Many non Catholics, have accused Catholics of practicing idolatry after seeing them kneeling down or bowing down before an image or statue.
Some have said that we have removed the second commandment which states ““You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex. 20:4–5).” so that we using statues will seem right
Even our Catholics members have started to doubt this practice because of what they have heard from other denominations, which is why I have decided to make this article about this particular topic to help clear it out and help us understand more about why Catholics practice such doctrine.
First of all Catholics don’t worship any image or statue. We worship the most high God.
DID GOD FORBADE THE USE OF IMAGE AND STATUES ?
God forbade the worship of images and statues, but didn’t forbid the use of it for religious purposes rather he actually commanded the use of it.
After God gave Moses the 10 Commandment he also gave him instructions to do this:
” And you shall make two cherubim of gold [i.e., two gold statues of angels]; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece of the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be” (Ex. 25:18–20).
Doing the time God punished the Israelites by sending snake to bite them
God told Moses to “make [a statue of] a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it shall live. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live” (Num. 21:8–9).
Another instance is When David Gave Solomon the plan to build the alter of incense
“for the altar of incense made of refined gold, and its weight; also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord. All this he made clear by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all” (1 Chr. 28:18–19).
With these instances you will know that God didn’t forbid the use of images and statues for religious purposes .
WHAT ARE THE RELIGIOUS USE OF IMAGES AND STATUES
Doing the olden days images and statues where used to teach the illiterate who can’t read and write the doctrine of the church and the word of God
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Images where use to tell the story in the Bible even to the children, for human being also depends on virtual explanation to understand things much better
There’s a situation people won’t have time to read but a look at the image present will explain everything that is written down
Also just as we use images of our loved in our home to help us remember them especially the decease ones, Images in the church also help us to remember the Past Saints, heavenly beings which helps us to know more about them and creates better connection with them
Also we see images of people in the public places in memory and honor of the person especially if he or she did remarkable things.
In the Catholic Church we make images of the Saints including Our Mother Mary and our Lord Jesus Christ in memory of them and the great wonders they performed for the Salvation of the world. So as to preserve their memories for the next generations to come
BOWING DOWN TO IMAGES AND STATUES
Bowing down is one of the means of worship but it’s not just for worship
Bowing and kneeling down is a sign of respect for elder and also sign of gratitude. In some culture it goes to the extent of laying down on the ground to greet an elder
Bowing down to a king doesn’t mean you worship the king it sign of respect
The same goes when we venerate the images and statues in the church it doesn’t show that we worship the image or the statue in the church.
In addition if veneration of the Images and statues means worshiping them then kneeling down or bowing down and praying with the Bible should also be considered as worshipping the Bible.
CONCEALING THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
Another claim against the Catholic is that we concealed the commandment that stated “You shall not make for yourself a graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Ex. 20:4–5).
In Exodus 20:2–17, which gives the Ten Commandments, there are actually fourteen imperative statements. To arrive at Ten Commandments, some statements have to be grouped together, and there is more than one way of doing this. Since, in the ancient world, polytheism and idolatry were always united—idolatry being the outward expression of polytheism—the historic Jewish numbering of the Ten Commandments has always grouped together the imperatives “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3) and “You shall not make for yourself a graven image” (Ex. 20:4). The historic Catholic numbering follows the Jewish numbering on this point, as does the historic Lutheran numbering.
Why would God use these images of serpents, angels, palm trees, and open flowers? Why didn’t he heal the people directly rather than use a “graven image”? Why didn’t he command Moses and Solomon to build an ark and a temple void of any images at all?
First, God knows what his own commandments mean. He never condemned the use of statues absolutely. Second, God created man as a being who is essentially spiritual and physical. In order to draw us to himself, God uses both spiritual and physical means. He will use statues, the temple, or even creation itself to guide us to our heavenly home.
Psalm 19:1 tells us:
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
Romans 1:20 says:
Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
Gazing at a sunset—or a great painting of a sunset—and contemplating the greatness of God through the beauty of his creation is not idolatry. Nor is it idolatrous to look at statues of great saints of old in order to honor them for the great things God has done through them. It is no more idolatrous for us to desire to imitate their holy lives and honor them than it was for St. Paul to exhort the Corinthians to imitate his own holy life (1 Cor. 4:16) and to “esteem very highly” those who were “over [the Thessalonians] in the Lord and admonish [them]” (1 Thess. 5:12–13).