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The unknown God : the view of Paul
The Unknown God
Man, even in his unconscious state, worshipped God. From the beginning of human history men worshipped what they fail to understand or what they were afraid of. This led to various forms of worships like the worship of the sun, moon, among others and men attributed most things like drought, infertility among other things which they could explain to God (it was in recent times that most things found scientific explanations). It means that men worshipped a God who they did not really know. Yet, in most cases, it worked for them in those periods as they believed and used rituals to appease the gods.
Most tribes had they gods and although the advent of Christianity and other modern religion seem to have changed a lot of the ways people worship their God yet some people still stick to their old ways while some people modified the religious system to be in tandem with modern religion (that maybe the reason some Christian sects claim that some pagan practices were incorporated in the church).
In recent time it is taught that all other gods are false gods while the only true God is the God of the Jews. No wonder a man who is a non Jew considered such teachings and how good the God of his fathers had been to him so he exclaimed, “If all tribes should write their history and turn it into a scripture then people will know that their God is good.” Truly the man’s God is good even till the present day.
Some people thought that the true God is only of the Jews but the view has changed in recent time as we now know that God does not respect any tribe or person but works with people in all nations that earned such relationship. Maybe that is why people now teach that there is one God and father of all. Paul was an important figure in the bible with the sole mission of preaching to the gentiles.
In Acts 17: 22-24 “ then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “ men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an alter with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the one whom you worship without knowing, him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”
The surprising thing in the verse is that the people built alter for a God whom they do not really know. It means that they unknowingly built alter for the true God as Paul claimed but they did not know the God even though they may have worshipped him. There are many religious objects including crosses, idols, statue like that of Mary, Buddha, or Jesus and pictures among others. Some people claim that it is wrong to have such religious objects because it means worshipping the object (Jehovah witness are among those that oppose objects) while others think it does not matter.
The people of ancient Athens just like in other places used objects to represent their gods. The objects had various meaning to them yet within their false gods they made a place unknowingly for the claimed true God.
How would they know the true God within their gods and fail to give him the entire honor? The point is that men are so religious that they do not really know the God they worship. Secondly, if Paul claimed that the UNKNOWN GOD of whom the Athens built an alter is the true God then it confirmed that the true God is not a God of any single tribe or nation.
Just as the apostle said that of a truth God is not a respecter of persons but goes into all nations seeking those that truly earned a relationship with.
God is not a God of any tribe or nation yet all nations have their gods which they know by various names and some people called him “THE UNKNOWN GOD