“For we are indeed his offspring.”
Aratus was a Greek poet whom St. Paul may have been very familiar with as, according to one source, he was originally from Tarsus, just like St. Paul.
In the 3rd Century BC Aratus put into verse an older work of astronomy by Eudoxus of Cnidus written a century earlier.
The poem is about the constellations and other phenomena in the night sky.
At one point in the poem, Aratus says that we are all the offspring of Zeus.
St. Paul picked up on this very popular poem to make the point that not Zeus, but Yahweh is the Creator of all things.
St. Paul uses popular works in the Greek culture as a stepping off point for his proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Athens, the center of Greek culture.
Today, many – including myself – use popular works in our culture to do the same thing. Movies, Songs, books, even poetry, I have used to help others see the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
While I was at seminary in St. Louis, I took a class by the Rev. Dr. Francis Rossow called “Literature and the Gospel.”
We read works by Mark Twain, Dostoyevsky, Graham Greene, the Metaphysical Poets, C.S. Lewis, and others. The concept was that the Gospel is the one universal truth in the universe and that echoes of the Gospel still sound forth in all the works of man to some extent or another.
In teaching throughout 20+ years as a pastor, I’ve noticed that echoes of the one, true Gospel, the one, true religion – that of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – also echo throughout the religions of the world.
There are elements of the Truth of God in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Islam.
The Truth is, at best, diverted in all the literature and religions of the world and, at worse, perverted.
But there is no getting away from God, as much as Satan would love to be successful at this!
That’s St. Paul’s point in quoting Aratus’ poem. Aratus may have been talking about Zeus (who does not exist) but the truth of his words are that in God (Yahweh) we have our being.
Yahweh created us. Yahweh provides for us.
And when we sin, Yahweh forgives us for the sake of Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son!
The idea that we have tools amongst the cultures to open the door to sharing the Gospel intrigues me.
I’ve been inspired by the Holy Spirit through the work of Dr. Rossow, Dr. Leonard Sweet, and John Eldredge to use stories that people know (and love) to open the door to sharing the Gospel.
But it is not a new idea!
St. Paul used this tool in the first century, and to great effect! The Christian faith and Church is planted in Athens and throughout Greece because of this!
You and I can do the same today!
©2017 True Men Ministries