Comparing Zeus to the Triune God

All right, kids: Back in the Day, the Apostle Paul said this to the pagans at the Aeropagus:
“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 

“‘In him we live and move and have our being’; 

as even some of your own poets have said, 

“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ 

Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-29)
And more recently, the Mormon Mitt Romney said this:
My passion probably flows from the fact that I believe in God. And I believe we're all children of the same God. I believe we have a responsibility to care for one another. I served as a missionary for my church. I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years. I've sat across the table from people who were out of work and worked with them to try and find new work or to help them through tough times.
Now, here's the thing:  the buzz from the discernment internet is that Mitt Romney has blasphemed God, and this simply underscores why exactly we can't possibly elect him president.

Yeah, well: pheh.

Paul, in the Aeropagus, is quoting the poet Aratus from the poem Phaenomena, and here's the common translation of the passage in question:
From Zeus let us begin; him do we mortals never leave unnamed;
full of Zeus are all the streets and all the market-places of men;
full is the sea and the havens thereof; always we all have need of Zeus. For we are also his offspring;
and he in his kindness unto men giveth favourable signs and wakeneth the people to work, reminding them of livelihood. He tells what time the soil is best for the labour of the ox and for the mattock, and what time the seasons are favourable both for the planting of trees and for casting all manner of seeds.
Let's be honest: if Paul quoted that poem today in front of the internet, he'd have his head ripped off for comparing Zeus to the Triune God.  But he actually did it, and it got caught in Scripture, so you people with the large vein protruding from your foreheads this week because of Gov. Romney's statement need to get Pauline for a moment and understand something: there are things which even the pagans understand in ignorance which are true enough.

They may be true enough to condemn them as idolaters, or as sinners, but they are true enough for secular discourse.

You know: since Mitt Romney was not appealing to anyone to convert religions but only to have some sympathy for the fact that he has one, maybe we ought to find better ways to approach his true enough statement about the general revelation of God to all men which the Apostle Paul agrees with than to roll a Mormon under the bus for saying what Aratus said 3000 years ago.


Nash Equilibrium said...

Agreed. After Mitt said that we are all children of the same god, I received a email from Todd Friel implying that any Christian ought to have jumped up off the couch and smashed the TV. I thought to myself, "really?" Does Todd think we were all made by different gods, then? I don't. I think there's only one God, the Triune God, and that he made all of us, making us all (in a sense) his children. Now if he'd said we all worship the same god, I think Todd would have had a point.