The Apostle Paul was in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy.  Paul saw that the entire city was engaged with idolatry, so “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” (Acts 17:17).  Verse 21 tells us, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.”  These people loved hearing new teachings.  Paul warned of such people in 2 Timothy 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”  Even today, many people are just ‘itching’ to hear something new.

Paul’s discourse to these people is worth reading.  We read his words in Acts 17:22-31, “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, HIM DECLARE I UNTO YOU. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

How gently yet firmly Paul spoke to these people.  He pointed to an altar with the inscription, “TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.”  Paul said that this unknown God was the one he wanted to talk to them about.  He said to them, “Him declare I unto you.”  In other words, they did not know the true God and Paul spoke to them about Him.  He speaks of God as the Creator and as the Lord.  He speaks of the enormity of the Lord and His worthiness to be worshipped, along with the proper way to worship Him.  He says that they can “find Him.”

Paul mentions that God has created us in His own image by saying that “we are the offspring of God.”  We are told in Genesis 1:26-27, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Realizing that we are the offspring of God, “we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Verse 29).  I can imagine there in Mars’ Hill, there were many images of gold, silver, and stone.  Looking upon these idols, Paul emphatically stated that the One True God, of whom we are the offspring is NOT made of such materials.  We read of those who build and worship idols in Psalm 115:4-8, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. THEY THAT MAKE THEM ARE LIKE UNTO THEM; so is every one that trusteth in them.  (343.4)