Images of Jesus

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Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
Wow. I thought Sproul got his argument from Calvin. I guess not.
It's a misunderstanding in common with him and at least one other I know of. I'm not sure where they got the idea from, but it was not from reading Calvin. Here is a collection of Calvin quotations from an old thread relevant to the position: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/2nd-commandment-images-of-Christ-calvin.82806/#post-1040165

This article is useful against images of Jesus: https://ccrpcorg.s3.amazonaws.com/Articles/Pictorial Representations of Christ-final.pdf
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
So you have never watched any movies or tv shows about Jesus then?
Not for decades; the ones before that are problems enough, thank you. David, I think this thread is example "prime" of the scattershot way you post to threads. Stop doing this. Read the threads and understand the content before opining.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Helpful resource on the Reformed confessional view: https://biblebased.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/should-we-make-images-of-Jesus/

Two helpful posts from older threads:

It is striking the way imagination becomes active in a matter of anticipation. On the other hand, where the object is a matter of possession there is cause for reflection. I find this relevant in light of two things. 1. Christ is given in possession to the believer, Eph. 3:17. The imagination should cease and reflection should be active. 2. The visible and sensible elements of bread and wine are specifically given to us for the purpose of remembrance, which should invoke reflection.

To speak pastorally, the way to cure a sensual imagination is to "see" Christ as the apostles "remembered" Him, full of grace and truth; and in His offices as our complete Saviour; and as He is made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and to reflect with a trusting heart on the present enjoyment of Christ so as to rest in Him. Where the soul rests and reflects, the imagination has no cause to stir.

https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/here-is-a-question-on-images-of-Jesus.90664/#post-1112999

What about when the child grows up, and wishes he didn't have a "cartoonJesus" or some other version in his head that he has to "remove" or guard against whenever he is thinking religiously?

The problem can be analyzed several different ways, but one that I think is profitable is to understand that whenever we make an image of Jesus, we are "going the wrong direction" in our thinking about him. It is not hard to think of Jesus in human terms. The Bible's descriptions do that admirably. The fact was (and is) that those encounters by the disciples and the crowds were meant to reveal to them that Jesus wasn't "just a man" at all, but was God incarnate.

When we make a representation of Jesus' human body--beside the implicit nestorian heresy involved (that his two natures may be separated)--we are reducing Jesus; we are trying in effect to "know him after the flesh" once again, when we are supposed to "know him thus no more." ALL (!) our encounters with Jesus, in every authorized presentation, are supposed to lead us--as they led the first disciples--to higher and higher thoughts of him.

The Bible is abundantly clear on this point (just read your Old Testament, to say nothing of the New):

IMAGES DO THE VERY OPPOSITE.

https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/images-of-Christ.60511/#post-781983
 

jw

j
Somewhat related is the exchange between the Lord and Moses in Exodus 33 and 34. Moses requests, "Show me thy glory." The Lord responds "None will see me and yet live," etc. Yet, He gives Moses instructions as to how he may gather a glimpse of the Lord's glory. In the fulfillment, however, in chapter 34, we observe no part of Moses' seeing of anything. Rather, the Lord "shows" Moses His glory in a wonderful proclamation of propositions, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." Moses' response to this proclamation of the name of the Lord? He made haste, bowed himself, and worshipped. What is the Lord's glory? Well, it is most certainly not His visage, as He is spirit, and does not have parts, etc. His glory is His Name, Who He is, the great I Am. He doesn't give His glory to another or share His praise with graven images (Is. 42.8), including, and especially those images purporting to be of Himself.
 

Edm

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am not denying at all anything that agreed upon per Chaledon, as I was just saying that God Himself has come to us in human flesh, and so we should be able to represent Him as being God in human flesh with us. The picture/painting is not Him, is not to venerate or have us show affection towards, as it is honoring Him by presentation of Him.
Would this mean that Christians should not have Jesus ever portrayed in either TV shows or in movies then?

