Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The difference between latria and dulia is ad hoc and imaginary


Mateo tried to distinguish between latria and dulia and I think it's worth spending a little time on. I'll shamelessly swipe from my own post on the topic:

The transparent teaching of the OT is NOT to fall down before images. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox do so. So do pagans, Hindus, Shintos, animists, etc. The RC/EO excuse partly consists of pleading a difference between latria and dulia as Mateo said. The lexical differentiation is, however, disproved by the OT itself.

The reason that such distinctions are made in the 1st place is to justify the behavior of rendering worshipful actions of religious piety to someone other than the One True God. As a monotheist, it stands to reason that one would need to come up with a reason why such is not prohibited, especially since Exodus 20:5 makes it clear that we are to bow down to no one other than God, and yet here they are bowing down to someone other than God.

Ex 20:5 - you shall not worship (bow down to) them nor serve them.
God discusses His wrath and visiting the iniquity on children, etc.
In Heb, shachah is "worship" or "bow down" and `abad is "to serve".

Yet the LXX translates `abad as latreuo and douleo (out of which come latria and dulia in Latin) both. So here we are forbidden to "`abad" anyone other than God.

Let's see some other psgs where that is the case.

Ex 23:33 - they shall not live in your land... for if you serve their gods, it will be a snare
`abad here is LXX douleo.

Deut 28:64 - there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, etc
`abad here is LXX douleo.

Judg 10:10 - we have served other Baals
`abad here is LXX latreuo. Would anyone argue that this is not idolatry?
I can hear it now: "Lord we didn't give latria to the Baals, we just gave them dulia."
(Edited 19Jan2008)

In the Heb mindset, you can't worship him whom you don't serve.
You can't separate it out biblically. That's why the LXX doesn't just use latreuo or douleo; the Hebrew term is richer than that.

1 Sam 7:3 - remove the foreign gods... serve Him alone
`abad here is LXX douleo.

1 Kings 9:6 - serve other gods and worship them
Both appear.

Ex 4:23, Ex 12:31, Ex 23:24, Deut 4:19, the list goes on.

The NT likewise shows no hint of the distinction.
Rom 14:18 - does service to Christ not involve worship? douleo
Gal 4:8 - when you did not know God you were slaves to those which by nature were no gods. douleo
So these Galatians were not involved in idolatry? It would've been OK to serve those gods, just not worship them?

Col 3:24 - it is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Is this less than latria?

1 Thess 1:9 - you turned from idols to serve a living and true God. douleo
Is he not saying you turned from idolatry to true worship?


The disturbing part of all this is the attempted separation of what our RC and EO-dox friends are defending and what Scripture teaches is wrong.
I'll illustrate by way of comparison:

Exodus 20:15 - you shall not steal.

In Hebrew, the word is "ganab".
In the LXX, ganab is translated "foneuseis" and these words have a similar usage to "klepto" in Grk, which is often used by the NT to express the same idea.
Several 100s of years after the time of Christ and the time of the writing of the NT, the argument could go like this:
"Yes, the property 'belonged' to a brother in Christ, but you know, we all hold all things in common like the book of Acts says. I didn't steal it from him, you see. He may want it back and accuse me of stealing it from him, and yes, I have it and he never explicitly gave me permission to remove it from his property, but that's OK. We're all free in Christ, and we don't use the word 'steal' the same way anyway."

I'd like to know the difference between the two situations.

As I've said before, when you ask a dead person to pray for you, you light candles, kneel and prostrate yourself before an icon, kiss the icon, burn incense, and pray at the icon. These are worshipful actions. These are actions that God has reserved for Himself in the Old Testament. Is man left up to the task of determining what is right worship before God, or does God determine that for us?
It is simple ad hoc equivocation to say that one can "proskuneo" before an image of a dead person, light candles, burn incense, and pray to them. Prayer is a worshipful action. Bowing down is a worshipful action, as in Exodus 20:5.

37 comments:

Theo said...

The difference between the infinite honor, fealty, adoration, love, devotion, reverence and utter abasement of self in subservience due to God and given exclusively to Him is literally infinitely greater than any honor given to any other being, thing or notion in the universe.

We are very clear about this. We worship only the one and only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in spirit and in truth. As we pray to Almighty God at every Mass, every day throughout the world the great prayer that demands our Amen: ”Through Him (Jesus Christ), with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours Almighty Father, forever and ever." (Liturgy of the Mass)

Even as we have prayed this for many centuries and shall continue to do so, I affirm by whatever grace Our Lord grants me that Jesus is my only Lord and Savior (Jude v4 and v25), that He alone is worthy, He alone is Lord, and the he alone is the Most High Jesus Christ in unity with the Holy Spirit and God the Father, as it was in the beginning is now and forever shall be. (Liturgical prayer: Gloria Deus)

This is our confession. This is our practice. This is our witness to you and to the entire world, past present and to come. Let anyone who says otherwise be reprimanded by Him who shall judge us all.

To all of the above I most solemnly swear in the presence of God my Lord and maker, all the angels and saints and all who read this,

Boldly, by grace, I submit this as your servant and brother in Christ our Lord,
--Theo

TheDen said...

I've been reading your posts for the last couple weeks and I think all of you are missing the point.

First of all, worship is due to God and God alone. Mary is not God and thus we do not worship her.

"Pray for us, sinners...now and at the hour of our death."

Why do you have a problem with that? Why is that worship?

Don't you realize that in John 2, the servants don't go to Jesus. They go to Mary for help and she points them to Jesus.

Don't you think she'd do the same for us?

Also, in John 2 in the wedding feast, Mary is the CENTRAL FOCUS of the story. She was the one who was invited to the feast (John 2:1) and Jesus also was there. Why would John write it that way?

Shouldn't you have a problem with the way it was written? John is putting Mary ahead of Jesus!!!! Doesn't John know that Jesus is God?

