They're not graven images, for one. They are two-dimensional.
But even putting this aside (because statues are fine too), what is the reason for God forbidding that graven images be made and worshipped? Because they are necessarily idolatrous. Either one portrays something God created and worships it, and is therefore idolatrous, or one tries to portray God, and necessarily falls into idolatry as well, for the simple fact that God cannot be imagined or portrayed, the divinity is beyond comprehension, and any attempt to portray it necessarily portrays something less than it.
Furthermore, the command is not simply that one cannot make images of created things, but that one cannot worship such things.
We do not portray the incomprehensible divinity, and we do not worship either the saints or the wood and paint on which their images are drawn. The arguments in response to this are usually the following:
- 1) The commandment is that we cannot make images of anything, full stop. Any statue or drawing is sinful.
- 2) We cannot portray God. Jesus is God, therefore we cannot portray Him.
- 3) Religious imagery in Christianity is a very late innovation and is therefore to be discarded.
- 4) Using icons to focus on worship of God or veneration of the saints is necessarily the same as doing those things to the icons themselves.
- 5) All matter is evil, matter cannot be used for worship and therefore anything sacramental/liturgical is idolatrous.
To which I respond:
- 1) God commanded both Moses and Solomon to make statues of cherubims, fruits, and so on.
- 2) This is a faulty and heretical understanding of the Incarnation, and claiming this makes you a non-Christian. Jesus is fully man and fully God, and while we cannot portray the divinity, God has revealed Himself as a man, Jesus. Jesus's human nature was true and full, not a mere mask or puppet for the divinity, therefore we can portray Jesus, Who isPost too long. Click here to view the full text.