Acts 17:22-25 :
Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, “You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, neither is he served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things.
I believe that Satan loves religion. In fact, I believe he invents them! We can see here that religiosity did nothing to help those who were seeking to understand the meaning of life. According to the Bible, they worshiped “in ignorance.” Christianity is all about getting to know the truth and all of humanity is “truth challenged” because we really don’t have a good place to start our discovery process. We really need the Holy Spirit to show us the way. Truth can actually be harder to learn when there are many competing religions that tell lies to us.
This is a very valuable study for us because it reveals to us what we should say to those who are completely ignorant of the God of the Bible. Pay very close attention to the fact that Paul doesn’t start with John 3:16 here. Instead, he starts with Genesis 1:1. In Genesis, we learn that there is only one God and He created everything. We learn that He is Spirit and doesn’t live in man-made buildings and humans don’t “serve” Him; He doesn’t need anything. To someone who doesn’t know the God of the Bible, this may come as quite a surprise, and it is critical to understand these things before we get to John 3:16! Fortunately, John 1 also reminds us of the same things.
It should be pretty clear that Paul wasn’t an Evolutionist. Notice that without the understanding that God created the universe and all life, a person can’t have a proper understanding of the God who saves. Notice also how Paul carefully brought them from their current thinking down the pathway of truth starting with Genesis. Creation is foundational to Christian thought and don’t think that opponents of Christianity don’t realize this. There is one God and He created everything and He didn’t need anything from us. With this in mind we are ready to learn more about the good news from this God of ours.