Temple Remains in the Forum of Pompeii
Bock

First Century Gods Everywhere Aug 30

The world of the first century was not like ours. One of the features was that the gods are everywhere. There was no secular-religious divide as in our culture. One can think of Acts 17 where Paul is provoked by Athenian idols.

The world of the first century was not like ours. One of the features was that the gods are everywhere. There was no secular-religious divide as in our culture. One can think of Acts 17 where Paul is provoked by Athenian idols.

In some cities the town is full of multiple temples and/or has a prominent locale for a key temple. This is true of Pompeii. Here there are six temples that have been unerathed in the two-thirds of the area that has been excavated and the Forum has a temple dedicated the the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. This kind of devotion means that the Jewish and Christian focus on one God alone was an exception in the first century. It is hard for us today to appreciate this difference between the first century and ours. Monotheism has been such a fixture in our culture. However things are changing today. With the pluralism and plethora of choices concerning religion, our world is becoming more and more like that of the ancients. So maybe there is much for us to learn from Scripture about how to address a world of many gods. In the speeches of the Bible, there is an appeal to one of the most basic claims made in Scripture. God is our Creator and we are accountable to him. As creatures, we serve him. The idea of a plethora of deities, especially gods made in our likeness or conforming to our tastes, does not reflect the divinity of the Scripture. Hopefully God’s people can also live in way that shows the uniqueness of our God.

Temple Remains in the Forum of Pompeii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above is a picture of the Temple to the triad of gods in the front of the Pompeii forum. This temple was located at one of the busiest spots in this city devasted by a volcanic explosion in August of AD 79. Almost continuous excavation has taken place here since 1748 (that is older than the USA!).

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