- Aug 1, 2010
- Reaction score
That there were pictures in the catacombs etc begs the question whether these were worshiped, and are irrelevant to what the apostles taught.FormerReformer said:Okay, summing up arguments already made that speak to this (you probably overlooked them because the replies contained pictorial evidence, and you don't answer our "icons sent against you") the presence of icons can be attested to in the historical record from the earliest time of the Church. They were used, much as the pictures and felt cut-outs of many a Protestant Sunday school and children's church, in order to aid the spreading of the Gospel to a largely illiterate population. The Gospel was not meant just for Jews and wealthy citizens of the Roman Empire (the only portion of the population with literacy), but (perhaps most especially) for the poor.Alfred Persson said:There is no evidence the early church practiced icon veneration, the absence of any mention of it is inexplicable if they practiced icon veneration like the Orthodox, for the latter can hardly restrain themselves from writing about it----therefore the lack of writing about it indicates they did not practice icon veneration.
We don't need writings about this, we have the actual pictures themselves (see jnorm88's posts above, if you do not mind sullying your eyes with visual evidence).
Let us accept your argument from silence (just for the time being) that these icons were not "venerated" (that is to say, shown honor and respect) as they are today. That is all fine and well. But the icons from eras where there is a textual silence exist.
Not exactly. Let us look into the historical record and see when it was that the Orthodox no longer maintained a standard of silence about their icons.... Ah yes, during the time of the Iconoclasts. Much like Trinitarian theology, which itself receives little textual evidence until it came under attack (by Arius and his spiritual descendants), the Iconophiles are silent until their icons come under attack. Perhaps, as you say, no reverence was shown before this point, but the very heights of the irreverence of the Iconoclasts prompted a reaction. St John of Damascus' treatise is one of these reactions, the outcry of just those illiterate peasants the icons were meant for is another.BUT the Orthodox can hardly be silent about their images, therefore the silence about it in the Bible does indicate they didn't practice it.
So that when the Seventh Council is called it is decided that a) icons are an acceptable means of transmission of the Gospel teachings and b) icons are worthy of the same respect and honor (veneration) that we would give to the Gospel.
Which, BTW, I don't know if you know this, but we venerate the Gospel in much the same way we do icons, and have since the time of their writings. But there has been no loud theological defense of this fact, we don't proclaim it as often as we talk about our icons (Protestants not wanting to go around burning Bibles, for some reason), so obviously it is something that we've never really done and I am just making this little fact up on the spot (the historical record being silent and all).
Only in scripture do we read what the apostles taught, every other source is suspect or it would have been canonized.
Of much less weight is the testimony of sub apostolic church fathers, presumably some of them were taught either by an apostle, or someone they taught. To go further away from the apostles begs the question what they apostles taught.
Your argument also fails when you argue icons are teaching tools...1)if that's all they were, I wouldn't be objecting to them nor would you insist they be kissed as did the 7th council 2)As they image the Whole Christ in one icon, they teach the illiterate monophysite heresy, rendering the Transcendent infinite Jesus in two natures, into a finite image the illiterate believes represents the prototype.
Your second argument is revisionist history. Icon veneration arose centuries after the apostles, as the heresy grew, iconoclasm grew, prior to that there was no need for iconoclasm.
That fits the historical record:
Irenaeus [A.D. 130-200] Against Heresies, Book I, Chapt XXV, 6
6. Others of them employ outward marks, branding their disciples inside the lobe of the right ear. From among these also arose Marcellina, who came to Rome under [the episcopate of] Anicetus, and, holding these doctrines, she led multitudes astray. They style themselves Gnostics. They also possess images, some of them painted, and others formed from different kinds of material; while they maintain that a likeness of Christ was made by Pilate at that time when Jesus lived among them.300 They crown these images, and set them up along with the images of the philosophers of the world that is to say, with the images of Pythagoras, and Plato, and Aristotle, and the rest. They have also other modes of honouring these images, after the same manner of the Gentiles.5- Roberts, A., Donaldson, J., & Coxe, A. C. (1997). The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol.I : Translations of the writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325 (351). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
God Does Not Give His Majesty to Another. Novatian (Novatian of Rome 235-258): We acknowledge, therefore, and know that he is God, the Creator of all things. He is our Lord, because of his power; our author, because of his creation. “He spoke, and all things were made. He commanded, and all things came forth.”8 Of him it is written, “You have made all things in wisdom.”9 Moses says of him, “God is in heaven above and on earth below,”10 and according to Isaiah, “He has measured the heavens with a span, the earth with the width of the fist”;11 he “looks upon the earth and makes it tremble.”12 He “holds the orb of the earth and those who live on it as if they were locusts”;13 he “weighed the mountains on scales and the groves on a balance,”14 by the exact precision of the divine plan. He laid out this weight of the earth’s mass with precise equipoise, lest the huge ill-balanced mass should easily fall into ruin, if they were not balanced by providential weights.15 It is he who says through the prophet, “I am God, and there is none beside me.”16 He says by means of the same prophet, “I will not give my majesty to another,”17 so that he might exclude all heathens and heretics with their images, proving that he is God who is not made by the hand of an artificer.18 Nor is he some God whom heretical ingenuity has devised.
Ferreiro, A. (2003). The Twelve Prophets. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture OT 14. (35). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.
The Gnostic practice of icon veneration, like other heresies, was adopted by the Catholic church, but not without a fight, which we lost.
But history is clear, icon veneration is a non apostolic practice.