The 2nd commandment, displayed wrong in Catholic churches?


#1

A part of the second commandment in the Bible is “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation."

I seem to remember that the one displayed in the Catholic church here, it may have been replaced but I may have remembered wrong and I'll check it again. Some people in Facebook said the Catholics changed it. Is this true? Are they hiding that commandment? What does the 10 commandment displayed in your church says about the second commandment?


#2

[quote="souldiver, post:1, topic:351298"]
A part of the second commandment in the Bible is “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation."

I seem to remember that the one displayed in the Catholic church here, it may have been replaced but I may have remembered wrong and I'll check it again. Some people in Facebook said the Catholics changed it. Is this true? Are they hiding that commandment? What does the 10 commandment displayed in your church says about the second commandment?

[/quote]

... The commandments in the bible are not numbered. So what exactly is the second commandment? Catholics tend to understand the commandments differently than others. When we say "thou shall not commit adultery" inherent in that commandment is many sexual sins. Not just adultery, but fornication, masturbation, contraception among others. Also, I am not sure I have ever seen the 10 commandment "displayed" in a Catholic church, unless as part of a stained glass window or potentially some religious art, which doesn't usually go into much detail of the actual commandments.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic church the second commandment is "You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain."vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a2.htm

The first commandment is complicated. A traditional formula is "1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me." For Catholics, implicit in the "you shall not have strange God's before me" is the idolatry prohibition, and calls to mind the rest of the passages from Exodus and Deuteronomy. Here is the page on the first commandment vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

Here is how Catholic traditionally understand and order the 10 commandments. vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/command.htm


#3

[quote="souldiver, post:1, topic:351298"]
Some people in Facebook said the Catholics changed it. Is this true?

[/quote]

No it is not true that the Cahtolics "changed" anything. The commandments are listed in two different books of the bible in approximately 17 verses. The way in which those are divided into 10 commandments varies slightly from different ancient texts and traditions. Not all protestants number them the way your facebook friend does. Lutherans use the same numbering as Catholics, for example.

The chart in Wikipedia is actually a pretty good explanation.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments

[quote="souldiver, post:1, topic:351298"]

Are they hiding that commandment?

[/quote]

They are all right there for everyone to see right in the bible. No hiding going on.

[quote="souldiver, post:1, topic:351298"]
What does the 10 commandment displayed in your church says about the second commandment?

[/quote]

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/command.htm


#4

Okay, the 2nd commandment in Exodus is combined in the first commandment. But it feel a bit like hiding the worshiping images part.


#5

[quote="souldiver, post:4, topic:351298"]
Okay, the 2nd commandment in Exodus is combined in the first commandment. But it feel a bit like hiding the worshiping images part.

[/quote]

The Catechism lists the part about graven images as a corollary under the first commandment. No hiding going on. It is simply one of the types of ways that people put "other gods" before the One God.

Personally, it makes a lot more sense to me that way than it does to conflate coveting our neighbor's property and coveting our neighbor's spouse. As has been said, though, there are different ways to number them. But the content is still the same.


#6

Only to fundamentalist who want to try and attack the church with false red herring attacks!

As was mentioned there is no list. There is Exodus 20, which is clearly in the Bible and short handed differently by not just Catholics but also Lutherans and Jews.

If you think Catholics are hiding this, just read our Catechism. It takes each commandment and devotes PAGES to more clearly elaborate and define.

Here is a link, I was gonna paste it all but it doesn’t allow 24,000 characters to be posted!!

Give it a read it should thoroughly satisfy your red herring.

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm


#7

Now you are just being silly.


#8

(Note, I’m calling it the Decalogue to refer to the passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy without any preconceptions of how it’s split)

The Decalogue consists of 14 imperative statements which we are told belong to 10 commandments. (15 if you count “I am the Lord your God”) Obviously there’s a bit of a problem. We’re never actually told where those splits are. For the most part, though, we all agree on them. Everyone agrees that “Honor thy father and mother” is its own commandment, for instance. The difference is just in what number they’re assigned.

However, there are 5 imperative statements that people divide differently. Let’s look at the first 3:

Ex 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Israel…” (Not actually one of the 14, but still relevant)
Ex 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me"
Ex 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself a graven image…"
Ex 20:5 “You shall not bow down to them or serve them…”

There are 3 different ways people will group them. In Judaism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism, Ex 20:3-5 is all one commandment. However, we differ in that ALL Christians tack Ex 20:2 onto the first commandment, whereas Jews split it into its own. The argument in favor of this rendering is that to the ancient Israelites, idolatry and false gods were the same thing. You didn’t have graven images without worshiping them as false gods, and you didn’t worship false gods without making graven images.

And as you’ve probably guessed, the alternative is splitting it up with Ex 20:3 as its own commandment and Ex 20:4-5 as a second commandment. However, this isn’t unique to non-Lutheran Protestants. This is also how Eastern Orthodox churches do it.

The other 2 debated commandments are the two about coveting. And as the opposite to before, it’s Catholics and Lutherans that split them, and Jews, Orthodox, and non-Lutheran Protestants who lump them together into “Thou shalt not covet”.

