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This page is designed for the answering of questions you might have about Hinduism or Christianity, or the relationship between these two world views.  View Translations in Telugu.

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Q: Is it right or wrong to worship an image of God?
A: The answer to this will depend on which world view you are asking the question of. In Hinduism, the use of an idol is ‘put up with’ as needed by some people in order to visualize God. Most intellectual Hindus would say that this is a lower, but necessary thing. At the popular level of Hinduism, idol worship is very common and viewed as right and good. They view this image as containing a real presence of the deity. At the initiation of the use of an idol in a temple, there is a ceremony where the god inhabits the statue. From this time it is dressed, bathed, fed, put to bed, and wakened.
In the teaching of the Bible, the use of images in worship is clearly forbidden (One of the ten commandments is not to make an image of God). The reason for this is that the use of anything created is ‘less than God’ in such a significant way that it fails to communicate who He is. In addition to this, an image not only fails to communicate who God is, but communicates something about God that is less than he really is. Can the chisel of a man produce something that represents the Creator? The Bible says “No.” The essential issue here is also one of whether God is a product of men’s minds, or whether He exists in His actual nature and communicates this to men. When a man crafts an image—he chooses certain attributes to represent: strength, perfection, beauty, etc. He leaves out many others. The image represents those things that the person crafting it chooses. The very act of image making is a man crafting God because of the person’s choices and preferences. It is essentially this concept and action that the Bible is concerned about: God cannot be made by man. His person and nature is not an issue of preference or likes. In summary, and image has the following problems: 1) it does not adequately or represent the characteristics of God 2) it leaves out many qualities of God 3) it reverses the relationship of men and God- by men fabricating God or something of God 4) an image misses the quality of Gods essential existence, i.e. that God is who He is; God is not a matter of personal preferences.
The only image said to be acceptable to represent God is His son Jesus, the very image of God come into the world. When Philip (a disciple of Jesus) asked Jesus, “Show us the Father,” Jesus answered, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” It is the message of His life and what He has done for mankind that is our communication of the person of God. The essence of it boils down to this— that Jesus died as a sacrifice and substitute for the sins of men. This is the culmination and essential demonstration of God to men: the death of Jesus for men.

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