An Uncanny Development in the James Leo Garrett, Jr. Project

265104Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary started posting old chapel audio earlier this week. Fascinatingly, they posted an October 11, 1957 chapel sermon from James Leo Garrett, Jr. that just so happens to be chapter 2 of the forthcoming Collected Writings of James Leo Garrett, Jr., 1950-2015Here is the audio.

1 John 5:16-21

1john_title1 John 5

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Are all sins equal? Some say they are. Others say they are not. Perhaps, for instance, you have heard of the Roman Catholic idea of “mortal” and “venial” sins. Here is how The Catechism of the Catholic Church delineates these two concepts of sin:


1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture, became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us – that is, charity – necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”…

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.[1]

Many Protestants have tended to reject such notions and to suggest that all sins are equal in the eyes of God. But is this so? And if it is not so, must we hold to some idea of mortal/venial sins? Or is possible to reject both the Roman Catholic concept of mortal/venial sin on the one hand and the idea that all sins are equal on the other?

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This Week

img_0807_8_9_first-baptist-church-newport-ps-2-signed-xlJust a little note to say that I am preaching revival services at First Baptist Church, Newport, Arkansas, this week so there will be no sermon audio or manuscripts posted until next week.  It has been an honor to be able to spend time in worship this week with this wonderful church, with Greg Dills, their pastor, and with Billy Davis, the Central Baptist Church Minister of Music who is leading the worship team in revival this week.  Please pray for tonight’s concluding meeting.  We’ve seen the Lord do amazing things!

Job 40-42

Job-SufferingJob 40

1 And the Lord said to Job: 2 “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 3 Then Job answered the Lord and said: 4 “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. 5 I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” 6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 7 “Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? 9 Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his? 10 “Adorn yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor. 11 Pour out the overflowings of your anger, and look on everyone who is proud and abase him. 12 Look on everyone who is proud and bring him low and tread down the wicked where they stand. 13 Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below. 14 Then will I also acknowledge to you that your own right hand can save you. 15 “Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. 16 Behold, his strength in his loins, and his power in the muscles of his belly. 17 He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. 19 “He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! 20 For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play. 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, in the shelter of the reeds and in the marsh. 22 For his shade the lotus trees cover him; the willows of the brook surround him. 23 Behold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightened; he is confident though Jordan rushes against his mouth. 24 Can one take him by his eyes, or pierce his nose with a snare?

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Mark 3:7-19

MarkSeriesTitleSlide1Mark 3

7 Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea 8 and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. 9 And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, 10 for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. 11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known. 13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

An interesting article appeared online recently. It was entitled, “Atheist author explains how Christianity conquered Europe like Starbucks monopolized coffee.” It was a talk given at the Chalke Valley History Festival by author Matt Ridley, a science writer who also is a member of the House of Lords. The talk was entitled, “The Evolution of Everything: How Ideas Emerge.”

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John H. Walton’s The Lost World of Adam and Eve

9780830824618This work constitutes a continuation of Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One, that I reviewed earlier.  The basic thesis of The Lost World of Genesis One is repeated here and that line of thought is thereafter applied to Genesis 2 and 3.  This work is more detailed and also, I would say, more difficult than the first book.  Allow me to say up front that this is one of those works that I’m going to need to tackle a second time, so my comments here need to be seen as first-pass reflections.

Walton continues here is thesis that Genesis is talking more about function than material origins and that Genesis 1 is using temple inauguration language and not propounding empirical science.  We find here the same heavy reliance on parallel ancient creation accounts as a hermeneutical key and the same application of Walton’s conclusions to the modern controversies surrounding biblical creationism and evolution.  Concerning this last aspect, I would say that Walton offers a more passionate and, it seemed to me, more personal plea for Christians not to create conflicts where they don’t actually exist.

Walton argues that Adam and Eve serve a priestly function in Eden which, when compared to other ancient understandings of temple, should be seen as a sacred grove.  Priests in the ancient world often tended to sacred groves and served the deity within temples.  Among other interesting proposals, Walton suggests that Genesis does not necessarily suggest that Adam and Eve lived in Eden (priests in the ancient world did not live in the sacred groves – they simple entered them to tend and maintain them), that the serpent should be seen as a “creature of chaos” that came to threaten order with disorder, that Genesis does not necessarily say that Eve and the serpent had their conversation in the garden (it could have been in the disordered world outside of the garden), that since Genesis is not discussing science and material origins it is not necessary to read it as saying that Adam and Eve were actually the first people created, that nothing in the Bible suggests that death itself was part of the Fall, that there was a historical Adam but that Genesis’ description of Adam is primarily archetypal (which is not unusual, Walton argues, since there are other figures in the Bible, like Melchizedek and, indeed, like Jesus, who appear to be historical and archetypal), that Adam’s “rib” is more accurately translated as Adam’s “side” and that this may mean that Adam was cut in two, as it were, and Eve made from the other side, and that Adam and Eve should be seen not as the first two humans but as the first two humans that God chose to call to be His image bearers and to call humanity from disorder to order.

