Why on earth did the Greeks choose such gods? I've wondered. Perhaps they were looking for an explanation of human beings' erratic, unruly, spiteful, belligerent, unfaithful, licentious behavior. But why would they not create stories about gods that inspired men and women to be far better than they found themselves? Not just stories about being strong, conniving, victorious or great in the art of war, or, conversely, stories about our continual defeat and unfortunate proclivities. No. Human beings need stories that inspire and teach us to be kinder, humbler, more selfless, to set our judgement on character, not looks, to be far more faithful and generous, to have courage in the face of evil.
In Chapter 17 of Acts Paul addresses the Athenians. Pointing out their shrine "to an unknown god".he proceeds to tell them who He is - the true God "who gives to everyone life and breath and everything".
This God - in a radical move prompted by unfathomable love - didn't pour his rage out upon us for continual disobedience of his law but sent his only begotten Son to save us by suffering and dying for us, vanquishing sin and death in a final sacrifice as only God-made-man can.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 1:22-25 (NAB)
This God who endured suffering and torment in the flesh? Who experienced pain, hunger, poverty, homelessness, rejection, and loneliness just as humankind does and still conquered evil?
That is the God I want. I want to grow and become like him. Though I find myself bogged down by many of the bad traits depicted so often in Greek mythology, I want to be better, and so this gentle, compassionate, healing, forgiving, humble God - who was crucified and then rose again, taking our human nature to heaven with him as he opened up the way for us - is the One I will follow.