A fresh defense of icons; or, incarnation versus abstraction


Excerpted from a sermon given yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 20) by Fr. Johannes Jacobse at St. Paul Antiochian Church in Naples, Fla.:

The iconoclasts were wrong in this way: When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, you could make an image of Him because He existed just like you and I do – in space and time. Jesus had flesh and blood – just like you and me. He was not a phantom or just a figure in our imagination.

And that is why creating an icon of Jesus Christ is allowed. In fact, St. Paul tells us in scripture that Jesus the Son is the – and I am looking at the English here – “express image” of the Father. Look this up in the Greek and the word is eikov — or “icon.” We are allowed to make an icon of the Eikov, an image of the Image.

So, if you were around two thousand years ago and had your digital camera with you, you could have taken a picture of Jesus and His image could be printed out on paper. He wasn’t an imaginary figure. He wasn’t a concept. He was nothing less than a flesh and blood human being. And, like the faithful of old, you would venerate that image because He was also the Son of God.

Read the entire sermon here.

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