Because in addition to Christ, we need to invite Mary in our lives. As we are servants, we must serve all people and if we need help, we can go to Mary who will then direct us to Christ.

And most importantly, we must follow her command to us from John 2:5.

Peace.

Rhology said...

As I've said before, when you ask a dead person to pray for you, you light candles, kneel and prostrate yourself before an icon, kiss the icon, burn incense, and pray at the icon. These are worshipful actions. These are actions that God has reserved for Himself in the Old Testament.

TheDen said...

You're still missing the point. Idolatry is not "bowing down" regardless of what the Hebrew words are.

Your view of idolatry is limited and it may be because you're focus is not on worshipping God but on proving Catholicism false.

Idolatry is to take something and place it above God. To give that thing a higher priority than you give God. Idolatry is to rely on something that's not from God.

In no way does asking for Mary's intercession do that.

Is idolatry present today? Yes. So many people place themselves in a higher priority over God. So many people place their work or their possessions over their love for God. So many people only make time for God one hour a week as opposed to their entire week.

That's idolatry.

Arguing about bowing before statues is kinda silly.

Captain Kangaroo said...

Rhology. Thanks for clearing THAT up--and here I thought I was giving glory to God and aknowledging His work in others and asking others to pray for me! Boy what a sap I've been!

Light de candle an worship de debbil, eh? Whew. Pray before a grave and praise Satan! Wow, you SURE do got me dere mon. Me ole super-stitious bones, dey do make de hubbub 'bout ole Bellzi-bub, eh mon? You nebber know dat when you tink you do one ting, you really do de udder, eh mon? Dat Ja, He be mad as de dickkenz for me to make wit de voodoo, eh?


Whew! Now that Rhology has set us all straight with his amazing, conclusive argument that no reasonable person could refute and not one Christian over history could disagree with or ever has, who wants to help me and the Pope (He's really embarrased about this, by the way.) whitewash the ceiling of the Cistine Chappel? We have the scaffolding for only two hours on Thursday, so sign up quick.

Saint and Sinner said...

"To give that thing a higher priority than you give God. Idolatry is to rely on something that's not from God."

No, idolatry is giving glory to anyone but God. By lighting candles and giving prayers, you are giving glory to someone other than God.

Secondly, the men in John 2:5 went to Mary instead of Jesus, not because they wanted to ask Mary for Jesus to do a miracle (since that was the first miracle he had done), but because Jesus wasn't married and was thus still under the authority of His mother.

Captain Kangaroo said...

While we're at it, could someone tell all those orientals to stop worshiping one another? It really makes them look bad, bowing all the time like that. Oh and anyone who dances the minuette? Damned on the spot! Oh yeah and those who put candles in their windows at Christmas (Do electric candles count?), the want to see flames? Well they are in luck, eh? Oh and anyone who ever kissed a picture of his mother or of a baby or loved one who was not physically with them? Kiss your sopul goodby! If you ever saked anyone else to pray for you? Well pal, you just asked Lucifer to be your God, you did.

Man this just gets really messy when the intent and purpose of what you do does not matter, but only the action! Think of all those brave knights who knelt before their Lords (oh heavens!) and did not realize their idolotry! Think of all those who ever watched "Jesus of Nazareth" on TV and did not realize they were giving Satan glory--and we don't mean Procter and Gamble either. Think of all those poor fools who ever looked at any image of Jesus and thought, "I love you Lord." What a disgrace!

If Christians actually lived according to Rhology (Sounds like the name of a cult, doesn't it?) we'd be better off simply joining covens right off and getting it all out in the open.

Captain Kangaroo said...

"No, idolatry is giving glory to anyone but God."

I bet you have one heck of time getting everyone at the concert to not applaud. Or is it only the guys who flick their Bicks that count for you?

This blatant hypocracy is absurd on the same level as those who criticised Jesus' desciples for pulling off grain and eating it on the sabbath. You legalistically condemn that which is good for the body of Christ and call it evil when you yourself give honors and glory (applause and praise) to lesser men for merely entertaining you.

Is it no wonder that whenever Protestants restart the "Catholics worship images "lie festival we tend to think you have lost all sense of reality?

Seriously, get REAL. It's like dealing with the nitwit kid in Algebra class that keeps asking, "But what IF calculated the square root of negative two?" He can't get it through his little mental firewall that his premise is nonsense.

As for me, I've not the patience of theden and others. I wish them good luck.

Rhology said...

Wow.
I'll be pleasantly surprised if this combox discussion survives CK's poorly-focused outbursts...

Captain Kangaroo said...

"I'll be pleasantly surprised if this combox discussion survives CK's poorly-focused outbursts"

The combox discussion didn't survive Rhology's initial outburst. GIGO. He reaped what he sowed.

Rhology said...

So far, nobody has even cited one Scripture passage to which I referred in my post. Here's hoping some level-headed commenters will try to do so.
And don't bother trying to count how many equivocations Capt Kangaroo made; you'd have to be able to count higher than 6, which is hard for me.


TheDen said:
Idolatry is not "bowing down" regardless of what the Hebrew words are.

That's fine, but what does God proscribe in the OT? that's what I'm getting at.
And RCC seems to feel the force of the objection; else why bother making the distinction so explicitly between latria and dulia? Just keep doing what you're doing and don't bother explaining yourself!

Idolatry is to take something and place it above God.

I'm not talking about that; it's related but a side issue.
I'm talking about: Does God have the ability and prerogative to define how He shall be and shall not be worshiped?

In no way does asking for Mary's intercession do that.

That's just a naked assertion. Respond to the psgs and their analyses in the post.


Captain Kangaroo ranted:
here I thought I was giving glory to God and aknowledging His work in others and asking others to pray for me!

It's not just that.
You're asking DEAD PEOPLE in a RELIGIOUS/WORSHIPFUL CONTEXT to pray for you, in a way that you don't for living people.
God has proscribed that.


S&S said:
By lighting candles and giving prayers, you are giving glory to someone other than God.

