There are, however, persons who say: It is for the honor of God that we make the image: in order, that is, that we may worship the God who is concealed from our view. But they are unaware that God is in every country, and in every place, and is never absent, and that there is not anything done and He knoweth it not. Yet thou, despicable man! within whom He is, and without whom He is, and above whom He is, hast nevertheless gone and bought thee wood from the carpenter’s, and it is carved and made into an image insulting to God. To this thou offerest sacrifice, and knowest not that the all-seeing eye seeth thee, and that the word of truth reproves thee, and says to thee: how can the unseen God be sculptured?
Melito of Sardis (died AD 180), excerpt from “The Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A. D. 325.” Melito was the Bishop of the church at Sardis, and a known Church Father of the 2nd century.
Many Church Fathers spoke against images of the Divine in churches. Here are some of them:
Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430), known in the Philippines as San Agustin:
"Thus, they erred, who sought Christ and his apostles not in the sacred writings, but on painted walls.” (Augustine, excerpt from “The Harmony of the Gospels,” 1.10 [NPNF1, 6:83; PL 34.1049])
Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 150-215):
“Ages before, Moses expressly commanded that neither a carved, nor molten, nor molded, nor painted likeness should be made. This was so that we would not cling to things of sense, but pass to spiritual objects. For familiarity with the sense of sight disparages the reverence of what is divine.”
Tertullian (c. AD 160-225)
"The principal crime of the human race, the highest guilt charged upon the world, the whole procuring cause of judgment, is idolatry… God prohibits an idol as much to be made as to be worshipped. In so far as the making what may be worshipped is the prior act, so far is the prohibition to make (if the worship is unlawful) the prior prohibition. For this cause—the eradicating, namely, of the material of idolatry—the divine law proclaims, "Thou shall make no idol;"…All things, therefore, does human error worship, except the Founder of all Himself. The images of those things are idols; the consecration of the images is idolatry." (an excerpt from “On Idolatry”)
So you see, a rigorous study of church history will go a long way for those in pursuit of truth. This also proves that images in churches were a later development (after the latter half of the 2nd century) and was not really part of early Christian worship.
Click here for other posts on the Black Nazarene, an anomalous holiday we have in the Philippines.