Greek mythology is something that has always fascinated me. I’ve always enjoyed learning about it, but even from what I’ve learned about it from school and movies, like the Percy Jackson, I still feel like I don’t have a full grasp of greek theology. I am unsure if this is something I should even be letting into my life as a Christian.
What Is Greek Theology? Greek mythology is the common belief of ancient Greek culture that there are multiple gods who all have different powers that attribute to their realm, emotion, or aspect of the world they are in charge of. The God who is at the top of the hierarchy is Zeus reigning over all of the others and giving them commands.
I decided to research more about Greek theology to figure out where I stand on this topic as a Christian.
Definition Of Greek Mythology
Greek mythology is something that we’ve all been exposed to in some way at least during our lives whether through school, friends, or movies. Greek theology has turned into a fantasy aspect of entertainment.
The Greek mythology belief for how creation came about is before there was anything else there was evil. At least until the original deities appeared Gaea, Tartarus, and Eros. Gaea then created Uranus who assisted her in having the twelve titans. Among her other creations were two of the first mythical creatures: a one-eyed cyclops and a hundred handed creature.
Gaea was angry because Uranus did not like her mythical creatures and was unfair to them, so she recruited her youngest titan Cronus to attack Uranus and make him disappear.
After Cronus defeated his mother he then became ruler over the earth and married Rhea. After having children his mother predicted that he would also be overthrown by one of his kids, so he ate each of them after birth.
As an attempt to save her children his wife Rhea gave him a rock to swallow and hid her son Zeus so that when he got older he could defeat his father and save his siblings from the pit of Cronus’ stomach.
How Did Greek Theology Come To Be?
It is believed that Greek mythology began being told through word of mouth throughout ancient Greece during the bronze age (3,000 BC-1,200).
During this age, the main way scholars would present their thoughts and works would be by holding a gathering and giving a speech of their beliefs/ thoughts to large groups of people in order to get the word out.
Because this was the main way of communication, It’s suspected that the idea and original stories of Greek theology were not officially written down until the book “Odyssey” was written. It was written by a famous poet named Homer.
Homer most likely wrote the original copy of this short letter on a scroll and read it out loud to others, after the “Odyssey” he wrote a second part to the story called the Illiad. This story gave more information about Greek mythology and the Trojan war.
Different Viewpoints Of Greek Mythology
The creation story I mentioned earlier is the most popular belief for Greek mythology, but there are different variations and beliefs throughout ancient Greece.
A few beliefs include:
- Humans must be willing to sacrifice their own possessions in order to please the gods and if they were not pleasing enough they would be punished.
- Rivers, mountains, and land were living beings and were in control over themselves.
- Humans must submit to the gods and serve them.
- You are only rewarded during life, no life after death.
- Mighty warriors were able to assist the living after death if they chose to do so.
Now that we know more about Greek mythology and other viewpoints about it, lets compare it to Christianity.
Greek Theology Vs. Christianity
Though there are several differences between Greek mythology and Christianity I’m going to focus on the main differences. The first being their gods v.s. our God.
The Six Original Greek Gods:
The six original greek gods and goddesses are the children of Cronus and Rhea. They were all believed to be in authority over the humans and all creation on as earth. They all had different powers which helped them have domain over certain parts of the earth.
- Zeus: is the youngest son of Cronus and after defeating him he became ruler over all of the other Gods and humans. He is the God of thunder and lightning and has the ability to control the sky.
- Hera: is the wife and sister of Zeus, as well as the queen over the other gods/ goddesses. Hera is the goddess of women and marriage. Hera was known for her anger towards human lovers and children of Zeus whom she tortured.
- Poseidon: is one of the best known greek gods. Disney kids just know him as Ariel’s father, but in greek theology, he is ruler over everything in the sea, controls the storms, and has power over horses.
- Hestia: is the eldest of the six original greek gods and is known for keeping the peace between her siblings as well as with the humans. Her main job and power were to ignite a fire on Mt. Olympus for the gods and bring fire to humans on earth for their fireplaces so that they could cook.
- Demeter: is known as a goddess over the land, and for having the power to be able to control some weather, prospering the crops, and she could also make the humans hungry. Greek theology believes the reason crops don’t grow in winter is because Demeter caused the crops to die once her daughter was stolen from her by Hades. Every year the crops continue to suffer during winter time due to her water having to go back to the underworld during this time.
- Hades: is the king of the underworld and brother of Poseidon and Zeus. After their father was defeated Hades was given authority over all of the world and is known for trying to get as many humans possible to die or come to him in order to grow his kingdom.
The greek gods were full of hate and almost all of them mistreated or used humans for their own selfish wants.