B/c it's done in a worshipful context, in church. Exactly.
And b/c you are talking to dead people by means of these pious actions.


CK said:
someone tell all those orientals to stop worshiping one another?

Of course, the diff is that they do not do so in a WORSHIPFUL CONTEXT.
We see examples of bowing respectfully before royalty, etc in the OT. But not offering of worshipful actions, as RCC and EO-dox do before the images of dead people.


and those who put candles in their windows at Christmas

Silly equivocation. Is that in a worshipful context?

Oh and anyone who ever kissed a picture of his mother or of a baby or loved one who was not physically with them?

Silly equivocation. Is that in a worshipful context?

If you ever (asked) anyone else to pray for you?

Silly equivocation. The issue is clear and you're playing word games with the word "pray".
The question is: Do you do ALL OF the things to another human who is LIVING that you do to DEAD humans? I know you don't, please don't insult my intelligence. Why don't you do ***ALL*** of these things to LIVING members of your church?

this just gets really messy when the intent and purpose of what you do does not matter, but only the action!

Thereby demonstrating the RC and EO tendency to submit the command of God to their traditions.

"Jesus of Nazareth" on TV and did not realize they were giving Satan glory--and we don't mean Procter and Gamble either.

This is a post arguing against the propriety of rendering worshipful actions before images of dead people.
I'm not talking about images of Christ.


I bet you have one heck of time getting everyone at the concert to not applaud. Or is it only the guys who flick their Bicks that count for you?

Silly equivocation. Is that in a worshipful context?

You legalistically condemn

Of course, all I've done is exegete Scripture. Let the reader and God judge between us.


Peace,
Rhology

TheDen said...

Saint & Sinner,

I personally believe that EVERYTHING we do should be giving glory to God. Lighting candles does not take away from God’s glory. Your argument would imply that if I love my wife or my daughter then that takes away from God as well. How can I love my wife (or my parents or my children, etc.) if Scripture tells me to love God with all my heart? Because my love for them points me to God. I love God first and then through His love, I love my wife and child.

Likewise, if I love people who had been previously deceased, it’s through God and points us to Him. If I light a candle, it doesn’t take away from His glory as I love Him first and through Him, I love the deceased person.

Regarding your thoughts on John 2:5, I don’t find anywhere that obedience ends at marriage. I don’t see anywhere that tells me that I’m obedient to my parents until I wed my bride. Obedience to your parent is Scriptural. Additionally, it TELLS us later on in that chapter that Jesus was obedient to Mary (John 2:51) and it doesn’t say He ever stopped being obedient. Furthermore, Jesus never got married so by your logic, He is still under her authority. And yes, I know that He is married to the Church but then that only opens up questions as to what is Mary’s role in the Church.

In any event, we should glorify God in everything that we do. Asking His mother or anyone else for that matter for help does not take away glory from God. It further glorifies Him. Mary is His greatest creature. Mary is the woman He chose to enter into the world. Admiring Mary is akin to admiring God’s handiwork like admiring a work of art from a great artist. It doesn’t take away from the Artist, it glorifies Him.

CrimsonCatholic said...

You've got two problems: one Biblical and one logical.

As to the Biblical, the Old Testament does permit veneration of the servants or instruments of the One True God.

Chron. 29:20 (NIV) "Then David said to the whole assembly, 'Praise the LORD your God.' So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king."
Daniel 2:46 (NIV) "Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him."
Rev. 3:9 (NIV) "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."

The question is whether you are venerating the thing in itself or as God's servant (or later, as being in Christ). In those latter cases, you obviously aren't bowing to the thing in itself, but transferring the veneration to something else. In the Old Testament, this veneration was given to the servants or instruments of God, but without understanding the true purpose. In the New Testament, it is revealed that the reason this veneration is permitted is because it is veneration of the redeemed human nature and all creation united in Christ. This is why the veneration is rightly transferred to the One True God. John of Patmos does not quite understand this in the Book of Revelation, which is why he bows to an angel not once but twice. He is venerating angels in the old manner without a real understanding of why instruments of God should be venerated, which is why the angel corrects him. The same is true of the God-fearing Cornelius in Acts. One could say the same of the Jewish veneration of the Torah after the Incarnation; it is correct behavior when done for the right reason, but they lack the right reason.

The logical fallacy is hasty generalization. It is certainly true that one should neither venerate nor worship idols. It does not then follow that one should neither venerate nor worship icons. In the case of idols, either the idol is being worshipped directly (latria) or the idol is being used as an instrument to worship something other than God (dulia), neither of which are allowed. But you have generalized to all use of images, even the use of images to worship the One True God.

Ironically, in the case with Uzzah, you have identified perhaps the most glaring example between latria and dulia. Because God had specified the use of the Ark and because Uzzah's use inconsistent with the communicative use God specified, it was clear that Uzzah's action was based on respect for the thing in itself (latria) and not for the communicative use (dulia) God allowed for it. Consequently, Uzzah was treating the Ark as something to be worshipped in itself, and he was killed for it. So long as the Ark was being used for veneration rather than being directly worshipped, its use was permissible. But when Uzzah violated that usage, he was struck down. If that isn't a clear distinction between the mere use (dulia) of something in worship and worshipping the thing in itself (latria), then I'm not sure what is. Likewise, latria of images (direct worship of the things in themselves) would be inconsistent with the transfer of veneration through Christ, so it is forbidden.

The Fathers of Second Nicaea worked through all of these concepts in detail, both logically and Biblically, and their guidance on the subject is an essential exposition of the Christian faith. I recommend you review the decree of the Council on this subject. It makes some useful comments on both images and the authority of Scripture for Christians (which is justified by Scripture as an icon of Christ).

Hope that helps.

Jugulum said...

theo said,

"The difference between the infinite honor, fealty, adoration, love, devotion, reverence and utter abasement of self in subservience due to God and given exclusively to Him is literally infinitely greater than any honor given to any other being, thing or notion in the universe.

