Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 35

The Ten Commandments

96. Question: What does God require in the second commandment?

Answer: We are not to make an image of God in any way,[1] nor to worship Him in any other manner than He has commanded in His Word.[2]

[1] Deut. 4:15-19; Is. 40:18-25; Acts 17:29; Rom. 1:23. [2] Lev. 10:1-7; Deut. 12:30; I Sam. 15:22, 23; Matt. 15:9; John 4:23, 24.

97. Question: May we then not make any image at all?

Answer: God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way. Creatures may be portrayed, but God forbids us to make or have any images of them in order to worship them or to serve God through them.[1]

[1] Ex. 34:13, 14, 17; Num. 33:52; II Kings 18:4, 5; Is. 40:25.

98. Question: But may images not be tolerated in the churches as “books for the laity”?

Answer: No, for we should not be wiser than God. He wants His people to be taught not by means of dumb images[1] but by the living preaching of His Word.[2]

[1] Jer. 10:8; Hab. 2:18-20. [2] Rom. 10:14, 15, 17; II Tim. 3:16, 17; II Pet. 1:19.

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