Paul has been hustled off to Athens and is awaiting Silas and Timothy to join him. As he waits he walks around this huge metropolis, observing the statues and evidence of worship. He is not in the towns of Turkey now and his first steps are to observe. He also goes to the synagogue and talks with Jews and Greeks but he seems intrigued by his new observations. Perhaps we too would be wise to watch before engaging mouth!
When invited by the Epicureans and the Stoics to talk at the Areopagus, Paul is ready. As Paul sees the statues in the city, Paul comes to realize that the statue “to the unknown God” ties into the local philosophy very significantly. If we cannot know, cannot see, cannot hear or touch God then we best eat, drink and be happy for we know not when we will die like the Epicurians. Likewise if God is unknowable then there is no need to try to live to please him as with the Stoics. It is futile. Paul starts talking here, God’s hiddenness, and that is a good place to start. If we cannot know God then what is spiritual growth all about?
Paul does not start with Abraham as he does with the Jews but he starts with creation. If the unknown God is the creator then he cannot live in a building or a thing. He is greater. We need to seek him and allow him to reveal himself. Hence he comes to us in Jesus who came to reveal the character of this unseen, untouchable God. The proof is that Jesus resurrected pointing to the eternal and the truth of his message.
So where do we start with our faith story? Many track their journey back to a relative like Abraham or a mother who led them to the Lord. Others try to build a logical theology of God to explain the chaos of life. Some go to the emotions of a transforming experience and experiencing the love of God. Paul went to the hiddenness of God that can only be revealed in Jesus Christ and Scripture. Core to this idea is that God wants to be known by his creation and worshipped as such. God wants to be known by you and me! Amazing! Blessings on your journey to get to know him better.