Nov 2, 2011

101 How others made you a god in those days

In the New Testament Book of Acts, a snake bites the apostle Paul on the island of Mata.

So the people there say that Paul must be a murderer. They say to one another, The Fates are punishing the murderer with a snake bite 

Acts 28:3 Paul gathered up a bundle of sticks and was putting them on the fire when a snake came out on account of the heat and fastened itself to his hand. 4 The natives saw the snake hanging on Paul's hand and said to one another, "This man must be a murderer, but Fate will not let him live, even though he escaped from the sea storm."  

After a long time Paul shows no ill effects. And so the natives assume that Paul is a god  

5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire without being harmed at all. 6 They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after waiting for a long time and not seeing anything unusual happening to him, they changed their minds and said, "He is a god!"  

In the Book of Acts again, Paul and his comrade, Barnabas, go to another town and heal a lame man. Seeing this, the superstitious townspeople assume that the two apostles are manifestations the gods Zeus and Hermes. In fact the locals seek to make a sacrifice to the apostles 

Acts 14:11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they started shouting in their own Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us!" 12 They gave Barnabas the name Zeus, and Paul the name Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of the god Zeus, whose temple stood just outside the town, brought bulls and flowers to the gate, for he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifice to the apostles.

Recap: First-century superstition held that a god could take a human form and walk among the people. The Book of Acts says Paul performed a marvel and so the people reasoned that he was a god. The inhabitants of Malta believed it and another town did, too. I say Christians believe along the same lines. They assume that Jesus was God thanks to the Gospel legend about his working miracles. They accept it although they can't check to verify if it was a fact.

Related post:
51 Was Jesus God walking on earth

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