Adoring graven idols, oh my, ad matai?
seekgreatiam asked this question on 8/18/2000:
Greetings Catholic friends. I am a Christian Southern Baptist coming here on the call of the Holy Ghost to my heart.
First off I want to say let me make it known that in no way am I condemning you the people of the Catholic faith, rather the religion and false doctrine it teaches. I am married to a once Roman Catholic woman who converted to Southern Baptism also, but first changed her will to that of Gods.
First, lets speak on the first wrong going in the church of the Roman Catholics. Read Exodus 20:4 & 5. "Thou shall not make any graven image, or any likeness of Anything IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE EARTH BENEATH. Thou shall NOT BOW DOWN THYSELF TO THEM, NOR SERVE THEM: FOR I THE LORD IS A JEALOUS GOD, VISITING THE INIQUITIES OF THE FATHERS UPON THE CHILDREN UNTO THE 3RD AND 4TH GENERATION OF THEM THAT HATE ME." If you are a honest reader of the scripture you must agree this says that images/sculptures/pictures/crucifixes are forbidden by God totally. He said none are permitted. There are no exceptions for anyone. God did command a few to do so for the ark and I believe Solomon did, but we are not to compare ourselves to them. Doing this the Catholic church seems to be placing themselves above Gods word and therefore making their commandments of man above the lord.
More to be continued in a couple days. Stay tuned.
ted7 gave this response on 8/19/2000:
I haven't read the other answers so forgive me if I just repeat what they say.
First, who is 'them'? - 'bow down... to them, nor serve them...' Careful reading of the Decalogue, particularly in Hebrew but even just in the English bit you quoted, shows that this plural does not go back to the 'graven image' bit, which is singular, but rather to the plural 'other gods', as in 'you shall have no other gods before me'. Protestantism has wrongly split this command in two, with the result that the last commandment - 'thou shalt not covet thy neihbours goods' gets left off or jammed into an 'appendix' on the 'you shalt not covet your neighbours wife'. So this command forbids any other gods, not graven images in general.
How can we be sure? Because, as you said yourself, the ark, the temple, the bronze serpent in the wilderness were all graven images!! Its not enough to say, 'well, God commanded Solomon...' When does God command sin? And why would the centre of Jewish worship, the ark, have graven Cherubs if it was sin.
The mark of accurate Biblical interpretation is consistency...
The Jews, of course, had no graven images at all of the Lord, though. Why? Based on a completely different verse, Deuteronomy 4:15 - 'since you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb... do not act corruptly by making an image for yourselves...' See how God not only commands it but explains why, He doesn't command something then expect people like Solomon to contradict it some of the time.
So does this still hold? NO!! Because Paul describes Jesus specifically as, 'the image of the invisible God' (Col 1:15). God is no longer an unknown element to be obeyed in fear - he has been fully revealed to us in Jesus Christ!!! Hallelujah!
The Holy Spirit also was revealed in bodily form, Lk 3:22.
Don't get wrongly hung up on graven images. The one idol - that is, a false God, not a statue - that both Jesus and Paul warned of is MONEY - 'you can't serve God and Mammon', and 'beware greed, it is idolatry'. But this is the one idol that gets ignored, because the 'thou shalt not covet thy neighbours stuff' commandment got left out!!! The origin of the modern, greedy materialistic world is capitalism, and as the sociologist Max Weber demonstrated, the origin of capitalism is Calvinism! A coincidence? I think not!
All that stuff about Deuteronomy, by the way, is in the Catholic Catechism. Have you read it?
As far as God being capable of commanding a person to sin ..He is sovereign and omnipotent. He can do all. Like he says not to have wrath yet he does, but it is a diff type of wrath a holy wrath not fleshy wrath. Remember to kill is a commandment sin and he did command Abraham to sacrifice his son on the alter and Abraham was going to be faithful .That there shows you he can command one to do a sinful act.
Oh my God! I'm sorry but this is a way to say that God can change the commandments when He so desires while everything is a reflection of His Being, of His Goodness. But, probably, seekgreatiam is not sufficiently careful with his semantics. Let it be.
I want to add an explanation given by Origin, a wonderful theologian of from the second and third century regading statues and altars. Please, evangelistic friends, pay attention.
Origenes against Celsus 8, 18:
"And, in general, we see that all Christians strive to raise altars and statues as we have described them and these not of a lifeless and senseless kind and not to receive greedy spirits intent upon lifeless things, but to be filled with the Spirit of God who dwells in the images of virtue of which we have spoken, and takes His abode in the soul which is conformed to the image of the Creator. Thus the Spirit of Christ dwells in those who bear, so to say, a resemblance in form and feature to Himself. And the Word of God, wishing to set this clearly before us, represents God as promising to the righteous, "I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." And the Savior says, "If any man hear My words, and do them, I and My Father will come to him, and make Our abode with him."