I wanted to post this in a new thread, its a different argument...evidently that's not allowed. That's unfortunate, I hate to see these two distinct arguments get confused.
LOL. I thought so: quick thinking on the part of the mods. You are confused about them being seperate: the loom of Orthodoxy both weaves the seamless garment of the Church, and takes the stray threads of heresy and brades them into a firm cord by which the lost sheep maybe lassoed.
The "Apologia of St John Damascene Against Iconoclasts" is an argument by analogy
No, not in the excerpt you quote. He does not argue from particular to particular because, as St. John explicitely demonstrates the one particular-the depictable likeness (what you call similtude) of God before the Incarnation-does not exist.
The similitude of God is like the Incarnate body of God:
As much as you like the tread the oranges to make the apple juice (hard cider?), I'm going to clean up your terminology.
Deu 4:15 And take good heed to your hearts, for ye saw no similitude in the day in which the Lord spoke to you in Choreb in the mountain out of the midst of the fire:καὶ φυλάξεσθε σφόδρα τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν ὅτι οὐκ εἴδετε ὁμοίωμα ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ᾗ ἐλάλησεν κύριος πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν χωρηβ ἐν τῷ ὄρει ἐκ μέσου τοῦ πυρός
16 lest ye transgress, and make to yourselves a carved image, any kind of figure (EIKWN), the llikeness of male or female,-LXX, Brenton
μὴ ἀνομήσητε καὶ ποιήσητε ὑμῖν ἑαυτοῖς γλυπτὸν ὁμοίωμα πᾶσαν εἰκόνα ὁμοίωμα ἀρσενικοῦ ἢ θηλυκοῦ
ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος· καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος
Phillipians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance [σχῆμα:outward appearance, form, shape] as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The word you harp on in Deuteronomy is the same St. Paul uses in Phillipians: ὁμοίωμα that which is made like (something); likeness, form, appearance. St. Paul addresses your usage in Romans 1:23 καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος
φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like
[i.e. "in the likeness of the image of"] to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Since the Church has used the terms "image" and "likeness" since she wrote the Bible, we should stick with them. The question them becomes since Christ came in the likeness of man, was He a man, or not? Was He in the likeness of a man before he came, or not? Scripture answers those questions:
ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ
ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, form of God
ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου
λαβών, ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων
γενόμενος· καὶ σχήματι εὑρεθεὶς ὡς ἄνθρωπος form of servant
The Word was
in the form of God, i.e. God; but he took
the form of man. He became what He was not. So "The similitude of God is" NOT "like the Incarnate body of God": as St. John points out.
These injunctions were given to the Jews on account of their proneness to idolatry. Now we, on the contrary, are no longer in leading strings. Speaking theologically, it is given to us to avoid superstitious error, to be with God in the knowledge of the truth, to worship God alone, to enjoy the fulness of His knowledge. We have passed the stage of infancy, and reached the perfection of manhood. We receive our habit of mind from God, and know what may be imaged and what may not. The Scripture says, ' You have not seen the likeness of Him.' What wisdom in the law-giver. How depict the invisible ? How picture the inconceivable ? How give expression to the limitless, the immeasurable, the invisible ? How give a form to immensity? How paint immortality? How localise mystery? It is clear that when you contemplate God, who is a pure spirit, becoming man for your sake, you will be able to clothe Him with the human form. When the Invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw a likeness of His form. When He who is a pure spirit, without form or limit, immeasurable in the boundlessness of His own nature, existing as God, takes upon Himself the form of a servant in substance and in stature, and a body of flesh, then you may draw His likeness, and show it to anyone willing to contemplate it. Depict His ineffable condescension, His virginal birth, His baptism in the Jordan, His transfiguration on Thabor, His all-powerful sufferings, His death and miracles, the proofs of His Godhead, the deeds which He worked in the flesh through divine power, His saving Cross, His Sepulchre, and resurrection, and ascent into heaven. Give to it all the endurance of engraving and colour. http://books.google.com/books?id=nkZGAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA9&dq=John+Damascus+form+of+a+servant&hl=en&ei=wsRZTMjRMYXInAfpnLiNCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false
He bore the likeness of His Father from before the ages, but bore the likeness of His mother only after He (once she consented) took it, considerably after Moses put the veil on his face coming down from Sinai. The likeness of His incarnate body is ours, not His by nature. He still, by nature, bears the likeness of His Father.
