Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Icon't take it anymore

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Can we get some more peanuts in the front please?
...

If you don't get it, don't worry- it wasn't that good.

Starting from where I left off in the combox of the previous post on icons...

What in the text indicates that Uzzah was treating the Ark "as if it had intrinsic value"?
This is what I mean by ad hoc...God clearly defined how the Ark was to be transported. The Israelites neglected to do that. Where was Uzzah venerating or doing anything to the Ark besides walking beside it and putting out his hand to steady it? More eisegesis on CrimsonCath's part.

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.

Eisegesis. This reminds me of the way that RCs often try to push prohibitions of contraception onto the text on Onan.

Does that text itself explicitly say any of this? No.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

I wonder how it would even be possible to worship Him on your understanding unless He were standing in front of you

Just b/c we are prohibited from using icons in worship, you don't know how I'd worship Christ? "In spirit and in truth" is where I'd start.

even then, if you could not disregard His humanity entirely

Which has nothing to do with the question at hand. And of course I don't do so.

why do you venerate Scripture as the Word of God?

Red herring - it is far from the same thing as the way RCs and EOx venerate icons. I don't recall the last time I or anyone in my church bowed down before, lit incense before, lit candles before, and prayed to the Bible.

Without the Christological explanation, they all lack justification.

Another naked appeal to "Christological explanation"s, without an argument.
Just b/c Christ is the eikon of the Father and took on human flesh, why does it follow that it's OK to perform worshipful actions in front of statues of dead people and pray to them?

It certainly doesn't mean that there are no more signs and symbols in Christian practice,

As if that were part of the argument.
But we're talking about communication with the dead through worshipful actions directed at icons here. Let's try to stay on point.

and it certainly doesn't mean that there is no longer worship through icons.

No longer? When was there before? The OT? Where?

The saints are likewise venerated as "in Christ."

1) And are in some cases treated as more merciful and generous than Christ Himself.
2) Where is the justification to pray to them as Christ?
3) They're dead and the Bible forbids communication with the dead. Christ is not dead.

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.

Except that worship and serve are bound up in the same ideas and terms in the OT as the post demonstrates.

And yes, service is less than latria.

Not in the eyes of the OT. That's the point.

Given that the instruments of God (like Scripture, David, the Ark, Daniel) are venerated in the Old Testament

Not even close to in the same way as modern RCs and EOx do.



Matt said:
1) Where is "religious context" specified in the Old Testament? Where does the Scripture clarify what is in and what is out?

When it says you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
This is the same attitude as pro-death people and those tempted towards sexual immorality - how close can we get to the line? They never stop to consider that we should remain FAR away from any question of wrong, especially on so delicate and important an issue as the worship of the One True God when He's said over and over again that He's a jealous God!
We might ask ourselves then: "Is it OK to light a candle to the dead person? OK, how about to light a candle AND burn incense? Great, how about both of those AND praying to them inaudibly requests that I'd otherwise share with Jesus, since they can probably read my thoughts?"

Religious context is where you're rendering worshipful actions. It's not that hard unless you belabor it in order to protect your manmade traditions.

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

Sure, fine. So what? I can guarantee that I wouldn't bow down to a picture of him AND light a candle to his image AND burn incense before it AND say an inaudible prayer to the king while doing those things in front of the image. Why? B/c those are things we do to God, not men.

If so, then why is that not going against the command of God(?)

B/c I'm not rendering worshipful actions in a religious context to him.

This "religious context" stuff is really unpersuasive.

That has nothing to do with whether the argument stands. I don't control your spirit; I can only point the way.

Bowing down to kings is often a "religious context" (think of the Caesars or the Eastern emperors who proclaimed themselves to be gods).

Precisely. And the early Christians did what exactly when commanded to do so?

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: making requests (petitionary prayer)
Until you tell me that you do ***ALL*** of the following to a living person, this is a non-point:
1) Kiss their image. While they're not there.
2) Burn incense and light candles to their image. While they're not there.
3) Set up that image in church. While they're not there.
4) Pray inaudibly to them and expect them to read your thoughts and carry the prayer to God. While they're not there. And you can't say it audibly to their ears since the dead don't hear with their physical ears.

