Images and the 2nd commandment

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Scott Bushey, Dec 21, 2004.

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  1. Goosha

    Goosha Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Chris,

    One of the reasons I didn't want to get into the debate was because of my inability to keep up with the posts. In fact, my original post was simply to praise Paul...however, I did post so I can't complain if someone replies to it.

    I understood what Fred was getting at...I think the point he brought was completely irrelevant and to be honest somewhat desperate. The second commandment can either allow for pictures of Christ or forbid it. To say that the second command is really just forbidding a picture of Christ because it would be inaccurate is to change the whole debate. He did finally say that he doesn't believe you can have a picture of Christ because that would be a picture of the whole person. This is nothing more than a restatement of his original position and does not refute or address my statement that pictures dont portray whole persons even for regular human beings. Your picture for your avatar doesn't tell me anything about the immaterial parts of your person i.e. personality, character blah blah. I could be wrong and would be willing to have someone disprove such an assertion but was not even the point of my post. I just wanted to thank Paul for his good work.
     
  2. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Paul,

    While I we both agree that Christ's humanity can be examined and in fact considered unique from his divinity. When we identify Christ the person we deal with both God and man. Of course any depictions made would only be able to present his human side but it would refer to the whole person of Christ. In this way his divinity and humanity are inseperable. That is what I was geting at. Similarly God chose to reveal himself through theophany, I asked you whether or not we could represent theophanies out of curiosity, you must have missed this post.
     
  3. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    This argument lacking in my opinion. If we had a theoretical command which said don't make images of Paul. And we painted a painting of Mr. Manata, do you think that would violate said command? Yes, you could argue "I didn't capture all of who he was, just his physical appearance", but we would not take such an argument seriously.

    Similarly, Christ's human person cannot be so distinguished from his divinity that we can portray it. We refer to Christ as a whole when we sculpt idols of him, not just his humanity, but his being itself. When you pray you do not pray to "the divine side of Jesus", do you? When we see an image of Christ we do not see a mere man, we see a God-man depicted.
     
  4. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Good points, Ian. I think Richard Pratt said something that sheds light on this issue, which is that Jesus Christ is not God, and He is not man - He is the God-man. So while we may categorize different attributes of his under one category or another, that is a different thing from temporarily thinking about Him as just one or the other.
     
  5. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Paul,

    Do you understand the issue of subscription? The fact that the PCA is now a "good faith subscription" denomination has NOITHING to do with whether a position contrary to the Standards is viewed as wrong from the Church's view. All it means is that the Church should permit those who are wrong on "non fundamental" issues (whatever that is) to be ordained while being wrong.

    For the record, I never said this issue was "fundamental" or that it even represented a significant issue between us (hence the 99% jokes) . But according to the Church of both us, you're wrong. We might let you get ordained (all other things being equal) but good faith subscription doesn't make you right. As a matter of fact, part of the good faith subscription amendment was to allow a Presbytery to govern its own membership. So a Presbytery would be completely within its rights to refuse to ordain you on that point, or to ordain you and forbid you from teaching your view. On the other hand, if a Presbytery tried to that with me, it would be contrary to our Constitution, since my position is the position of the Standards.

    So I have no idea what you mean about having cake and eating it too.
     
  6. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yep. So I take it from #1 that you fully submit to the teaching of the Church, and you neither have nor support any pictures of Christ?

    Unless it is that you "disagree" rather than "disagreed." Maybe I got that impression because of your comments about the Church's view being "wrong," "unbiblical," etc.

    Oh, also, should I explain the difference between a disagreement over a provision of the BCO and the teaching of the Bible? Or you could get that from the BCO itself if you want. :lol:

    [Edited on 1/19/2005 by fredtgreco]
     
  7. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Nope. Sorry, but I'm finding out here that the BCO is not your strong suit.
     
  8. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    OK, I'm finally going to ask...what on earth does that mean?
     
  9. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    What's to follow.

    You said your position is right and the Church is wrong. I said that should bother you, because you are flouting the Church (and setting yourself up as a standard).

