Was the unknown God an idol without a name?


From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: Being a history student, I am fascinated by so many stories in the Bible. I have been told that it mentions an unknown God. Was that an idol without a name? — H.S.

A: Paul declared, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was… considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22-23). What a marvelous declaration. The people of Athens had not stopped to consider their dark side. They had been too busy making gods like themselves.

Our society worships gods of our own making. Our culture is saturated with the worship of sports, sex, and pleasure. We are busy humanizing God and deifying man. Our idols are not statues of gold and marble; our idols come from the things we love the most. Life does not have to be filled with such emptiness, but we can fill our minds and hearts with the things that bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. One who truly follows Him will have a hunger to worship Him and His Word that brings hope and gives salvation.

When the great Apostle Paul preached about the unknown God, He was preaching the Gospel as he stood before the people of the great city of Athens. He had walked its streets and observed their customs. This pagan society had a niche for every god in the world, yet their moral corruption was revealed by the hundreds of idols illuminated by the sun at a place called Mars Hill in ancient Greece. Paul spoke with power before this congregation and acknowledged all of their gods and even the unknown God, who is none other than God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who had died for their sins and risen to new life.



(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

©2021 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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