Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Facebook Apologetics: Veneration vs. Worship, Pt. 8

Now, in Part 7 you'll recall that I listed several examples in the OT where God commands that statues and images be made. This was to demolish Kenneth's claim that the Commandment against graven images was a blanket prohibition. It is here in Part 8 where we witness his plunge into the realm of absurdity. There's a section here where we seem to be talking past each other, so instead of breaking this up into any more parts, I'm just gonna let it ride. This post concludes our debate. No one else has tried to refute my arguments.

So, here is his response to the Scripture passages I cited, which launches us into a mind-numbing back-and-forth exchange:

  • That's like saying "It's ok to kill your enemy, because although God commanded 'Thou shalt not kill,' He told Israel to kill the Caananites." Occams Razor applies here. The simple reading concludes they were not to make images. Clearly implied is "unless God commands it."

I don't think you understand. If the creation of ANY statue or image is a grave sin, then in no way could God command that such a thing be done. "God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one" (Jas 1:13). But, He DID command that statues and images be made, and in his holy places no less, so there must be a circumstance in which images are allowed, and a circumstance in which they are not. They ARE allowed when they facilitate worship (as they are made in the OT in the places where He is worshiped) and they are NOT allowed when the things themselves are worshiped, as evidenced by the proximity of the prohibition against images to the Commandment to worship God and Him alone. The entire context of the injunction against graven images is God communicating His desire that people worship Him and Him alone. THAT is in fact the simple reading.

  • But, He DID command ...that they were to kill the Canaanites, and in the promised land no less, so there must be a circumstance in which killing is allowed, and a circumstance in which it is not. It IS allowed when they facilitate the killing of one's enemies (as it is done in the OT in the places where He killed the Canaanites) and it is NOT allowed when they are not your enemies, as evidenced by the proximity of the prohibition against killing to the Commandment to love your neighbor as yourself. The entire context of the injunction against killing is God communicating His desire that people kill only their enemies. THAT is in fact the simple reading.

So, we're in agreement? I'm confused.

  • No, I was just showing you that my analogy applied, using your own example. I can't imagine with my knowledge of God's Word, that I would ever be able to reconcile the MAKING of images of Roman Catholic personalities, let alone worship or venerate through them. It absolutely amazes me that a majority of protestants think manger scenes are okay!

Maybe it will help if I say what I mean a different way.

The reason that the builders of the holy places were allowed to create images of cherubim, lions, oxen, open flowers, and palm trees was not simply b/c God commanded them to but b/c what He was having them do was not contrary to His law. God does not command people to do what would otherwise be against His law. God is not above His law. He is the author of the Law and can only be utterly faithful to it, since it is an expression of His Will.

Thus, there must be a reason why the creation of those statues and images was not against His law (otherwise He would not have commanded them to be made). That reason is b/c the images to be created were NOT meant to be worshiped and the people who saw them would not be tempted to worship them. These images in the holy places don't hinder worship of the One True God, they facilitate it. The holy places were covered w/ heavenly beings as a reminder that in the holy places, the people encounter their Heavenly Father. In the holy places, the saints on earth worship together w/ the saints in heaven.

The very fact that the bronze serpent was not destroyed UNTIL THE PEOPLE BEGAN TO WORSHIP IT shows that it is WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE that breaks God's law, not the mere creation of it. The only image that Catholics worship is Jesus Christ, "the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15).

  • I'm perfectly willing to let the others judge now. God proscribed the "making" of images. It is not a "moral" law, so God is not unrighteous to command images which serve His purposes and the counsel of His will, to be made. It is MUCH wiser of God to forbid ALL images except the ones He wished to be made, than to allow the making of images that correspond to certain parameters. If given ANY license, the people would have found "loopholes" just as the RCC has been able to do with the arguments you have despite God's clear sufficient Word.

‎"It is not a moral law"? Wow, that's a first. As far as I'm concerned, the Commandments of God are the foundation of the moral law. God had the people create images for the Holy Places b/c such creation was not against His Will, which was to prevent idol worship. Yet, you would have us believe that God actually commands people to do things that would otherwise, without the command, be wrong. Like I said before, God is not above His law, for it is an expression of His Will. If it is wrong for man, it is wrong for God, for rightness and wrongness are determined by His Will. This is an inescapable fact, which you are now trying desperately to avoid by redefining which Commandments are moral and which ones aren't. It's clear to me (and I hope, by now, to the reader) that you would sooner embrace the absurd then accept the fact that you are clearly in error. Yes, this debate has clearly run its course.

Pax Christi,

PS: For the previous installments in this debate, see Parts One -- Two -- Three -- Four -- Five -- Six -- Seven.

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