The Use and Misuse of Images

The Second Commandment prohibits the use of images to represent God. Have you ever wondered what constitutes a misuse of images today in worship? I address this issue in Ten Essential Words, concluding:

So we are given permission to use images that expand our view of God and draw us closer to God.  But at the same time, we are warned of the dangers of holding any one image so tightly that it limits our view of God and risks replacing God altogether.  That is the very definition of idolatry.

Here is an excellent post on this same issue, from a Catholic perspective. The author similarly concludes:

So, am I saying that images are necessary? No, you can strip away practically everything from candles to the tabernacle (and believe me, somebody out there has already done that) but as long as you have the Gospel (and good liturgy), you are fine. Am I saying you should incorporate images into your private or corporate prayer and worship? No, but if you want to try, go ahead. Am I trying to turn you all into idol-worshippers? Most definitely not. Am I saying that images should never be used because of the potential for falling into error? No. The moral of the story is not no images because they can be abused, it is that we can make idols out of anything, even good things. If images are a scandal to you, then keep far from them. If you venerate images and your weaker brother finds them to be a stumbling-block, then be tender to his conscience.

For the full post, read A Window upon Heaven.


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