Monday, January 16, 2006

Lessons from the Greeks

My daughter is studying Greeks in history right now, and studying the Greeks isn't complete without studying Greek myths and the Greek gods. We are actually listening to an audio CD by Jim Weiss, who is a masterful storyteller. Here's the Amazon search that shows what's available by him.

As an aside, Weiss also does an Old Testament stories collection as well; they are good, but like any adaptation of the OT, suffer from occasional speculation and unwarranted additions. Nevertheless, they get the message across, and the kids are mesmerized by them (which isn't easy to do in the video age), so we listen to them and periodically go back to read the stories from Scripture.

I loved the mythical stories growing up. There were fantastic creatures, great adventures, etc. But as I grew up, I realized that the Greek gods were petty, manipulative, vengeful--they embodied all the worst parts of humanity. It made me thankful that the God I serve isn't like that. Ultimately, the Greeks fashioned gods in their own image.

Over the last couple of weeks, though, a new thought has occurred to me. While we as moderns may laugh about a gods being assigned to everything from war to love, from the ocean to holding up the world, we do the same thing, if we're not careful. Certainly not to the same degree, but when we hold on to a thought about God that has no basis in Scripture, or is contrary to Scripture, we do the exact same thing the Greeks were doing--fashion God in our own image.

And since our minds are as messed up as the rest of us because of the Fall, we can't trust ourselves to think right thoughts about God, apart from having those thoughts informed by Scripture.

Spend some time today reading God's revelation of Himself.


Jeff H said...

Good stuff here.

I think the Greeks simply took the parts of humanity they didn't want to believe were their own fault (the pettiness, etc.) and blamed them on beings more powerful than themselves.

And I have personal experience with people holding on to beliefs that are clearly contrary to scripture--recently, I've had an argument with a very dear friend who insists on not only believing in the efficacy of psychics, but also consults them frequently.

Gummby said...

Hi Jeff, and welcome to my blog.

I think you're right about the Greeks. Of course, we have a modern-day equivalent--"the Devil made me do it."

Thanks for stopping by. I have to say again, I loved your take on the confirmation hearings.

Jeff H said...

Thanks. Of course, I believe there's a fine line between {comedic} genius and madness, and I like to think I walk that line without slipping off...but some people beg to differ!!!


Kim said...

Me and my boys spent the first couple of months studying the Greeks, and we read Edith Hamilton's Mythology. Time and time again, my oldest one said: "The gods were so stupid." I guess I'm glad he learned that lesson.