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Hick goes on to consider the following additional attributes: Creator being the source of all that composes his creation "creatio ex nihilo" and the sustainer of what he has brought into being; Personal ; Loving, Good ; and Holy. He then analyses a series of intellectual attributes: knowledge-omniscience ; wisdom ; veracity and then, the moral attributes of goodness including love, grace, mercy and patience ; holiness and righteousness before dealing finally with his sovereignty.

Early Christians believed that the words of the Gospel of John "No man has seen God at any time" and numerous other statements were meant to apply not only to God, but to all attempts at the depiction of God. However, later on the Hand of God symbol is found several times in the only ancient synagogue with a large surviving decorative scheme, the Dura Europos Synagogue of the mid-3rd century, and was probably adopted into Early Christian art from Jewish art. It was common in Late Antique art in both East and West, and remained the main way of symbolizing the actions or approval of God the Father in the West until about the end of the Romanesque period.

It also represents the bath Kol literally "daughter of a voice" or voice of God, just like in Jewish Art. In situations, such as the Baptism of Christ , where a specific representation of God the Father was indicated, the Hand of God was used, with increasing freedom from the Carolingian period until the end of the Romanesque.

This motif now, since the discovery of the 3rd century Dura Europos synagogue , seems to have been borrowed from Jewish art , and is found in Christian art almost from its beginnings. The use of religious images in general continued to increase up to the end of the 7th century, to the point that in , upon assuming the throne, Byzantine emperor Justinian II put an image of Christ on the obverse side of his gold coins, resulting in a rift which ended the use of Byzantine coin types in the Islamic world.

For instance, while the eighty second canon of the Council of Trullo in did not specifically condemn images of The Father, it suggested that icons of Christ were preferred over Old Testament shadows and figures. The beginning of the 8th century witnessed the suppression and destruction of religious icons as the period of Byzantine iconoclasm literally image-breaking started. Emperor Leo III — , suppressed the use of icons by imperial edict of the Byzantine Empire , presumably due to a military loss which he attributed to the undue veneration of icons.

In this atmosphere, no public depictions of God the Father were even attempted and such depictions only began to appear two centuries later. The Second Council of Nicaea in effectively ended the first period of Byzantine iconoclasm and restored the honouring of icons and holy images in general.

Even supporters of the use of icons in the 8th century, such as Saint John of Damascus , drew a distinction between images of God the Father and those of Christ. In his treatise On the Divine Images John of Damascus wrote: "In former times, God who is without form or body, could never be depicted.

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But now when God is seen in the flesh conversing with men, I make an image of the God whom I see". So what was true for the whole Trinity before Christ remains true for the Father and the Spirit but not for the Word. John of Damascus wrote: [50]. It is impossible to portray one who is without body:invisible, uncircumscribed and without form. Around Charlemagne ordered a set of four books that became known as the Libri Carolini i. Although not well known during the Middle Ages, these books describe the key elements of the Catholic theological position on sacred images.

To the Western Church , images were just objects made by craftsmen, to be utilized for stimulating the senses of the faithful, and to be respected for the sake of the subject represented, not in themselves. The Council of Constantinople considered ecumenical by the Western Church, but not the Eastern Church reaffirmed the decisions of the Second Council of Nicaea and helped stamp out any remaining coals of iconoclasm.


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Specifically, its third canon required the image of Christ to have veneration equal with that of a Gospel book: [51]. We decree that the sacred image of our Lord Jesus Christ, the liberator and Savior of all people, must be venerated with the same honor as is given the book of the holy Gospels.

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For as through the language of the words contained in this book all can reach salvation, so, due to the action which these images exercise by their colors, all wise and simple alike, can derive profit from them. But images of God the Father were not directly addressed in Constantinople in A list of permitted icons was enumerated at this Council, but symbols of God the Father were not among them.

Prior to the 10th century no attempt was made to use a human to symbolize God the Father in Western art.

A rationale for the use of a human is the belief that God created the soul of Man in the image of His own thus allowing Human to transcend the other animals. It appears that when early artists designed to represent God the Father, fear and awe restrained them from a usage of the whole human figure.

Typically only a small part would be used as the image, usually the hand, or sometimes the face, but rarely a whole human.

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In many images, the figure of the Son supplants the Father, so a smaller portion of the person of the Father is depicted. By the 12th century depictions of God the Father had started to appear in French illuminated manuscripts , which as a less public form could often be more adventurous in their iconography, and in stained glass church windows in England. Gradually the amount of the human symbol shown can increase to a half-length figure, then a full-length, usually enthroned, as in Giotto 's fresco of c.

The "Gates of Paradise" of the Florence Baptistry by Lorenzo Ghiberti , begun in use a similar tall full-length symbol for the Father.

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The Rohan Book of Hours of about also included depictions of God the Father in half-length human form, which were now becoming standard, and the Hand of God becoming rarer. At the same period other works, like the large Genesis altarpiece by the Hamburg painter Meister Bertram , continued to use the old depiction of Christ as Logos in Genesis scenes. In the 15th century there was a brief fashion for depicting all three persons of the Trinity as similar or identical figures with the usual appearance of Christ. Daniel In the Annunciation by Benvenuto di Giovanni in , God the Father is portrayed in the red robe and a hat that resembles that of a Cardinal.