In Christianity, there is only one God our heavenly father who loves us deeply and even though we were once separated from him by our sin, he sent his down from heaven so that we have the opportunity to be a part of his kingdom.
Greek theologies belief for creation is that there was already evil before the earth was created and that the earth is also a living deity named Gaia who created other beings that are different parts of the earth.
Christianity’s view of creation is that our God existed before anything else and that he created the earth and everything within it in a time span of six days.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.-Genesis 1:1
Why Does It Matter?
Why is it important to be aware of these beliefs and have an understanding of it?
After reading this you may be thinking, “What in the world, why would someone believe this?” At least that’s what I thought after all this research, but I believe it is incredibly important when learning about other religions to remember that we are all born with a God-shaped hole that only He can fill.
Remembering this can help you realize that we all go to different things to fill that hole before we allow God to fill the hole that’s just for him. Thinking of it in this sense always makes my heartache for others.
I remember trying to fill that hole myself with other people and the pain I felt daily before finally surrendering to God. Once I pursued a relationship with him consistently, I felt whole. I want others to feel complete because they know Christ too.
When we learn more about other religions and their beliefs, we are better able to understand their religious perspective. This provides a better foundation for us to slowly bring up our beliefs. God can conversations about religion to plant a seed in people’s hearts.
For example: If I know you believed in Greek theology I could start talking to you about the background behind it and mentioning the Greek gods. This shows that I have an understanding of your beliefs.
Once I’ve built that relationship with you, I can then start talking a little bit about creation and easing my way in to talking about the Holy Bible. This way you are more likely to be open about my beliefs since I was aware of yours.
Researching other religions can help strengthen our faith in God. We can see how much greater He is vs. all the other gods people believe in.
Our God is the only God who truly desires a relationship with us and cares for us deeply.
Other gods are motivated by their own desires and feelings. They are focused on hate and jealously. These gods end up torturing or hurting humans because of their selfish desires. I don’t know about you but that is not the type of god/ gods I want to follow.
Our God is sovereign and desires all of his children to know about him not so that he may be worshipped by all, but so that he can have a relationship with all. Though pain and suffering occur, the most beautiful things come from Him. God is with us in our pain and trials.
Paul Is Called Hermes Acts 14:12
In Acts 14:8-13, Paul and Barnabas go to Lystra and Derby and end up healing a man who was unable to walk. When people in town heard, they thought Paul and Barnabas were Greek gods.
Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.Acts 14:12
If you know nothing of Greek mythology you read this and think “why on earth would they think that?”, but if you have some background knowledge about Greek mythology you would be able to understand that Zeus was believed to be able to perform miracles.
Since Barnabas healed a man, he was called Zeus. Whereas Hermes was known for delivering messages and being a speaker which is what Paul did.
There are also other places in the Bible where greek gods/ goddesses are mentioned. Having knowledge of Greek mythology helps us understand these passages of Scripture.
Cautions Of Learning About Greek Mythology
As I stated previously having some background on Greek mythology helps us be able to better understand someone who believes in its point of view. This gives us an idea of how to better evangelize to them without completing turning them off to Christianity.
We should still be caution when learning about Greek mythology.
The first caution is to not spend too much time researching, reading, or watching different media related to Greek mythology. The reason for this is that Greek mythology is not of God, so the more time we spend in it, the more we are allowing this into our lives. The Bible cautions us of this in Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
When we allow these things that seem fun and innocent at first into our hearts it starts to impact our spirit and then our faith. It has darkness behind it and if we give in to that feeling it begins creating a disconnect between us and God. This is the last thing God wants for us.
Our God Is The Only God
While at first reading about the Greek gods we can think “man they’re silly”, but after spending more time learning about them it can seem tempting to follow them instead of God.
This is because believing in Greek theology does not require you to make any changes to your life. You can live the exact same.
Though the “easier” paths in life can be appealing, let me tell you from experience they end up hurting you. You will not get anything of value from the easy path.
Our relationship with God is a blessing. God loves us. He wants us to know Him. He blessings us so much more then we could ever receive in return.
Our God spent time creating us and put so much thought into our looks and personality, he did not do this so that we would forsake him but so that we may serve him. In Exodus God creates the ten commandments which we must obey to follow him:
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.Exodus 20:3-6
God knew that temptation would come to worship others so he orders to have no other gods. God, knew we would sin, but Jesus has died for us. When we repent, God forgives us. We can turn from our old ways and follow Him.
What I want you to take away from this article is that it is beneficial to do research on Greek mythology in order to better lead those who believe in it to the one true God. Remember to keep research to a minimum so that you are still respecting God while doing so. Check your heart and ask God for wisdom while learning more about Greek mythology.