Question about images.

I want to ask a question and i would like to get a good answer since i am very confused. How the Catholic Church allows the creation of pictures and stones of saints since it is not allowed by God as it shows in the Holy Bible? I don’t want to start a debate, i just want an explanation since the Word is so clear in the Holy Bible and since a lot of miracles approved by the Catholic Church are done threw images. Here are some of the Words from the Holy Bible:

1- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. (Exodus 20: 4, 5)

2- Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female. (Deuteronomy 4: 16)

3- I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42: 8)

4- They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. (Isaiah 44: 9)

5- Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26: 1)

6- Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. (Deuteronomy 4: 23)

7- Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth it in a secret place. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. (Deuteronomy 27: 15)

8- Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5: 21)

9- God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Answers such as God is forbbing the making of images of other gods that do not exist will not be accepted and will not be reasonalbe since the first verse clearly tells us that we should not make any graven image of any thing that is in HEAVEN ABOVE or that is in the earth beneath. Also the 9th verse clarify this point.
I hope that someone can answer my question.
Thank you.

I have always understood that the problem is not the images but the “graven” images.

The bible is filled with them in the old testament (Ex 25:18-19, Num 21:8-9, 1 Kgs 6:23-29, 1 Kgs 7:25-45). The Israelites used them as part of their worship to God only. But the pagans used to worship their images, and not God.

We are physical beings. We understand and perceive our world through our senses that is why we have the statues to look to, or incense during Mass, etc. We even have the bible to hold as well. The idea is that we are using those things to bring ourselves closer to Jesus. We are not worshipping them, only Jesus.

God Bless

The word “graven” means cut, chiseled, or engraved. God’s commandment against graven images refers to the worship of idols shaped by human hands, in the style of the pagans. It clearly does not mean that all images are inherently evil – neither statues in churches, nor photos in wallets. On many occasions, God himself specifically directs the Israelites to fashion images of various types. So clearly it is the worship of such images that is forbidden, not the images themselves.

Should the Statue of Liberty be destroyed? :wink:

Scripture, if taken literally, word for word, without viewing it as one complete whole and reconciling what appear to be conflicts in order to understand its true meaning, would present a God who commands on the one hand, “Do not make images,” and on the other, “Make images.” But God does not contradict himself. The point of these scriptures is that the One True God alone is to be worshiped; the worship of any object, person, or thing other than the Triune God is forbidden.

Here are only a few examples:

Ex 25:18 RSV - “Make two cherubim of beaten gold. . .”

Num 21:8 RSV - “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole . . .”

Heb 9:5 RSV - [In the NT as well, images of angels were said to have adorned the temple.] “…above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat . . .”

John 3:14-15 RSV - “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up . . .”

Did God forbid the making of art? Or the worship of it? Clearly, it’s the worship of anything other than Himself that is an abomination.

[quote=Katholikos].Did God forbid the making of art? Or the worship of it? Clearly, it’s the worship of anything other than Himself that is an abomination.
[/quote]

I agree.

First of all, the world is full of graven images. Mt. Rushmore, the Lincoln Memorial, statues in parks, figureines in homes…everywhere.

And images are appropriate for use in the Church.

My approach is twofold:

  1. Why did God forbid images in the first place? Because we didn’t know who He was. (“Just Father, the world has not know you…” John 17:25-26) Now that we know who God is - the Trinity - we need not fear confusing God with something else represented by an image. Muslims still don’t know who God (even their Allah) is. All they know is who He’s not. That’s why they’re still so hung-up on graven images.

  2. The mind sees in images anyway. Whether you read about the crucifixion in the Bible or look at a crucifix, it’s the same: you see the image of Christ on the Cross in your mind. So if looking at or having a Crucifix is a problem, so is just picturing it in your mind. Since picturing Christ on the Cross is okay, so is having a crucifix.

I’ll also note that many who are up-tight about graven images often have pictures of the same subject(s).

Regarding question #9 that you asked to have specifically answered:

9- God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)

Catholics do worship God in spirit and in truth. God is Pure Spirit. Jesus Christ, God Himself, became a man and founded the Catholic Church for the salvation of the world. This Church alone teaches the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth, guided by the Holy Spirit through the centuries.

But we, being human, need images to help focus our attention on the things of heaven. The Church teaches through the five senses: hearing, touching, smelling, seeing, tasting.

