Daily Readings & Thought for May 6th. “DRAMA AT ATHENS”
One of the better known stories in the Bible is when Paul was in Athens and confronted the idol worshippers. He gave a challenging speech on Mars Hill, (modern Bibles translate it as Areopagus) Paul observes how religious (AV ‘superstitious’) they are! (Acts 17 v.22).
“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious: for I passed along and observed the objects of your worship.” He seizes on the fact they had even made an altar to the unknown god, in case they had missed one! This is Paul’s chance to describe the God they do not know as the one true God, a God that is REAL and not the product of human imagination. Today we have ‘evolution’ as a concept of human imagination which is, in a sense, ‘worshipped’ by many of the intellectuals of this age.
This ‘evolution God’ frees its worshippers from any sense of developing a conscience that they need to obey and serve as the ‘being’ that created them. At the end of Acts 17 we read how “some mocked” [v.32] Paul’s message, especially the teaching that the dead are to be raised. This is comparable to the way you hear some ‘mock’ today at belief in the Bible.
It occurred to us to wonder why Paul performed no miracle at Athens as this would have challenged the thinking of the people. When the Apostle’s started their preaching there had been a dramatic healing in Jerusalem. Miracles occurred again in Cyprus and then at Iconium where “the Lord bore witness … granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” [14 v.3] and again at Lystra and Philippi. The healings helped convince many, so why not at Athens?
We suspect that the people of Athens were so set and confident in their ways of religious thought that they did not deserve to witness a miracle! Is not that comparable to today? But is not the resurrection of the nation of Israel from the dead a miracle!? . It is to those who know the word of God – a wonder that those who knew that word in the 19th Century could anticipate this event, despite the lack of any political indication of this150 years ago. When the miracle of Christ’s return overwhelms the world – it will be too late to start believing. Belief in God has its foundations built on a true faith grounded in a real knowledge of His word! How strong is your foundation?