IMAGE WORSHIP or VENERATION?
History teaches us that for approximately two hundred years there was no veneration of images or their use in worship in the early Church.
The decoration of buildings and that mostly on the outside was the only acceptable use of images by either Christian or Jews up until the sixth century. The Jews never have used images for worship except while in error.
It is thought that this glaring weakness of the Church may have helped to energize the growth of Mohammedanism. The acceptance of images may have been why so many Christians and Jews found Mohammedanism so attractive. It appears that many Christians and Jews alike became disenchanted with their religions and Mohammedanism appealed to them because of its hatred of Idolatry.
There were some Churches who never accepted images, but they were out numbered by those who did.
Early Christians chided pagans for their worship of inanimate objects. Some of the pagans replied that they worshipped the gods they represented, not the images. The Christians then asked them why they did not raise their eyes to heaven if that was the case?
Early Christians were charged with atheism because they were careful not to do anything that would appear to be worship of an Idol or picture, etc. In this early period they had the same abhorrence of images as the Jews.
The Synod of Elvira decreed that "pictures ought not to be allowed inside the churches". Why? lest these things be worshipped or adored. It has been said that history reveals the oriental churches as having a great tendency to worship objects.
From the first century to the sixth no one called Christians Idol worshippers. In the seventh century both the Jews and the Mohammedans raised this charge against Christians because of their numerous statues, and pictures, etc.
It is peculiar that some still believe it is advantageous to bow before a supposed likeness of Christ or Mary.
How can bowing before some graven image, that may or may not look like them, help us focus on the literal person or spirit of God? Can a figure made after the imagination of some persons mind transcend faith? Can an image be sensibly used as an inspiration for approaching the unimaginable transcendence of God by faith? We use our hands to produce some image that reminds us of God? Is this not an insult to God?
How can images give us and advantage over the experiences of the Godly of the Old Testament? They prayed to God in heaven. The New Testament reveals no different tradition. Are we now in need of something that neither the early Church nor the people of the Old Testament needed?
We are to bow or worship God through the name "Jesus" by faith. Each believer has an unction and does not need any artificial help. A living teacher, and or the Bible, yes. But no inanimate graven object.
Your friend Vern