    I said that I took one side of a debate in which the Church partook. The Church disagreed with me and made a determination. I then chose to submit to the Church, so I would not be bothered by flouting the Church.

    It seems to me pretty simple:

    1. When Fred disagrees with the Church, he submits.

    2. When Paul disagrees, he rebells and tells the Church it is wrong and he has a greater understanding of the Scriptures than she does.

    3. Fred disagrees over matters of interpretation of the scope of a vow that is not required of all Christians and is not a Biblical mandate.

    4. Paul disagrees over a matter of the moral law, that the Church says is binding on all men.

    Now tell me what I am missing?? Or I guess it will be enough to simply say "have cake and eat it too" and not respond. ;)


    By the way, everyone else: this is DISCUSSION, not accusation. After all, Paul still is my 99% paison.

    [Edited on 1/19/2005 by fredtgreco]
     
  10. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    "(1) The hi-lighted is an (unproven) premise."

    How could you create an image. Label it Christ and only, ONLY, have it refer to his humanity? How could you say this is an image of Jesus, the man not the Son of God...? This is idea is absurd.

    "(2) The refutation of the premise is: so when Christ's beard was plucked you must be under the assumption that little pieces of deity fell on the ground."

    Now you're arguing that I'm confusing the natures. What your arguing for is based on the false premise we can sever Christ's humanity from his deity. Christ is God in the flesh. He is not a human figure that can be taken in isolation. In first John the aged apostle hints at Christ's uniqueness by calling him "What". "What we new from the beginning". In other places he uses similar nuetered language. Christ is not to be taken one way or the other. I'm fully aware that his humanity can be spoken of, and his deity. But there is a "his" that we deal with which is unique in its properties.


    "(3) I answerd the theophany question when Fred posed it. I see no problem in historically representing a created, or human aspect of a theophany, e.g., the burning bush."

    There is no such thing as a historic reference to God that is distinct from matters of worship. Telling of God's works is a form of worship, as I believe I stated earlier.

    [Edited on 19-1-2005 by Ianterrell]
     
  11. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    "Now you're arguing that I'm confusing the natures. What your arguing for is based on the false premise we can sever Christ's humanity from his deity. Christ is God in the flesh. He is not a human figure that can be taken in isolation. In first John the aged apostle hints at Christ's uniqueness by calling him "What". "What we new from the beginning". In other places he uses similar nuetered language. Christ is not to be taken one way or the other. I'm fully aware that his humanity can be spoken of, and his deity. But there is a "his" that we deal with which is unique in its properties."

    How is the above emotional language?
     
  12. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    To your first point: We could say that images refer only to Christ's humanity not to his divinity?

    And the third: Again we are ALWAYS talking about a created thing, the same could be said of our sculpture, or relief of God. It's a created thing. What the thing refers to is divine. Similarly the burning bush refers to God.
     
  13. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    But that is what you are doing. Your ripping (haha) the natures apart. :cool: No seriously, sure...fine.
     
  14. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Now that Christ's flesh exists we are dealing with God incarnate.
     
  15. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Disagreed, Paul, disagreed. I uphold the BCO as it currently stands.

    But that's OK, I give. Since your point is that to disagree with the Church on any point doesn't allow one the right to point out that others disagree, I'll be expecting that you will never use the Church's authority again, including when you criticize hyper-preterists and anti-Trinitarians. Oh, and don't criticize our fellow boarders here either who espouse solo Scriptura, because that would mean you would say the Church has authority, and then again, you have disagreed with the Church. That cake thing - too bad Christendom can't survive it.
     
  16. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    He assumed a human nature. Human flesh.
     
  17. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    No it's not divine, but Christ's flesh is linked to the trinity. Whereas ours is not.
     
  18. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Paul, three points:

    1) But the God-man conceptually includes both God and man, and so statements forbidding images of "God" in any sense logically forbid images of the God-man, since "God," after all, is personal rather than impersonal, and so the forbidding is not merely of depicting a "nature," but a whole person, and thus the God part of God-man cannot be left out of the extents that forbidding reaches.