"And the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire. You heard the voice of His words, but you saw not any form at all." (Deut. 4.12)
καὶ ἐλάλησεν κύριος πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐκ μέσου τοῦ πυρός φωνὴν ῥημάτων ὑμεῖς ἠκούσατε καὶ ὁμοίωμα
οὐκ εἴδετε ἀλλ' ἢ φωνήν Of course they saw no form at all: God had no likeness to man. In fact, having no likeness to man, God had no tongue and hence neither voice nor speech nor language. They heard only a verbal image created by God analogous to the images shown Moses on the mountain, created out of matter by the command of God . As our Father St. John quotes our Father St. Leontios of Neapolis against the rabbis "In worshipping the book of the law, you are not worshipping parchment or colour, but God's words contained in it. So do I worship the image of Christ, neither wood nor colouring for themselves." St. John asks:
Answer me this question. Is there only one God? You answer, "Yes, there is only one Law-giver." Why, then, does He command contrary things? The cherubim are not outside of creation; why, then, does He allow cherubim carved by the hand of man to overshadow the mercy-scat? Is it not evident that as it is impossible to make an image of God, who is uncircumscribed and impassible, or of one like to God, creation should not be worshipped as God. He allows the image of the cherubim who are circumscribed, and prostrate in adoration before the divine throne, to be made, and thus prostrate to overshadow the mercy-seat. It was fitting that the image of the heavenly choirs should overshadow the divine mysteries. Would you say that the ark and staff and mercy-seat were not made? Are they not produced by the hand of man? Are they not due to what you call contemptible matter? What was the tabernacle itself? Was it not an image? Was it not a type and a figure? Hence the holy Apostle's words concerning the observances of the law, "Who serve unto the example and shadow, of heavenly things." As it was answered to Moses, when he was to finish the tabernacle: "See" (He says), "that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shown thee on the Mount." (Heb. 8.5; Ex. 25.40) But the law was not an image. It shrouded the image. In the words of the same Apostle, "the law contains the shadow of the goods to come, not the image of those things." (Heb. 10.1) For if the law should forbid images, and yet be itself a forerunner of images, what should we say? If the tabernacle was a figure, and the type of a type, why does the law not prohibit image-making? But this is not in the least the case. There is a time for everything. (Eccl. 3.1)
And in the fullness of time God the Word took flesh and dwelt among, taking the likeness of us men so that we beheld the likeness of His Father. We celebrate that this month
That's Moses, btw, on the right bearing witness to seeing on Tabor He Whom he could not see on Sinai (Exodus 33:20). But back to your false witness against St. John.
And shortly afterwards: "Keep your souls carefully. You saw not any similitude in the day that the Lord God spoke to you in Horeb from the midst of the fire, lest perhaps being deceived you might make you a graven similitude, or image of male and female......
The Scripture says, "You have not seen the likeness of Him." (Ex. 33.20) What wisdom in the law-giver. How depict the invisible? How picture the inconceivable? How give expression to the limitless, the immeasurable, the invisible? How give a form to immensity? How paint immortality? How localise mystery? It is clear that when you contemplate God, who is a pure spirit, becoming man for your sake, you will be able to clothe Him with the human form. When the Invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw a likeness of His form. When He who is a pure spirit, without form or limit, immeasurable in the boundlessness of His own nature, existing as God, takes upon Himself the form of a servant in substance and in stature, and a body of flesh, then you may draw His likeness, and show it to anyone willing to contemplate it. Depict His ineffable condescension, His virginal birth, His baptism in the Jordan, His transfiguration on Thabor, His all-powerful sufferings, His death and miracles, the proofs of His Godhead, the deeds which He worked in the flesh through divine power, His saving Cross, His Sepulchre, and resurrection, and ascent into heaven. Give to it all the endurance of engraving and colour.-Apologia of St John Damascene Against Iconoclasts [/color]"You have not seen the likeness of Him" paraphrases Deut 4:12, not Ex 33:20.
Exodus 33:20 "But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!"
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth....He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD....and then saith He....behold...and be not faithless, but believing. (20:20,27)
"My LORD and My God."
" When the Invisible One becomes visible to flesh, you may then draw a likeness of His form."
John's implied premise: God prohibits imaging the similitude of God because we have not seen it,
That's not St. John's implied premise, it is God's explicit statement.
9Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; 10Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children. 11And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness. 12And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice. 13And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
15Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire: 16Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, 18The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth: 19And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
therefore God would permit imaging the Incarnate body of God because we have seen it.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth....(Luke 24:39) Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have....He shewed unto them His hands and His side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you...and then saith He....behold...and be not faithless, but believing.
My LORD and God.
If this is not correct, John's argument fails.
your putting words in his mouth is incorrect, and his argument succeeds:God prohibits imaging the likeness of God because we cannot see it, therefore God commands portraying the Incarnate body of God because we have seen it.
God could have appeared to Moses on Sinai in the manner He appeared to Abraham at Mamre, to Isaiah on the Throne and to Ezekiel at Chebar. But
5 the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle...6 And He said, If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make Myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.
7My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude [δόξαν] of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?
