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516

Part Three

perfection in God. . . .”

64

“For the Church knows full well that her

message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human

heart.”

65

Agnosticism

2127

Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases

the agnostic refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the

existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing

itself, and about which nothing can be said. In other cases, the

agnostic makes no judgment about God’s existence, declaring it

impossible to prove, or even to affirm or deny.

2128

Agnosticism can sometimes include a certain search for

God, but it can equally express indifferentism, a flight from the

ultimate question of existence, and a sluggish moral conscience.

Agnosticism is all too often equivalent to practical atheism.

IV.

“Y

ou

S

hall

N

ot

M

ake

for

Y

ourself

a

G

raven

I

mage

. . .”

2129

The divine injunction included the prohibition of every

representation of God by the hand of man.

Deuteronomy

explains:

“Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at

Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly

by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any

figure. . . .”

66

It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed

himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater

than all his works.”

67

He is “the author of beauty.”

68

2130

Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained

or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically to­

ward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze

serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.

69

2131

Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the

seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the

iconoclasts the veneration of icons—of Christ, but also of the

Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incar­

nate, the Son of God introduced a new “economy” of images.

64

GS

21 § 3.

65

GS

21 § 7.

66

Deut

4:15-16.

67

Sir

43:27-28.

68

Wis

13:3.

69 Cf.

Num

21:4-9;

Wis

16:5-14;

Jn

3:14-15;

Ex

25:10-22;

1 Kings

6:23-28; 7:23-26.

36

1036

1159-1162

300

2500

476