Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them. – Acts 17:29-34
I had a conversation recently with someone who was wondering how to answer people who ask, “What do you believe?” She was encouraged by a magazine article on the Apostle’s Creed, that the creed was an excellent summary to use to describe the substance of her faith. This is a great insight, and it highlights two great truths that Paul speaks of here in this encounter on Mars Hill in Athens. The first is that we are his creatures, his creation. The second: After Jesus died for the sins of the world, he rose from the dead. Creation and resurrection shape our faith and life as God’s people.
While some may wish to make creation a matter of scientific investigation, I much prefer to make it a matter of faith. I believe that God created the world and everything in it by his word, evening and morning, day after day. I am convinced that there are scientific realities that attend that truth. More important, however, is that as God’s creatures we bear the imprint of his being.
We belong to God; we are a reflection of his identity and creative artistry. That identifies us and tells us something about God. He is not a mute idol, a lump of clay, carving of stone, or an impersonal ideal or theological concept. God is our creator. He is real, powerful, mighty, creative, and gracious.
God’s grace is seen in the resurrection of Jesus. This unique event sets Jesus apart from all other gods. He embraced not only our life and way on this planet, but also our sins, taking our sins to the cross and dying for us there. Then when he rose from the dead, he did not simply justify himself, and make the point that he was right in all he did – which in fact he was! Jesus went to his disciples with the message of peace. He did not chide them for their unbelief. He offered them peace and gave them a mission to pursue.
As God’s creation we are precious to him who is the source of all of life. As his redeemed, we look forward to our own resurrection. We can have the confidence that no matter what we must endure along life’s way, we will prevail. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can hold to this truth even as we seek to give witness to our faith.