Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Romans 1:16-25

My favorite class last semester was my classical mythology class. It was a good class, with great content and a brilliant and witty professor who not only taught us about Greek and Roman society and legends, but also challenged us to think about God’s presence in the world around us.

Although Bible passages such as verse 20 call more immediately to mind the presence of God in nature, I believe it is important to look for God in other less obvious places as well. Nature is an incredibly significant way to see God’s glory, and I do not mean to lessen its worth; however, there are many other less noted ways to see God in the world around us. The ancient Greeks actually believed that the work of God (or the gods) could be seen more clearly in man-made creations than nature itself, since all of creation is made by God and thus, through man creating art (such as sculptures, paintings, or even structures such as the Parthenon) humanity was reenacting that creation impulse and utilizing the good gifts of wisdom and skill that God had given them.

Regardless of whether you hold this view or not, it is hard to look at works of art and not at times be moved by them. No matter the religious affiliation of the painter, God can still work and move in individual’s lives and aspects of God can be (however unwittingly) expressed in the play of colors and contrast, in the flowing lines of brushwork in a painting. God truly is everywhere, because He created us and thus we find it hard to express ourselves without also expressing our comprehension of Him.

My classical mythology teacher suggested to us that even though ancient Greeks were certainly not Christians, they nonetheless saw God’s presence in the world (and in nature) around them. This influenced not only their art but also their perceptions of the world, and thus they could not help but express some aspect of God in their myths, art, and ideas. This suggestion made a lot of sense to me; there has been many a time when I have gleaned truths from works that are otherwise pagan or simply nonsensical. God is present in the most unlikely of places, and it is our duty as Christians to look for him wherever we may find Him. May we keep our eyes open to see His presence, even if it is in places we are not accustomed to looking.

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