We have a lot of family chat around our house that regularly comes back to the question of my seemingly unerring faith in God. One discussion started thus: “So, Granny, I think all those Greek gods were much more interesting – what’s wrong with them and how can you just believe in ‘God’?”
I didn’t have an instant answer, of course, probably replying ‘I just do’. But now I’ve thought about it a bit more, so here’s my answer. The stories of the Greek gods were spread by word and they were indeed fantastic. According to ancient philosophy the first appearance of a single God was not in Jewish scripture but in the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato who wrote in the early 4th century BC, who took his ideas from Thales. Plato proposed that nature can be explained by reference to a single unitary principle that pervades everything.
To cut a long story short, along came St Paul and convinced the Greeks into a monotheistic, one god above all religion. How did he do that? Well, there are many great and learned essays that can help us understand. But I go for the simplest, and always return to my garden for the answer. We know from observing our gardens that nature is indeed regular but we are also aware of mutations in that regularity some for the good and some for the worse. St Paul taught that faith extols everything and has the ability to overturn regularity.
As Jesus told Doubting Thomas “Blessed are those who believe without seeing”. So I return to my original answer: I just do (believe, that is).
Holy Trinity, Markbeech