My less than scholarly take as to my understanding. We are sometimes given laws for more than one reason, to define sin and to keep us from sin. I believe that this was given to tell us what was sin. However, even if you take the stance that you are representing just the human side, which I disagree with, how many times have you seen or heard of people having to hold a crucifix, or be in the same room as their picture of long haired white man Jesus, or they claim they feel closer to Jesus when they see Him portrayed in a statue or Painting? That is idolatry, the same as the RCC worshipping the elements. It is the same as people doing these same things to the cross. Though the cross isn't an image of Jesus. the law is pretty simple in this manner. To me it seems like lot s of time it's just people trying to figure out a way to justify their tradition. And I'm not speaking from inexperience here. I think if you searched you would probably find post of me trying to question or justify images. It was a tradition I grew up with that I came to understand was wrong.
 

deleteduser99

Puritan Board Junior
The Commandment prohibiting no Graven images, nor representing of God would seem to be to keep us from speculating on how God would appear, as Mankind has had various god images of crass and craven creatures like the Molten calf as God.
Picturing on a painting/drawing, or on TV/Movies would not be in direct violation of that, as God did indeed come as a Man and dwelt among us.

I know I don't post that much, though my wife and I had just been discussing this issue, so if you would, please allow me to share a few thoughts as someone who used to think it strange yet interesting that images of Christ could be unlawful.

Yes, Christ came as a man. Were we to see Him face to face we can expect that we would see a man with two eyes, a nose, mouth, one head, two arms, two hands and feet like the rest of us. He looked like a Jewish male would look, and according to Isaiah looked like an average man. Christ came in a physical body on purpose and lived as one of us for the sake of mediating for us and sympathizing with us. In the body He is a true human being. He will always be a man.

Still, no human being can possibly know God unless God reveals Himself. The same thing goes for the person of Jesus Christ. Christ's own family members--even his own mother who was visited by an angel and was told about what her son would be like--did not understand Him. His disciples did not either, and who better knew Him in His physical appearance than they did? They were with Jesus day in, day out, all the time. He counseled, exhorted, encouraged, rebuked them, discipled them personally for three years. Were it a picture, it'd be picture perfect. Were it a movie, they had the best seat in the house; but what do we frequently hear?

They did not understand. Their hearts were hard. What do they say? "Who is this man that the wind and sea obey Him?" What does Jesus say? "Have I been so long with you, Phillip, and yet you do not know me?" Seeing Jesus in the flesh didn't do as much good as we'd like to think it would.

Also, when did Peter finally understand who Christ was, and truly get Him, if I may say it? When the Father revealed Christ to Peter, then Peter understood. Even Peter later says in one of his letters, "Though you do not see Him, you love Him." The only way that we can understand Jesus Christ is the supernatural revelation of God through the Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit. Apart from that, the God-Man Jesus Christ is a complete stranger, whatever teaching tools we try to use.

If Jesus Christ being with them in the flesh was insufficient for them to properly understand Him, and they were with Him daily and hourly for three years, what can we possibly hope to get from a depiction 2,000 years removed from His first coming?

I share all of this as one still trying to come to grips on certain details and applications of the second commandment myself, though may God reveal to each of us more and more the Lord Jesus Christ as He truly is, and not as we would imagine Him to be. A lifelong process.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I really appreciate Dr. Sproul. I haven't found much that I disagree with him on. But there are some things that I know he's wrong about. This is one of them. I've always hated pictures of Jesus even when I was a kid. I just thought it was super creepy to have God's picture hanging around, but thought I was a bad person for hating them till I went reformed and learned we're not suppose to have them. That was awesome news!
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
I am not denying at all anything that agreed upon per Chaledon, as I was just saying that God Himself has come to us in human flesh, and so we should be able to represent Him as being God in human flesh with us. The picture/painting is not Him, is not to venerate or have us show affection towards, as it is honoring Him by presentation of Him.

I stand corrected, as I was not thinking through fully what my position was in this area.

Exactly what is your position?

Have you come to a more studied position on this matter, David? Do you still think images of Our Lord are acceptable for honoring Him so long as we do not venerate these images?
 

