Pictures of Christ a Dread Evil!
July 9, 2006
Pictures of Christ / God, a Dread Evil
Deuteronomy 4:15-19; 5:8-10
Why is it wrong to make pictures of God / Christ?
I.God Who cannot be contained in all the universe cannot be imagined or drawn by man correctly 1 Kings 8:27
1.Any image is by necessity a distortion Deuteronomy 4:15
2.Making such an image shows that we hate and despise God Deuteronomy 5:8-9
3.Making such an image of God is dread foolishness and leads to every kind of sin Romans 1:23-32
II.The incarnation of Christ did not change this second command Deuteronomy 5:8-10
1.The command forbids every kind of image imaginable, anything in these three realms is off limits: (1) heaven (2) earth (3) under the earth (or water) Deuteronomy 5:8
2.The command was made after God had already appeared in human and in other forms Genesis 16:13; 18:1; 32:24; Exodus 3:2
3.Christ becoming a man did not make Him less God John 1:14; Colossians 2:8-9
4.The (greater) blessing is to those who do not see John 20:29; 1 Peter 1:6-9
5.We dont know Christ according to the flesh 2 Corinthians 5:16 (No discrimination)
III.We need to see / hear Jesus with eyes and EARS of faith
1.Not physically but spiritually John 6:35-40; John 1:14
2.We see and follow His example Hebrew 12:1-2 it is WWJD not WDJLL!
3.Transfiguration Matthew 17:1-6. It is not remember this sight but, Hear Him! Revelation 2-3, Romans 10:17
Images dishonor God, for they obscure his glory . The likeness of things in heaven (sun, moon, stars), and in earth (people, animals, birds, insects), and in the sea (fish, mammals, crustaceans), is precisely not a likeness of their Creator. A true image of God, wrote Calvin, is not to be found in all the world; and hence . . . His glory is defiled, and His truth corrupted by the lie, whenever He is set before our eyes in a visible form. . . .Therefore, to devise any image of God is itself impious; because by this corruption His majesty is adulterated, and He is figured to be other than He is.
The point here is not just that an image represents God as having body and parts, whereas in reality he has neither. If this were the only ground of objection to images, representations of Christ would be blameless. But the point really goes much deeper. The heart of the objection to pictures and images is that they inevitably conceal most, if not all, of the truth about the personal nature and character of the divine Being whom they represent.
To illustrate: Aaron made a golden calf (that is, a bullimage). It was meant as a visible symbol of Jehovah, the mighty God who had brought Israel out of Egypt. No doubt the image was thought to honor him, as being a fitting symbol of his great strength. But it is not hard to see that such a symbol in fact insults him, for what idea of his moral character, his righteousness, goodness and patience could one gather from looking at a statue of him as a bull? Thus Aarons image hid Jehovahs glory.
In a similar way, the pathos of the crucifix obscures the glory of Christ, for it hides the fact of his deity, his victory on the cross, and his present kingdom. It displays his human weakness, but it conceals his divine strength; it depicts the reality of his pain, but keeps out of our sight the reality of his joy and his power. In both these cases, the symbol is unworthy most of all because of what it fails to display. And so are all other visible representations of deity.
J. I. Packer, Knowing God
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