We are very clear about this. We worship only the one and only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in spirit and in truth."

I don't think the criticism is, "RCs & EOs worship saints & icons fully in the same way that they worship God."

I think the criticism is, "RCs & EOs engage in worshipful acts to saints & icons that God instructed us to give only to him."

Rhology said...

CrimsonCath,

1 Chron is not a religious context.
They then go on to sacrifice animals TO THE LORD. Their ACTIONS differentiated between.
And the text doesn't commend the bowing down to the king anyway.

Daniel 2 - he's not worshiping Daniel in a religious context.

Rev 3 - "fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you".
Nobody's arguing that people never bowed in the presence of other people.
It's about propriety in worship.

The question is whether you are venerating the thing in itself or as God's servant

This is just another tired appeal to intention. But the whole point of the post before this and partly this one was to debunk that. It's ACTION and CONTEXT that matter to God apparenty.

In the Old Testament, this veneration was given to the servants or instruments of God

Not in the same way that worship was given to God.
The difference was IN THE CONTEXT.

John of Patmos does not quite understand this in the Book of Revelation, which is why he bows to an angel not once but twice. He is venerating angels in the old manner

And is corrected when he does.
"Do not do that!"
Unfortunately, that angel's voice is not heeded at Lourdes...

either the idol is being worshipped directly (latria) or the idol is being used as an instrument to worship something other than God (dulia)

That is not the distinction between latria and dulia. I think you're trying to move the goalposts.

Consequently, Uzzah was treating the Ark as something to be worshipped in itself, and he was killed for it.

What?
Where was Uzzah worshiping the ark? Was the problem, the disobedience, not that they were not carrying the ark as God had commanded?

Likewise, latria of images (direct worship of the things in themselves) would be inconsistent with the transfer of veneration through Christ, so it is forbidden.

Latria of the image is indistinguishable in context from latria of the dead person in the image.
that's part of the problem!

The Fathers of Second Nicaea worked through all of these concepts in detail,

The decree to which you link does not deal in the slightest with ANY Scripture, much less those psgs I cited in this post.


Peace,
Rhology

TheDen said...

Rhology,

You seem to be looking at this very legalistically which I don't think is looked well upon by God (at least from my understanding of Scripture).

Also, you say that the RCC points to Dulia and Latria. I don't think they do. I think that apologists point to it and I think Augustine pointed it out but that's it.

If a person were to truly worship Mary to the point that they begin to gaze away from God, I would be first in line to tell them that they are wrong and they need to stop. That's not what Catholics do (or rather should do).

Regarding your Scriptural references, I can tell you've done a lot of work finding these. I think in your work though, you're taking your eyes off of Him.

CrimsonCatholic said...

1 Chron is not a religious context.

First, Exodus provides no definition of a "religious context." It says not to worship or serve.

Second, your notion of "religious context" appears to be ad hoc. I find it difficult to understand how bowing to the Lord could ever take place outside a religious context.

They then go on to sacrifice animals TO THE LORD. Their ACTIONS differentiated between.

But the action of bowing doesn't, which is the problem. If you're now arguing that we shouldn't sacrifice to idols either, I would agree with that as well. But sacrifice is a separate action.

And the text doesn't commend the bowing down to the king anyway.

Neither does God strike anyone down for it, nor is any sort of chastisement or condemnation of this behavior later recorded. There is nothing to suggest that this behavior violated the commandment. Indeed, if it did, it would seem to have rendered the people unclean for the subsequent sacrifice.

This is just another tired appeal to intention. But the whole point of the post before this and partly this one was to debunk that. It's ACTION and CONTEXT that matter to God apparenty.

And my point is that you haven't succeeded in debunking it. You have simply constructed an ad hoc definition of "religious context" and "worship" that appears to have no grounding apart from what is convenient for your argument. Certainly, God appears to concern Himself with both action and context, and the action of veneration in the context of God's instruments appears to be permitted, while it is not in the context of idols. The only question appears to be what separate the context of God's instruments from the context of idols, and I believe that I have explained the theological basis for that context in some detail.

Not in the same way that worship was given to God.
The difference was IN THE CONTEXT.


I have never said otherwise. The problem is that you're defining "context" arbitrarily. The context should rightly be (1) what is being worshipped or venerated and (2) how is the object in question being worshipped or venerated. If you can't define precisely what you mean by "context" in those terms, then I don't know how they can be meaningful.

And is corrected when he does.
"Do not do that!"


Correct, but we've established that there is nothing inherently wrong with the action, so we have to probe to the context. In Old Testament times, it would have been appropriate to venerate God's instrument in this manner, and the commandment has not changed. The problem here is that John of Patmos now has an object of worship (namely, Christ) in whom things should be venerated, but John is attempting to give separate veneration to the angel (or at any rate, there is no indication that he is venerating the angel in Christ, which suggests the same thing). Absent such an objective indication of his intent, he is rebuked for it.

Unfortunately, that angel's voice is not heeded at Lourdes...

Given that Lourdes is obviously a Christian shrine, I think the objective intent is clear enough.

That is not the distinction between latria and dulia. I think you're trying to move the goalposts.

That is exactly the distinction between latria and dulia in Catholic and Orthodox (i.e., Nicene) theology. Second Nicaea first made the distinction, noting that the terms themselves (latria and dulia) were insufficiently precise, but that latria was used in Scripture only to refer to direct worship of the divine in spirit, so that it should be given this technical meaning even though the word itself was broader.

