Last week we were following the Apostle Paul as he was journeying through the streets of Athens as recorded in Acts chapter 17. As he stood on Mars Hill he observed that there stood shrines to all the gods that the Athenians worshipped. Because they wanted to appease all the gods they did not want to leave any god out, so they erected an altar to “the unknown god”. It is whom you ignorantly worship and him I declare unto you.
In verse 24 of Acts 17 Paul tells the Athenians that he is presenting God who made the world and everything in it. Because they did not understand the nature of God and ignorantly placed God in a box that was human in nature, the Athenians viewed God as irrelevant to life. In today’s world, many young people who have left faith in God have done so because they have not seen any evidence for God’s existence, and they see faith as irrelevant to their lives.
The notion of God as the creator has escaped our world today. We have not understood that there was a beginning, that God caused the beginning, and that His imprint is on all we see around us.
The Athenians, like people today, did not understand they had a unique role in the purpose of the creation. God is not just the creator of space/time and matter/energy, but also, he created us. Paul tells the Athenians that God created them to have a special relationship with him. The people of Athens were searching for God and not finding him.
We, like the Athenians, feel that God is out there somewhere. We seem to think that God does not know what we do, so we can hide from God. The Bible goes to great lengths to point out that this is a lack of understanding.
In twenty-first century America, the “unknown God” may be football, or politics, or personalities, or money. There is no substitute for God. The Athenian world collapsed because of their unbelief. Our world hangs in the balance, torn by ignorance and lack of direction because of a rejection of the path God has called us to walk.