It should be said that Walton consistently argues that he believes what the Bible says and has a high view of scripture.  He is not arguing that the Bible is wrong.  He is arguing that our interpretations of Genesis have been wrong.  He does point to a few historical cautions concerning hermeneutics that might help his cause, primarily from the Reformation era, but it again must be noted that if what Walton is proposing here is correct then two millennia of interpretation concerning Genesis 1-3 are false.  The fact that there are wide divergences of opinion about Genesis 1-3 throughout these two millennia actually strengthens my point, for even with this lack of a monolithic hermeneutic and the presence of a wide range of interpretations on these issues over the last two-thousand years, nobody, to my knowledge, has ever proposed what Walton is proposing here in the way that he is proposing it.  Walton appears to understand this and to admit as such, but he then appeals to Reformation hermeneutical principles contra simply allowing tradition to eclipse current study and findings in his defense.

I suppose my interest after this first journey through the book is more philosophical than anything.  Again, one does not gather that Walton is trying to retreat from science (he actually seems to be as skeptical of modern naive scientism as he is of naive modern a-contextual hermeneutics) in his proposals but rather than he genuinely feels that the ancient context of these creation accounts leads naturally to these interpretations.  I will say – and I speak as one who is instinctively extremely cautious about these kinds of paradigm shattering proposals (thank you Vincent of Lerins) – that Walton certainly does not deserve to be dismissed as a mere contrarian or as some kind of heresy peddler.  His proposal – right or wrong – seems sincerely to want to honor the scriptures as God’s word to humanity and to take into account how ancient people thought and spoke of these matters.

I feel that a great deal hinges on Walton’s hermeneutical apriori concerning what role ancient cosmologies should have in our interpretations of Genesis.  His arguments have weight to the extent that his premises are true, the primary premise being this:  when ancient people did cosmology they did not have material origins in mind but rather function.  One wonders if it really is quite that simple, though the evidence Walton marshall’s cannot responsibly be dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders.  One wonders further, if that premise is true, if that necessarily means that Genesis 1-3 is speaking of creation in that way or, if it is, if it is speaking of it in that way with such rigid categorization and hermeneutical myopia.  It seems to me that Walton is trying to argue on the one hand that the entire enterprise of the first few chapters of Genesis are strongly beholden to the framework of ancient cosmologies but that this enterprise was simultaneously unique and paradigm shifting in certain crucial ways as well.  Not, I should add, that this is inherently problematic, for we find this phenomenon throughout the Bible:  the appropriation of ancient structures of thought and then their reappropriation in unique and surprising ways. But one cannot help but wonder if the material origins vs. function argument quite so easily closes the door to the concept of creation traditionally understood…or does it simply nuance and qualify it?

Walton has offered a fascinating set of proposals.  He discussion of sin and Adam’s role in it (a discussion that he first says should be carried out by theologians but that he then dives into with real fervor) seemed less clear to me than his arguments concerning Genesis 1-3.

These, again, are some initial reactions to the book.  I intend to work more on understanding what is being said here and the set of issues Walton raises.  For that I do indeed thank him.  It has certainly stretched and challenged me.

Entire Cross Examination Sermon Series

I have removed these sermons from the sidebar “Current Series” menu and they are now embedded in the sermon audio archives under their respective books, but I wanted to preserve them here together as a series as well.


“Cross Examination, Part I”
(1 Corinthians 1:14-25)

“Cross Examination, Part II”
(Mark 8:27-37)

“Cross Examination, Part III”
(Matthew 26:1-16)

“Cross Examination, Part IV”
(Matthew 26:36-46)

“Cross Examination, Part V”
(Matthew 26:47-56)

“Cross Examination, Part VI”
(Matthew 26:57-68)

“Cross Examination, Part VII”
(Matthew 27:1-2,11-14,22-26)

“Cross Examination, Part VIII”
(Matthew 27:27-44)

“Cross Examination, Part IX”
(Luke 23:34)

“Cross Examination, Part X”
(Luke 23:43)

“Cross Examination, Part XI”
(John 19:25-27)

“Cross Examination, Part XII”
(Matthew 27:45-49)

“Cross Examination, Part XIII”
(John 19:28)

“Cross Examination, Part XIV”
(John 19:30)

“Cross Examination, Part XV”
(Luke 23:46)

“Cross Examination, Part XVI”
(Galatians 6:14-16)

“Cross Examination, Part XVII”
(Hebrews 12:1-4)

“Cross Examination, Part XVIII”
(Romans 6:1-14)

[Note: Poor Audio Quality] “Cross Examination, Part XIX”
(Colossians 2:13-15)

Dixie Hardin Singing “How Can It Be?” at Central Baptist Church

A few weeks ago, on July 19, Dixie Hardin sang “How Can It Be?” at Central Baptist Church.  It was a particularly powerful and moving rendition of this song and I thought I’d post the audio.  Here’s mp3 audio.