From Patriarch Tarasius:
'Now who of those rightly and sincerely understanding the Divine Scriptures, has ever supposed that these examples which we have cited speak of the worship in spirit (ths en pneumati latreias)? [Certainly no one has ever thought so] except perhaps some persons utterly bereft of sense and ignorant of all knowledge of the Scriptures and of the teaching of the Fathers. Surely Jacob did not adore (elatreusen) the top of his staff; and surely Gregory Theologus does not bid us to adore (latreuein) the manger? By no means. Again, when offering salutations to the life-giving Cross, we together sing: "We reverence (proskunwmen), thy cross, O Lord, and we also reverence (proskunwmen) the spear which opened the life-giving side of thy goodness." This is clearly but a salutation, and is so called, and its character is evinced by our touching the things mentioned with our lips. We grant that the word proskunhsis is frequently found in the Divine Scriptures and in the writings of our learned and holy Fathers for the worship in spirit (epi ths en pneumati latreias), since, being a word of many significations, it may be used to express that kind of reverence which is service. As there is also the veneration of honour, love and fear. In this sense it is, that we venerate your glorious and most noble majesty. So also there is another veneration which comes of fear alone, thus Jacob venerated Esau. Then there is the veneration of gratitude, as Abraham reverenced the sons of Heth, for the field which he received from them for a burying place for Sarah his wife. And finally, those looking to obtain some gift, venerate those who are above them, as Jacob venerated Pharaoh. Therefore because this term has these many significations, the Divine Scriptures teaching us, "Thou shalt venerate the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve," says simply that veneration is to be given to God, but does not add the word "only;" for veneration being a word of wide meaning is an ambiguous term; but it goes on to say "thou shalt serve (latreuseis) him only," for to God alone do we render latria.'

What?
Where was Uzzah worshiping the ark? Was the problem, the disobedience, not that they were not carrying the ark as God had commanded?


The question isn't WHAT they did, but WHY they did it. God told them not to touch the Ark because He had specified the correct use of worship. Uzzah, rather than understanding God's commandments, treated the Ark as if it had intrinsic value. That is making an idol of the Ark, just as anything that distracts from God's commandments makes an idol of it.

Latria of the image is indistinguishable in context from latria of the dead person in the image.
that's part of the problem!


Latria of the saints would have the same problem, and it would be prohibited for the same reason. Latria of Christ obviously is not, although I wonder how it would even be possible to worship Him on your understanding unless He were standing in front of you (and even then, if you could not disregard His humanity entirely).

The decree to which you link does not deal in the slightest with ANY Scripture, much less those psgs I cited in this post.

See the link above and the letter of Tarasius, which goes into more detail on the Scriptural use of these terms.

GeneMBridges said...

Neither does God strike anyone down for it, nor is any sort of chastisement or condemnation of this behavior later recorded. There is nothing to suggest that this behavior violated the commandment. Indeed, if it did, it would seem to have rendered the people unclean for the subsequent sacrifice.

1. The text does not commend them bowing down to the king as the king.

2. Rather, they bow down to him in recognition of his authority as regent in God's name. This occurs during the Davidic covenant, and under that covenant, God deals with the people through the king. If you'd recall, David had been selected as king by God Himself through Samuel. Of course, this lends itself not to a license to venerate idols, I mean, icons, but to the worship of Christ Himself, who is the culmination of the Davidic Covenant, prefigured by David. The time of signs and shadows is over, and with it any "veneration" of substitutes for Christ Himself.

And how do we get from this, to bowing down before icons? The king is not an icon or image made with hands.


The question isn't WHAT they did, but WHY they did it. God told them not to touch the Ark because He had specified the correct use of worship. Uzzah, rather than understanding God's commandments, treated the Ark as if it had intrinsic value. That is making an idol of the Ark, just as anything that distracts from God's commandments makes an idol of it.


Where are you getting this information about what was in Uzzah's mind, for it surely is not in 2 Samuel 6? The text does not say this; you're simply inferring it to justify yourself. He simply violated Numbers 4:15. Uzzah was struck down for the same general reason that Aaron's sons were struck down.

I realize you have a built in distaste for doing exegesis, but you could at least make the effort.

GeneMBridges said...

For the record, Scripture never states that Uzzah violated the moral law. It never speaks to him "treating the ark as if it had intrinsic value."

Rather, he violated the ceremonial law. The ark was an object of cultic holiness. He committed sacrilege. Nadab and Abihu were killed for similar reasons. Levitcus implies that Eleazar and Ithamar also earned the same penalty for a different act if they had followed the Law stringently.

God doesn't have to punish ritual offenders. David taking the Shewbread is a case in point. The reason he's let off the hook is because the priest considers him on mission from the king, and thus his representative. The king, of course, was God's regent. This is what Jesus uses to justify the actions of his disciples in His own day (as well as what the Law actually says constitutes "work" on the Sabbath).

There’s no gray area in the ceremonial law, for the symbolism is conventional and, in that sense, arbitrary from start to finish. Either something is assigned cultic holiness or it isn’t.

Nothing can mitigate a ritual infraction, since that forensic category, unlike the moral law, isn’t concerned with motives or circumstances. The legal symbolism is everything. Uzzah is killed for a reason. Remember, the ark had been in Philistine hands within recent history. It had been sequestered since its recovery and not a Shiloh. Rather it was in a private home.And there it remained, because no declaration of the divine will followed respecting its removal into the tabernacle, and the tabernacle itself had to be removed from Shiloh to Nob, and eventually to Gibeon, until David had effected the conquest of the citadel of Zion, and chosen Jerusalem as his capital, when it was removed from Kirjath-jearim to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6).

Uzzah is killed as the ark is moved to Jerusalem, and this in turn demonstrates publicly to the people that the ark is holy. God uses it as a "object lesson" to remind the people of truths that had been put to the side, as it were, for quite some time.

So the ceremonial law is a means to an end (a sign of the moral law) rather than an end in itself—unlike the moral law, which is an end in itself. Penalties with respect to the ceremonial law are pretty inflexible. God either pursues it or He does not, and that is, strictly speaking, up to Him.

CrimsonCatholic said...

The text does not commend them bowing down to the king as the king.

At least we agree on something. There is a religious aspect here.

Of course, this lends itself not to a license to venerate idols, I mean, icons, but to the worship of Christ Himself, who is the culmination of the Davidic Covenant, prefigured by David. The time of signs and shadows is over, and with it any "veneration" of substitutes for Christ Himself.

