More Second Commandment questions

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raydixon9

Puritan Board Freshman
My youngest child will be two years old in November. She was born premature and had other complications which resulted in about 8 months of hospital stay and two nights when my wife and I didn't think she would live. By the grace of God, she is healthy and happy. I also have an apple tv device hooked up to our TV in the den. For most of the day our TV plays a slideshow of all the pictures on our computer and often times it will show a picture of our child all hooked up to the medical devices in the hospital. These images (we also have a canvas picture of her on our wall in which she still has a trach tube in her throat) often but not exclusively result in an emotional response. We tend to see them and then thank God for the blessing he has given us. I'm not quite sure how to describe it but there is more to it than looking at a child's picture where they got really messy eating cake or spaghetti.

Am I violating the second commandment here? I see an image that I believe God demonstrates grace and it leads me to gratefulness and ultimately worship. It seems like a violation. I don't think it should be. Is this an example that we are image bearers of God and this is okay? If I did this with a family pet would it not be okay?
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
This from your Larger Catechism may help.

Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshipping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
My youngest child will be two years old in November. She was born premature and had other complications which resulted in about 8 months of hospital stay and two nights when my wife and I didn't think she would live. By the grace of God, she is healthy and happy. I also have an apple tv device hooked up to our TV in the den. For most of the day our TV plays a slideshow of all the pictures on our computer and often times it will show a picture of our child all hooked up to the medical devices in the hospital. These images (we also have a canvas picture of her on our wall in which she still has a trach tube in her throat) often but not exclusively result in an emotional response. We tend to see them and then thank God for the blessing he has given us. I'm not quite sure how to describe it but there is more to it than looking at a child's picture where they got really messy eating cake or spaghetti.

Am I violating the second commandment here? I see an image that I believe God demonstrates grace and it leads me to gratefulness and ultimately worship. It seems like a violation. I don't think it should be. Is this an example that we are image bearers of God and this is okay? If I did this with a family pet would it not be okay?

You're talking about what e.g. John Murray called "generic worship" - all of life worship - rather than "specific worship", where we approach God formally to worship him, or at least that point in generic worship where praise and prayer are stimulated in our day to day lives, by the creation, providence and redemption of God.

This is not sinful, but good and righteous, although all that we do, including the most careful observance of the regulative principle of worship, is mixed with impure motives.

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Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
There's nothing wrong (and much good) with remembering what God has done for you and being moved to thankfulness. If pictures of the last few years of life bring those feelings to mind, that in itself is okay. You haven't made the images themselves into something you worship, nor do you consider them pictures of God.

Nor does it sound like you're using the images for a clearly improper form of worship. As Richard pointed out above, the "worship" you're talking about is the sort of constant thankfulness that's a part of our whole lives. It ought to happen within the context of absolutely everything we do in life, not just those things that are commanded for more specific worship. Don't give up this constant thankfulness just because you're moved to be thankful by seeing a picture of your daughter (or of a beautiful part of creation, or a stunning work of art, etc.). These are moments of life that ought to result in thankfulness—as should everything good. The question would get more dicey if you were, say, using the pictures instead of reading Scripture to drive your daily devotional time... but you haven't said that's happening.

That said, it sounds like the constantly playing family pictures could end up becoming something of a false god in your life. Or they may reveal that you've made your daughter and her health into a false god. Even though you give God credit for her life, it would be easy (especially given the experience you went through) for you to end up desperately craving her health and life more than you crave God himself. I can't be at all sure you're doing that—only you can really know—but your description plus the fact that your conscience is clearly bothered by something makes me wonder. You might want to ask yourself whether that's why you keep playing those pictures. It may be time to hold them more loosely.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
First of all I am delighted your daughter has survived these first two years. It must have been such a worrying time for you. It is good go have experienced the Lord's goodness and grace. How is your daughter keeping now?

The second commandment forbids the making of images to worship. I do not see how family pictures can be compared with an image of worship. I appreciate you thinking the picture brings about thoughts of worship. I would think its a reminder of what was and what now is and the reminder to be thankful to God for what he has given. Not that you would ever forget these early days of your daughters life. Some people may keep a diary and in reading the diary the reminders of God's providence may also result in thankfulness, praise and worship.

When you take communion, the bread and wine remind you of the shed blood and the broken body of Christ. This is a reminder of God's grace and also leads us to thankfulness, confession and worship. Unlike the RCs we do not worship the bread but the one whom the bread and wine point to.

Likewise the picture, a daily reminder of how good the Lord has been.
 
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