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1.   The Teaching of the Catholic Church

       St. Leontius stated that the teaching of the Church on images is based on a practice that began at creation and continued through the Old Testament; it was maintained in the New Testament and continued in the early Church.

       The council of Trent summarized the Tradition of the Church thus: "Honor given to images is honor given not to them but to the prototype which they represent, so that, by honoring the imag,e we really adore Christ and venerate the saints whose likeness the image represents."

       The image of Christ is meant to remind us of His love, life and sufferings and our obligation to love Him in return by obeying His commands. The images of Mary, the holy Theotokos and the saints are meant to remind us of how they loved God and obeyed the commands of Christ.

2.   God forbade the making of images for the weak but not for the strong.

      In fact, God made an image of Himself, man; He ordered the making of images as the brazen serpent and gifted some people with the art of making images for His glory.

3.   Why were the Jews forbidden in Deuteronomy to make images?

       Because, being corrupt and stiff-necked, they had a strong tendency to worship the idol rather than God. Looking up at the sky, they were easily enticed to worship the stars. God's prohibition is like forbidding an alcoholic to touch wine because of his evil tendency of getting drunk. But for the sober, there is no such prohibition, because wine is meant to cheer man's heart and, as in the case of Timothy, a help for his frequent illness.

4.   What happened at Sinai.

       At Horeb, Moses saw no form. God had no form, so God told the Jews not to represent Him in any image  because, having no form, any representation would be erroneous.  But the Jews disobeyed and attempted to represent God. . .of all things, as a calf!! This was their first mistake. But their second mistake was worse. They worshipped the calf, not God. The stiff-necked people rose up and said to Aaron, "Make us gods." Having made the calf, they ate and drank, saying in their folly, "These are your gods, O Israel." They worshipped the calf as their God; it was not at all a mere image of God.

       The prohibition, since God has no form, does not apply in the New testament because God had taken the visible form of man; so now we can depict Him as He conversed with man.







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