What do you suppose a prefiguration is but an icon? Again, why do you venerate Scripture as the Word of God? It's just special pleading. Prefiguration, typology, authority of Scripture ... all of these things are iconic and all Christological. Without the Christological explanation, they all lack justification. That is what was shadowed in the Old Testament, because Christ was not yet revealed. It certainly doesn't mean that there are no more signs and symbols in Christian practice, and it certainly doesn't mean that there is no longer worship through icons. The people who believed that in Christian history were Franks, and they learned it from Gothic Arians.

And how do we get from this, to bowing down before icons? The king is not an icon or image made with hands.

The theory is the same. The kind is venerated as the prototype of Christ, although it isn't known at the time that Christ is the prototype. The saints are likewise venerated as "in Christ." The principle is identical. Occam's razor: avoid needless multiplicity of entities. If you can explain Christian practice and OT practice by appeal to the same principle, then why create an extra one ad hoc?

Where are you getting this information about what was in Uzzah's mind, for it surely is not in 2 Samuel 6? The text does not say this; you're simply inferring it to justify yourself. He simply violated Numbers 4:15. Uzzah was struck down for the same general reason that Aaron's sons were struck down.

I realize you have a built in distaste for doing exegesis, but you could at least make the effort.


I love exegesis. The problem is that we can't agree on what exegesis means in the Scriptural context. For example, the notion that the symbology of the covenantal law is arbitrary strikes me as necessarily oblivious to what it signifies (i.e., Christ), and the fact that it is symbolic of the moral law is simply irrational (moral law being quite straightforwardly knowable through reason and not needing a symbol). The symbology of the covenantal law is Christological; the attempt to seize the means of reaching God immediately (i.e., outside of the channel of God's grace) is sacrilege. Uzzah was, in his own way, a proto-Gnostic. You don't try to grab the divine without permission, outside of the specific channels He provides, or you will be destroyed.

Does that text itself explicitly say any of this? No. On the other hand, it doesn't say any of what you said about the symbology of the covenantal law either. You just brought that alien concept to your exegesis, one that doesn't even make philosophical sense if one accepts the concept of natural law. As between thee and me, I think there's a good deal more New Testament evidence for the ceremonial law being a figure of being in Christ than for it being an arbitrary "object lesson" for the moral law, and while reading the New Testament into the Old Testament might be considered out of bounds by strictly historical standards, letting Scriptural concepts inform one's exegesis of other pieces of Scripture is not. As far as the author of the passage himself, we can safely presume that he merely intended to report the incident as a record of God's action, and he likely perceived none of its Christological significance.

CrimsonCatholic said...

And by the way, I note that the remark about my alleged distaste for doing exegesis is an appeal to prejudice like the kind that I noted here. I hope you'll have sufficient grace to apologize to Dave for clearly misinterpreting his remarks.

Rhology said...

My favorite part about this combox so far is the way that the Scriptural passages I've cited have been so fully interacted with.

CrimsonCatholic said...

I don't understand what is hard about this.

You can neither worship nor serve other gods (Ex. 20:5, Ex. 23:33, Deut. 28:64, Judg. 10:10, 1 Sam. 7:3, 1 Kgs. 9:6).

Service of God's instruments is not service of other gods (1 Chron. 29:20, Dan. 2:26, Rev. 3:9); rather, it is a form of service to the One True God.

Instruments of other gods may neither be served nor worshipped. Instruments of the One True God may be served, venerated, or honored AS instruments of God (dulia), but not as God themselves (latria). And yes, service is less than latria. God should be both served and worshipped. There are many forms of service, but there is only one worship of the spirit. In venerating the saints, we serve God.

That's really the only question left: is veneration of the saints service to God? Given that the instruments of God (like Scripture, David, the Ark, Daniel) are venerated in the Old Testament, I don't see any good reason that the members of the very Body of Christ cannot be venerated in the same manner. If you can venerate the type, why not the actual members?

Your argument that the veneration of the instruments of God is somehow not service of the One True God doesn't hold water.

Rhology said...

And yes, service is less than latria.

That's the "refutation" of what my post was arguing, eh?
If that's all you are going to do, I like the way this has settled. What have you done here to dispel the notion that you hold exegesis in distaste?

Dozie said...

"What have you done here to dispel the notion that you hold exegesis in distaste?"

What if you worship exegesis and he does not?

TheDen said...

"If that's all you are going to do, I like the way this has settled."

Rhology,

If your objective is to show your knowledge of the LXX and Hebrew then that's very impressive.

If your objective is to win an argument...well, I'm not as knowledgeable with Greek and my knowledge of Scripture isn't as detailed as yours.

If your objective is to bring people closer to Christ...then you've lost.

The objective of your posts shouldn't be to prove other people wrong. That doesn't win people. (Aside from which...you STILL don't get it).

Matt said...

Rhology,

So the conclusion of your "exegesis" is that we shouldn't bow down to anything but God in a religious context. Is this correct?

I have a few questions so that we can clarify:

1) Where is "religious context" specified in the Old Testament? Where does the Scripture clarify what is in and what is out? I think "religious context" is certainly more ad hoc than any use of latria v. dulia that I've ever seen. At least, clarify what you mean by "religious context."

2) If you were living in the seventeenth century, would you bow to the king of your country?

a) If not, then, hey man, we're cool. You have a coherent (though, I believe, wrongheaded) viewpoint against which it is very difficult to argue. And I probably won't.

b) If so, then why is that not going against the command of God. This "religious context" stuff is really unpersuasive. Bowing down to kings is often a "religious context" (think of the Caesars or the Eastern emperors who proclaimed themselves to be gods). So what distinguishes a good bowing down to kings from a bad bowing down to kings? That's all. In fact, it seems a lot like, well, the distinction between latria and dulia (it's ok to bow down to them as kings but not as gods?)