Exodus 20:4-6

what-are-ten-commandments_472_314_80Exodus 20

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved 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. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

William F. Buckley Jr. once repeated an old story he had heard about the second commandment.

The old chestnut tells of the husband leaving the church service after hearing the rousing sermon on the Ten Commandments with downcast countenance. Suddenly he takes heart. “I never,” he taps his wife on the arm, “made any graven images!”[1]

It is a humorous image, this man cheering himself with the thought that at least he had never carved an idol! It is humorous because it is so very like human beings. We all take a desperate kind of joy in finding the one thing we have not done wrong despite the nine that we have.

Even so, we should probably be careful in assuming we have never made an idol, for idols come in many shapes and sizes and forms. The second commandment is as needed today as it was when it was first given, for the second commandment tells us certain crucial things about our great God.

The second commandment forbids the creation of idols as well as the creation of images of God.

I am going to contend that the second commandment is prohibiting (a) the creation of idols of false gods and (b) the creation of any image of the one true God. First, let us read the text.

4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved 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. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The argument that this commandment is approaching two actions is not agreed upon by all. There is no widespread agreement as to whether it is addressing both of these ideas or whether it is simply forbidding creating any image of God (whereas the first commandment would ostensibly cover the creation of any idols to false gods).

Victor Hamilton raises the possibility that both realities are being addressed here and that, in fact, the first two commandments are connected in covering both of these.

Are the proscribed idols/ images those connected with the other gods of the previous commandment? That is, “You shall have no other gods or even any images portraying those gods.” Or are the proscribed idols images of Yahweh?… One might assume that v. 4 prohibits the representation of the Lord by images, for representation and worship of other deities have already been precluded in the first commandment. It is unlikely that the first commandment prohibits having other gods but forgets to say anything about also not having any physical representations of those deities… However, it seems that it would be images of other gods rather than images of himself that would provoke the Lord’s jealousy. Note that the antecedent of the plural “them” in v. 5 (“ neither pay them homage nor serve them”) is the singular “idol/pesel” of v. 4.[2]

What is more, Deuteronomy 4 contains a sermon from Moses that is widely considered to be commenting on the second commandment. Moses’ words would appear to be addressing both realities: the creation of images of the one, true God as well as idols to false gods.

15 “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully. Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a carved image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. 21 Furthermore, the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he swore that I should not cross the Jordan, and that I should not enter the good land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance. 22 For I must die in this land; I must not go over the Jordan. But you shall go over and take possession of that good land. 23 Take care, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make a carved image, the form of anything that the Lord your God has forbidden you. 24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Moses appears to address the creation of images of God, but he also appears to address the false worship of entities that would pull the children of Israel away from the worship of the Lord God. His acknowledgment of both in a sermon addressing the second commandment is significant.

The common factor in both of these prohibitions is the dilution of true worship. There are those who, missing this point, read certain wooden legalisms into the second commandment. For instance, G. Campbell Morgan writes:

I have known Christian folk who, because of this commandment, would not have their photographs taken, and who refused to have a picture in their houses! This, however, could not have been the Divine intention…Man was not forbidden to make a representation of anything: he is forbidden to use the representation as an aid to worship.

In Westminster Abbey, today, there may be seen a great many vacant niches where images once stood. They were removed not because they were statues, but because lamps were burned in front of them, and worshippers knelt before them. That was essentially a violation of this commandment.[3]

We might say, then, that any object that would call us from the worship of the one true God, who is Spirit, or who might tempt us to offer devotional reverence to it is forbidden by the second commandment. That being said, we will consider primarily the commandment’s prohibition of the creation of images of God in our consideration of the text.

Images of God are prohibited because the creation of such inevitably (a) exalts man and (b) reduces God.

Human efforts to create images of God tend to magnify man and reduce God. They magnify man by allowing his imagination to presume to depict the invisible God. They reduce the glory of God (not, of course, in reality, for nothing can do that, but in our own minds and hearts) by inevitably making less of Him than is His due. The basic theological truth behind this commandment is the fact that no man can see God and that God is spirit.

In Exodus 33 Moses actually asked God to allow him to see Him. The Lord made an astonishing concession by allowing Moses to see part of Him.

18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”

Notice that even though the scriptures employ the anthropomorphic language of God’s “back” and God’s “face” (that is, language that attributes to God physical characteristics), what Moses actually is allowed to see is God’s “goodness” and God’s “glory.” Furthermore, the Lord communicates that man cannot see Him and that, in fact, “man shall not see me and live.”