We honor them as rational animals created by God, imago Dei, etc.

Not according to the way that you act towards them. This insults our intelligence.

What really matters is that what I MEAN by the term is actually contrary to the word of God.

Which is what Dr White was trying to tell you. *You* don't get to define the terms of what is acceptable worship to the Lord. Maybe you should think about letting Him do that.

Something overlooked by your analysis is that some of the passages are referring to FALSE GODS!!!

They are, of course, no gods at all, and yet these people condemned in the OT bow down before them and do worshipful piety to them in a religious context.
Your dead people to whom you pray thru icons are no gods at all, either, as you would agree. There's a reason why God didn't accept worship on the high places or in Samaria in OT Israel and Judah, you know. Your assertion begs the question that it's OK to bow down to dead people as long as you intend to worship God thusly.



CrimsonCatholic continued:
so that both were forbidden of any creature.

I didn't say that. I am pointing out that there are certain contexts in which the distinction advanced by RCC and EOC does not hold, and religious actions is one of those categories. That's why I keep pointing out the religious worship/non-religious non-worship contexts in your counter-examples.

Luke xiv.10

Nobody is doing anythg religious in that context. It's a dinner.

Now in the Old Testament no distinction in the Hebrew is drawn between these words when applied to creator or creature.

My point is clear for all to see, above.

Nor do they appear to be categorically forbidden in the context of religious practices.

Then give me JUST ONE example where somebody other than God received actions of worshipful piety in the Bible and your case is much-bolstered.



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


I've made multiple comments on this topic already.
1) God says BOTH - that the dead are not destroyed but merely appear to us to be asleep.
2) Yet there is obviously a changed relationship. You agree since you don't do ALL OF THE FOLLOWING to a living person
  • Kiss their image. While they're not there.
  • Burn incense and light candles to their image. While they're not there.
  • Set up that image in church. While they're not there.
  • Pray inaudibly to them and expect them to read your thoughts and carry the prayer to God. While they're not there. And you can't say it audibly to their ears since the dead don't hear with their physical ears.
3) God still forbade contact with those who have died physically. He must consider it pretty important that we not do so.

I'd probably have to know what you're looking for in each of those passages, though.

Col 3 - who is dead at the beginning of the chapter?

This refers to the spiritually dead who are raised by regeneration.

What does St. Paul say idolatry is in v. 5?

I assume you mean "why does...?".
B/c idolatry is forbidden and sinful.

What does that contextually tell us about "motive" and its relevance?

Nothing.

You seem quite devoted to (at least implicitly) the regulative principle of worship.

Not at all, I'm a Southern Babdist.
But I decry that which affirms what God has prohibited.

What about anything short of what He commanded in the OT?

Since rendering worshipful piety to pictures of dead people and talking to them doesn't fall under this category, I fail to see how this is relevant.
If you really want to know, feel free to email me.

Daniel Clendenin's Eastern Orthodoxy A Western Perspective

I read that one.


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

Yes, of course!
Doing ALL OF THE FOLLOWING to an image of a dead person is just CLEARLY non-religious.
1) Ascribing non-human inabilities to these dead people (ie, hearing you when you pray silently)
2) Falling down before them
3) Lighting candles to them
4) burning incense to them
5) addressing THEM in prayer

The insults to readers' intelligence continue.

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

The question at hand is whether it's OK to do to dead people what you do to God - worshipful actions.
This would only be analogous if you wanted to see if I'd argue whether it's OK to murder God, commit adultery away from God, steal from God, etc...

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"

Right, to the false gods. Who are not gods at all. Neither are dead people gods.

Peace,

16 comments:

Captain Kangaroo said...

"Right, to the false gods. Who are not gods at all. Neither are dead people gods."

Neither are living kings gods. And dead saints are living in Christ. The passage is clearly about worship. We don't worship anyone or anything but God.

Peter Sean Bradley said...

Rhology wrote:

Eisegesis. This reminds me of the way that RCs often try to push prohibitions of contraception onto the text on Onan.

Do you have any support for this statement?

