleGeer! I think you know where I'm coming from.

Though, "not altogether & always wrong to do so" -- i'm not quite sure about that one yet.
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  #8  
Old Oct 4, '06, 11:07 pm
Mystophilus Mystophilus is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1333 View Post
Does anyone know why the Church permits the making of images of God the Father? i.e., on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the famous painting of God creating Adam, God is represented as an old man. There are also many depictions of the Trinity, some by famous renassaince artists, where God sits on a throne as an old man.

I'm no Iconoclast: it seems fine to me to have icons or paintings or statues of Mary, Jesus, angels, or saints. But of God the Father?
The answer is right here:
http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum07.htm
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  #9  
Old Oct 5, '06, 12:14 am
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LilyM LilyM is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

I take your point, Robert. Certainly it's more than difficult to portray God the Father without veering into kitsch and possible irreverence.

I have similar problems to Gottle with some depictions of God the Father, Our Lord, Our Lady and the Saints (anyone seen those tacky cheap plastic statues in the Catholic bookstores - ecch!).

However, the mere existence or possibility of bad depictions doesn't mean that they can't or shouldn't be depicted. I have seen too many good examples of such depictions to say this.

There's a great story of St Faustina agonising over the original of the Divine Mercy image, which was made at her direction. She kept trying to make it truer to the apparitions of Christ on which it was modelled.

Finally Christ himself had to tell her enough was enough - the point of the image was to serve as a symbol and focus for thought and prayer, NOT to be an accurate or aesthetically pleasing depiction of himself.

So with depictions of God the Father - I do find the image of Adam's creation on the Sistine Ceiling powerful and moving, even if the way it's depicted is not quite to my taste or that of some others.

The point of images of God the Father is to serve as a focus for prayer and meditation and a reminder of our Heavenly Father. To me the image of an older man is fine. One could argue for the use of the detached bodyparts or old geometric symbols (the circle within the triangle), but there's something too ... impersonal ... about using such to depict the first Person of the Trinity.
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  #10  
Old Oct 5, '06, 12:33 am
SORROWS SORROWS is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

I LOVE the art and paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Absolutlely magnificent! I can't imagine anyone who could dislike it enough to want it destroyed, but we live in that type of world I guess. I didn't think you had to be Catholic to love it.

I love the Catholic images of God the Father. Very well represented for our earthly eyes.
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  #11  
Old Oct 5, '06, 12:57 am
I Leatherman I Leatherman is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

I dont see how renaissance figures are wrong. If you feel they should be blown to atoms then you must also [technically!] feel the same way about real people too, those figures look like actual 'real' people - which is what those biblical characters were - real people!.
I dont like eastern icons, I like some of the colours, but the style is mostly too strange, a bit forced in some cases, and difficult to see them as they really were - as real, three dimensional, living people - enlightened within but most ordinary without. Sort of the reverse of the whitened-tomb analogy.
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  #12  
Old Oct 5, '06, 5:10 am
GregoryPalamas GregoryPalamas is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

A couple of links one may find useful. I prefer these carefully done icons to the Sistene Chapel.

http://www.comeandseeicons.com/cap32.htm

http://www.rndm.org/trinity.htm

CDL
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  #13  
Old Oct 5, '06, 5:52 am
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Trelow Trelow is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

The OT prohibitions were because the Israelites lived surrounded by idolaters. Sacrifice to idols was an everyday part of life. If one were to make an image to represent the LORD, then it wouldn't be long before that image would be worshipped as God.
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  #14  
Old Oct 5, '06, 6:09 am
kleary kleary is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1333 View Post
I'm no Iconoclast: it seems fine to me to have icons or paintings or statues of Mary, Jesus, angels, or saints. But of God the Father?
This makes no sense to me as Jesus is God, so to question an image depicting God the Father seems irrelevant unless you believe God the Son isn't God

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  #15  
Old Oct 5, '06, 9:39 am
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mikeledes mikeledes is offline
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Default Re: Images of God the Father

Doesn't the catechism talk about the fact that images of God himself were prohibited in the Old Covenant because the invisible God could not be represented. It's in th section on images.
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