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Graven Pagan images are forbidden                  in the Bible. Are statues of Mary, forbidden Pagan gods?


  1. Is Mary another Pagan god?
  2. An image of a Pagan god is made & God is angry
  3. Why did God order images to be made?
  4. Why do they leave out verse 3 "other gods?"
  5. Is Mary associated with Satan or Jesus?

I was once asked by a Baptist friend why we make graven images of Mary, since it is forbidden in the Bible. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them (Ex 20:4-5). She was quoting Exodus 20:4-5 in an attempt to show that any and all images of Mary and the saints were not Biblical. 

And so I asked her if Mary the mother of Jesus existed at the time of Exodus 20? She answered "no!"  I explained to her that in order to carry this forward to see if we can apply it to Mary, we first have to know which images are forbidden by God Exodus 20.  Since Mary did not exist at that time, I asked her specifically "what is Exodus 20-4-5 speaking against?" She said very honestly "I don't know."  By answering this way, she was in effect admitting that she didn't know the context and yet she was applying this to Mary. I then explained to her that in quoting Exodus 20:4-5, she had left out verse 3, the context.

Is Mary another Pagan god? Exodus 20:3 says "you shall have no other gods before me."  So then I asked her if Mary the mother of Jesus was another god and she said, "no." I then explained to her that Exodus 20:3-5 cannot be used against Jesus' mother Mary since she is not a god in opposition to the one true God. She is the mother of Jesus, pointing to the one true God; "Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you" (Jn 2:5). 

At this point she had this whimsical look on her face and began to smile. She said, “I never looked at it that way before!”

She had the honesty to admit she didn’t know the context and therefore she has my admiration. Why was she using the Bible out of context in Exodus 20:3-5?  She was simply taught this way by her Baptist tradition. She had no idea that she was using Exodus 20:3-5 out of context until I brought it to her attention.

I have had this same discussion many times with people on social media.  Some of these people still deny the context "other gods."  by ignoring the context, they believe this applies to any and all images, including images of Mary.  I find this a little amusing since on social media, they show their own image (photograph) of themselves. If all images are forbidden, are they their own Pagan god? When I bring this to their attention, they usually don't have a response.

An image of a Pagan god is made & God is angry: The followers of the one true God were specifically told not to "make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold" (Ex 20:23). However, a time came when the people of God were in rebellion and asked Aaron to make a god, who will be their leader. "He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought your up out of the land of Egypt!'" (Ex 32:4).

God was not pleased and complained to Moses; "Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf" (Ex 32:7-8). Why did God oppose these images? 

These were images of a Pagan god who the people credited with taking them out of Egypt, while denying the one true God who actually did bring them out.

Why did God order images to be made? If all images are forbidden, then why did God order images to be made?  It is interesting to note that people who make arguments against all images, do not bring up the fact that God ordered images. In one instance God ordered angels (cherubs) to be put on both ends of the Ark: Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends (Ex 25:19).  Why did God earlier in Exodus forbid images of Heaven and earth and then later in Exodus order images of angels to be put on the Ark.  This is because God forbade images of Pagan Gods in chapter 20. However, the angels that were ordered in chapter 25 were images of friends of God, pointing to the one true God.     

The Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live" (Nm 21:8). One person made the point that King Hezeki′ah, "broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made...(2 Kgs 18:4)."  This was his proof text that we shouldn't be making images of Mary and the saints.  What am I to believe, that Lord got it wrong when he ordered the serpent to made and Hezeki'ah finally got it right when he destroyed it? Again, part of the context was left out.  The reason that Hezeki'ah, destroyed bronze serpent was because the people of Israel began to treat the image as though it was a god, by burning incense to it! 

God opposed images of pagan gods. And on the other hand, God ordered images to be made.  He ordered angels to be put on the Arc and a seraph to be mounted on a pole.  

These images were ordered by God and were not forbidden because they were not images of Pagan gods. They were images that pointed to the one true God. 

