How do you, as a believer, describe God to someone who doesn’t know Him? What if your friend has the view that God doesn’t exist? Or, she has this skewed idea that God is like her abusive father–unloving, unreasonable, and unfair? Or, your friend believes in a god, somegod, a “Power” that exists, who set the world on its course and then watches it from afar? Or, your friend believes he’s looking forward to eternal life as a god on a planet of his own with his eternal wife? (You DO have friends who believe that, but they don’t often discuss their beliefs in detail.)
Paul spoke to the people of Athens about their “Unknown” god, the one we know as “the Lord of heaven and earth”, and he chose to address them through familiar reference points: their own altar “To An Unknown God” and quotations from their own poets. Paul successfully communicated about God, even to those who chose not to believe.
First, Paul knew his audience. He knew their beliefs. He knew their culture. He was familiar with their literature. He understood what was important to them.
Second, Paul met them on their home ground. He visited their city and carefully examined his surroundings. Ultimately, this led to his speech before the Council at the temple of Ares, their god of war and thunder (Mars to the Romans).
Third, Paul was clear about his beliefs, comparing them to those of his audience. More importantly, Paul began at the beginning, using Creation to testify about its Creator.
I know the Creator God, and I want others to know Him. He does exist. He’s loving, reasonable, and fair. He’s involved with the world He created. God, the Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t share the universe with any other gods, gods made by men or men who would be gods.
How do you, as a believer, describe God to someone who doesn’t know Him?