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I guess I have alot of questions. Does it or does it not say in the bible that we are not to worship images made of steel wood or stone yet people do. Why do many people have pictures of Jesus yet none of us knows what he looks like? We have images of Jesus nailed to a cross but that is not what God has asked us to do? God said have faith and believe..... Not worship images of Jesus when that is not what Jesus exactly looks like. God said do not make Gods out of these things as I am a jealous God? Why do so many people wear a crucified Jesus around their necks when God already knows if we believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is our saviour and that he died for our sins? God is almighty and knows all and sees all. Dont people realise that God knows who is not following his words? How do you think Jesus would feel when he returns on the mount of olives and sees everyone wearing and praying to a crucified Jesus made of metal and wood and stone for our Lord Jesus is not dead but he is with God. God said to love nothing of this earth and if you believe when a loved one dies when they give up the flesh and have no faith that God is with them then he said let the dead bury the dead. Please your honest thoughts about what I have asked would be appreciated as I believe Jesus Christ is my saviour and the son of God.
Requested by Shihata and Answered by Fr. Antonios Kaldas on 12-Dec-2008 15:22 (2139 reads)
"I guess I have alot of questions."

You certainly do, but I love questions!


Does it or does it not say in the bible that we are not to worship images made of steel wood or stone yet people do. Why do many people have pictures of Jesus yet none of us knows what he looks like? We have images of Jesus nailed to a cross but that is not what God has asked us to do?

Of course you are right in pointing out the Commandment that says we should not worship graven images. But your arguments are not new. At different times in the history of the Christian Church, this question has been addressed by Christians of equal devotion and piety, but with different points of view on this topic. The attitude you are describing is pretty much the attitude of a modern Evangelical Protestant Christian. But it is misguided in a number of ways.

Firstly, we do not worship any image, icon, picture, or cross. We venerate the saints using their icons, and we worship God using icons and crosses.

Let's take icons as an example. We consider an icon to be like a window into Heaven. Let's say you had a life-changing holiday in a monastery in the deserts of Egypt, and while you were there, you took some photos. When you come home, you find yourself yearning for that peaceful, simple life of prayer and silence, so you put up some photos of the places where you had those nice experiences and perhaps of some of the monks whose words and life had a great impact on you. Every now and then, you might stop and gaze at those pictures, reminding yourself of the life and the values they represent. Is any of this wrong? Is any of this against what the Bible teaches? This is not worship of the photos, it is appreciation and love for what the photo represents to you. That is exactly what we do with icons.


God said have faith and believe..... Not worship images of Jesus when that is not what Jesus exactly looks like. God said do not make Gods out of these things as I am a jealous God?

You are not a hundred percent right when you say we do not know what Jesus looked like. There are some clues. For example, we know that as the firstborn of St Mary He was considered as belonging to God according to Jewish custom. Quite possibly then He was a Nazirite, much like Samason of the Old Testament, which means that He would not have cut His hair nor shaved His beard, hence the images of Him with hair down to the shoulders and a full beard.

Further, there is a passage in the Antiquities of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, which contains a description of the physical appearance of Christ, one that pretty much matches up with the usual depictions of Christ today. Some have questioned, though, whether that passage is authentic, but that's another story!

There is also the image on the Shroud of Turin, alleged to be the burial cloth in which the Body of Jesus was wrapped and laid in the tomb. It shows a very clear image of His face, again, quite similar to our representations. Again, there are some who question it's authenticity.

Interestingly, in Coptic Orthodox icons, the artist never even tries to create a realistic image of Jesus or even of a saint. This is because the author of the icon is admitting that s/he does not in fact know with certainty wha teh person looked like, and the icon is only intended to convey a message in images, not be a realistic, photo-like representation. Perhaps that style of art would be more to your taste?


Why do so many people wear a crucified Jesus around their necks when God already knows if we believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ is our saviour and that he died for our sins? God is almighty and knows all and sees all. Dont people realise that God knows who is not following his words? How do you think Jesus would feel when he returns on the mount of olives and sees everyone wearing and praying to a crucified Jesus made of metal and wood and stone for our Lord Jesus is not dead but he is with God. God said to love nothing of this earth and if you believe when a loved one dies when they give up the flesh and have no faith that God is with them then he said let the dead bury the dead.

The Cross is not worn as a symbol to impress God, but as a public declaration of my faith in Christ. People who follow a footbal team might wear their jersey, or clothing with their name and badge on it. That isn't to show the players on the team, it is to let everyone else know who's side you're on!

If you are trying to tell me that the Resurrection of Christ cancelled out the importance of His Crucifixion, I would have to disagree with you, as would almost all Christian theologians. The Crucifixion is the most important and incredible event in our history. It is the visible sign of God's self-sacrificial love for me, and it is the event in which all my sins were paid for. How could I not remember it???

St Paul himself disagrees with you. For example:

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" Galatians 6:14

I agree with you that the Cross is not a sort of 'magical object' that guarantees entry into Heaven to those who wear it. But that is not how we think of it. We think of it like a married person thinks of his/her wedding ring - it is the symbol of our love for Christ and His love for us.

Please your honest thoughts about what I have asked would be appreciated as I believe Jesus Christ is my saviour and the son of God.

Glad to hear it! Believe, me, so do people who use icons and crosses. It is better to understand and appreciate how other people relate to God in their own way rather than to misunderstand and attack them. Remember that they too are children and servants of Christ.