Depictions of Jesus

Curious on your take on this, I was talking to Steve about it and we were curious on some outside input.  The recent events with the Prophet Muhammad being depicted in a cartoon, it is specifically in their teachings that you shall not depict any likeness of him.  However, in Deuteronomy 5:8, it says  "Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth"

So really would this not translate to you should not ever have any depictions of Jesus?  In any way shape or form? 

Curious as to the take on this.

Posted by Stein on 8 replies


01. Mar 26, 2007 at 11:29am by Anthony:

In Deuteronomy 5, Moses is restating the ten commandments to Israel, and the quote you mentioned is only part of the second commandment.  But it has to be taken in context:

Quoting Deuteronomy 5:

Verse 6: I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

Verse 7: Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Verse 8: Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

Verse 9: Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them...

Verses 6 & 7 state the first commandment, and verses 8 & 9 together are the second commandment.  They can be summarized as: "I am God; you shall have no other gods; you shall not worship idols, treating them as gods."  From the context, it’s clear that image/likeness refers specifically to their use as idols, and in fact some translations and commentaries use the word "idol" instead of "image."  In either case, the context makes it clear that what is forbidden is not the image itself, but the worship of that item.  We tend to draw a distinction because to us the word "image" means a photograph or a drawing, but in the Bible, it usually means an idol.

The larger context is that the Israelites, like other contemporary races of people, were very prone to worshipping physical idols as gods.  It was a common practice, and the God of Israel explicitly told his people to avoid and condemn it.

So I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a drawing of Jesus, nor with a depiction of him i.e. on the cross.  But I do think it’s possible to abuse those things, and I think the Catholic church (and many Catholics) could be considered idolaters with the way they pray to dead people, seem to worship statues, they wear crosses and scapulars believing that it protects them somehow, their priests bow down before their "Eucharist" sacrament, their priests kiss their crosses and their books, etc.

02. Mar 26, 2007 at 10:36pm by Stein:

I don’t like it.  I don’t like it one bit.

03. Mar 26, 2007 at 10:43pm by Steve:

I told stein he was full of crap.  Something like that just doesn’t check out.  Anyhow, now that you’ve sent him directly out... why aren’t you on aim anymore, ever?

04. Mar 26, 2007 at 10:49pm by Anthony:

The current version of Gaim has some kind of bug that causes it to crash for no reason after running for a long time (like a couple weeks), on my system anyway.  The last time it happened I got mad and didn’t feel like restarting it.

05. Mar 26, 2007 at 11:00pm by Stein:

I still don’t like it.  One bit.  No depictions!

06. Mar 26, 2007 at 11:03pm by Anthony:

Let the record show: Stein does not like it; he does not like it one bit.

07. Mar 26, 2007 at 11:06pm by Anthony:

But honestly, I don’t know how you expected to win against a guy with an avatar like that.

08. Mar 26, 2007 at 11:13pm by Stein:

That is a pretty ridiculous avatar.  I prefer something in the lego head department.  I could do without the hardhat though.

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