As someone who is extremely well acquainted with Catholic moral theology, including the Theology of the Body, I have never seen any such thing.

The prohibition of contraception stems from natural law concepts. Here is Humanae Vita, which is Paul VI's famous restatement of the Catholic position on contraception. Please read it and note that while "Onan" and "Genesis" are not mentioned, "natural law" is.

Lvka said...

Hello, Rhology.

You said many things many times and I'm now sorry for not responding to them when I first heard You utter them (many, many months back). I'll try to make that good now, OK?

(1) Your recursive, repeated comparison with Samuel and the witch of Endor, when she called him from the Grave: You repeatedly said about us that we "call up the dead". And I did respond, clearly, by giving You the analogy to Jehovah's Witness, who equate blood-donation to eating blood, and thus condemn it. It seems You didn't fully understood me. So I'll try to make that better now, OK?

Our prayers to Saints don't equal "calling up the dead" for the simple reason that we do not "call them up": we don't ask or command them to appear to us, to be seen by us, to divinate to us, to speak to us, to hear them, to do magic tricks, etc.

[The eisegesis You undertook to equate these two things was just that: eisegesis --> which is fine with me; I'm not against it; were it not for eisegesing Christ out of each and every one of the OT passages, starting at Genesis 1:1, we would have no Christianity today].

Someone who would do that which I've presented above is consideredd by our spiritual tradition to be either a wizzard-with-holy-things, or under serious spiritual delusion done by the evil one (Please READ "On Delusion/Deceiving/Deception", by St. Igantius Brianchaninov). -- that's the book that I wanted to recommend You since I've first heard You say those words, but I deemed it unnecessary, and besides the point. But now, I regret not doing that.

(2) The disembodied spirits of the Saints, to my knowledge, don't need fleshly ears to hear, nor carnal eyes to see (otherwise, neither God, nor His Holy Angels would be able to see or hear us, since they possess absolutely no corporality whatsoever). Neither are their *spirits* tied up to this *material* world any longer.

-- See Christ's manifestations after the resurrection, possessing a body that is no longer subject to fallen carnality: how it moves even thru walls, or how it simply dissappears only to reappear somewhere else ... and yet it's still a body [yet not carnal], and Christ proves His not being a ghost by eating fish with the Disciples.

-- See how the Angels [which are spirits (Psalms 104:4; Hebrews 1:7), just like our spirits are also spirits (Genesis 2:7)] move without feet, fly without wings, speak without mouth or lips, hear without ears, etc. (I hope You agree with me that when Scripture speaks of God or Angels using antropomorphic imagery, it doesn't actually teach that they are actually so, .... or do You share a different opinion regarding the subject ? ).

As we can see in Matthew 2:13, or Matthew 2:19, the Angels have no problem hearing our inaudible thoughts (that we have in a dream), or speaking to us also inaudibly (in a dream). ALSO, Matthew 2:12 and Matthew 2:22 show God doing the same thing: ... does this mean to You that the Scripture is equating God with the Angels and the Creator with His creatures !??

You've repeated numerous times the words "unaudible", "ears", "not there", etc. (Hadn't it occured to You that this line of reasoning is faulty ?).

CrimsonCatholic said...

More eisegesis on CrimsonCath's part.
...
Eisegesis. This reminds me of the way that RCs often try to push prohibitions of contraception onto the text on Onan.


The entire Old Testament has to be eisegeted by definition, because it was written about Christ, but Christ was not known as Incarnate at that time. The question is whether it is impermissible eisegesis, i.e., eisegesis that is not Christological, or permissible eisegesis that is Christological. Exegesis in terms of the human authorial intent tells one very little about the Old Testament, because it simply reveals a shadowed understanding. Heck, even exegesis of the New Testament without understanding its Christological purpose isn't likely to be accurate; it is far worse with the Old Testament. Telling a Catholic that he is eisegeting based on Tradition is hardly a charge that he would find offensive, since that is the intended purpose of Scripture (indeed, in that respect, it's actually exegesis, since that was the intended meaning).

Red herring - it is far from the same thing as the way RCs and EOx venerate icons. I don't recall the last time I or anyone in my church bowed down before, lit incense before, lit candles before, and prayed to the Bible.

