26 “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, 27 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. 28 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.’” (Acts 17:26-28).
In the Apostle Paul’s message at the Areopagus, he first told the Athenians that God was the true creator of the universe. Secondly, God not only created the universe but also sustains it. Thirdly, God not only created and sustains the universe, He also governs it.
The purpose for God having created the world, sustaining it and governing it is so that His creation should, and would, seek Him. God’s intention is that creation would, as it were, feel their way toward Him and find Him. Unfortunately, that is not what the ancient Greeks did, nor is it what fallen man ever does. Fallen man needs God’s divine initiative, which regenerates the sinner by the power of the Holy Spirit and through the preaching of the Gospel (John 3:1-8).
For God is not only the source of physical life, He is also the only source for spiritual and eternal life. The Apostle Paul’s predominantly Greek audience knew little of the Old Testament Scriptures. However, they knew well their own Grecian poets.
Therefore, Paul decides to quote two Greek poets. First, he quoted Epimenides (7th – 6th century B.C.) who wrote, “In him we live and move and have our being.” Then, Paul quoted from Aratus (315-240 B.C.) who wrote, “For we are indeed his offspring.”
What these two Greek poets wrote concerning the Greek god Zeus, Paul applied to Yahweh, the one, true God of the Bible. It is Yahweh who is truly near mankind.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Paul says that God brought all people into being and they only exist by His providence. In the ancient world, the three great mysteries of philosophy and science were the questions of life, motion and being.”
Do you thank God for His nearness to you? Do so today. For it is solely in Him that we live, move and exist.
Soli deo Gloria!