I've been reading a lot of the early Church Fathers lately. I clearly see a strong sacraficial theology behind the Eucharist, and I also see clear evidence of a Real Presence. The Protestant editors try to argue against a Real Presence interpretation, but I think they're crazy and are simply avoiding a clear truth.
However, I have been somewhat disconcerted with what the early Christians believed what was idolatry. Nowhere have I seen any mention of Christian art, and it seems that the Christian Fathers only argue against the use of religious art as being idolatry. Granted, the Fathers were mostly against the creation of religious art because of the prevalence of pagan statues of gods, etc.; but I find it interesting that Tertullian, among others, say that the creation of graven objects in the Bible is an exception
and not the rule
. Tertullian implies, in his "On Idolatry," that the creation of the graven serpent was an exception and should not be used as a proof that it is all right to create graven objects, or any likeness of things on earth or in heaven, for that matter.
So, I'm just really worried that maybe I'm not doing what God has commanded. I understand that Catholics and Orthodox don't worship the objects in themselves but those persons that these symbols represent. But nevertheless I wonder what the early Church would think if they were to enter an Orthodox or Catholic church. How can I be sure that the use of graven and other religious arts are ok and do not go against the First Commandment, even if we distinguish between symbol and the end of our worship?
The Catholic position, if I understand it correctly, is that since the Jews produced certain religious art in the OT by God's command (the serpent, the ceribum, etc.), that we are allowed to create religious art today, so long as it is used for the worship of the one and only God. Are there any good early Christian Fathers who support the use of Christian art as a rule and not as an exception? Thanks!