Comparing Christianity to Greek Thinking …

How would you compare the teachings of Christianity to the values cherished by earlier civilizations we have discussed (particularly the Greeks, and the values expressed in Homer’s works)?

Conversely, can you see anything in common between Christianity and some of the great ancient thinkers?

To compare Christian teachings to Greek philosophical teachings is to compare a religion with God as its center to a moral thought process that originated in a desire to eliminate deity. What I mean is this:

1. The Greek mindset differs extraordinarily from the Hebrew mindset. The two cannot be fused or reconciled.

2. Those who try to apply Greek thinking to Christianity twist the Hebrew mindset. Inserting a Greek mindset into the text of the Bible takes away the illustrative view of the message, and we miss the point of what Yahweh is trying to say.

The Bible was not intended to be read with a Hellenistic view of rationality and definitions. Hebraic thinking differs so much from Greek thought in so many ways. (When I learned to see the Bible through the eyes of the Hebrews, I learned so much more than I ever did before.)

However, it is important to point out a few differences to show you what I am talking about.

When I say simply “Christianity”, I am referring to what Paul calls “the Way, which some call a sect.” I am referring to the way that all true believers follow and believe.

When I say “Mainstream Christianity”, I’m not talking about the beliefs of Paul and the other apostles. I’m talking about those who twist the scriptures to their own gain and to the detriment of thousands of Christians who only want to follow God. The people are told that we can now follow God a different way than the people of Israel did. This is untrue.

Some differences between “Mainstream Christianity” and Greek Hellenistic thinking

– Christianity has one supreme and perfect God (at least, that is the biblical principle.) The Greeks had a medley of gods who came and went, fighting and acting like spoiled children.

– The Greeks had only their gods and the philosophers to lead them. Christianity has the inspired Word of God to lead them.

Some similarities between “Mainstream Christianity” and Greek Hellenistic thinking:

– The concept of heaven is much the same, including immortality of the soul.

– The God(s) are changeable. The Greeks held that Zeus was changeable, and you could not rely upon him to do act in a pattern.

– You can decide to do what you want … there is only a loose moral code.

I have a hard time with the general Christian church on this because many of the Christians I talk to believe that God made a Law that no longer applies to Christians of this day and age. I disagree, because I cannot find a place in the Bible where God says that he has decided to retract a Law which he had established as an unchanging, eternal Command.


Yahweh does not Change. The Modern Christian church sometimes implies that He does. The Greeks’ supreme deity, Zeus, was also changeable. In this way and in many others, some sects of Modern Christianity is similar to Greek Hellenistic thinking.

“Test everything – hold fast to what is good.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21



Ethical Comparison in ancient Greek Literature

“How does the view of ethical cause and effect in history in Works and Days compare with the furies’ view in The Eumenides?”

To summarize the poem “Works and Days” in one paragraph would be an accomplished feat indeed. I suggest you read my post Life: by Hesiod in order to better understand the poem. It can be summarized as general life advice in hard work, religion, and relationships, from an Ancient Greek perspective, nevertheless applicable today.

“The Eumenides” is a story in poetic form. It focuses mainly on a man who has murdered his mother in order to avenge the murder of his father. In Greek religion, a group of underworld gods called “The Furies” were responsible to bring to a ruthless end those who had contravened justice through murder or other such crimes. (For more information, and to see a perspective as to how the modern story of Orestes might have happened, see my post, “Modern Orestes”.)

As I have already alluded, Greek ethics are inconsistent. One god wants men to murder, the other avenges it. One god rapes, another god kills the rapist. Its whatever set of rules works for you and every man for himself. There is no Greek ethics. It is a changeable system with many conflicting rules.

Some people have this idea of the Christian God. The “God of the Old Testament” supposedly is strict and unbending, with a law that must be followed. In reality, Yahweh’s law is meant to keep you safe, much as your parent’s laws or the laws of nature. Many times, Yahweh follows up a seemingly harsh command with the phrase, “Thus you shall purge the evil from your midst.”

Think about that. Think about having no evil. The concept blows my mind! If there were no evil, we would have nothing to be sad or upset about. Isn’t that desirable? Shouldn’t we want that?