Held Fast

Puritan Board Freshman
There is much pressure, and I believe worth considering, from a media saturated culture to have the story told in a medium they appreciate. I worked for a period of time on a project producing bible stories in Arabic from Genesis to the Cross, and they had to meet the prescribed standards of Hallal regarding images of the prophets or God. What was understood was that the target audience solely interacted through movies, not books, and do not worship images (not a feature of Muslim culture), so movies are a profoundly effective for presenting God's word to that culture. The prophets or God, when in the story, were either bright lights or off screen (no shadow or silhouette), so as not to falsely portray them. The audience is a largely oral culture, and there are many such cultures today for whom a written word makes no sense, and who have no heritage of image worship to contend with. Roll forward to mainline secular cultures, for example Japan, for whom there is no heritage of idol worship, but increasingly education and information exchange is visual through movies and manga. There is a struggle now about how to portray the gospel to this manner of culture, which I daresay future generations in America will fall into that category. I am not suggesting we lift the 2nd Commandment; I am suggesting we recognize that how the church of the Reformation has interpreted it has been through the lens of literate, book based gospel presentation with Catholic Image veneration as our heritage. Much of the world today, and in the future, does not share that lens, and yet the church grows. Evangelicals have little direct memory of image worship, and yet have no compunction about producing the Jesus film in every possible language they can - well intentioned, but to the reformed, a violation of the 2nd commandment. How might we speak to them in a way that honors the intention, which is not to create idols but rather to proclaim the gospel to the world outside of the gutenberg press, and likewise brings them back to the letter and intent of the 2nd commandment? Or do we care?
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
How might we speak to them in a way that honors the intention, which is not to create idols but rather to proclaim the gospel to the world outside of the gutenberg press, and likewise brings them back to the letter and intent of the 2nd commandment? Or do we care?

The way to speak to them is by preaching which is common to every culture. Let us be honest, how many people had a bible before the press?
 

Nate

Puritan Board Junior
There is a struggle now about how to portray the gospel to this manner of culture, which I daresay future generations in America will fall into that category.
...How might we speak to them in a way that honors the intention, which is not to create idols but rather to proclaim the gospel to the world outside of the gutenberg press, and likewise brings them back to the letter and intent of the 2nd commandment? Or do we care?

For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
I Corinthians 1:21

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:14-15
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Have you come to a more studied position on this matter, David? Do you still think images of Our Lord are acceptable for honoring Him so long as we do not venerate these images?
I think that my position on this was not fully taking into account what the Commandment really was intended to speak to us concerning how God wants us to correctly honor and revere Him, so would see myself lining up now and agreeing with those posting here that see any representations of Jesus as being in violation of that being expressly forbidden by God. I think that a lot of what I was thinking here was much more driven by being conditioned by the culture than the scriptures in this circumstance.
 
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Stope

Puritan Board Sophomore
Josh needs a tutorial on how to reasonably resize images so as not to SHOUT.

3112_ccc283a0d9479c7fc48fc47a7b6c0b57.jpg
hehehe
 

Ask Mr. Religion

Flatly Unflappable
I think that my position on this was not fully tsking into account what the Commandment really was intended to speak to us concerning how God wants us to correct honor and revere Him, so would see myself lining up not and agreeing with those posting here that see any representations of Jesus as being in violation of that being expressly forbidden by God. I think that a lot of what I was thinking here was much more driven by being conditioned by the culture than the scriptures in this circumstance.
I cannot make out this garbled phrase "so would see myself lining up not and agreeing", but I think you are actually stating here that you now rightly view all images of Our Lord to be forbidden. Correct?

AMR
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Junior
I think that my position on this was not fully tsking into account what the Commandment really was intended to speak to us concerning how God wants us to correct honor and revere Him, so would see myself lining up not and agreeing with those posting here that see any representations of Jesus as being in violation of that being expressly forbidden by God. I think that a lot of what I was thinking here was much more driven by being conditioned by the culture than the scriptures in this circumstance.
Brother, your skill at obfuscation is truly enviable! After six or so attempts, I still can't make head or tail of this. What does "lining up and not agreeing" mean? Please make really short sentences for me.
Blessings to you.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Brother, your skill at obfuscation is truly enviable! After six or so attempts, I still can't make head or tail of this. What does "lining up and not agreeing" mean? Please make really short sentences for me.
Blessings to you.
Please read the edited posting.
 
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