06 August 2016

Building Relationships


History shows that men developed their unique understandings and explanations of the idea of "God".

I personally see similarities in the manner their understandings have been written, explained and developed.

I don't see it as divisive as I used to (only seeing historical information as "wrong" instead of an opportunity to learn and see a much bigger picture of what God has done).

I see how God has moved, even in the lives of distant peoples and cultures.

God has drawn all of mankind from an initial unity (all mankind coming from one family), then spreading them across the face of the earth and them becoming a variety of peoples.

These peoples became unique, with some peoples carrying with them still a memory of God and His countless attributes.

Some memories are better than others, with some sadly having been obscured by much earthly logic with less and less recognition of the original understandings.

Mankind, in developing their specific understandings of God, and attempting to further understand heavenly hierarchy and invisible roles, have understood differently the order of His angels (“angel” in Hebrew is “sons of God”) and mankind (gods also, as the Scripture states).

What has developed in many societies, labeled either western or eastern cultures, is a pantheon of 'gods' and 'deities', according to limited understanding.

But do such notions cloud the reality of the One Holy Creator as modern men of faith understand God and His order Today?

Has it taken centuries and generations of men to understand or recognize God as He is?

No.

Consider how Adam, Abraham and Moses communicated with God without initially having what we can read today as “Scripture”.

Is it possible God also revealed certain attributes of Himself and His nature, to other peoples the world over throughout time and history?

Read this portion fro Romans 1 for the clarity, looking at the outcome of disobedience, but also what God has established and 'revealed' to mankind despite their disobedience.

When looking at the past, what people have believed or may still believe today, the observer needs to first look at the similarities and what God has revealed in between the lines of obscurity.

Just because something may not immediately resemble what one holds to be a proper description doesn't mean that truth is not hidden among and within the misconceptions or lost portions of truth.

The similarities are quite astonishing, while the differences aren't so much dangerous than they are evidence of poor human activity, either by purpose, or mistaken obfuscation.

This is where arrogance can be pointed out in the observer, and becoming all things to all men is called for (putting yourself in their shoes and approaching others according to where they are).

Humility and love is the method, not fault finding and condemnation.

We can learn a great deal how Paul dealt with the plethora of 'gods' on display in Athens, and when finding an altar to an unknown god, Paul used this as an opening to preach the Gospel of Christ; the One and only God revealed and made clear, once and for all time, in the man Yeshua Christ:
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Yeshua and the resurrection. Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.) 
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’ 
“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” 
- Acts 17: 16-31
Paul did not open with condemnation, but with teaching.

He was invited to speak to a certain influential crowd of thinkers and philosophers... and why?

If he was insulting and condemning to his initial listeners, do you suppose Paul would have been invited to spread more condemnation and vitriol?

Paul spoke with love.

He was gracious in his speech.

He reached and appealed to these hearers according to their manner of speech and thinking.

Paul approached them where they were, and built from there the Mystery revealed in Christ.

He built upon their past and current understanding.

We can learn a great deal if we see what is written in between the lines of history of other peoples, their cultures, and the manner in which they currently perceive God.

The faithful can show others the love, grace and peace that is revealed in Christ!

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