But you call it the Word of God and theopneustos. You say that it has divine authority in itself. Those are stronger claims. Anglicans use incense and candles in worship, including incense over the altar and Scripture, and venerate and pray for the intercession of saints.

This is why I say your distinctions are ad hoc. You put together this random list of things that you call "worshipful actions" that have neither rhyme nor reason. You believe more about the power of Scripture than Catholicism ascribed to any saint, and yet, because it doesn't fall within your gerrymandered category of "worshipful actions," it's permissible. If you honestly want to communicate with Catholics, those sorts of inconsistencies have to be explained and justified. I'm not even trying to persuade you to my way of thinking; I'm simply trying to explain why your approach to the problem is unhelpful if it is your desire to reach Catholics. As it is, only a Catholic ignorant of what Catholic belief entails would take your comments seriously.

Another naked appeal to "Christological explanation"s, without an argument.
Just b/c Christ is the eikon of the Father and took on human flesh, why does it follow that it's OK to perform worshipful actions in front of statues of dead people and pray to them?


The point is that it would in principle be idolatry to give worshipful actions even to Christ's human flesh. It is because of the iconic relationship that Christ is rightly worshipped in the flesh. And with respect to that flesh, He has assumed the entirety of human nature, so the veneration of those divinized in Him, is the same as the veneration of His own flesh. From the standpoint of orthodox dogmatic Christology, saying that one cannot venerate the Holy Saints is literally equivalent to saying that one cannot venerate the flesh of Christ. If you don't grasp that, then you don't grasp the patristic profession of faith, and if you don't grasp the patristic profession of faith, then you don't have the rule to interpret Scripture. Because you don't understand these things, you can't speak to them, and because you can't speak to them, you can't make sense to Catholic, Orthodox, or even Anglicans who venerate the saints.

As if that were part of the argument.
But we're talking about communication with the dead through worshipful actions directed at icons here. Let's try to stay on point.


That is the point. The "worshipful actions" are being used to communicate, but the terminus of the communication is not the dead person, but Christ Himself. When we venerate the Saints, we venerate Christ.

No longer? When was there before? The OT? Where?

So now you don't think that people and things in the Old Testament were types of Christ? You don't think that symbols in the form of concrete objects were used in OT worship? Come on, you've admitted that already in response the example of bowing to the King. There's no sense in turning obstinate at this point.

1) And are in some cases treated as more merciful and generous than Christ Himself.
2) Where is the justification to pray to them as Christ?
3) They're dead and the Bible forbids communication with the dead. Christ is not dead.


1) Given that this is impossible, perhaps you ought to re-read it more carefully, because you have obviously made a mistake.
2) That's rather the point. A Christian doesn't need explicit endorsement for practices. Being Christians, we form our law based on reason rather than needing these things to be explicitly told what to do and not to do. The justification is quite sensible given the patristic explanation.
3) That's begging the question. Everyone agrees that the Bible forbids necromancy. Again, Christians follow commands based on the reason behind the command, not the command itself. The reason for that command was that people were attempting to obtain supernatural effects, knowledge, etc., from some power other than YHWH. This is simply an indirect appeal to YHWH Himself in Christ. The object is entirely different.

Except that worship and serve are bound up in the same ideas and terms in the OT as the post demonstrates.

"Bound up in the same ideas and terms" is simply vague to the point of meaninglessness, meaning that it can't possibly be demonstrated (or it can be demonstrated by anything that you want, which amounts to the same thing). Again, no Catholic would accept this as demonstrating anything unless he was ignorant of the principles of his own faith.

Not in the eyes of the OT. That's the point.

Make an exegetical argument then, not some vague connection with no specific definition.

Not even close to in the same way as modern RCs and EOx do.

Then you don't understand the practice, because it is exactly the same way. Why you can't understand that baffles me.

Religious context is where you're rendering worshipful actions. It's not that hard unless you belabor it in order to protect your manmade traditions.
...
I didn't say that. I am pointing out that there are certain contexts in which the distinction advanced by RCC and EOC does not hold, and religious actions is one of those categories. That's why I keep pointing out the religious worship/non-religious non-worship contexts in your counter-examples.


