images of God the Father

What does the Church say about images of God the Father? Someone said they’re forbidden but I see those that are in churches or have been accepted… What is the actual position of the Church?

I’ve been in so many churches, in Europe and America, where God the Father is depicted in painting, it has to be acceptable. The Sistine Chapel has paintings of God in the Genesis narrative, not incarnate.

These “art” works are more admired for the human skill used to create them rather than a demonstration of glorifying God. We should keep man’s skill separate from depicting God in any fashion. If only for the fact that it is a depiction of a lie. God cannot be captured in a work of art created by man.

The parish where I attend mass was built in 1797. We don’t have an image of the Father, per se, but we do have an “all seeing eye of God” within a pyramid, inside of a cloud, with glory rays. It’s right above the Saint Michael the Archangel statue, above the tabernacle. Look up “Old Mission San Miguel Arcangel” if you want to see it (my pictures of it aren’t very clear.)

Any images of God are representative, as we could not depict Him in any way. His glory is beyond our perception. Then again, we don’t even know what Yeshua or Mary looked like exactly, so our diverse depictions of them are also representative.


In the church in the little Breton village where we had a second home there was a statue of the Trinity with the Father depicted as a seated Pope-like figure in a crown, holding an upright crucifix and with a dove above…Such depictions are not uncommon.

In the book "God the Father speaks to His Children, He shows Himself to the visionary without His Crown because of His humility. (He takes it off). He resembles Jesus very much.

It doesn’t.

Who is the someone? Are they Catholic? What proof did they provide?

There is your answer. The Church is full of artwork depicting God the Father.

The Church has no prohibition on icons, images, statues, or artwork.

You said it, “you cannot represent him in any way”. What can it even mean to represent God? The only possible representation made is of the artists skill and the observers own spiritual emptyness in trying to see the beauty of God in an artwork created by man.
Why not call it what it is, the admiration of man’s skill and not God’s glory. Artwork doesn’t belong in Church it’s only a distraction.

Artwork can elevate the person, helping him be aware of the presence of God.
Many a crucifix has helped people repent, convert and become Saints, through the grace of God.

One of the primary early uses of religious art was for teaching. When most people were illiterate, and books had to be hand copied, art served to teach people Bible stories, and to remind them of those stories. Even today, art helps cross language barriers, and serves as visual reminder of the lives of saints, Biblical figures, Bible stories, etc. We can’t depict God, but we can create images which reflect aspects of God (the all seeing eye, for example.) Inthe Sistine chapel He’s there because it’s the story of creation, and, well, He was there.

A personal anecdote about religious art; when I was a pagan who had an encounter with Michael the Archangel, it wasn’t until I saw the statue of Michael that it dawned on me that the church he sent me to, Mission San Miguel was named for Saint Michael the Archangel. The full name of the mission, I found out later, is, “Old Mission San Miguel Arcangél.”

I would venture to say that the repentence, conversion and sainthood of some people would have happened despite the images of God portrayed in Church. If God so deemed it. The only thing these images do is promote a physical depiction of what should be a spiritual experience which cannot be visualized. There’s a reason descriptions of Jesus are conspicuously missing from scripture. Promotion of these artworks and building of grandiose Churches when a simple, plain building would suffice is only a ploy to lure people into the church under false pretences. The thought that the more artwork on display and bigger and more elaborate the church the more apt that God must reside there is absurd. You wish to admire the works of man…go to a museum, you wish to worship God, gather in a simple shelter, adequate for worship, on a hillside on nice days even, and spend the rediculous amounts of money spent on these other things on the poor, helpless, or ill. I’m sure God would rather have a few more thousand spent on the poor than on another commisioned work of art. The Churches nowadays have become too wrapped up in their own grandiosness as a suplement for worship. You’ld be hard pressed to find a Catholic who wouldn’t feel naked without their bobbles to touch, look at, or otherwise admire…to the point of being completely distracted without them, as if worshiping God requires the things of this earth. Remember, the kingdom of God is within you. Its not found hanging on a cross somewhere or in a painting on some wall, or hard molded into a statue of some saint. The only thing you’ll find in these things is a testament to mans skill in promoting his own particular vision.
Perhaps I’ve missed something but this is the feeling I get from the holy spirit.

Its my understanding the earliest uses for art in religion was just that, for adornment. To make
the “hand copied” books more appealing to those who commisioned their creation. The laity did not have access to these works of “art” by the church. Most teaching of the illiterate was orally, at one point it was forbidden for the illiterate or poor to possess any of these early decorated works. In the earliest christian churches all teaching was oral. There was rarely any artwork I suppose for the simple fact that there were no gargantuan churches like we have today. Art is highly subjective and in early times expensive to produce. Unless those who are exposed to it have the same back ground, level of education, wealth etc. you will get wildly differing views as to its meaning. No, early artwork was not for teaching any uniform truths with which to break through language barriers or equalize understanding from the illiterate with the litterate. I suspect once the “Catholic Church” gathered enough secular power to exploit she commisioned grander and grander artwork and buildings in order to appeal to the well to dos expectations which was, the wealthier you look the more God must have favored you which means the more wealth I am justified in having and keeping by being blessed by God as a member and of course this was promoted by the Roman church in order to keep her coffers full and her status solid with the rich. On a side note. Do you actually believe the statue you saw of Michael was an accurate depiction of what he looked like or his essence in some manner? There’s a reason the commandment says not to make “any” idol OR any image of anything in heaven or on earth etc. To me the “or” indicates not only something created to worship but even an image of anything which may denote existence in heaven etc. since its a fine line and a small step between making a mere image of something and being influenced in your understanding of the thing by its depiction.