However, even in the later part of the 15th century, the symbolic representation of the Father and the Holy Spirit as "hands and dove" continued, e.


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  8. In Renaissance paintings of the adoration of the Trinity, God may be depicted in two ways, either with emphasis on The Father, or the three elements of the Trinity. The most usual depiction of the Trinity in Renaissance art depicts God the Father using an old man, usually with a long beard and patriarchal in appearance, sometimes with a triangular halo as a reference to the Trinity , or with a papal crown, specially in Northern Renaissance painting. In these depictions The Father may hold a globe or book to symbolize God's knowledge and as a reference to how knowledge is deemed divine.

    He is behind and above Christ on the Cross in the Throne of Mercy iconography. A dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit may hover above. Various people from different classes of society, e. They are depicted as floating in heaven with angels who carry the instruments of the Passion. Representations of God the Father and the Trinity were attacked both by Protestants and within Catholicism, by the Jansenist and Baianist movements as well as more orthodox theologians. As with other attacks on Catholic imagery, this had the effect both of reducing Church support for the less central depictions, and strengthening it for the core ones.

    In the Western Church , the pressure to restrain religious imagery resulted in the highly influential decrees of the final session of the Council of Trent in The Council of Trent decrees confirmed the traditional Catholic doctrine that images only represented the person depicted, and that veneration to them was paid to the person, not the image.

    Artistic depictions of God the Father were uncontroversial in Catholic art thereafter, but less common depictions of the Trinity were condemned. In Pope Benedict XIV explicitly supported the Throne of Mercy depiction, referring to the "Ancient of Days", but in it was still necessary for Pope Pius VI to issue a papal bull condemning the decision of an Italian church council to remove all images of the Trinity from churches. God the Father is symbolized in several Genesis scenes in Michelangelo 's Sistine Chapel ceiling , most famously The Creation of Adam whose image of near touching hands of God and Adam is iconic of humanity, being a reminder that Man is created in the Image and Likeness of God Gen God the Father is depicted as a powerful figure, floating in the clouds in Titian's Assumption of the Virgin in the Frari of Venice , long admired as a masterpiece of High Renaissance art.

    In some of these paintings the Trinity is still alluded to in terms of three angels, but Giovanni Battista Fiammeri also depicted God the Father as a man riding on a cloud, above the scenes. In both the Last Judgment and the Coronation of the Virgin paintings by Rubens he depicted God the Father using the image that by then had become widely accepted, a bearded patriarchal figure above the fray. While representations of God the Father were growing in Italy, Spain, Germany and the Low Countries, there was resistance elsewhere in Europe, even during the 17th century.

    In most members of the Star Chamber court in England except the Archbishop of York condemned the use of the images of the Trinity in church windows, and some considered them illegal. In the 43rd chapter of the Great Moscow Council specifically included a ban on a number of symbolic depictions of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, which then also resulted in a whole range of other icons being placed on the forbidden list, [65] [66] mostly affecting Western-style depictions which had been gaining ground in Orthodox icons. However some icons continued to be produced in Russia, as well as Greece , Romania , and other Orthodox countries.

    The Christian characterization of the relationship between God and humanity involves the notion of the "Kingship of God", whose origins go back to the Old Testament, and may be seen as a consequence of the creation of the world by God. The term " Kingdom of God " does not appear in the Old Testament, although "his Kingdom" and "your Kingdom" are used in some cases when referring to God. France points out that while the concept of "Kingdom of God" has an intuitive meaning to lay Christians, there is hardly any agreement among scholars about its meaning in the New Testament. Interpretations of the term Kingdom of God have given rise to wide-ranging eschatological debates among scholars with diverging views, yet no consensus has emerged among scholars.

    By the middle of the 20th century realized eschatology which in contrast viewed the Kingdom as non-apocalyptic but as the manifestation of divine sovereignty over the world realized by the ministry of Jesus had gathered a scholarly following. Hebrews refers to "God the Judge of all" and the notion that all humans will eventually " be judged " is an essential element of Christian teachings. A number of gospel passages warn against sin and suggest a path of righteousness to avoid the judgement of God. In early Christianity , the concept of salvation was closely related to the invocation of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

    The term "Trinity" does not explicitly appear in the Bible , but Trinitarians believe the concept as later developed is consistent with biblical teachings. The general concept was expressed in early writings from the beginning of the 2nd century forward, with Irenaeus writing in his Against Heresies Book I Chapter X : [78]. Around AD in Adversus Praxeas chapter 3 Tertullian provided a formal representation of the concept of the Trinity , i. Tertullian also discussed how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

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    The First Council of Nicaea in AD and later the First Council of Constantinople in AD defined the dogma "in its simplest outlines in the face of pressing heresies " and the version used thereafter dates to Bernhard Lohse states that the doctrine of the Trinity does not go back to non-Christian sources such as Plato or Hinduism and that all attempts at suggesting such connections have floundered.

    The doctrine of the Trinity is considered by most Christians to be a core tenet of their faith. Strictly speaking, the doctrine is a mystery that can "neither be known by unaided human reason", nor "cogently demonstrated by reason after it has been revealed"; even so "it is not contrary to reason" being "not incompatible with the principles of rational thought".