28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
Paul quoted two Athenian poets to prove his point about one God creating everything and that the Greeks were without excuse for not believing in Him. It was obvious that the Greeks sought God, but they did it in a way that precluded them from finding Him.
for in Him we live and move and have our being,
According to a Greek poet, there are three dimensions to how people relate to God: we “live,” “move, and “have our being” in Him. God is personal; people can relate to Him. We can define who we are by who He is. Our existence revolves around Him. The concept of a monotheistic God is the reason we exist.
The speaker does not say God lives, moves, and has His being “in” us; that is a pantheistic view. The “in” is better translated as “by.” The argument is God is the source and power of life for activities. Thus, humans are dependent on God for their being and what they do.
as also some of your own poets have said,
The first quote, “for in Him we live and move and have our being,” may be from Epimenides (600 BC), the Cretan poet (Tit 1:12).
‘For we are also His offspring.’
The second quotation is from Aratus, the Stoic Aratus of Cilicia (300 BC) in his Phaenomena. This citation affirms that one of their gods claimed that one God created all human beings from one person.
Paul drew a deduction to argue that one God created all human beings.
since we are the offspring of God,
Human beings came from God as part of His creation. Human beings are made in God’s image, and there is an unescapable outcome of that. Man is a reflection of God and not God of mankind.
we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.
If God is the kind of God Paul claimed, He cannot be reduced to a deity made of gold, silver, or stone. He cannot be “shaped” by an artist into any form or idol. God cannot be confined to the material world. This idea was revolutionary to the Athenians, who knew nothing but finite idols. The irresponsive cannot give birth to the personal. Idolatry dishonors God by representing Him as an object made by man.
Evangelizing people without revelation must begin with who and what God is.
Our passage argued that all people have dignity because they were created in the image of God. Anything that violates the kind of God the Bible portrays is idolatry. It insults God to make physical images of Him.
Evolutionary thought is pagan; it begins from the premise that no God exists. Once evolutionists search for origins from something other than God, their presupposition of pure materialism cuts them off from an immaterial, transcendent, and immanent God.
We cannot help people understand the gospel without presenting it in a framework whereby they can understand it. We must adapt the approach to their understanding. Paul started with monotheism to convince pantheists and skeptics. Since people in our day are biblically illiterate, we must start from a place they can understand, from a larger perspective than the Bible. We can share the underlying principles or the worldview of Christianity.
God is immanent and accessible to all men. God is the Father of human beings—we are His offspring. People can have a personal relationship with Him. He is not like a dead idol that cannot respond personally. Human beings can know Him through natural revelation, from observing creation itself (Acts 14:16; Romans 1 and 2).