Gods In Literature Essay, Research Paper
Whenever one refers to the literature from which the Greek god?s came from, such as the Iliad, it?s referred to as mythology. And yet, the literature of the Christian God, the Bible, is not. Both pieces of literature were written around the same time period, and yet, in modern day, the Bible represents a way of life for some religious organizations while the Iliad is simply read for pleasure. One may wonder why the stories of the Greek god?s, that were worshipped by the Greeks of the time, came to be known as mythology, and not as a religious book, like the Bible. One reason may be the definite contrast between the traits of the Greek gods, and the traits of the Christian God. In comparing the two pieces of literature many differences can be found between the Greek gods and the Christian God. Three of these differences are the ways in which they interact with humans, if they are one God or several gods and if they have a singular presence or omnipresence.
In the Iliad there are several references about the way that the Greek god?s interact with man and how the god?s treated them. Apollo and Artemis, twin brother and sister, gave aid to the city of Troy. Although Artemis takes a rather minor role, Apollo was constantly changing the course of the war in favor of the Trojans. Responsible for sending plague to the Greeks, Apollo was the first god to make an appearance in the Iliad. Also, mainly because Apollo and Artemis were on the Trojan side, their mother, Leto, also helped the Trojans. This shows that the Greek gods could be out to hurt some humans and help others. Sometimes, in their divine intervention, the Greek gods show little concern, love or compassion toward mankind. Looking in the Bible now, in the book of Ephesians, we find these verses: ?But, because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.? (Eph 2:4-5) It can be seen in these verses that the Christian God has a great love for man and has saved them despite all of their wrong doings. ?But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.? (Ro 5:8) This verse shows that God?s love for man is an unconditional love, and despite the fact that all men have sinned against him, he still loved man so much that he sent his son to die on the cross. Thus giving man the gift of eternal life.
Another difference between the Greek god?s and the Christian God is that the Greek god?s are plural and God is one. In the Iliad there are several references to the plethora of Greek god?s. There are references to Zeus (who was the father god, a symbol of supreme authority and justice), Poseidon (god of the sea) and Aphrodite (goddess of love) to name a few. This shows that the Greeks had a god for almost everything. In the Bible, on the other hand, it is made very clear that God is one. ?A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.? (Ga 3:20) According to the Bible God is infinite. So, can there be many Gods? Not according to the Christian beliefs. ?Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.? (DE 6:4) It is the belief of Christians that there cannot be more than one
The last difference between the Greek gods and the Christian God is that the Greek gods have a singular presence and God is omnipresent. In the Iliad when Achilles was trying to burn the body of Patroclus he prayed to the two winds, Boreas of the North and Zephyr of the western gale, for help. Iris heard his prayers and conveyed the message to the two Winds. ?Her message delivered, Iris went off, and the two Winds rose up roariously, driving the clouds before them.? (p. 22) In this instance it?s shown that the Greek god?s are not omnipresent. The Greek gods couldn?t always hear the prayers. The Christians believe that their God is omnipresent and omnipotent. To say this is to say that there can be no real barriers to God?s knowing or acting. ?The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. He is everywhere always.? (Ps 135:6) This clearly shows that the Christian God is omnipresent. There is no other explanation to how one God could do all of these things.
With the Christian view of God, it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the actions and thinking of the Greek gods. Maybe this is why the Bible has become the text representing the Christian religion today. It is very plain to see that the Greek gods and the Christian God are very different. The Greek gods can be hard-hearted towards man, while the Christian God loves man and doesn?t tend to take such an active role in the affairs of man. The Greek gods are many with a single presence and power while God is omnipresent, all-powerful and all knowing