Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ah, but we never remember exactly right and we recreate our memories. After 20 years we begin remembering an illusion and this illusion would therefore become an image not rooted to reality.
The grounds given for the wisdom behind God's forbidding of us making any kind of images (including mental) is that the Israelites had not seen God: "Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth" (Deut. 4:15-18). But the apostles had seen Jesus, and so their memory of him is at least not one purely and simply conjured up by them, but is based on what they saw; and even though their physical brains would not have been able to perfectly remember every detail because of their fallen bodies, the same is even true of their physical eyes and receptors even when they saw Him in person. Yet the explained basis for the commandment given in Deuteronomy 4 is not "since you could not perfectly perceive every detail of the form you saw," but rather "since you saw no form." But that basis was not the case for the apostles with respect to Jesus.
And what's with John in Revelation temptingus to sin? A man with white woolen hair and a girdle.... If mentally imagining this is sin, then why would the inspired holy writers tempt by evoking such imagery?
As with so much imagery in Scripture, wouldn't a possibility be that it is simply there to communicate certain analogous things that the descriptions would symbolize, e.g. purity, age and wisdom from the woolen hair, etc.?
"You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My Commandments." (Exodus 20:4-6 RSV)
Isnt this qualified by the phrase after the semi colon? If no punctuation was used, then I alwas thought we are not to bow down to anything..
Again, it is still further qualified by the passage from Deuteronomy 4: The stated grounds for the commandment is that we have not seen Him; yet the apostles had seen Him, and as such, they would naturally remember the physical images of him in their heads. But any such mental images we attempt to picture in our minds are not memories of a form we have seen, but completely random, self-constructed misrepresentations.
Would these be considered graven images that God actually commanded to be made?
Of course not; for the command says "you shall not make for yourself" - and people following direct instruction from God is completely different from constructing their own creation for themselves. It's the same principle as prophecy, tongues and all special revelation: In Deuteronomy 18:20 it is said, "But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die." Here it is made clear that it is a sin to come up with one's own piece of instruction or supposed "prophecy"; yet we know that at the same time, God commanded people many times to proclaim the prophetic instructions He had given them. So it is with graven images - God forbids us from making them for ourselves, yet that is perfectly consistent with Him giving His own instructions at times for specific images, such as the serpent, and even the Lord's Supper as an image of Christ's body and blood.