Images were important to the first Christians, and their importance continued for many centuries. The images, stained glass windows, and other art objects were tools the Church used to teach the estimated 90% of Christians who couldn’t read.

Where was your church when Christians couldn’t read from the first to the fifteenth century and the invention of printing? 50% of the world is still illiterate, including 20% of the U.S. :slight_smile:

Peace be to you and to all.

I want to thank you all for your answers. What i want to say first is please do not compare the act of making images for saints and God with the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty like other things mentioned are not related to my question that is about the making of images for Jesus and the saints.

In fact a lot of people do worship images when they sit in front of them and they touch them hoping they will be blessed, it’s a fact!

You said that man needs images to remind him of Jesus… but this is not an excuse, when someone surrender his life to Jesus he will feel his presence all the time and he will not need the help of a stone or a picture to remind him of God. We are blessed because we didn’t see and yet we believe. That’s the point, believing without the need to see or touch a “stone”. God is everywhere and the weak needs those stuff.

Another point is about the fact that God forbided the making of images when man didn’t know who God is, but the first verse clearly shows that also images for anything in heaven is forbidden. And the 9th verse also clearly states that we should worship in soul and the Holy Bible doesn’t mention anything about the use of images.

Ok another thing is that the word graven is not the main point here but the main point is the fact that we should not shift from the worship of God the soul to the worship of stones and images.

The last point is not quite related to the question but i must comment on something. I noticed that a lot of people say that Jesus founded the catholic church and say that it is the only true church because Jesus said that he will always be with us and never leave us. Well can you really believe that Jesus Son of God would really differentiate between Catholic and non catholic. The Church is the group of believers that follow the word of God that is present in the Holy Bible and not an authority given by a human being. So if i am rejected by the catholic church then what? Every authority given by a human being is false.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5: 21)
Isn’t this clear enough ??

Thank you.

An image is only an idol if it is worshipped.

If the image is merely art or a decoration, then it is obviously not an idol.

There is also the proper Catholic understanding of an image, which is that the image is not ther person depicted—it is merely a picture of the person depicted.

Ergo, is you kneel and pray in front of a statue of Christ, you are not worshipping the statue. You are worshipping Christ—the statue merely reminds you of Him.

No different than kissing a photograph of your mother. The photograph is not your mother, it’s merely a picture of your mother, which reminds you of her.

As for people touching statues looking for a blessing, healing, etc., the statue does not do the miracle, God does—He is merely using the statue as a vehicle. God works through a lot of different material things—the brass serpent aforementioned (Numbers 21:8-9); the bones of a dead holy man (2 Kings 13:20-21); the tassel of Jesus’ robe (Matthew 9:20-22); Peter’s shadow (Acts 5:15-16); and handkerchiefs that Peter had touched (Acts 19:11-12).

But the point is that the object itself does nothing----God does it, working through the object.

Finally, as for the true Church, yes, Catholics believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church; but we also teach that all Christians are a part of the true Church, even if they are not in full communion with us. (Reference Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism, Chapter 1, Part 3.) So if you are a baptized and practicing Christian, you are a part of the community of salvation just as much as we are.

And just as a parting shot:

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5: 21)
Isn’t this clear enough ??

Allow me to counter with: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better to lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)
Isn’t this clear enough??

Have you ever looked at something and sinned as a result? I’ll wager that you have.

Do you still have both eyes? If so, why? The Scripture clearly tells you to rip that eye out and throw it away, so why haven’t you done so yet?

:slight_smile: The fun thing about taking all of Scripture as a literal command is that nobody really does it, or we’d have a lot more one-eyed Christians running around. :wink:

First you tell us that us you don’t want to debate, then you limit us by telling us we can’t use the fact that it is the worship of the images that is being forbidden, and now, you tell us not to compare secular statues with religious ones.

Seems you don’t really want to understand the Catholic reasons why statues are not only not bad, but welcomed.

If and when you want to understand, then you can look me up.

[quote=WarriorForJesus]First you tell us that us you don’t want to debate, then you limit us by telling us we can’t use the fact that it is the worship of the images that is being forbidden, and now, you tell us not to compare secular statues with religious ones.

Seems you don’t really want to understand the Catholic reasons why statues are not only not bad, but welcomed.

If and when you want to understand, then you can look me up.
[/quote]

Indeed. Homer, your posts have nothing to do with dialogue. They are preaching.