    2) Here is how I understand what Fred is getting at, and it revolves around the difference between agreement and submission. As Fred said, in spite of disagreeing with the Church's ruling on an issue, he submits to it, practicing and enforcing it. But the Church's ruling with which you disagree, you do not submit to, since doing so would mean having no pictures of Jesus or voluntarily watching film depictions. You can both disagree with a ruling of your church, but one of you is submitting to it in practice nonetheless, and the other is not.

    3) But it seems to me that it is impossible to represent only his human nature through a picture. I think a lot of it may come from what we each mean by the word "represent," and if we are agreeing on that or not. When I think of a portrait as attempting to "represent" Jesus, I do not think of simply what it is physically portraying, but whatever it is designed to point the mind to. For instance, a picture of someone with a happy or sad face is not merely "representing," a bunch of atoms, but it is representing emotions and qualities as well - otherwise the expression on someone's face would not affect what the picture is "representing," a thought which is absurd. So I do not think there is a possible case in which a portrait of Jesus could not be intending to represent some divine quality of His, be it his perfection or what have you.
     
  19. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    I see what you're getting at, but... did Thomas call Jesus God or just His divine nature? Did the wise men worship Jesus or just His divine nature?
     
  20. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :up: That relates to what I was getting at by pointing out that "God" is personal rather than impersonal, and thus a "whole" person in addition to a "nature."
     
  21. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    No, what I'm saying is that His divine nature always necessarily represents His full being, since the "God" in Him cannot be seen as an impersonal concept. And since it's logical to ask this next, yes that does also imply that His human nature always necessarily represents His full being. And no, that does not mean that pieces of His beard were little pieces of deity, because a piece of His beard is not what I'm talking about, but rather His human nature as a whole, which is what you claimed portraits represent. And what I'm saying is that you cannot depict His human nature (or divine) as a whole without depicting His whole personal being as the God-man.
     
  22. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As I clarified in my last post, I am not saying you can't refer to certain parts of one of the natures without representing the whole person - hence why we can talk about His, say, omniscience as distinguished from His, say, omnipotence, and not be referring to the whole person, and also why we can talk about pieces of His beard without referring to the whole person. But what I am saying we cannot refer to without representing the whole person is His divine nature as a whole or His human nature as a whole. And you have acknowledged that it is the entire latter that is being portrayed in portraits, films, etc.

    Fair enough, for now.

    And what have you been doing this whole time if not precisely that?

    See my first paragraph in this post, which I think clarifies some of what I talked about above.
     
  23. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The first paragraph in my last post clarifies what I mean.
     
  24. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Two arguments against the images

    Response #1
    I find this sentiment refuted by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 5:16
    The verb, "to know," is here being used after the manner of "to judge" or "to estimate" (so Calvin, Hodge), hence also "to recognize" as above in P. M. And "after the flesh" refers to the manner of judgment, i.e. according to the outward appearance, externals, superficialities; by the standards of ordinary human judgment. In the first statement, the apostle declares generally that he refuses to know a man by any human qualities, implying rather his reliance on the new spirit generated qualites in that man to know him thereby (see v.17). The apostle was not only being subjected to such kinds of judgments (see 10:10), but had himself even known Christ by such criteria.

    Now that this cannot be speaking of personal contact between the apostle and Jesus during the Lord's days on earth should be self-evident. The biblical record goes in the opposite direction (e.g. 1 Cor. 15:8). However, what is quite relevant to the present discussion is the apostle's reluctance, even his refusal to base any knowledge, estimation, or recognition of Christ based upon any purely fleshly characteristics. In this way, the apostle stands as a perfect correlation to our own experience: his whole contact with Christ came to him by means of revelation, and he is absolutely unwilling, if not not unable to percieve of him in any other way.