Does Mary or any of the Saints turn people away from the one true God?  The answer is no. Mary is not a Pagan god turning people away from Jesus? In fact, it is Mary, who points to Jesus. She says,  

"Do whatever He [Jesus] tells you" (Jn 2:5).

Why do they leave out verse 3 "other gods?" People who use Exodus 20:4-5 against the use of Christian and Jewish images usually leave out verse 3; "you shall have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:3).  The reason they leave out verse 3 is simple, the moment you mention "other gods" then you can not use Exodus against images of Mary and the saints. Mary and the saints are not Pagan gods, but friends of the one true God.  There is another reason why many people cite Exodus 20:4-5 and leave out verse 3 "other gods". There tradition has taught them to leave out verse 3 and they simply do not realize that they are leaving out part of the context.

There are those who quote Exodus 20:4-5 and claim this is a refutation of images of Jesus' mother Mary and treat her as though she is another god at odds with the one true God. However, if I were to call your mother a Pagan god you would be insulted and you would have every right to be upset. Because no mother including Jesus' mother is a Pagan god.

Is Mary associated with Satan or Jesus? However, this isn't the worst abuse of Scripture as it relates to Mary. One person speaking against the  role of Mary, quoted Jesus in Mathew "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him" (Mt 4:10). Then she posed the question, "why should we honor and exalt Mary, when Jesus claims that He alone is to be served? On the surface this might appear to be an interesting even compelling question.  However, she left out part of verse 10, the context. This was not a quote where Jesus was putting Mary in her place.  It was a quote putting Satan in his place.

“Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him’” (Mt 4:10).

Mary wasn't tempting Jesus, His great adversary Satan was.  And so why would anyone use a quote that Jesus intended for Satan and apply it to Jesus' mother Mary?  By using Scripture this way some people are treating Mary as though she is the adversary of god in league with Satan, instead of the Mother of God (Jesus) . They should not be using verses where Jesus rebukes Satan and then attempt to apply these same verses to Mary.

We cannot use Exodus 20:3-5 against Mary because she is not another Pagan god in opposition to the one true God. We cannot use Mathew 4:10 against Mary because Jesus is not admonishing her. He is in fact correcting Satan. 

And so to use Biblical passages that are meant for other gods and for Satan and then attempt to apply them to Mary is an abuse of Scripture.

This is one of the many reasons why so many wonderful Evangelicals are becoming Catholic. They begin to see the lack of intellectual integrity from their own  traditions.  Context is everything!

My Baptist friend, after seeing the intellectual dishonesty in using Exodus 20:3-5 against Mary and the saints, is no longer my Baptist friend. She is now my Catholic friend. Welcome home Gina!!!

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1st COMMANDMENT OF GOD: I am the Lord thy God thou shalt not have strange gods before you!

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me (Ex 20:2-5). “You shall not make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold" (Ex 20:23). 

THE LORD ORDERS ANGELS TO BE MADE: This is what the Lord then said to Moses.  Make two angels of beaten Gold for the two ends of the  propitiatory (Exodus 25, 18-19).

GOD ORDERS A BRONZE SERPENT: [People complain about food] In punishment the Lord sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the Lord and you. Pray the Lord to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the Lord prayed for the people, and the Lord said to Moses, “Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it n a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered (Nm 21, 6-9).    

BRONZE SERPENT SMASHED He [Hosea] pleased the Lord, just as his one. It was he who removed the high places, shattered the pillars, and cut down the sacred poles. He smashed the bronze serpent called Nehnshtnn, which Moses had made, because up to that time the Israelites were burning incense to it. He put his trust in the Lord, the God of Israel; and neither before him nor after him was there anyone like him among all the kings of Judah, Loyal to the Lord, Hezekiah never turned away from him, but observed the commandments which the Lord had given Moses (2 Kgs 18, 3-6).

JESUS LIFTED UP And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life. For God so loved the (Jn 3, 14-18).