“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.” (Acts 17:24)
Paul began his message to the Athenians by noting their religiosity. He even remarked about one of their altars which had the inscription, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.”
One commentator explains that, “This is an apparent attempt by the Athenians to cover all their bases and avoid offending any god at all, even one they might not know. Paul uses this as a point of contact, declaring he knows this God and can tell them how to worship Him rightly.
Paul identified the “UNKNOWN GOD” with the One, True God of the Bible. Paul told the Athenians about this God who they had already acknowledged existed and regarded worthy of honor. Paul will give the Athenians valuable and biblical knowledge of God.
First, Paul told the Athenians that God is the true creator of the universe. He is the one who made the world and everything in it. Therefore, God is greater than His creation. He is Lord and sovereign ruler of the earth. He cannot be contained, nor does He live, in man-made temples.
God is the self-sufficient creator. He does not need anything outside of Himself. While God’s creation needs Him to exist, God does not need anything from His creation to exist. He has no need for anything from us.
It is important for us to remember Paul’s audience consisted of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. The Epicureans believed the Greek gods were remote and uninvolved in human affairs. The Stoics, on the other hand, believed in a divine principle that reason and logic dominated the cosmos.
In response, Paul preached that God was a personal being who was transcendent over the universe, in contrast to the Stoics. Paul also preached that God also was deeply intimate and involved with His creation and creatures, in contrast to the Epicureans.
God is neither an impersonal philosophy or force nor an uninvolved clock watcher who has no role in human life and living. As we shall soon see, it is in the Lord of heaven and earth that we live, move and have our being.
Take the time today to praise and worship this One, True God.
Soli deo Gloria!