Today’s readings.. Deuteronomy 23, Song of Solomon 3, Acts 16&17
One of the better known incidents in the Bible is when Paul was in Athens confronting the idol worshippers and then gave his speech on Mars Hill, which modern Bible’s translate as Areopagus (Acts 17 v.22). It still exists today. Paul comments on how religious (AV superstitious) they are! “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 the product of human imagination which is, in a sense, ‘worshipped’ by most of the intellectuals of this age. This evolution ‘God’ sets free its worshippers from any sense of having a conscience toward ‘God’ in the way they behave. Consciences today are motivated by what is called humanism, that man is responsible for his own destiny, there is no need to think of there being a God, let alone being in awe of him.
It occurred to us to wonder why Paul performed no miracles at Athens as this would have challenged the convictions of the people. At the beginning of the Apostle’s 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, or at least challenge their interest, so why not at Athens?
Could it be 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! Remember Jesus “could no mighty work in Nazareth because of their unbelief” (Mark 6 v.4-6) Is that not comparable to today? As more and more is discovered of the marvels of our world and the universe around us, the more extraordinary are the theories that are advanced to explain how it all came into being. There is now such a conviction that there is no God at all – a belief that all things “created” themselves! When the miracle of Christ’s return overwhelms the world- it will be too late to start believing. Belief in God has its foundation built on faith! How strong is your foundation?