But your distinction is ad hoc. Even you can't articulate the principles behind it. You simply are using the "context" to say "whatever I happen to mean that is convenient for my argument." In response to a direct question to define what separates religious context from non-religious context, you basically said "you'd know if you weren't besotted with the traditions of men." I fail to see how that is helpful. If there is anything to your point rather than hand-waving, you should be able to say what it is.

Nobody is doing anythg religious in that context. It's a dinner

Sure, it's not like the wedding feast is an allegory of Heaven or anything. OK.

My point is clear for all to see, above.

It's anything but clear. You just made up two terms "religious context" and "worshipful actions" that appear to be entirely contentless apart from begging the question, and you expect this to show something. Lovely.

Then give me JUST ONE example where somebody other than God received actions of worshipful piety in the Bible and your case is much-bolstered.

Well, until you define "worshipful piety" in some way that isn't sheerly ad hoc, then I can't possibly, because every example I cite would simply be placed by you into the category you found most convenient. I've given several examples, and you've simply asserted without explanation or justification that they aren't in a "religious context," without explaining why the same exception would not apply to the Catholic (or Orthodox or Anglican) practice.

I thought that you might be able to have a reasonable discussion or at least try to understand why Catholics would reject your argumentation, but evidently, you are more interested in talking about Catholics than talking to them. I don't see how I can help you if you aren't going to listen to me, so I think I'd better step aside. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but I really don't know what else there is to say. I tried.

Lvka said...

(3). I assume You already know (and that all too well) that we, being of course Othodox, and not Calvinists, do not believe in eternal security, and therefore Your following two remarques, laid down by You in this post, are very curious:

Until you tell me that you do ***ALL*** of the following to a living person, this is a non-point

and:

Yet there is obviously a changed relationship. You agree since you don't do ALL OF THE FOLLOWING to a living person

(4). We DO incense the Holy Book of the *Gospels* and the Holy *Communion*, as well as the faithful *believers* gathered together at the various Church services ... the incensing of iconic *depictions* of the faithful departed is thus by no means an exception to the greater, over-arching, all-encompassing rule, but rather only a further confirmation thereof.

[The same was done by the Priests in the Tent, as well as in the Temple: incensing the Throne of Mercy from between the two golden Cherubim, where the Shekinah came to dwell; the entire Ark, which contained the *Manna* and the *Torah*; the gold-weived curtains containing further depictions of Cherubim; the *faithful* and their sacrifices, the walls, the doors containing some more Cherubimic *depictions*, etc.].

(5). The same goes for lighting candles: we light candles for living ones; for the departed; and for the saints.

(6). And the same goes for prayer too: at the Holy Litugy (to give You a concrete example), we mention the living (when the Priest reads the sheets of paper containing the lists of the names of the faithful and of their loved ones); the departed (when the Priest reads the sheets of paper containing the lists of the names of the departed persons from among those that have passed away from the faithful's family) and, after the consecration, he commemorates the saints, who from everelasting were found pleasing in Thy sight, reading from the "Litugier" the ranks (categories) of Saints: Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Hierarchs, etc.; and naming by name St. John the Baptist and the Holy Mother of God.

(7). And the EXACT same goes for Holy Communion also: the Priest, during the Service of the Preparation (which takes place before the Liturgy, during Matins), takes tiny particles of bread for the Nine Angelic Orders, for all the categories of Saints (as well as individual Saints) mentioned above at #6; doing the same for each of the name on the lists previously mentioned at #6, thus communing them all to Christ, the Bread which came from Heaven (not with bread only, but with every Word [the incarnated Logos] which comes from the mouth of God).

TheDen said...

Rhology,

I keep saying that you're missing the point and the more I read from you, the more I feel that you're COMPLETELY missing the point.

Praying before statues is not worshipping. Moreso, Exodus is not talking about that when it's talking about bowing down before graven images.

To understand the "worship and bowing down before idols," look where they came from.

What it means is that we cannot be slaves. Think about that...it was given to them right after they were freed from captivity. Where they were bound and captive for 400 years.

