Nathaniel Dimock

Along with Daniel Waterland, Nathaniel Dimock is a very important reader of the patristic sources.  He helped combat the fallacious claims of the Oxford movement, and while not downplaying various historical discontinuities throughout the ages, he vindicates the Reformed position on the Eucharist as a thoroughly catholic one.

His On Eucharistic Worship in the English Church is now on googlebooks.

Why No Images?

In Acts 17, Paul explains why idols, statues, carvings, and paintings are all improper means of contemplating God.  He says in verses 24-29:

God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Now Paul is saying this on this side of the Incarnation, and so that particular theological argument just cannot stick: if the mere fact of not approving of the use of visual aids in worship is anti-incarnational, then so goes Paul.  But I think there’s a better answer, and I think it is very incarnational.

So, what is Paul’s reasoning against the Greek use of images?  The answer is found in vv 27-29:

…So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

We do not find the Divine nature in gold, silver or stone, and I believe it is fair to say, not even in wood.

We find it in other people, the offspring of God.