Since my community group is going through the book of 1 Corinthians, I’ve been listening to podcasts from Solid Rock from their series on 1 Corinthians. They’re really good, and I learned something that relates to an earlier post. I learned some of the history regarding the altars to ‘unknown gods’.
Most Greek cities were home to dozens of gods, but as the location of the Pantheon, Athens was home to hundreds of gods. Several decades before Paul, a plague hit Athens, and the people naturally assumed that a god was angry about being neglected. A poet was called to help this problem, and the poet suggested that the people of Athens let loose sheep in the city. Wherever the sheep stopped to graze and lay down, the people were to sacrifice the sheep to this unknown god and built an altar to the god right on that spot. The Athenians did, and the plague stopped immediately.
Paul’s probable assumption was that God was at work, and in fact was the ‘unknown God’. And by the time we get to Acts 17, Paul is using this incidence to preach about God’s identity.
To me, it’s just really cool that God is at work even in places that we don’t recognize it. God’s a lot bigger than we realize. God is here and he can be known.