Skip to comments.Icons as useful aids for attaining holiness
Posted on 02/28/2012 10:31:29 PM PST by Teˇfilo
Brethren, Peace and Good to you in our Lord Jesus Christ. I was asked the following question by a dear Orthodox Christian sister in a forum I participate. I want to share both the question and my answer with all of you:
with your suggestion of discussing what happens when we venerate holy icons, and given that we agree that to venerate the icon is to draw near to the person in the image, then the question remains how does drawing near to Christ, the Theotokos, and the Saints affect us.
Ill be brief for a change. I think that becoming holy is to become fully human and that when we become holy, we are able to take off the masks we present to others, the masks of our pretenses, of the ideals promulgated by our Pagan culture. We are able to show ourselves to others as who we are, in all of our depths, in the reality that God meant us to be from eternity.
The iconographer recognizes this fact; he or she has the gift to see the holy ones as they truly are now, shining with inner light in eternity. With economy of form and movement, the iconographer captures the inner depths and the outer symmetries of the holy one who is now fully what God intended him to be.
The iconodule or icon venerator (you and me, I hope) recognizes that we are meant to be subjects for a future iconographer. We need to reflect the Glory of God in Jesus in ourselves, by being the man or woman God intended us to be from eternity, before sin marred us. Our duty of sorts is to be a subject for an iconographer and through the exchange, to become examples for others to emulate.
Thats why icons appeal so much to me, why I treasure and venerate them, and become closer in the Body of Christ to those whom the icon re-presents to us on earth.
You know, this is all a big misunderstanding on my part. I thought you were a Messianic. My mistake, and my apologies.
It’s not for you to say at whose table you are to sit. God knows.
It amazes me that some people can’t see that God can make a general prohibition binding on man, but is not bound by it Himself, due to His sovereignty. His sovereignty also allows Him to grant specific license, as He sees fit, to specific men, to violate a general prohibition in certain circumstances. When God commanded the Israelites to slay every man, woman, and child in Canaan, that did not mean that the commandment against murder was rescinded. Neither does it mean, that because God commanded certain specific images to be manufactured, that the general prohibition against them was rescinded.
“If one is conscious of not praying to icons, how can it lead to idolatry?”
Can you say with certainty that everyone else will not be tempted to idolatry simply because you feel certain that you may not be? Even if, in your heart, there is no guilt based on your conduct, there is still a prohibition on Christians indulging in acts which can tempt others to sin.
“God cant command anything thats intrinsically evil, so statues arent intrinsically evil. Why would using statues as a prayer aid be intrinsically evil?”
Does something have to be intrinsically evil to be forbidden by God? What of something commanded by God simply as a test of obedience, for example when he commanded Abraham to kill Isaac? Had Abraham disobeyed because he believed the command to be evil, he would have been guilty of another, perhaps greater evil, by disobeying the commandment of God. How much more guilty might we be of disobeying a commandment for a much less compelling reason?
“If you are going to say:” Well they were bowing to the Lord not the Ark. That is what Real Catholics Believe also in veneration of icons.”
God was literally present in the Ark. God was literally present in the Temple. The Scriptures never say that God deigns to be present in any old icon crafted by the hand of man. If He did, then why aren’t the unworthy struck down dead when they behold these “holy icons”? That’s what happened when the unworthy tried to enter into the literal presence of God.
Very interesting view you have to say the least.
Of course he is bound by his own morals and integrity. The question is not rescinded but what is veneration and worship. Or worship? Otherwise why have angels on the ark. Could it be It is like a photo of family. Do I worship it or honor my family member. Hello!
Do I look at the angels or think of God above who has Angels in the heavenly Host. Even though the ark is below God. I am worshiping his presence above the ark. The ark is an instrument of God.
"When God commanded the Israelites to slay every man, woman, and child in Canaan, that did not mean that the commandment against murder was rescinded."
So now he is a murderer? What?
The canaanites sacrificed Children also child prostitution if I remember. Also did everything wrong as it gets. So God being the Judge of humanity has this right. He is also judging a soul in the person. But no way is he violating his own integrity/Holiness.
Also we are mortals. He is God. There is more going on with God than just what a mortal perspective can see. But do not ever think He goes against his own Holiness/Intergrity.
This is your statement!
"It amazes me that some people cant see that God can make a general prohibition binding on man, but is not bound by it Himself, due to His sovereignty. His sovereignty also allows Him to grant specific license, as He sees fit, to specific men, to violate a general prohibition in certain circumstances."
HE IS THAT HOLY!!!
