Protestants make the absurd accusation that we as Catholic’s worship statues and images. In my previous post, I have made it clear that we as Catholics worship the Trinity alone and that the Catholic Church condemned idol worship. (Nicea 2).
With that being said, Protestants cite Exodus 20 which states the following:
“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”
As Catholics, we complete agree with this verse. That’s because we as Catholics agree with the bible 100% being that we are bible Christians. That’s right. Protestants would say we don’t accept this, thus God’s condemnation on the construction of statues. However, what is this scripture really addressing? If you were not aware, Protestants suffer with a bad case of personal interpretation of scripture, something coming from the heretic and schismatic Martin Luther.
When examining this scripture in context, the scripture in itself is condemning the pagan use of statues, that being the construction of them in order to put them in the place of God out of pride and disobedience. Being that God is almighty and cannot be replaced, the pagans have committed the sin of idolatry. However, does God condemn the religious use of images? No, for God doesn’t contradict Himself.
Five chapters away from Exodus 20, God instructs the construction of the ark of the covenant. The ark of the covenant was a container in which held the very word of God within it, that being the tablets of the Ten Commandments.
“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).
Also, in the book of 1 chronicles, David has commanded Solomon to make statuary. “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, all the work to be done according to the plan” (1 Chr. 28:18–19).
Note something, “made clear by the writing of the hand of the Lord concerning it all, al the work to be done according to the plan.” If the construction of images were idolatry in themselves, why would David make it known that this is according to God’s plan? This plan included statues of angels, something found within Catholic Churches which co exists with images of saints.
Within the book of Ezekiel, the author describes the interior of the Jewish temples of the time. It is described as having images of the cherubim. On the walls round about in the inner room and [on] the nave were carved likenesses of cherubim.” (Ezekiel 41:17–18)
During a plague of serpents sent to punish the Israelites during the exodus, 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).