Hi, Monica!

…the problem people keep having is understanding what is forbidden and what is Commanded… idol worship is forbidden… so we will find Scriptures that will state that we shall not make graven images.

Graven images are images (items) that are worshiped.

…an image of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit cannot be worshiped.

Jesus on the Cross is the image that St. Paul and the Apostles Preached. They did not worshiped the image of Christ on the Cross.

Yet, Christ Himself Commanded that those who wanted to be Saved must look upon the risen Christ–no not that confused image of the Ascending Christ or the Christ on the Parousia… the image of the Christ on the Cross (St. John 3:14-18). It is not the image that Saves; it is Obedience to God: God Commands and we Obey!

Now, lets forget about the image of the Father, for a minute.

Did you know that you (if you have Received the Authentic Sacrament of Baptism)
are the Temple of the Living God?

…yet, I would be wrong to worship you.

…any graven image is a false idol; yet, anything can become a false idol (graven image)–the second we place someone or something above God, we are worshiping that image (item/person).

The Church does not Teach that images, statues, icons, Sacramentals are God; the Church does not Teach that we worship anything or anyone other than God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Finally, to help understand about images; now, we both agree that Yahweh God Commanded that we should not make graven images, correct?

Would Yahweh God Command that graven images be made? No, right?

But Yahweh God could Command that Sacramentals be made, correct?

…not sure? Here’s a hint:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 For the two ends of this throne of mercy you are to make two golden cherubs; you are to make them of beaten gold.

(Exodus 25:18)
It is Yahweh God Himself that Commands that the Arc of the Covenant be Created (an image), the cherubs, the altars, the tables, the utensils, the curtains, the candle holders, the Priestly garments… and He Commanded that there be adorning images and even symbolic rocks be included in all of the Creation of these “Sacramentals.”

The big difference is that not one item was Created as a graven image (an item that would receive worship); we must Worship God Alone!

Maran atha!




…Yahweh God had it wrong all those thousands of years.

Thank you for correcting Him!

Maran atha!



Again, was Yahweh God wrong?

Maran atha!



…and your understanding is flawed!

…did you know that the persecution of the Catholic Church ended several decades ago?
Protestant are no longer burning Catholic Churches or decapitating images of the Virgin or burning Crucifixes…

Read Scriptures; no not interpretation of Scriptures:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 For the two ends of this throne of mercy you are to make two golden cherubs; you are to make them of beaten gold. 19 Make the first cherub for one end and the second for the other, and fasten them to the two ends of the throne of mercy so that they make one piece with it. 20 The cherubs are to have their wings spread upwards so that they overshadow the throne of mercy. They must face one another, their faces towards the throne of mercy. 21 You must place the throne of mercy on the top of the ark. Inside the ark you must place the Testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I shall come to meet you; there, from above the throne of mercy, from between the two cherubs that are on the ark of the Testimony, I shall give you all my commands for the sons of Israel.

(Exodus 25:18-22)
What Authority do you have over Yahweh God; how is your sect above God?

… or are you intimating that Yahweh God needed anything that He Commanded Moses to Create?

… He could not Visit the Hebrew people unless there was an altar, the Arch of the Covenant, adorned by cherubs, and the Priests wore ornamental garments?

Maran atha!



I was actually thinking about that… maybe He appears looking like Jesus to show that if we see His Son, we see Him? (and since the Father has no body, but He is one with His Son)… it would just be to show us this truth though, because of course though they are one, they are two Persons and God the Father doesn’t have a Body. Do you think He could have appeared this way just to make this point? I don’t know of course and can’t speak for God :slight_smile:

God can be present in an empty plain room just as much as he can be present in a room full of wonderful, masterful art and statues. Each setting works in a different way to bring us to God. The Vatican is chock full of art and statues and is a wonderful place to praise God. A bare monk’s cell can also be a wonderful place to praise God. I’ve found both settings useful for my spiritual life at different times.

The problem is when we start insisting one type of setting, whether plain or ornate, is required or most proper to praise God. That’s putting a limit on God. It’s wrong. It’s also removing richness from our spiritual life, the same as eliminating saints would be. I don’t always ask a saint to intercede. I don’t always need or even want some beautiful statues and icons in front of me in order to pray and worship God. But insisting that I must not or should not ever have these things is unnecessary, a wrong focus/ direction, and to me, just plain sad. Insisting that I had to have these things would be equally wrong and sad.

The Roman church always seems to have a readymade excuse for questionable practices. It seems to me the Roman Church has evolved into a “yes but” church. Yes we kneel before statues but….yes we bless images but….yes we elaborately decorate statues but…yes we adorn our churches with millions of dollars’ worth of artwork and build the biggest most expensive most dominating architecture we can, even though those millions of dollars could be spent on an even greater good in further helping the poor and scripture says “”'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?" but you say….It’s all for the glory of God and to enhance our spiritual environment and we’re not worshiping the image. No, you’re not worshiping the image of God, your worshiping God through the image by empowering it in its symbology – exactly like the early Jewish cultures did before God commanded them not to make any graven images.
Here is a view of idolatry by Moses Maimonides, a respected early Jewish scholar;
In his The Guide to the Perplexed, I:36, Maimonides holds that in the original form of idolatry, no one actually believed that their idols were gods; he states that idol-worshippers understood that their idols were only representations of a god, or God. Idols are “worshipped in respect of its being an image of a thing that is an intermediary between ourselves and God”.

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