One of the oldest questions of Christianity has to be “Is Christ truly God?” Now, for us who have Apostolic succession, this is a pretty easy question to answer, since there’s been council document a-plenty to tell us this. In fact, even for -most- Protestants, this is an easy question to answer, although they usually aren’t sure why they know for certain that Christ is God. All the same, true Christians know full well that Christ is God. In fact they have to know, because if Christ isn’t God, then not only is he a terrible liar, but they are also some of the most horrendously misguided people on the planet; being that their entire faith and practice is based -whether they know it or not- on the fact that Christ is God. As God, Christ is due all the glory and honor that the creator of the universe deserves.
So, if we are sure that Christ is God, we now have the second oldest question in Christianity “Is Christ truly Man?” This is perhaps a more hotly debated issue, however, in the same way as the first question, the Council’s decided it, and -most- Protestants follow it. Again, true Christians agree, Christ is truly man. The spiritual implications aside for a moment, lets just announce one simple fact: Christ, being truly a man, had a face.
Since Christ is truly God, this face -human though it is- is the Face of God.
Enter the heresy of iconoclasm:
“But wait, isn’t God a spirit, something we cannot see?” In a sense this is true, however, God also chose to reveal himself to us as a man, Christ Jesus.
“But doesn’t the Scripture say…”The quote that they use, is to be understood as “do not limit God, the Almighty, to the image of an animal or man.” So, why do Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestants still make images of God, is that not blasphemous? To be blunt, no.Yes, there we have it; the age-old adage of the iconoclast.
To be more elaborate, it’s actually a blasphemy to not respect images of Christ, because Christ HAD an image. As we established before, he had a face, therefore an image. And as God, Christ’s face, his image, is thus an image of God.
So, what does the iconoclast really say when he drones out “Thou Shalt Make No Graven Image?” He is saying that he believes that Christ is not truly God, or truly Man. He is blaspheming the most basic of Christian tenants; he is denying the Incarnation. Because either Christ is both God and Man, and images of Him are images of God, or he is not God, and the image is just of a man, or he is not Man, and thus has no image. Accepting either of these blasphemies means denying Salvation, for if Christ was not truly man, then he did not come as a man to save men, and thus did not truly suffer death; or He was not God and His death was nothing more than the execution of a radical Jewish rabbi in Jerusalem by the Romans. In either case, there is no Salvation, and the whole of Christianity, is a farce.
Luckily for us, we have our Icons and we have our True God, and True Man.