Sunday, December 15, 2019

Roman Catholic Religious Iconography Is Irreverent Toward The Biblical God

  • Discussion:
          -The Roman Catholic Church contends that its followers are not actually guilty of idolatry as they are simply giving appropriate honor to Jesus Christ, Mary, and various saints. Religious iconography is said to have no power in itself and that only the person whom a particular image represents is the subject of veneration (CCC # 2132). One problem with such provisions is that Scripture does not approve of us making images of God:

       "To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? The workman molds an image, The goldsmith overspreads it with gold, And the silversmith casts silver chains. Whoever is too impoverished for such a contribution chooses a tree that will not rot; He seeks for himself a skillful workman To prepare a carved image that will not totter. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, Scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, When He will also blow on them, And they will wither, And the whirlwind will take them away like stubble. “To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One." (Isaiah 40:17-25)

        The Prophet Isaiah articulates a sharp contrast between the living God and powerless idols carved by the hands of men. It is irreverent to the utmost for us to even compare His unfathomable glory to relics which are the product of our fragile and fallen minds. These works are the antithesis of God's majesty. So it is not proper at all for Roman Catholics to use religious iconography to worship Jesus Christ. He is God in the flesh (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3). Trying to represent God by physical means degrades His glory and honor. To bow before a statue of Christ with the intent of offering up prayer in His name is to make a mockery of Him.

        One argument made to justify the use of images to worship Jesus Christ is His incarnation (CCC # 2129-2131), although it is difficult to see how or why such validates this practice. Saints are human beings, and the Law emphatically condemned making statues of them for the purpose of religious devotion. Moreover, we cannot even determine exactly what Christ looked like. The Lord became angry with the Israelites who had urged Aaron to make a golden calf as a result of their desire to have a visible manifestation of God (Exodus 32:8). We are not to worship Him in the same way that the pagans do with their idols:

        "And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.” You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things." (Deuteronomy 12:3-4).

         Ironically, these ancient peoples believed that the statues they so venerated were not deities themselves but were mere portrayals of the gods who they worshiped. For example, the prophets of Baal were obviously not calling on their statues to come to life and compete against the God of Elijah (1 Kings 18:20-40). This in a very real sense sounds like Roman Catholic teaching concerning the veneration of images.

4 comments:

  1. Hi, Jesse. It's Justin. How are you doing? I am trying to think of something to post about for our shared blog, but havn't come up with any idea's as of yet. Something should be out soon though, Lord willing. Well, I think I will take a look at some of your latest post and perhaps It'll help me with some idea's. I will talk to ya later, till next time.

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  2. Hello Justin,

    It has been awhile since you have appeared on this blog! I hope that all is well with you and your family. Perhaps the articles here can give you a few ideas on what to write.

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  3. "That in a very real sense sounds similar to Roman Catholic teaching concerning the veneration of images."

    Similar? I believe it's the exact idolatrous worship practiced by those ancient peoples.

    In Christ.

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  4. Hey Jesse,

    Great article!

    I would imagine that Moses (or any of the ancient believers) would never have accepted this Catholic idea of, "Oh, no, I'm not WORSHIPING this statue, and I'm not offering "latria," it's only "dulia," you know, veneration!

    They probably would have been stoned to death by the elders. Catholics seem to miss the concept that the ancient Jews fell into idolatry over and over. What Catholics do today is way too close to what the Jews were doing.

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