Obj. 1. Thou shalt make no graven image. Therefore God forbids the art of sculpturing. Ans. He forbids the abuse, which occurs when we would make a representation of God, and bind the worship of God to images.

Obj. 2. The Holy Scriptures attribute to God the different members of the human body, and thus declare his nature and properties. Therefore it is also lawful to represent God by images. Ans. There is a difference between these figurative expressions used in reference to God, and images; because in the former case there is always something connected with those expressions which guards us against being led astray into idolatry, nor is the worship of God ordinarily tied to those figurative expressions. But it is different in regard to images, for here there is no such safeguard, and it is easy for men to give adoration and worship to them. God himself, therefore, used those metaphors of himself figuratively, that he might help our infirmity, and permits us, in speaking of him, to use the same forms of expression; but he has never represented himself by images and pictures; neither does he desire us to use them for the purpose of representing him, but has, on the other hand, solemnly forbidden them.

Obj. 3. God formerly manifested himself in bodily forms. Therefore it is lawful for us to represent him by similar signs or forms. Ans. God did indeed do this for certain considerations; but he has forbidden us to do the same thing. Nor is it difficult to perceive the reason of this prohibition. God may manifest himself in any way in which he may please to do so; but it is not lawful for any creature to represent God by any sign which he himself has not commanded. The examples are therefore not the same. Furthermore, those forms in which God anciently manifested himself had the promise of his presence in them, and that he would hear those to whom he revealed himself in this way. But this cannot be said of those images which are representations of God, without palpable idolatry. The saints of old, therefore, acted properly in adoring God at, or in those forms, as being present in a special manner in them; but to act thus in reference to images is wicked and idolatrous, seeing that it is done out of presumption and levity, without any divine command or promise. Lastly, those visible appearances in and through which God was pleased to reveal himself to his people of old, continued as long as God desired to make use of them, and as long as they did contribute to idolatry. But the images and pictures which men make in imitation of these ancient manifestations of God, have not been devised for the purpose of revealing God, nor are they representations of those ancient manifestations of God, and are therefore the object and occasion of idolatry.