Images of God

Before the Incarnation, there were no images made of God.  In fact, it was expressly forbidden.  But because God took on flesh and became one of us, He then had a specific appearance in time and place, and thus it is permitted for us to make an icon of God as He appears in Jesus Christ.  It has been said this way:

The inconceivable is conceived in the womb of a virgin.  

The immeasurable became 3 cubits high; the unqualifiable acquires a quality; the undefinable stands up, sits down and lies down; He who is everywhere is put into a crib.

He who is above time gradually reaches the age of 12; He who is formless appears with the shape of a man and the incorporeal enters into a body.

Therefore, the same is describable and indescribable.

—from the writings of the Desert Fathers:  St. Theodore the Studite

Every icon is an icon of Christ.  Sometimes that is obvious, as in this icon of Christ the Savior.

Many icons depict a saint. Saints have been transfigured by grace, and God dwells in the temple of their souls.

St. Charles Lwanga, Ugandan Martyr

St. Charles Lwanga, Ugandan Martyr

Their  lives were lived through Him, and with Him, and in Him, and they are with Him still.   Their hands are His hands, their eyes are His eyes . . .  Thus, the icon of a saint, their spiritual portrait, is also an image of Jesus Christ alive in the world.  He is the center of each and every icon.

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About reinkat

I am an iconographer, and have been studying Russian/Greek icons for about 15 years. I'm married with 3 children. I love hiking, camping, animals, my family and church--and icons.
This entry was posted in art, Catholic icons, Catholicism, Christian Prayer, Icon, Iconography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Images of God

  1. lilyboat says:

    Icons are not just painting.. e.g. there are recorded miracles of God through icons! I wish to fill my space with icons one day, a room devoted to Our Lord Jesus. Do you have a favorite icon, one you specially feel drawn to?

    • reinkat says:

      Yes, icons are so much more than paintings–they are said to be “written” and are the good news of God written in line and color rather than words. There are many miracles through them. In Russia, every shrine has medals, jewelry and small gifts hanging on them in thanksgiving for prayers answered. Some icons weep tears of blood, or water, or myrrh. It’s amazing!
      I have about 50 favorite icons, but at home, the one I most like to pray with is Our Lady of Korsun. The beauty and tenderness of this icon spoke to my heart from the moment I first saw the prototype, and I have written it several times, keeping one for myself to pray with.

      • lilyboat says:

        written.. I did not know that! It is very apt. I looked up Our Lady of Korsun. I have seen it many times before but did not realize there were so many variations! Of course, I loved them all.. I can only imagine the beauty you must experience when you write icons.

      • reinkat says:

        Thanks! Icons have led me deeper into prayer than anything else I have ever experienced. God truly is Beauty itself.

  2. Biltrix says:

    “Before the Incarnation, there were no images made of God. In fact, it was expressly forbidden. But because God took on flesh and became one of us, He then had a specific appearance in time and place, and thus it is permitted for us to make an icon of God as He appears in Jesus Christ.”

    You know, it is hard for me to put into words what this means for me. It answers a lot of questions and puts many things into perspective. The “Word made flesh” is the deepest mystery of mysteries, not only for our faith, but also for history, culture, art, convention. The impact is unfathomable.

    Thanks for this post!

  3. Biltrix says:

    Reblogged this on Biltrix and commented:
    Great post from Reinkat today. This simple, short post tells me so much.

    Check out her previous post on “Sacred Geometry” too. This is true Catholic culture that our Religious minds are thirst for.

  4. I enjoy all of your posts. Keep up the good work and the inspiring sacred art!
    May you have a happy and spiritually prosperous Lent!

  5. Pingback: Busted Halo Summer School 2014 - Busted Halo

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