TRY NOT TO THINK IT OUT WITHOUT HIS HOLINESS. TRUST IN HIM
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
I Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
I Peter 1:16 - 25
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
You’re conflating matters here by confusing all of God’s commandments with the issue of and “morals and integrity”, which is far too simplistic. If you start off by confusing the question, you can’t arrive at any sensible answers. There are commandments that God made which are strictly matters of morality, and in those cases, of course God doesn’t violate that morality, since He is the epitomy of goodness.
On other matters, God commands us on matters that may be moral issues for us, but not for Him. Take, for example, “Thou shalt not steal”. Well it is impossible for God to steal, since everything in creation belongs to Him, therefore it is foolish to consider this as some kind of moral prohibition that could possibly bind God. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, but in no way can anyone consider him taking something away, no matter how fairly earned by man, stealing.
Then, there are matters that God commanded which may not have a moral component at all, for men, or for God, but which for men are matters of obedience to God. When God commanded Jonah to go to Ninevah, it did not mean that not going to Ninevah is an immoral act in and of itself, but rather, that disobeying this command, in this specific instance, would be immoral simply due to disobedience.
“So now he is a murderer? What?”
Of course not. Your question shows your confusion about my example, so let me explain further. Under ordinary circumstances, God’s commandment not to murder would have prohibited the wholesale slaughter by the Israelites of the Canaanites down the last man, woman, and child, without regard to guilt or innocence, simply of their (the Israelite’s) own volition. However, since, in this circumstance, God commanded that the act be done, this specific command overrides the more general prohibition in the Mosaic law.
It’s not an issue of whether God commited murder (that’s an impossibility in the first place), it’s an issue of whether the Israelites were allowed to commit acts, by specific commandment, which would normally be prohibited as murder by the general commandment. They clearly were allowed, since the specific commandment gave them license, just as sovereign governments grant specific licenses to do things which would more generally be prohibited.
Now, how does this apply to the issue of idolatry? Well, people offer examples of the carvings on the Ark, and on the Temple, and the bronze serpent, as evidence that the 2nd commandment didn’t really forbid making all graven images. This is nonsense. Those examples were only allowed because they were specifically commandment by God. In other words, in those cases, and only cases where such specific commandments were given, God granted license to ignore the general prohibition against making graven images. Had the Israelites taken it upon themselves to make graven images without receiving such license, as they did on many occasions, they would have been, and in fact were, judged by God for their violations of the general prohibition.
Thank-you and God Bless for standing up for what is true and good.
So when you bow before and pray to the travel mug it brings you closer to God???
Do you believe that Catholics or or Orthodox pray to icons? Who told you this?
Praying before an icon is no different from Protestants praying before a framed copy of “Footprints,” or praying before a painting of Jesus, or while driving, inspired by the verse on their travel mug.
Or do you consider this idol worship too?
If so, you better straighten out Christian bookstores that sell these idols.
No comparison at all. Oh, except the Roman Catholic Church has never been able to get out of the Old Testament and so still sacrifices Christ afresh on its altars; killing Him over and over and over again.
The Scriptures you give have to do with worship of God at the sight of the sight of an animal sacrifice being made.
-——Does something have to be intrinsically evil to be forbidden by God?——
No. In the OT, God forbids intrinsic evils (the 10 Commandments), but also issued pastoral, provisional prohibitions, such as the prohibition against eating pork.
But Jesus freed us from the latter form of Law. In this age, we must “listen to the church.” And Christ’s Church does not forbid praying before statues, icons or sunsets. Besides, it’s common sense.
-——What of something commanded by God simply as a test of obedience, for example when he commanded Abraham to kill Isaac?-——
Note that this is a direct, private revelation. I haven’t received a direct revelation from God forbidding me to pray while looking at a painting of Jesus, or a framed Bible verse. So why should I stop?
But even more importantly, why on earth would God not want me to pray, whether I’m inspired by a sunset, a statue, a painting, an icon, or a verse on a travel mug?
-——Had Abraham disobeyed because he believed the command to be evil, he would have been guilty of another, perhaps greater evil, by disobeying the commandment of God. How much more guilty might we be of disobeying a commandment for a much less compelling reason?-——
Again, this is a private revelation, so the analogy does not apply, since I haven’t received a private revelation from God forbidding me to pray before statues or paintings or sunsets.
Can you say with certainty that everyone else WILL BE tempted to idolatry simply because you feel certain that THEY WILL BE?
I can’t prove a negative. The burden of proof is on you.
I see no temptation, because we understand what the Incarnation is.
Of course you pray to icons...Why in the world would you deny it??? We've seen your popes pray to icons on tv...
Your analogy is like comparing pick-up-sticks with strawberries...
You guys bow to and pray to your icons and ask them to perform miracles for you...To provide grace and even salvation for you...And we are not talking of icons of Jesus, are we...Why are you in denial???