In Exodus 20:2, God reminds them that He delivered them from Egypt. A place where the Pharaohs were gods and that the Jews were held captive and bowed before him and his image.

Exodus 20:3 and 20:4 reminds them that they were slaves in Egypt. They are now free and should not be captive to anyone but God.

Paul reminds us of this in Romans as we were once slaves of sin and are now free from our bondage. That we are no longer slaves to sin but rather slaves of righteousness and slaves of Christ.

To bow down before an idol is to be a slave to something that is not God. To be addicted to porn on the internet is bowing down before an idol. To be an alcoholic is bowing down before an idol.

Praying in front of an image of Mary is not bowing down before an idol--unless you completely lose sight of God in the prayer and totally focus on Mary...which is possible but against the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Lvka said...

(8). Is masturbation a sin? (see the malachians in 1 Corinthians 6:9). If so, then how exactly is anyone "eisegeting" anything into the Onan episode, since onany is prescisely that, i.e.: double masturbation (malachy) ?

I understood Onan's case to be precisely that, and I was 4 or 5 when I've read it, and had no idea what Church meant (other than a building), or Fathers, or Catholicism, or Tradition, or God-knows-what ...

... I knew that God laid it all pretty clear at the very beginning: "be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth" (Gen. 1:28) ...

... and, -later on-, He gave the commandment that, -were one man not able to do that (usually in the case of youthful death)-, then his brother should fulfill that commandment for him, in his place ... in persona fratris, if You like :p

Lvka said...

(9). And apropos eisegesis, while we're at it, how *exactly* do the words "in spirit and in truth" apply to, err, icons? :-| I just fail to uinderstand this ...

Don't they rather mean that we should pay attention to prayer and interioirize it (understand it with our mind and feel it in our heart) ? As well as pray for spiritual and eternal things as opposed to ephemeral material fulfillments ? Or isn't this the meaning of "in spirit" ?

And as for "in truth", doesn't it mean that we should be honest with God while we pray, (confessing Him our sins, and all that: 1 Corinthians 11:28) ?

Or, on a more spiritual level (WARNING: SERIOUS *EISEGESIS* AHEAD !!!) : "in Spirit" is refering to the indwelling in us of the Holy Ghost during prayer (as even St. Paul says: "Who prays in us with groans unuttered, crying out 'Abba Father'"); and "in Truth" is refering to Christ, as He Himself says: "*I AM* the way, the Truth, and the life".

Jeremy said...

It seems that you have quite a bit on your plate. I understand that a response might take some time, if it comes at all.

In response to me, you wrote some things that I think simply missed the point; I will try to refocus it:

The question at hand is whether it's OK to do to dead people what you do to God - worshipful actions.
This would only be analogous if you wanted to see if I'd argue whether it's OK to murder God, commit adultery away from God, steal from God, etc...


The point is that the prohibition which you cited - Exodus 20:5 - gives no indication that it applied in a limited context (which you call "religious context"). There is every indication that it is intended apply in every context - because all of the other commands in the decalogue are clearly meant to apply in every context. When you try and restrict Exodus 20:5 to what you call "religious context", you are being inconsistent because you do not try to restrict any of the other commandments similarly.

But then, once it is admitted that Exodus 20:5 does not apply in a restricted context, the game is up - because we already know that people do bow down before others in the Bible and it is not considered a sin, even though Exodus 20:5 applies in this context. It is not a sin because bowing down before another person is not necessarily a "worshipful act".

Jeremy: 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"

Rhology: Right, to the false gods. Who are not gods at all. Neither are dead people gods.


Precisely - as Captain Kangaroo already pointed out dead people (nor live people, for that matter) are not gods. Therefore Exodus 20:5 - which is a prohibition against bowing down to other gods - does not apply.

The problem is here that you are arguing backwards:

1. If someone bows down to X, then they are treating X as a god.
2. Orthodox bow down to "dead people".
3. Therefore, they treat "dead people" as gods.
4. Therefore, the injunction in Exodus 20:5 applies against them.

The problem is that premise 1 is effectively a begged question. Moreover, it is easily disproved - because there are plenty of counterexamples in the Bible where people bowed down to someone else as a sign of honour and respect (eg, a king), and yet that someone was not considered to be a god.

