Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Advent Archive: Acts 17, part 2

In Acts 17:22 Paul is presenting the gospel on Mars Hill, the Greek theistic garden on the top of Athens. One of Paul’s major points to the Greeks was that according to verse 22 they were “too superstitious.” With pantheistic mysticism they ascribed a god to everything around them. There was a tree god. There was a sheep god. There was a rain god. There was a sun god. There was probably even a squirrel god. They were so superstitious that even after they had made a god to everything they could imagine, they realized that they may have missed one. So, they made a god named “the unknown god,” just to be safe. Paul’s indictment truly exposed their problem. They were living in a land of Karma - where if you do good and respect the right “god” then life will go well. They had created gods to worship just so that they would be able to live peaceable lives and not have to fear the death of their crops or livestock. They viewed sacrifice to their gods as obliging their gods to being nice to them. This is Karma. This is foolishness. However, often we live in the same superstition that was so foolish for the Athenians. We treat God as a god that we can order around. When we aren’t praying “demands” to Him, we are living our lives in such a way that superstitiously we think He will be bound to blessing us. This is not the God of scripture. We do not bind Him to anything. Scripture says “He is in the heavens and He does whatever He pleases.” The good news for us is that He is right, good, and holy and therefore “what He pleases” will only always be what is good for us.
Food For Thought: How do we sometimes live in ways that make us look like the Athenians and their appeasement of the gods than like Christians with a Biblical perspective of a Sovereign God?