It is all about, “I’m right and you’re wrong because the Holy Spirit told me so, and if you ever listened to the Holy Spirit, you’d know it too.” :Barf:

Homer, as things stand there can be no dialogue here because you are utterly unwilling to listen.

Justin

WarriorForJesus no need to get angry. What i meant is that i don’t want to get into a fight but i just want to discuss the subject.

About what Wolseley said (If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better to lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.). I want to say that if you really want to live Christianily to the limits then YES you should do that! But nobody is perfect and we will keep on asking forgivness from Jesus who suffered and died for us.

I’m sorry for having to say that but it seems that you are neglecting the verses that i stated on purpose! The word of God is so clear that even a blind can read it! Do not make any image of what is in heaven above and beware of idols. How many explanations of these two verses briefly mentioned now can exist?

You are trying to justify you point of view by saying that pictures only represent God and they are not worshiped but you forgot that this was the same excuse of the people who worshiped stones in the time of Mosses.

If God forbided the making of those things, how can you make them and claim that they are not worshipped? The point is that fact of “making” them is forbidden!

I just want you to understand my point of view. The stone is a stone, it is matter, dead matter. You are using stones and dead matter to remind you of the existence of allmighty God. Well i can’t accept this in any sort of way since God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).

Please when someone replies, please do say how you can explain the two verses that i mentioned in the first post of this discussion. (Verse 1and verse 9).

Thank you.

[quote=Homer]What i want to say first is please do not compare the act of making images for saints and God with the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty like other things mentioned are not related to my question that is about the making of images for Jesus and the saints.
[/quote]

But the commandment says nothing about things like the Statute of Libery being okay. Do you have evidence the ancient Jews regularly had graven images along the lines of the Statute of Liberty? We’re simply pointing out that you are also in violation of the commandment.

An

other point is about the fact that God forbided the making of images when man didn’t know who God is, but the first verse clearly shows that also images for anything in heaven is forbidden.

There goes the Statute of Liberty. Also, any image of any animal, etc.

want to ask a question and i would like to get a good answer since i am very confused. How the Catholic Church allows the creation of pictures and stones of saints since it is not allowed by God as it shows in the Holy Bible? I don’t want to start a debate,

You’ve already received answers. You don’t want to accept them.

i just want an explanation since the Word is so clear in the Holy Bible

Yes, and it’s clear that you’re also in violation if you allow things like the Statute of Libery, animals or any graven image whatsoever.

Of course, I don’t accept your premise that the “Word is so clear”, nor do I accept your interpretations.

Well can you really believe that Jesus Son of God would really differentiate between Catholic and non catholic.

Yes.

The Church is the group of believers that follow the word of God that is present in the Holy Bible and not an authority given by a human being.

And that would describe the Holy Catholic Church; the only Church truly following the Bible.

FYI, the authority of the Catholic Church is given by God, not men. So your premise is false.

So if i am rejected by the catholic church then what?

IMO, everyone outside the Catholic Church and the Sacraments are on an indirect - and uncertain - path to God. However, you may be a part of the Church by desire.

Every authority given by a human being is false.

The authority of the Church is from God.

However, I don’t know that I can agree that “every” authority given by man is false. Some may be approved by or allowed by God.

[quote=homer]I just want you to understand my point of view. The stone is a stone, it is matter, dead matter. You are using stones and dead matter to remind you of the existence of allmighty God. Well i can’t accept this in any sort of way since God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).

Thank you.
[/quote]

19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.
20 "Our fathers worshiped in (23) this mountain, and you people say that (24) in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."
21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Remember, under the Old Covenant, true worship could only be offered in the Temple. In context, it is seen that Jesus is saying that the true worship will no longer be restricted to one place, whether the Jerusalem Temple or Samaria, but will be everywhere, because God is a spirit. It does NOT mean that our spiritual worship can involve no physical component.

Justin

[quote=homer]I want to thank you all for your answers. What i want to say first is please do not compare the act of making images for saints and God with the statue of liberty. The statue of liberty like other things mentioned are not related to my question that is about the making of images for Jesus and the saints.

In fact a lot of people do worship images when they sit in front of them and they touch them hoping they will be blessed, it’s a fact!