Just one final word for this comment: In 1 Timothy 6:2, St Paul says the following: "And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things."

The word that I have emboldened is "douleuo". If there is no difference between "latreia" and "douleia" - ie, both mean worship, as you assert - then why is it that St Paul is commanding someone to "worship" their master?

Mike Burgess said...

Thanks for addressing my comments.
You said
I've made multiple comments on this topic already.
I've not been a reader of this blog since its inception.

First, the Scriptures tell us that the departed saints are more alive than we are.

Second, the nature of the "changed relationship" between earthly sinner and heavenly saint is that the heavenly saint is perfectly united to God and thus has been blessed with the fulness of salvation and all of the attendant blessings. We have the authority of the Church to assure us of their status. We do not ask the intercession of those in Purgatory. I am sure that there are billions of people throughout history who keep and cherish a loved one's hanky or somesuch while they are physically separated, kiss a picture of their mother while at war in a foreign land, and so forth. I don't understand why you are insisting on making a distinction we both already agree upon. Of course my brother in Indonesia can't hear me if I think a prayer to him. Why do you suppose your thoughts are hidden from those whom God has perfected, made complete, and joined to Himself?

There is a very good reason why God forbade contact with spirits of the dead in the Old Testament. The dead in Sheol are not the same as the dead in heaven. There is that little matter of evil spirits interloping when mediums are consulted, etc. I don't ask St. Thomas Aquinas if I will win the lottery tomorrow or if he can carry messages back and forth between my dead grandmother and me. Necromancy is what you object to. Rightly so.

I'd be curious to hear your interpretation of 2 Corinthians 12: 1-4 if you have occasion to do so.

This [Col 3] refers to the spiritually dead who are raised by regeneration.

It refers to Christians still on earth. They are dead, the saints who are not are no longer dead but more alive than we can imagine as their state is irrevocable, and this is true whether or not you and I share a common understanding of the perseverance of the Church militant.

"What does St. Paul say is idolatry...?"
I assume you mean "why does...?".
B/c idolatry is forbidden and sinful.


No. Read it again. What does St. Paul equate to idoaltry in the verse? He equates idolatry to "covetousness, which is idolatry." There was a commandment about idolatry, and there was a commandment about covetousness. There are parallels between the first five and the second five commandments. When one covets, one does essentially the same thing as one does when one worships an idol. The motive underlying both sins is in view whether you wish to concede the point or not.

Southern Baptists adhere to the regulative principle in principle, for the regulative principle is exactly what you stated: that which God has not commanded is forbidden, and that which God has enjoined is required. So, in the case of the prohibitions against creation of graven images, when the New and Everlasting Covenant is instituted and God adds humanity to His Deity, how can the prohibition follow any longer? How can you conceive of a bodiless Jesus? That is exactly what you are requiring people to do when you prohibit images. Christ is forever imageable now. So, too are those whom He unites to Himself perfectly. They are partakers of the divine nature in an inconceivable and permanent way and do not relinquish their matter. They are glorified, to be sure, but we are not Gnostics, are we?

I'm glad you read Clendenin. He's quite sharp. You might try the others for some perspective if you're going to be posting on such topics.

Thanks for interacting.

Mike Burgess said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Burgess said...

Sorry about the double comment, can you rectify that, webamster?

phatcatholic said...

Rhology,

I responded to the comment that you left on my earlier post. See here:

http://phatcatholic.blogspot.com/2008/01/postures-of-prayer-part-2.html

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

orthodox said...

What's this about a prohibition on icons in worship???

What parts of life exactly are worship? Isn't our whole life supposed to be worship? How do I know when I'm "in worship"?

Rhology said...

Mike Burgess:

The webhamster sees all and has granted your request. ;-)

I'll hopefully get a chance to comment here in a few days. Sorry for the delay, all.

Jeremy said...

Today is the Feast of Orthodoxy, when we celebrate the triumph of the 7th Ecumenical Council and the reinstatement of the icons. I thought it might be an appropriate time to bump this thread and see if there was any response in the wings.