Does seeing a image of Christ cause sin?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Spinningplates2, May 26, 2009.

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  1. Spinningplates2

    Spinningplates2 Puritan Board Freshman

    This thread is not to argue about images. This board has a policy that is in agreement with the historic position, so please let's not use this thread to argue about that here.

    My question is: If a person is surprised by someone wearing a image of Christ on a tee shirt, have they both sinned? That is, has the one who wore the shirt and the person who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I ask because I have recently been told the the WCF clearly teaches that if a person even views a image then that person has to repent because of the sin of breaking the 2nd commandment.

    I think that sin comes from our own heart. Can anyone please give me an example of a place in the bible that would support the fact that another person could cause (not tempt) me into sin? If this extreme view is correct couldn't a person camp outside my house and cause me to sin every time I walked outside?
  2. WaywardNowHome

    WaywardNowHome Puritan Board Freshman

    What would your answer be if you saw someone wearing a t-shirt with the image of a naked woman on it? Did the wearer of said shirt cause you to sin?

    Personally, I don't know. I look forward to reading the responses. :)
  3. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I would have answer that by asking another question. Would seeing someone stealing cause you to sin? No and neither would seeing someone else's sin of putting up Christ's image. Your heart is right on this matter not the person showing His image.
  4. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    Another "question for an answer" might be, if you drove by a Church that has a cross on it's steeple, would it be a sin for you to visually see the cross? No. Would it be a sin for you to place a cross on your own Church's steeple? Yep.
  5. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    I am inclined to answer no on this question, simply by thinking of the hypothetical scenario in which Jesus was confronted by a purported image of God. There is no way to say that He could have sinned in such a scenario; that He happened not to come across such an image during His thirty-three years is not sufficient to eradicate the problem.

    In other words, if simply viewing a purported image of God were enough to cause sin, then it is not the case that Jesus was unable to sin. Jesus was unable to sin; therefore simply viewing a purported image of God is not a sin in itself. This argument seems pretty sound to me.

    But of course, more distinctions have to be made to understand the scenario: what is the threshold when one goes from not sinning to sinning? It's clearly true that some people sin when they see an image of God, and if it's possible not to sin when viewing one, then some threshold must exist. I would contend that it's similar to looking at an attractive girl, to go off of Joel's example: seeing her at first would not cause sin, but it depends on how one acts next.

    Otherwise, I'm stumped as to how exactly we must act regarding a purported image of God in order to sin...maybe if we think that it accurately represents God, or if we reverence the picture? The former would occur only if we permitted the image ourselves, whereas the latter might occur in someone who professes opposition to images.

    I don't know...that's the end of my train of thought. :graduate:
  6. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

  7. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Kevin you are stealing my usual answer! Don't tell me that my laziness is catching! :D
  8. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    You'll conveniently notice that I inserted "purported" before each one. :) I remember your response in the other images of Christ thread. :detective:
  9. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Ah. Well, I was just being obnoxious anyway. :)
  10. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Who doesn't?:lol::lol:
  11. tellville

    tellville Puritan Board Junior

    I've never heard it put that way before. Fascinating.
  12. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    Hmmm... that answer kinda wraps this one up. Everybody ready to go have a beer? :cheers2:
  13. Whitefield

    Whitefield Puritan Board Junior

    Now that is a great subject for another thread! Is a cross on a church steeple a sin?
  14. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I find it strange that seeing Jesus is just as bad as seeing prngraphy.
  15. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    As long as you don't 'make' the image or 'bow to it and worship it' then you are ok.

    Josh, I thought your middle name was 'Wade'?
  16. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Mary K. Baxter would likely disagree ;)
  17. tabrooks

    tabrooks Puritan Board Freshman


    Why would it be a sin for a church to have a cross on steeple?
  18. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    It depends on the reaction that your heart has to the image.

    If one is wearing a pornographic image on their shirt and you begin to lust, it's sin.

    If one is wearing a picture of Jesus on their shirt and you begin to think the image is something spiritually special, then it's sin.

    If you see someone stealing and you think to yourself, "hey, that's a good way to make a buck"...then you've sinned.
  19. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist Staff Member

    He didn't say it was... his point was that the t-shirt wearer isn't the effectual cause of your sin, whatever is on the shirt.
  20. reformedminister

    reformedminister Puritan Board Sophomore

  21. Glenn Ferrell

    Glenn Ferrell Puritan Board Junior

    When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, I visited the temple near the royal palace where they keep the Emerald Buddha, an especially venerated image to Thai Buddhists. I also saw multiple images of Buddha in touring other shrines. I did not worship or ascribe any deity to the images I viewed. My visits were for educational purposes, to understand the history and culture of the Thai people, and their dominant religious tradition.

    One might visit the mediaeval cathedrals of Europe with a similar intent, though they display purported images of “Christ.”

    I never saw the Gibson film, “The Passion of the Christ.” I have no desire to see it and warned others against its viewing. However, I can imagine someone viewing such a film for the purpose of understanding idolatrous religious propaganda, that they might better respond to it. Of course, one should consider if such vivid and emotional images may leave unforgettable and damaging pictures in his mind. Thus, on should only consider viewing such if they are fairly certain they can maintain a degree of detachment, and are not especially vulnerable in this area. I can imagine it would be more dangerous for a former Roman Catholic to view “The Passion,” as well as the young and impressionable. I’m in no way condoning viewing it as entertainment or as an act of religious piety.

    Seems to be a matter of intent. Does one intend to display an image of Christ or any other person of the godhead? Viewing other’s false images without attaching the identity of God or Christ to such image can not be sin; though it may be a temptation, and dangerous for many.
  22. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    No. Intent is the motivator here. I like what James says:

    Turning the corner and running into someone who is wearing a tee shirt with the image of Christ on it is spontaneous. There was no time for temptation or it's prerequisite, lust. If your conscience is sensitive to such things, then pray for the person wearing the tee shirt. If you're feeling really bold, inquire as to their understanding of the second commandment.
  23. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    I seem to remember Paul being thrown into a religious fit when perusing idols...
  24. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    Jesus is not being equated to the sin of p0rnography....the sin of idolatry is.
  25. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

    My thoughts about just viewing an image of Jesus being sin is that is pushing legalism to the max!!
  26. Spinningplates2

    Spinningplates2 Puritan Board Freshman

    What time (religous fit) are you thinking of? Because I think of Paul truthfully explaining idols to the people at Mars Hill but I do not remember him getting to the point and saying, "and seeing the idol of the unknown God made me sin."
  27. Andrew P.C.

    Andrew P.C. Puritan Board Junior

    The only problem to your argument is that Christ is the only one who has seen the Father. Even if you were to be "hypothetical" about such a matter you still miss the point that the only person who can and has seen the face of the Father is His only Son. Therefore, the entire "problem" of the second commandment doesn't matter in this context.
  28. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

  29. historyb

    historyb Puritan Board Junior

    I would say no too, I have one above my couch and I look at it and don't sin.
  30. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    I was referring to an instance in which someone else constructed a purported image of God and showed it before Christ. That Christ would know what the Father looks like would only confirm to him that such an image is falsely representing God.
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