The Humanity of the Gods

The Greek perception of their gods and their humanness is one aspect of Greek myth that has engaged my thinking. It seems the Greeks’ understanding of themselves shaped their perception of their deities. Their gods appear to be nothing more than a more powerful version of their own kings, queens, and heroes. They created gods in their own image.

By imposing themselves onto their gods, they are forced to view the divine attributes through the window of the human. If Zeus is loving, it is because someone is his favorite. Does Athena intervene in human affairs? Someone has stroked her ego with flattering words or generous sacrifice. Their actions can only be understood and explained in light of their weakness.

In contrast, the Christian view of God centers on His two attributes that are the least human: holiness and love. Any of His activities are to be viewed in light of the Divine nature. We understand Him in light of how He is different from us, not like us. This prevents us from “creating God in our own image.”

This is a danger that I have written about this here. I want to explore this concept further, but I’ll save it for a future post.


3 thoughts on “The Humanity of the Gods

  1. I love this from your linked blog post..

    “It conforms God to an image of what we are comfortable with. It confines Him to the limits of what can be easily explained.”

    ..we religious types are often uncomfortable with mystery.. we sadly prefer words like evidence and doctrine.

  2. Cam,
    Great question. I am afraid that many Christians (so called) have created their own image of God and worship it and are not interested in an Holy and Righeous God that loves sinners.
    Such as:
    1. A god who would not send people to hell.
    2. A god who satisfies all my selfish desires to keep me happy.
    3. A god who wants to make me rich in the wealth of this world.
    These are but a few of the may images I have heard about.
    Keep up the chain of thought.

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