Why? Because God is utterly and perfectly holy, ineffable, and other. He reveals of Himself what He will, but His self-revelation should not lead us to think that we have a right or an ability to see God outside of what He reveals.

The New Testament further teaches the “unseeability” of God. In John 4:24, Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Later, in 1 John 4:12, John writes, “No one has ever seen God.” Here we see the foundation of the prohibition against images of the divine. We should steadfastly refuse to create images of the Father simply because we are unable to see God and it is an act of great arrogance for us to think we can.

I have been in the Sistine Chapel and stared up with wonder at Michaelangelo’s amazing painting of God reaching to Adam. We give a kind of theological pass to such things, but it should be noted that we truly ought not make such images. J.I. Packer writes, “No statement starting, ‘This is how I like to think of God’ should ever be trusted.”[4] This includes images that are revered as great achievements of Western culture.

The old joke about the little girl who informed her Sunday School teacher that she was drawing a picture of God has some profound truth in it. “But,” her teacher responded to the news, “nobody knows what God looks like.” To which the child retorted, “They will when I’m finished.”

We laugh because it is charming. Even so, the child’s answer reveals a significant truth: man-made images of the Father are necessarily impositions of our own imagination onto the divine. They necessarily are misrepresentations. They necessarily are incapable of accurately relay truth about God.

God has revealed His image in Jesus, and this should be sufficient for us.

However, there is an image of God that is sanctioned by God, sent by God, and Who possesses the blessing of the Father. I am speaking of the second person of the Trinity, the God-man Jesus. In John 1, John put it beautifully when he wrote:

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Recall that it was God’s goodness and God’s glory that Moses had asked to see in Exodus 33. In John 1, John tells us that this is precisely what we do now see: “We have seen his glory.” Where do we see God’s glory? “Glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

How utterly astounding! Christ is the image that reveals the face of God. Would you see God? Look at Jesus. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Paul says the same in Colossians 1.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Jesus is “the image of the invisible God.” Here is another reason why we should not seek to create with our own hands images of the Father: because the eternal image of the Father, Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, has come and been seen. Patrick Miller put it well when he wrote:

The prohibition of idol making, therefore, clearly rests on an understanding that the Lord does not appear in any concrete visible form. So no human being may seek to represent the Lord in such a way. Human-made images of the Lord in any form imaginable are forever excluded. The Lord chooses the manner of divine revelation and appearance.[5]

Indeed He does and indeed He has! He has chosen “the manner of divine revelation and appearance,” and it was a revelation and appearance that the world could not have imagined: God born of a virgin in Bethlehem, God with and among us, God crucified on the cross by and for us, and God rising from the dead. This is the image of God: Jesus!

It is occasionally asked whether or not images of the Son are forbidden just as images of the Father are. I can only share my opinion here. In my opinion, images of the Son are allowable so long as those images are not allowed to be made into idols, for the Son came to be seen and beheld. The barrier to creating images of the Son is the same barrier we face in depicting anything from the two millennia ago, namely cultural and historical distance. But so long as they are respectful depictions of the life and person of Christ, it is hard to imagine how such could be violations of the second commandment given the physical attribution of the Son’s incarnation, that is, given His visibility.

The appearance of the Son, however, does not cheapen the awesome transcendence and ineffability of God. Instead, it heightens our amazement at it. For who could have imagined that when the unseeable God would choose to be seen, would choose to imaged, that He would choose to reveal Himself like this? Christ reveals to us the heart of the Father, and it is a beautiful sight to behold! He reveals that the heart of the Father is one of love and mercy and grace. He reveals that the heart of the Father is one of light, and truth, and forgiveness, and compassion.

We dare not make any feeble image of the Father, for His image has already come: Jesus, the Lamb of God. Let us behold the face of God in the face of the Lord Jesus!

In the presence of the Lamb who has come, how could we ever need some mere idol? He has thrown wide the door of Heaven for all who will come and see. Come to the Father through the Son by the power of the Spirit. Come and behold the God who cannot be contained in images and idols, but who has been gloriously revealed in the Son!


[1] William F. Buckley, Jr. Let Us Talk of Many Things. (Roseville, CA: Forum Prima, 2000), p.471.

[2] Hamilton, Victor P. (2011-11-01). Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary (Kindle Locations 10879-10881,10885-10895). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[3] Morgan, G. Campbell (2010-07-21). The Ten Commandments (p. 26). Kindle Edition.

[4] Packer, J. I. (2008-01-07). Keeping the Ten Commandments (Kindle Location 467). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

[5] Miller, Patrick D. (2009-08-06). The Ten Commandments: Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church (Kindle Locations 1113-1115). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.