Bible and Theology
Who Is the Unknown God?
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Jul 1, 2018


In his Breakpoint commentary, Chuck Colson lamented the idolatrous condition of our world. He reported:

Between 1976 and 1997, the number of Americans who believed in astrology grew from seventeen to thirty-seven percent. During the same period, the percentage of Americans who professed a belief in reincarnation nearly tripled—from nine percent to twenty-five percent. . . . In addition, up to half of all Americans [believe] in necromancy (that is, conjuring up the dead).

With compassion, Paul boldly preached the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

According to Colson, only one conclusion can be drawn from the findings: It's as simple as ABC—Anything But Christianity. We lack discernment about spiritual issues.

As G. K. Chesterton remarked through his insightful character Father Brown,

People readily swallow the untested claims of this, that, or the other. It's drowning all your old rationalism and skepticism, it's coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition. . . . It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense and can't see things as they are. . . . And a dog is an omen, and a cat is a mystery, . . .  (The Incredulity of Father Brown)

Today's lack of true spiritual discernment is the same problem that Paul faced in Athens. The Athenians did not believe in God. Instead, they believed in many gods, and in order to ensure that every god was represented in their worship, they even erected an altar with the inscription "to an unknown god" (Acts 17:23).

How miserable life must have been for these people. They were ensnared in their unbelief, struggling to satisfy the uncertain demands of false gods to earn favor. So with compassion, Paul boldly preached the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Likewise, though people today are lost in unbelief, they do not have to remain that way. All the authentic spiritual experience and fulfillment we seek can only be found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of my heart so that I can discern Your Truth. When I encounter the lies, deception, and confusion of this world, strengthen my heart to choose only You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. . . . I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you" (Acts 17:22-23).