Muslims' Common Questions About Christianity - What is the purpose of religious pictures and images in Christianity?

Article Index

85- What is the purpose of religious pictures and images in Christianity?Are they supposed to represent God? Is it possible to make a picture of God?

No picture can represent God; no man has ever seen God, for no created being could look upon his Creator and survive. However, there are drawings and printed pictures which help us to understand the Gospel, and to realise what Jesus Christ taught and revealed to us; such pictures are especially useful in telling the story of Jesus to those who cannot read. You will see, for example, representations of the Virgin Mary, Jesus as a child, or Jesus with His disciples, or Jesus going up to Golgotha to be crucified--all these are merely pictures to help us imagine and understand the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ. 
Such images can never for a single moment be regarded by the Christian as objects of worship--which would be idolatry. Yet we must realise that the introduction of images or pictures into Christian Churches is often a stumbling-block to the muslim, and we should take great care not to give any impression that we are worshipping them.