Monday, December 1, 2014

Images of the Holy Spirit are idolatrous

It is true that God was pleased to have an extraordinary visible presence of the Person of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism; however, the rule of our actions is the word of God.

We are commanded not to make any images of the Lord: "so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, [...] the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky" (Deuteronomy 4:16-17) cf. "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to ... birds" (Romans 1:23)

One author, Stephen Jenner, notes that people convert the visible sign of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism to certify to a fact into astanding idol-in violation of the letter, if not of the spirit, of the Second Commandment. George Wotherspoon points out that, "It is surely a species of mad idolatry to form a graven image or a painting of a pigeon, and call it by the name of the Holy Spirit of God." Grace Family Baptist Church (the church Voddie Baucham ministers) also comments "Likewise, to portray the Holy Spirit as a dove is idolatrous, it is impiety and madness for man to create images of them – those which are unseen and unseeable. That the Spirit is portrayed as dove in the gospels no more give man warrant to do so than if we were to make an image of God the Father because we find Scripture telling us of His hands, arms, wings, and the like. Calvary Chapel uses a dove as its logo."

It is also a sad observation of one of my friends that "The custom of representing the Holy Spirit in human form had become rather common during the time of the humanistic movement."

This is also observed in the footnotes of the selection above by John Woolley:

"One of the earliest and most celebrated examples of the Holy Ghost made man by the power of art, is mentioned in an English manuscript, attributed to St. Dunstan, who died in 988, and was Archbishop of Canterbury. In this curious volume, the three Divine Persons are all represented in the human form. The Father is drawn as an emperor, and aged; the Son as Christ, and holding His cross, is younger, and may,perhaps, be thirty years of age; the Holy Ghost, who has no distinguishing attribute, is young and almost beardless. From the fourteenth century to the sixteenth representations of the Holy Ghost abound, and considering the Holy Ghost, with reference to age alone, we find figures of Him in the human form, varying from the tenderest infancy, some months only, or a few years of age, up to an advanced period of old age. In a manuscript of the fifteenth century, He is exhibited floating upon the waters, at the moment when God is creating the heaven and the earth. The Holy Ghost is extended upon the waves, which are slightly agitated; He is a naked infant just born."

Very sad that some professing Christians view the Holy Spirit in this way and even more monstrous views e.g. Jenn Johnson of Bethel Redding views the Holy Spirit “like the genie from Aladdin. And He’s blue. And He’s funny. And He’s sneaky.”

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3:17) May the Lord free us from our idolatrous thoughts of Him, to the true knowledge of Him as revealed in His word.

Westminster Larger Catechism:

"Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: [...] the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in anykind of image or likeness of any creature: Whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; [...]"