Faith requires trust in unknown

By Steve Greene

We all understand that there is some uncertainty in all religion.

There are some things we can know, and there are some things we don’t know. There are some things we can expect, and there are some things that are unexpected. There are some things we can be sure of, and there are some things we are not sure about.

While he was in Athens, the Apostle Paul noticed an altar to the unknown god. They had all these idols to the various gods, and they even had a bonus idol, to an unknown god, just to be sure they had all of their bases covered.

Then in Acts 17:23, Paul says, “What you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.” They knew there was something out there bigger than they were. They just didn’t know what it was. Paul was about to make known something they did not know.

In Acts 17:24-25, Paul begins telling them about this “unknown god” they seemed to know nothing about: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands as if he needed anything because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” He is telling them about the Lord of heaven and earth.

It is like Paul is saying you may find the most fantastic painting in all the world, but you won’t find the painter in the painting. You might discover the most incredible sculpture in the world, but you won’t find the sculptor in the sculpture. You might find the most amazing piece of artwork, but you’ll never find the artist in the art.

We live in this great big, amazing world that certainly reflects the glory and the greatness of God. And while you can discover a lot about God in his creation, you won’t find God in creation.

He’s too big. He won’t fit. And this unknown God doesn’t need anything from us. He is self-sustaining. In fact, he sustains the entire universe. And everything that’s good in life has come from this massive creator, God.

Paul is pointing out that God is not just the god of a nation. He is the god of all creation. He cannot be contained. He wants the Athenians to know this god.

They are being challenged with brand-new information. They had never heard anything like it. This is the starting point for their faith. More next time …

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.