Anyways, back to literature comparison.

In ‘The Eumenides’, Athena hands over the responsibility of the judgement to the human judges of Athens. The decision was based on the question “Would the father’s or mother’s death be avenged?” (Ironically, she stated that she always sides on the side of man, which seems like a biased judgement to me!!) In the end, Orestes was acquitted of his guilt.

The human court decides the verdict, effectively shutting out the furies. Thus, the endless rule of revenge is broken. However, the judgement was not made by the gods – the resolution was decided by civic religion and judicial system.

In the poem “Works and Days”, the gods are the one bringing judgement, punishment, or blessing upon those who either live the right way or choose to walk the crooked path.

In Conclusion, although both stories include the involvement of the Gods of Mount Olympus, the judgement is given by different parties. I think this is partly due the fact that Orestes’ case was unprecedented, however the only real-life situation that was given in “Works and Days” was decided by a corrupt courts system, however, there was an obvious opinion that the gods would bring negative sanctions upon the trespasser.

Thanks for reading!!!


Origins: Greek versus Hebrew

Photo by Daniel Watson on

There are many theories for the origin of the universe – where did it come from, and was it chance or was there a true purpose behind it all? Was it unordered chaos, or the will of a supreme being?

Both the Hebrew and Greek outlook on the origin story was that all creation began with one supreme being. However their stories are as different as night and day. Using as source documents the ancient poem “Theogony” by the Greek poet Hesiod, and the first chapters of the book of Genesis, part of the Bible and essential to the study of Hebrew creation, in this post I will compare the different methods of creation.  The study of comparing ethics and theology will come into play as well.

The Hebrew story of Creation, beginning in Genesis 1, tells how Yahweh created the heavens and the earth. Then, simply by speaking things into existence, He created all the rest of the world – vegetation, ocean and other waters, and all the animals. On the sixth day of creation, He created mankind, one male, who named all the animals yet found no partner. So then Yahweh made a woman out of Adam’s rib, and Adam called her Woman, because she was created out of man. (He later named her Eve.) And the humans were in the image of God.

Then, on the seventh day of creation, Yahweh rested from his creating, and everything he had created was good.

I would rest in this beautiful story but now I must compare this with the Greek story of Creation.

The Greeks believed that creation came about through one deity, called Chaos. They believed that Chaos created Heaven and Earth, then Heaven and Earth gave birth to gods and gods gave birth to gods with names like Ocean and Strife, Time, Age, and Friendship. Therefore nature and all the forms were created by the procreation of the gods, namely, sexual union.

To summarize the Genesis account …

  • There is one creator God, and no other.
  • The physical is simply creation from Yah’s mouth. Yah spoke, and it came into being. There’s no deific sexual union, no creation as a cause of strife, no immortality but that which comes from the One True God.
  • Man was created in the image of God, and woman was created from man to be his helper.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the choices of humankind.

To summarize the account found in Theogony …

  • The story began with one god, but soon many gods entered the picture and also began ‘creating and procreating’.
  • The method of creation is sexual union.
  • First the gods lay with gods to produce nature (and more gods), then the gods lay with humans to produce demigods.
  • Zeus was called the “father of men”, but woman was created to punish and plague men.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the union of the gods.

How can humans possibly achieve ethical coherence, or find out what sin is? There is no concept of ethical standards in this story! There is no rule about getting married first: There is no right and wrong! The gods got revenge on whomever they felt had wronged them.

The stories are integrally different.

For example, their views of fear. All Greece lived in fear of the changeable gods and their hot tempers, but the fear with which we regard Yahweh is not anguish, but reverence. Fear of the unknown or unexperienced cannot come between us and God.

“For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.”

1 Timothy 1:7

This is important to keep in mind during this coronavirus phase our entire world is going through. We cannot be so scared of the virus that it blinds us from what God would have us do during this time. He created us for His worship and for authority over creation. We must remember to continue to worship Him during this time, instead of being scared of a virus (potentially a man-made virus). The fear with which we should regard Yah is a respectful and healthy fear and obedience.

We were made in Yah’s image, yet brought our hardships upon ourselves. Who will rise up? Who will say, “I am a child of Yah!”

I will. Will you?