By the way, I don't really think you engaged with my earlier post at all, though you use me as a stepping off point. Very frustrating. I tried to make the point that the criticisms of Catholic attitudes towards icons are generally unclear.

It seems like some of the criticisms are against doing things to "dead" (who are, to my mind, more alive than we are) people through the mediation of an image which are perfectly OK with living people:

Kissing
Giving flowers
Making requests (petitionary prayer)

In other cases, you would object just as strongly if the person were immediately in our presence:

Non-petitionary prayer
kneeling
bowing
Prostrating

Now, it seems that all of the last four actions (since you don't want to talk about intention) could be justified in certain contexts (unless you have chosen door (a)). Bowing to a king or something like that doesn't seem inherently objectionable.

The use of the Greek word "dulia" as a support to your argument just doesn't work. Etymology does not end discussion. I'll call it "schmikle" if that's what you want. When I use the term "dulia" (and when Thomas uses it), he is referring to the kind of honor which you give to your mother, your king, and any human being (in radically different DEGREES). We honor them as rational animals created by God, imago Dei, etc. But if you honor any human being, how much more then the king, as representative of justice, etc., adn how much more then should you honor the mother of the incarnated Logos?

So...what you need to show is that our use of dulia is the same as the use of dulia condemned in the passage. And I'm not sure you can do that. I made this argument to James White once, and he just said something about having his theological language completely controlled by Scripture. That sounds very nice and maybe would be advisable, but I'm willing to abandon the term "dulia". What really matters is that what I MEAN by the term is actually contrary to the word of God.

Something overlooked by your analysis is that some of the passages are referring to FALSE GODS!!! They are GODS that men have set up against or alongside God. There is no analogy here to the saints. We are honoring them for the holiness that the true God produced in them. They are not other gods. Surely, you wouldn't impute that view to us. So I think you should probably retract those verses as evidence, unless you have an argument why the still apply.

Just one more thing before we get serious. If I felt like your argument addressed these points of clarification, I would be perfectly willing to engage every single one of your Scriptural passages. But I really don't know what I'm arguing against.

CrimsonCatholic said...

That's the "refutation" of what my post was arguing, eh?

Logically, it suffices. Your argument was essentially lexical so as to suggest that abad encompassed both latreuo and douleuo, so that both were forbidden of any creature. All I need is one example of douleuo or the other actions included in the scope of the Latin term dulia (e.g., proskuneo), and your argument that the commandment in Exodus was intended to prohibit these things is defeated.

There's an extensive exegetical argument in one of the links above, but it seemed silly to reproduce that whole analysis if the problem is logical. I can't see how one can exegete one's way out of a logical problem. Illogical exegesis must necessarily be false, no matter how clearly the meaning is established. If your result is illogical, then your exegesis must be wrong, no matter how right you think it to have been. But the exegetical argument on abad, shachah, douleuo, latreuo, proskuneo, etc., was summarized nicely as follows:
'The Greek language has in this respect a great advantage over the Hebrew, the Latin and the English; it has a word which is a general word and is properly used of the affectionate regard and veneration shown to any person or thing, whether to the divine Creator or to any of his creatures, this word is proskunhsis; it has also another word which can properly be used to denote only the worship due to the most high, God, this word is latreia. When then the Council defined that the worship of "latria "was never to be given to any but God alone,

527

it cut off all possibility for idolatry, mariolatry, iconolatry, or any other "larry" except "theo-larry." If therefore any of these other "latries" exist or ever have existed, they exist or have existed not in accordance with, but in defiance of, the decree of the Second Council of Nice.

But unfortunately, as I have said, we have neither in Hebrew, Latin, nor English any word with this restricted meaning, and therefore when it became necessary to translate the Greek acts and the decree, great difficulty was experienced, and by the use of "adoro" as the equivalent of proskunew many were scandalized, thinking that it was divine adoration which they were to give to the sacred images, which they knew would be idolatry. The same trouble is found in rendering into English the acts and decrees; for while indeed properly speaking "worship" no more means necessarily divine worship in English than "adoratio" does in Latin (e.g. I. Chr. xxix. 20, "All the congregation bowed down their heads and worshipped the Lord and the King" [i.e. Solomon]; Luke xiv. 10, "Then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee "), yet to the popular mind "the worship of images" is the equivalent of idolatry. In the following translations I have uniformly translated as follows and the reader from the English will know what the word is in the original.

Proskunw, to venerate; timaw, to honour; latreuw, to adore; aspaxomai to salute; douleuw, to serve; eikwn, an image.

The relative force of proskunhsis and latreia cannot better be set forth than by Archbishop Trench's illustration of two circles having the same centre, the larger including the less (New Testament Synonyms, sub vote Datreuw).

To make this matter still clearer I must ask the reader's attention to the use of the words abadh and shachah in the Hebrew; the one abadh, which finds, when used with reference to God or to false gods its equivalent in latreuw; the other shachah, which is represented by proskune. Now in the Old Testament no distinction in the Hebrew is drawn between these words when applied to creator or creature. The one denotes service primarily for hire; the other bowing down and kissing the hand to any in salutation. Both words are constantly used and sometimes refer to the Creator and sometimes to the creature--e.g., we read that Jacob served (abadh) Laban (Gen. xxix. 20); and that Joshua commanded the people not to serve the gods of their fathers but to serve (abadh) the Lord (Josh. xxiv. 14). And for the use of shachah the following may suffice: "And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers and bowed down their heads and worshipped (Hebrew, shachah; Greek, proskunew; Latin, adoro) the Lord and the King" (I. Chr. xxix. 20). But while it is true of the Hebrew of the Old Testament that there is no word which refers alone to Divine Worship this is not true of the Septuagint Greek nor of the Greek of the New Testament, for in both proskunew has always its general meaning, sometimes applying to the creature and sometimes to the Creator; but latreuw is used to denote divine worship alone, as St. Augustine pointed out long ago.

