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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image

 Exodus 20:
3"You shall have no other gods before Me. 4"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...

My wife has debilitating deformative Arthritis that leaves her in much pain.


 Since I work every day I can't really keep up the house cleaning.

To help with the house we have a cleaning lady come every other week to fully clean the house.

She brings one helper with her.

A few weeks ago she started bringing a new helper with her.

That is when something started to take place.

As an artist, I love art of all kinds.

I have a small ceramic sun that I purchased at the Pottery Shack in Laguna Beach CA.

I hung it on my front gate.

After a cleaning session the cleaning lady brings the sun broken in pieces to my wife and says she is sorry that it fell off when she closed the gate.

Now this strikes me as very odd because i had secured the sun so that it couldn't just fall off.

You would have had to put in some effort to take it off the gate.

Fast forward to the next cleaning session.

The cleaning lady comes to me and says, "I am sorry but the giraffe sculpture you had on the floor by the front door is broken.

My helper had an accident and broke it."

Now I am starting to wonder.

My wife was very upset because the sculpture was a memento of her trip to Africa that she had
brought back with her.

It was a hand carved Malachite work of art that she paid quite a few hundred dollars for and paid a lot to have the heavy object shipped to our city from Africa.

My wife was real upset and talked with the cleaning lady.

The cleaning lady told her that she has been having a problem with the helper breaking things in other clients houses.

At first I thought the cleaning lady's helper was envious of the people she was cleaning for and deliberately was breaking things as a result.

Especially because she always was silent and seemed angry when ever I would see her.

Then just the other day a light bulb went off in my head and i realized she may be in the cult of Jehovah's Witness. 

They misunderstand the above passage of Scripture and as a result absolutely forbid art of any kind.

The phrase “graven image” comes from the King James Version and is first found in Exodus 20:4 in the second of the Ten Commandments

 The Hebrew word translated “graven image” means literally “an idol.”

 A graven image is an image carved out of stone, wood, or metal.

 It could be a statue of a person or animal, or a relief carving in a wall or pole. 

The cleaning lady was breaking what she viewed as idols in my home.

Idols are objects that people worship, being false Gods.

Our art is not idols of worship for us!

 What does the Bible have to say about the arts?

 Happily, the Bible does not call upon Christians to look down upon the arts.

 In fact, the arts are imperative when considered from the biblical mandate that whatever we do should be done to the glory of God (ICor. 10:31).

We are to offer Him the best that we have-- intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.

 Further, at the very center of Christianity stands the Incarnation ("the Word made flesh"), an event which identified God with the physical world and gave dignity to it.

 A real Man died on a real cross and was laid in a real, rock-hard tomb.

 The Greek ideas of "other- worldly-ness" that fostered a tainted and debased view of nature (and hence aesthetics) find no place in biblical Christianity. 

The dichotomy between sacred and secular is thus an alien one to biblical faith. 

Paul's statement, "Unto the pure, all things are pure" (Titus 1:15) includes the arts. 

While we may recognize that human creativity, like all other gifts bestowed upon us by God, may be misused, there is nothing inherently or more sinful about the arts than other areas of human activity. 

 The Old Testament is rich with examples which confirm the artistic dimension.

 Exodus 25 shows that God commanded beautiful architecture, along with other forms of art (metalwork, clothing design, tapestry, etc.) in the building of the tabernacle and eventually the temple.

 Here we find something unique in history art works conceived and designed by the infinite God, then transmitted to and executed by His human apprentices.

God was not forbidding art.

What He was forbidding was the making of idols for the express purpose of worshiping them.

  Worshiping an idol is the equivalent of replacing God with a created thing.

  Just in case anyone thought God’s commandment to Moses excluded all visual images of anything as idols, check out Exodus 36:35-37:9 where, per the instructions of God, Moses has images of cherubim embroidered into the curtains of the tabernacle and statues of the same cast for the Ark of the Covenant.

 Obviously, then, it is not images that are an issue, but our relationship to images.

Yes we can have art and we can even have pictures of Jesus on our walls.

 The Incarnation is a game-changer.

Christ made visible the invisible God, and thus it is allowed that images of Him can be depicted in art.

Art is not about worshiping wood, paint, clay, it is about appreciating beauty and enjoying the gifts of creativity given to mankind.

I have art in my home not idols!

We have requested that the cleaning lady not bring her helper anymore...

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