    Rather, it is the Son of God who comprises the totality of the apostle's comprehension of Christ. He declares himself to be utterly averse to apprehending him "after the flesh," however one might want to present such an aspect. Now, it might be objected to the apostle that by this objection of his, he has cut himself off from the Christ of the Gospels. But how is that the case? The apostle's knowledge of Christ after the flesh was wholly a product of his unregenerate state. Following his conversion, beginning with his vision on the Damascus road, the apostle no longer knows him so.

    His acquaintance, then, with the "Jesus of history," coming as it must through the witness of the other apostles and Christians is entirely filtered through this spiritual faculty of a new heart, and he cannot see him in any other way. This is the Christ he preaches (sets before his audience' eyes) as crucified on the cross (Gal. 3:1). This is the Christ he is able to describe in Rom 1:3 as "born of the seed of David according to the flesh," and immediately verse 4, "who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness," a unified thought expression. The Christ "known after the flesh" is forever an alien commodity to the Apostle Paul.

    Response #2
    The first premise cannot be agreed upon without qualification. Since the specific attribute of human nature "human body" are much in mind here, who agrees that: [ALL images of a human body are legitimate]? Few here would agree. Such a depiction might be a sin or it might not. Such "image making" might be acceptable under some circumstances, but quite unacceptable under others. Maybe [SOME images...], but that changes and invalidates the syllogism.

    Just some more fuel on the blaze....
     
  25. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian


    The issue of whether the PCA standards (Confession and Catechisms) prohibit images of Christ is secondary to whether the Second Commandment prohibits them, but it is important nevertheless and the quotes that I have culled from Paul's statements on this thread seem confusing to me.

    Paul -- Can you clarify whether you agree that the PCA standards (Confession and Catechisms) do indeed prohibit images of Christ? Yes or no, please. (Specifically, I refer to WCF XXI, I; and WLC # 108-109.)

    You may feel that it is lawful for individuals -- particularly non-ordained members such as yourself -- to disagree with the church standards in the PCA, and the PCA is certainly a broad tent when it comes to tolerating diverse views. But what happens to church discipline when members can reject portions of the standards that they disagree with? How can there be any church discipline?

    The Confession, Chap. XX, states that

    In my view, to advocate or condone pictures of Christ is to act and believe contrary to the Second Commandment, but also to the PCA standards. I consider it a very significant issue in terms of church discipline.

    On this Board a great diversity of views is tolerated; nevertheless, I consider images of Christ to be a major violation of Scripture and church standards.
     
  26. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Paul,

    I have addressed it. Or do you not understand the concept of verb tense?
     
  27. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I understand. That is the hard thing about a board like this. Like having 5 conversations at the same time. :lol:

    I am not bothered:

    1. Because I no longer disagree. My submission requires agreement.

    2. At the time I disagreed, it was BEFORE the Church spoke on the issue, not AFTER.

    So I am not bothered by my former taking of a position before the Church's pronouncement.

    Are you bothered by the fact that you presently disagree with the Church's established confession of what the Bible teaches about the moral law?
     
  28. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Generally, but not universally true.

    (And I would not bring you up on charges) ;)
     
  29. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Paul,

    Are you suggesting that I or anyone else in this thread is actually "denying Christ's humanity"?

    P.S. I'm not in the PCA, nor am I ordained, so you don't have to worry about me. :D

    But I do know personally several PCA ministers who would, under the appropriate circumstances, bring charges against a person who advocated breaking the Second Commandment by making or condoning images of Christ. I have no idea whether such charges would ever be sustained, but that's another issue.

    I am not meaning to pick on you personally, Paul, but I am speaking to the idea that your propagation of a view, which I think is blatantly contrary to the Second Commandment and to the PCA standards, ought to be a matter of grave concern to the PCA.

    [Edited on 19-1-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
     
  30. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Sorry, I'll go back and relook. I may have jumped ships. If that is the case, I was wrong before. :D

    But I never asked if you were bothered by your interpretation. I asked if you were bothered by the fact that you are treating the moral law like a modern evangelical (i.e. flouting the church)
     
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