Finally, there’s the topic of how they’re taught. Obviously it’s too difficult to teach the entire passages as the commandments. We want something short and simple to remember. It’s why the two-statement-long commandment starting “Keep holy the Sabbath” is shortened to “Keep holy the Sabbath” in catechesis. It’s easier to remember. So the confusion, then, that CARM and similar groups love spreading is that Catholics have completely removed the “graven images” bit, just because we shorten Ex 20:3-5 to “Thou shalt have no false gods” or similar. The fact of the matter is just that we see a difference (that the Ancient Israelites very well might have) between simply making a statue or picture of something and worshiping it as if it were God.

Source: The Division of the Ten Commandments
All Bible quotes from the RSV-2CE

EDIT: One minor detail I forgot to mention. Catholics and Lutherans order the two covet commandments differently. It depends on if you’re ordering based off Deuteronomy (Catholic) or Exodus (Lutheran).


#9

Worshiping a “graven image” refers to worshiping the image/carving itself, which already covered by the commandment to worship God alone.

It does not prohibit all religious art; even the Arc of the Covenant from the ancient Hebrew days had engraved images of angels on the outside. Nobody worshiped the angel carvings!


#10

The Ten Commandments are often summarized for catechetical purposes.

For instance, Exodus 20:2-6, which Catholics consider to be the First Commandment and reads:
2"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3"You shall have no other gods before me.
4"You shall not make for yourself a 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; 5you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments."

is often summarized as, "I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange gods before me."


#11

Your question was already answered so I'd just like to offer this explanation for you:

The word "graven" is included in the commandment and it means "dead". It is included to give a distinction between images that are not to be bowed down to those that can be bowed down to. God instructed the Israelites to build the Ark of the Covenant, which was a "living image". The statues of Jesus, the cross, the images of Saints, their relics, and images of Mary are also "living images". Not that the images themselves are living, but that what they represent are living. For the promise given to us by Christ is eternal life, not eternal death, and so the Saints are alive with Christ. A graven image (dead image) is of a false god, and since there is only one Living God, all others are dead gods, and so too are the images that represent them.


#12

From Jewish commentaries, I read that there are five commandments that pertain to God and five pertain to other people.

In Deuteronomy, I think the commandments are actually referred to as the Ten Commandments, even though there are about 13 imperative form verbs.

What links them together 5 and 5, is that the first 5 have the words "LORD you God" in them. The "back five" don't have those words.

When I was learning them, I'd take any trick in the book to remember them. The numbering that the Catholic Church uses is simply for convenience in catechetical settings.

OBVIOUSLY, any serious person should refer to the listings in Exodus and Deuteronomy for the complete text.

The most space is given (if I remember correctly) to the commandment about the Sabbath.

It is only artistic license that pictorializes the stone tablets as having a curved top; there is no historical or biblical support for that. Judaism refers to the commandments written in stone as the written Torah. All the other commands otherwise described in the first five books are called the oral Torah, such as the dietary laws.

The Reform branch of Judaism sees the Torah as inspired, but as the work of men. Therefore, it rejects all the commands of the written and oral Torah, as simply being the way men interpreted God's inspiration in early biblical times. RJ specifically rejects any sexism; so, women can initiate a divorce as well as men, today. In scripture, only men could authorize a divorce, by giving their wives what is called a "get."


#13

Not at all.

  • The Catholic, Lutheran, and Anglican have the same 10 commandments ordering.
  • The Protestants and the Orthodox have the same order as each other, but are a little different from us.
  • The Jews have yet a different order for the 10 commandments.

The command against graven images is still part of the 10 commandments for Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Jews. But they often only state the first line “though shall not have any gods before me” as a short hand, without stating the rest, to make it easier to remember. All of them group together that statement with the command against graven images as one commandment. The only difference with the Jews is that they make the statement “I am the Lord your God” to be the first commandment. Followed by the commandment against idols. Whereas, we include the above statement as an intro so that the first commandment is the same as the Jewish second.

The Protestants and Orthodox on the other hand divide the Jewish and Catholic commandment against idols into two commandments. One prohibiting false gods another against graven images.

I think the Catholic and Jewish way makes more sense since the first 2 commandments of the Protestants can be logically grouped together because they are really both talking about idolatry. This also allows the Catholic version to differentiate between coveting your neighbor’s wife and coveting your neighbor’s property.

Jimmy Akin wrote a great article on this.
ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/NUMBERNG.htm


#14

I’ve often felt that the “Protestant” way of grouping the commandments is a bit strange and even redundant.

  1. You shall have no other gods before me.
  2. In case you didn’t understand 1 :rolleyes:, this means you shouldn’t make any statues or images of other gods or bow down to them and worship them.

The second one seems redundant as a separate commandment in itself considering the fact that the first commandment covers it.

It’s more like the first two rules of Fight Club. :smiley:

I also find it comforting to know that even the Jewish Talmud combines “You shall have no other gods before me” and the prohibition against making images as ONE commandment group. See

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments#Traditions_for_numbering


#15

Not to mention the fact that it is difficult for most of us to even relate to. It’s easy to think of examples of people who lie, kill, commit adultery, etc. But when was the last time you heard of someone making a statue and then worshipping it?


#16

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