Iconography and Idolatry – Part 2

In the last blog, we established that neither God, Moses, nor the scriptures are iconoclastic.  Without a doubt, the Mosaic Law was intended as a firm safeguard against idolatry, but the ancient Jewish temple itself was an image, an icon of the heavenly one complete with various carvings of things on earth and in heaven, including cherubim.  Archeologists have discovered paintings of Old Testament scenes lining the walls of the Jewish synagogues during the time of Christ in the Greco-Roman world.

Yet, in all of this, God was never depicted.  Why?  Because God’s nature is invisible and incomprehensible.  One cannot paint God because God cannot be painted — at least not in His divine nature.

About 2,000 years ago, God became incarnate and mysteriously wrapped His divinity in humanity.  If someone had a smartphone, they could have taken a picture of God and texted it to their friends.  Since such technology did not exist, people settled with paintings of the God-man Jesus Christ.

Continuing the Jewish tradition of lining places of worship with images (icons), Christians had paintings of our Lord, His Mother, various saints, and numerous scenes from the Gospels. Continue reading Iconography and Idolatry – Part 2

Intro to Iconography – part 2

So, you’re visiting an Eastern Orthodox Church and you notice that people are coming in, approaching paintings of dead guys and gals, bowing slightly, and then kissing them.  As a Protestant, you know this must be idolatry, right?  What else could it be?

(If you missed Part 1, click here to read it)

A Lesson from Japan

Continue reading Intro to Iconography – part 2

Intro to Iconography – part 1

Who are the solid people anyway?

“Like ghosts we walk upon the earth, the ground it groans” sings Michael Gungor of the uber-talented band Gungor.  He takes inspiration from CS Lewis’ writings in which he questions our very concept of reality.

When we think of spirit beings or ghosts, we tend to visualize something that is misty, a vapor that can’t even be grasped.  The spirit world seems foggy and illusive, much like trying to clasp your fingers around steam as it rises above a pot of boiling water.    Continue reading Intro to Iconography – part 1