You said that man needs images to remind him of Jesus… but this is not an excuse, when someone surrender his life to Jesus he will feel his presence all the time and he will not need the help of a stone or a picture to remind him of God. We are blessed because we didn’t see and yet we believe. That’s the point, believing without the need to see or touch a “stone”. God is everywhere and the weak needs those stuff.

Another point is about the fact that God forbided the making of images when man didn’t know who God is, but the first verse clearly shows that also images for anything in heaven is forbidden. And the 9th verse also clearly states that we should worship in soul and the Holy Bible doesn’t mention anything about the use of images.

Ok another thing is that the word graven is not the main point here but the main point is the fact that we should not shift from the worship of God the soul to the worship of stones and images.

The last point is not quite related to the question but i must comment on something. I noticed that a lot of people say that Jesus founded the catholic church and say that it is the only true church because Jesus said that he will always be with us and never leave us. Well can you really believe that Jesus Son of God would really differentiate between Catholic and non catholic. The Church is the group of believers that follow the word of God that is present in the Holy Bible and not an authority given by a human being. So if i am rejected by the catholic church then what? Every authority given by a human being is false.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1 John 5: 21)
Isn’t this clear enough ??

Thank you.
[/quote]

1.) I certainly don’t know any Catholic that worships anything other than God.

2.) How about 2D “non-graven” icons? To equate a statue of Jesus Christ to the forbidden images in the Bible is ludicrous.

3.) It’s clear that Jesus Christ created on Church, the Catholic Church (Matthew 16:18-19.) This is proven out by both the Bible and secular history. Man would not create Protestantism until 1517ad.

I have a question for you. Given that nothing is self-authenticating, how do you know the Bible is the inspired word of God?

God himself commanded eagles or some such bird to be placed on the Ark of the Covenant.

Now, have fun with your individual interpretation of the Bible and THAT difficulty.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the division and numbering of the Commandments have varied in the course of history. The present catechism follows the division of the Commandments established by St. Augustine (4th and 5th century), which has become traditional in the Latin Rite Catholic Church. It is also that of the Lutheran confessions. The Greek Fathers worked out a slightly different division, which is found in the Orthodox Churches and Reformed communities (many Protestant churches), and in the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.

(See Catechism of the Catholic Church #2006)

The Protestant numbering and understanding of the 10 Commandments fans the flames.

The statement about making images and bowing down to them is understood by both Jews and Catholics to be part of the Commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

But the Protestant division has the Ten Commandments arranged thusly:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them . . . etc.

Either it is the making of images or their worship which is forbidden. Which is it? If it is the former, we’ve got a major problem in this country, for our culture and history are expressed in “graven” and other kinds of images of things on, above, and under the sea. If it’s the worship that’s forbidden, no problem, cause if there are any idol worshipers in our society, they’re keeping quiet about it.:slight_smile: They certainly aren’t Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches that it’s a mortal sin NOT to worship the almighty, invisible God who created the universe, and Him alone.

Your question did not seek information, but was a failed attempt to teach us the error of our ways. Ho hum. We say we don’t worship “graven images.” You claim we do. You prefer fiction to fact. We can’t help you if you insist on telling us what we believe.

God gave 613 Commandments to the Israelites. Why are you concerned with only 10?

Peace be to you and to all.
[left]

[/left]

Wow. That is, as they say, a “slam dunk.”

And that’s the crux of the whole thing, isn’t it? Protestants out there continually misrepresenting what we believe really aren’t interested in the facts. It’s fine if they disagree, but when they preach the same old stuff even after being corrected, it says something.

I agree! Excellent response.

Dear, Home, Would you spit on a picture of Jesus? Would you break a statue of Jesus? If so, ask the Mormons, who think like you, to destroy the statue of Jesus inside their temples. If was not the Catholic Church,the world would be dank and barren, without any kind of art, music, pictures, sculptures etc, like the Protestant Churches.
Antonio
Campinas, Brazil

Some of the most beautiful art ever created features Christ, i.e the Pieta. These images do not represent God but viewing them with our eyes does stimulate the mind to greater contemplation of Christ. Mel Gibson’s masterpiece is art but as Catholics we don’t worship the movie. The Holy Spirt working through Mel Gibson has given us the means to visualize the Lord’s Passion and Death. If you have never been in one of the beautiful Basilicas or Catherdrals then you cannot see the beauty that God has created. God has given us the senses to see, hear and feel the beauty he has created, these images allow us to use these senses to see God’s beauty.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.