Since God spoke not to Moses in a vision, but revealed Himself in His true appearance, i.e. formless, there was no likeness to see, no image to portray. Moses saw His glory not on Sinai, but on Tabor, as shown above. As St. John points out:
Our Lord called His disciples blessed, saying, "Many kings and prophets have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear and have not heard it. Blessed are your eyes which see and your ears which hear." (Mt. 13.16-17) The apostles saw Christ with their bodily eyes, and His sufferings and wonders, and they listened to His words. We, too, desire to see, and to hear, and to be blessed. They saw Him face to face, as He was present in the body. Now, since he is not present in the body to us, we hear His words from books and are sanctified in spirit by the hearing, and are blessed, and we adore, honouring the books which tell us of His words. So, through the representation of images we look upon His bodily form, and upon His miracles and His sufferings, and are sanctified and satiated, gladdened and blessed. Reverently we worship His bodily form, and contemplating it, we form some notion of His divine glory. For, as we are composed of  soul and body, and our soul does not stand alone, but is, as it were, shrouded by a veil, it is impossible for us to arrive at intellectual conceptions without corporeal things. just as we listen with our bodily ears to physical words and understand spiritual things, so, through corporeal vision, we come to the spiritual. On this account Christ took a body and a soul, as man has both one and the other. And baptism likewise is double, of water and the spirit. So is communion and prayer and psalmody; everything has a double signification, a corporeal and a spiritual.
So the question i
s, "Did God say the Israelites could image His similitude had they seen it?" Was the fact its unlike anything in the experience of man the reason we cannot image it?
is irrealis moadlity.
Irrealis modality is a modality that connotes that the proposition with which it is associated is nonactual or nonfactualhttp://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsIrrealisModality.htm
God did not say the Israelites could make an image of His likeness had they seen it, because they couldn not see Him. Your propositon is analgous to "If I were God...." They could not image it because they could not experience it: they never got to like/unlike.
"So be careful to guard your souls, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb on the mountain from the midst of the fire. 16. Do not act lawlessly and make for yourselves a carved form of any image the likeness of male or female. 17. the likeness of any cattle on the earth, or the likeness of any winged bird that flies under heaven. 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, or in the likeness of any fish in the waters beneath the earth."-Deu 4:15-18 Orthodox Bible.
No because this context is Moses' exegesis of the second commandment, which adds infinite heaven, where every possible image would exist, to the list of areas containing forbidden likenesses of His similitude:
And? Man do not see Cherubim either, but God commanded Moses to create images of them according to what He revealed to him on the Mount. As St. John points out:
We know that it is impossible to look upon God, or a spirit, or a demon, as they are. They are seen in a certain form, divine providence clothing in type and figure what is without substance or material being, for our instruction, and more intimate knowledge, lest we should be in too great ignorance of God, and of the spirit world. For God is a pure Spirit by His nature. The angel, and a soul, and a demon, compared to God, who alone is incomparable, are bodies; but compared to material bodies, they are bodiless. God therefore, not wishing that we should be in ignorance of spirits, clothed them in type and figure, and in images akin to our nature, material forms visible to the mind in mental vision. These we put into form and shape, for how were the cherubim represented and described in image? But Scripture offers forms and images even of God.
"You shall not make yourself an image, neither any likeness of anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth."-Deu 5:8 OB
God had revealed Himself in fire at Horeb, condescending to a Personal relationship with HIs people. It would be abhorrent to God if His children began to visualize Him as some dungy image as they communed with His Spirit.
Agreed. Therefore St. John tells us
First there is the natural image. In everything the natural conception must be the first, then we come to institution according to imitation. The Son is the first natural and unchangeable image of the invisible God, the Father, showing the Father in Himself. "For no man has seen God." (Jn. 1.18) Again, "Not that any one has seen the Father." (Jn. 6.46) The apostle says that the Son is the image of the Father: "Who is the image of the invisible God," (Col. 1.15) and to the Hebrews, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the figure of His substance." (Heb. 1.3) In the Gospel of St John we find that He does show the Father in Himself. When Philip said to Him, "Show us the Father and it is enough for us," our Lord replied, "Have I been so long with you and have you not known Me, Philip? He who sees Me, sees the Father." (Jn. 14.8-9) For the Son is the natural image of the Father, unchangeable, in everything like to the Father, except that He is begotten, and that He is not the Father. The Father begets, being unbegotten. The Son is begotten, and is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. For no one can say the Lord Jesus, except in the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12.3) Through the Holy Spirit we know Christ, the Son of God and God, and in the Son we look upon the Father. For in things that are conceived by nature,* language is the interpreter, and spirit is the interpreter of language. The Holy Spirit is the perfect and unchangeable image of the Son, differing only in His procession. The Son is begotten, but does not proceed. And the son of any father is his natural image. Thus, the natural is the first kind of image.
Therefore, we see Him as He is, rather than visualize Him after our imagination.
"I am the Lord God; this is my Name. I will not give my glory to another, not My praise to carved images."-Isaiah 42:8 OB
When the transcendent God becomes a detestable image in the psyche of man, any personal relationship with God is defiled, driving God away:
When the transcendent God beame the image and likeness of man, He made a personal realtionship with God possible. It is because the veil of Moses still is over your heart, you cannot see the Lawgiver Who came to His own and His own did not receive Him.
"Then He said to me, "Son of man, do you see what they are doing? They commit great acts of lawlessness here to keep Me from My sanctuary."-Ezekiel 8:6 OP
56Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. John 8.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (1Jo 5:21 NKJ)
St. John the Theologian begins
1:1 That [rather "He"] which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full
Since you reject his words and his successor, you reject Him Who sent him.