This distinction comes out very clearly in the inspired translation of the Hebrew found in Matthew iv. 10, "Thou shalt worship proskunhseis) the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve latreuseis)." "Worship" was due indeed to God above all but not exclusively to him, but latria is to be given to "him only." (1)'

Clearly, the use of abad and shachah was not intended to encompass the entire semantic range of those terms, so you're simply wrong in saying that those actions are categorically forbidden. Nor do they appear to be categorically forbidden in the context of religious practices. The Hebrew clearly includes the distinct meanings in the semantic range of both abad and shachah; one must look to the context to determine which is meant. The Second Council of Nicaea simply attached labels to the concepts, corresponding to the Greek Septuagint usage.

But again, you have to fix the logical problem first. The logical problem is that applying "not" to "abad" and "shachah" is intended as a categorical rejection of the entire semantic range of both terms, and that is fallacious if there is a contextual argument that the terms are being used in a more restrictive sense. You've simply assumed it without any exegetical work to support it, meaning your citation doesn't do the work you think it does.

CrimsonCatholic said...

If your objective is to show your knowledge of the LXX and Hebrew then that's very impressive.

Color me unimpressed. He's essentially asserted a special religious context for the terms "abad" and "shachah" without any evidence for it. What he's shown me is that he'll make up his conclusions about the Hebrew language ad hoc to fit the answer he wants.

Mike Burgess said...

Rhology,

I doff my cap to Jonathan's interactions so far. I think he has pointed out quite well the ad hoc nature of your criterion (i.e., how does one bow down to God in an irreligious context?).

Seeing, however, as you are insistent on repeating the canard that Catholics speak to dead people, would you please exegete the following passages?

Luke 20:34-38
John 11:25-26
Hebrews 12:1-24

And since you made mention of Colossians 3:24, let's examine that in light of the context you are wont to extol (and rightly so):
who is "dead" at the beginning of that chapter? What does St. Paul say idolatry is in v. 5? What does that contextually tell us about "motive" and its relevance?

You seem quite devoted to (at least implicitly) the regulative principle of worship. You said more than once that God, in the OT, commands how He is to be worshipped and anything beyond that is idolatrous (I used to hear the phrase "will-worship" about this). What about anything short of what He commanded in the OT? What of your ommissions these days? Or do you get to decide that one aspect applies, one does not? What's the differentiation and why are we bound to it? What sort of Incarnation do you believe in? How does it influence your subsequent theology?

Strictly out of curiosity, have you read any of the following:
Daniel Clendenin's Eastern Orthodoxy A Western Perspective
Donald Fairbairn's Eastern Orthodoxy Through Western Eyes
Steve Schlissel's 10 part series of articles concerning the regulative principle of worship?

Interesting discussion so far.

Captain Kangaroo said...

"Logically, it suffices. Your argument was essentially lexical so as to suggest that abad encompassed both latreuo and douleuo, so that both were forbidden of any creature. All I need is one example of douleuo or the other actions included in the scope of the Latin term dulia (e.g., proskuneo), and your argument that the commandment in Exodus was intended to prohibit these things is defeated."

Holy logic Batman...er I mean, Rhology! CC is absolutely 100% correct! QED. You've are disproven beyond any measure of doubt.

phatcatholic said...

How does one discover how the LXX translates hebrew words? Is there an online tool I can use?

pilgrim said...

Wow--the redefinitions fly.

the distinction between latria and dulia is a distinction in concept only--a distinction without a difference.

Saying something is so doesn't make it so.

Do you think Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, in Leviticus 10 didn't think they were worshipping God?

They did it incorrectly and offerd strange fire--and look what happened.

Even the RC NAB says, "During this time Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers and, strewing incense on the fire they had put in them, they offered up before the LORD profane fire, such as he had not authorized." in verse 1.

Redefine all you want, but latria & dulia are both worship.

Now I am fair, and if someone asks me if RC's worship Mary I will say according to official RC teaching they do not. But I will also add that in practice I believe they do, even if they do not believe they are. And I will outline dulia & latria. I know about this from the inside. I understand the RC teaching. But I disagree with it.

phatcatholic said...

Rhology,

Earlier in the combox you wrote this:

"So far, nobody has even cited one Scripture passage to which I referred in my post. Here's hoping some level-headed commenters will try to do so."

I posted a response on my blog that I hope you will find sufficiently level-headed:

http://phatcatholic.blogspot.com/2008/01/rhology-on-postures-of-prayer-and-idol.html

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

Jeremy said...

I agree with the comments about "religious context" being arbitrarily defined.

Rhology's justification for the prohibition against bowing down before icons is based entirely on Exodus 20:5. Yet this verse mentions nothing about "religious context". And if we were to take it as implicit, then it leads to absurdities. The very nature of the decalogue is such that it is intended to apply everywhere and at all times. If we try and restrict their applicability to "religious context", what conclusions does that lead us to? If it is permissible to bow down before someone outside of a "religious context", is it not also permissible to murder, commit adultery, steal or give false testimony - so long as these are only done outside of a "religious context"? Clearly not

And when stripped of the idea of a "religious context", Rhology's argument fails to handle the numbers Biblical counter-examples, where bowing down is permitted (which previously he dismissed based on his "religious context" argument). Thus it falls apart under the weight of counter-examples..

Jeremy said...

In response to Rhology's expressed desire:

So far, nobody has even cited one Scripture passage to which I referred in my post. Here's hoping some level-headed commenters will try to do so.

In the interests of keeping things focused, I will discuss the first passage that he cited only (at least for now) - Exodus 20:5.

Rhology asserts that this verse "makes it clear that we are to bow down to no one other than God" - in otherwords, we shouldn't bow down to anyone. However, this is false. What the passage actually states is that we shouldn't bow down to "them", and the most obvious referent for "them" is "idols" (in verse 4). The jump that Rhology makes from "idols" to "anyone" is not supported exegetically.

Rhology said...

Finally got around to responding.
Thanks for your patience.