Catechism of the Catholic Church

516 Part Three perfection in God. . . .” 64 “For the Church knows full well that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart.” 65 Agnosticism 2127 Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases the agnostic refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which nothing can be said. In other cases, the agnostic makes no judgment about God’s existence, declaring it impossible to prove, or even to affirm or deny. 2128 Agnosticism can sometimes include a certain search for God, but it can equally express indifferentism, a flight from the ultimate question of existence, and a sluggish moral conscience. Agnosticism is all too often equivalent to practical atheism. IV. “Y ou S hall N ot M ake for Y ourself a G raven I mage . . .” 2129 The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: “Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure. . . .” 66 It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. “He is the all,” but at the same time “he is greater than all his works.” 67 He is “the author of beauty.” 68 2130 Nevertheless, already in the Old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically to­ ward salvation by the incarnate Word: so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim. 69 2131 Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea (787) justified against the iconoclasts the veneration of icons—of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints. By becoming incar­ nate, the Son of God introduced a new “economy” of images. 64 GS 21 § 3. 65 GS 21 § 7. 66 Deut 4:15-16. 67 Sir 43:27-28. 68 Wis 13:3. 69 Cf. Num 21:4-9; Wis 16:5-14; Jn 3:14-15; Ex 25:10-22; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 7:23-26. 36 1036 1159-1162 300 2500 476