24. The Ionian Philosophical Revival – from Death to Life

These Greek ruins in Ionia signify the Ionian Enlightenment and the birth of Greek philosophy.
Ancient Greek City of Ionia

The Greek Dark Ages commenced with the fall of Troy in the 12th century.1 It continued for several centuries until a ray of light finally dawned in the region of Ionia in western Asia Minor in the eighth and seven centuries BC.2 This flourishing of art and culture is known as the Ionian Enlightenment or the Ionian Renaissance. The Dark Ages continued in the rest of the Greek territories for a while longer. Why was Ionia different?

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23. Hesiod and the Creation of the World

This is a mosaic of Hesiod who believed that the gods were the original principle of the universe.
Mosaic of Greek Poet Hesiod, 3rd Century A.D., Germany

“Chaos was first of all, but next appeared Broad-Bosomed Earth.”

-Hesiod from Theogony

Hesiod’s Theogony was monumental in advancing Greek thinking because its subject matter was no less than the origin of the universe.1 It is the most complete surviving Greek account of the creation of the universe. Hesiod described not only how the universe came into being, but he also gave an account of the birth of the gods. His gods were not transcendent – they were a part of the universe. They were anthropomorphic, having all of the characteristics of humans, except for one important factor – they were immortal. Like Homer, Hesiod represents the transition from myth to metaphysics.2

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22. Homer – from the Glory of the Battlefield to the Virtue of the Homestead

Homer

“My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet my end. If I stay and fight, I shall not return alive, but my name will live forever; whereas if I go home my name will die, but it will be long ere death shall take me.”1

-The Iliad, Achilles talking to Odysseus

Homer’s mythology, like much mythology of the ancient world, was an attempt to explain reality through the interaction between the gods and between the gods and men. But unlike other mythologies, say, of the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, Homer takes a less superstitious approach. Rather, his mythology is more human than divine – his gods are all too human, complete with human weaknesses and shortcomings.2 Also, his gods have less control since they, too are subject to fate just like humans. With Homer, we see the cosmological myth is starting to fade. For even thought The Iliad is full of gods, Homer presents a more psychological rather than cosmological explanation of things. As E. Michael Jones states in Logos Rising, “There is nothing divine about the gods of The Iliad.”3 In this respect, with Homer, we start to see the beginning of the transition from myth to metaphysics.4

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21. Divine Revelation and the Ultimate Purpose of History

This picture takes place at the Vatican in Rom and shows the progression of history in western civilization

Revelation occurs at the interface between God’s transcendence and His immanence.

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20. Abraham is Justified by Faith and Works

Abrahamic Covenant : This is a painting showing Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac and the angel stopping him by grabbing his hand.
Sacrifice of Isaac, Caravaggio, 1603, Baroque: Abrahamic Covenant

There is a grand unity to the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story.

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19. Abraham’s Hope in Sacrificing his Son Isaac

Here is a painting of the angle stopping Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac. Abraham was the father of faith.
The Sacrifice of Isaac, Domenichino, 1626, Baroque Classicism 

There is a grand unity in the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic Covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story.

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18. God Commands Abraham to be Circumcised as a Sign and Seal of the Covenant

Abraham and covenant
Abraham and Sarah Covenant and Meet with God

There is a grand unity to the Bible. The story of Abraham itself can seem confusing because there are so many moving parts to it. But the story of Abraham fits together as a unified whole around the theme of covenant. Below is the outline that I will use to discuss the Abrahamic covenant so that hopefully it makes more sense as you grasp the big picture of this remarkable story. Below is a summary of the Abrahamic Covenant up to this point in our story:1

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17. Do not be Afraid Abraham for Your Reward will be Very Great

This is a picture of the Milky Way illustrating the promise of God to Abraham that he would make his descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens. 

Abraham and God
 

After the blessing by Melchizedek, God appeared to Abraham in a vision and said: 

“Do not be afraid, Abraham, I am your shield, your reward shall be very great.” 

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16. Abraham’s Trying Challenge and Melchizedek’s Rich Blessing

This mosaic shows Melchizedek bringing bread and wine out to Abraham when the met.
A mosaic of the meeting between Abraham and Melchizedek

In post 15, I discussed how the flocks of Abraham and Lot grew so large that they had to separate. Abraham gave Lot first choice on where he wanted to settle. He chose to be close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Eventually we find him living in the city of Sodom.

Abraham Goes to War

One day, a messenger came running into Abraham’s camp with some very bad news.

A massive war had broken out in the Dead Sea region, probably one of the biggest wars ever. There were three kings against two, but the two were more powerful and they captured the city of Sodom where Abraham’s nephew Lot was living.

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15. Abraham Worships God in the Midst of the Canaanites

Ancient Altar in Mesopotamia similar to that which Abraham built to be a worshipper of God since he was the father of faith.
Ancient Altar

As mentioned in a previous post, after Abraham’s father Terah died in Haran, God renewed His call to Abraham to go to the land of Canaan. At that point, the text in Genesis 12:5 says:

“He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan and they arrived there.” 

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