Friday, January 30, 2009

Wily Distinctions

Calvin's Institutes
Book One - the Knowledge of God the Creator

Chapter 11 - It is Unlawful to Attribute a Visible Form to God, and
generally whoever sets up idols revolts against the true God

Section 11 - Foolish evasions of the papists
Image worshipers say it's fine, because they are serving, not worshiping, idols. This is a "wily distinction."
This doesn't work because the Greek word for serve means worship.

Section 12 - the Functions and Limits of Art
"And yet.... sculpture and painting are gifts of God."
We should only paint what we can see.
[Disagree with Calvin here: can't we paint angels? He also questions the value of any art with no teaching value. I'd say a still life of fruit with no overt or clear message is just fine.]

Section 13 - As long as doctrine was pure and strong, the church rejected images
The Church had no images for 500 years, wisely seeing in them more potential harm than edification.
The images God has provided for us are baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Section 14 - Childish arguments for images at the Council of Nicea (787)
Arguments from Scripture (Gen 1:27; Song 2:14; Matt 5:15; Ps 4:7; 25:5; 1 John 1:1; Ps 67:36; 15:3) don't prove anything about images.

Section 15 - Ridiculous misuse of Scripture texts
They are shredding Scripture to make a case for using images from Gen 47:10, 31; Heb 11:21; Gen 28:18; Ps 98:5, 9; 44:13.

Section 16 - Blasphemous and shocking claims for images
They claim image use is older than it is.
They overstate their case saying we should give the same honor to images as to the Trinity. This undoes the distinction between service and worship, which they use to justify using images.

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