I have often pondered the One we in America continue to call ‘God.’
Is this accurate nomenclature for the Creator of all?
In the Greek books of the Bible, He is referred to as ‘theos.’ This theos is deity among other deities, among other theous (Gk – theos as a direct object). All other names are capitalized as proper nouns, as is Jesus and Christ (when referring to Jesus or the Anointed.) I have yet to find theos (in reference to the God of Christianity) capitalized.
And this is really where we get our American name for God.
The word is our root for ‘theory’ (from the Gk. theoria – to perceive, to contemplate or observe.) It is more obviously our root for ‘theology’ (the words, or study of, god. Gk – theos + logos.)
The only time that god is referred to as a proper noun is when Paul is speaking in the Aeropagus and talks about the Unknown god. I have written it like this because the author of Acts uses this particular formula.
The word for unknown (agnosto – Gk for unknown or forgotten) is the one that is capitalized. The word for god is lowercase (theow – the different ending is such because it is the dative, or indirect object, of the sentence.)
I find it fascinating that the only time Paul finds it fit to use a proper name for God is when he is referring to Him as Unknown. It truly seems the only fitting, accurate name for God.
He is ever unknown. He is ever forgotten.
We hear from Him. We see His effects and affects in the earth (Gk – kosmos.) We glorify Him and reach for Him. We labor to serve Him, and press as hard where we may, yet there is some aspect of Him which remains unknown, or forgotten, to us.
We know in part, but can we know all about Him, the agnostic God?
I say agnostic, and some may retaliate quite vigorously to this, but this is what Paul calls God. If you look at the root of agnostic (see Bibliography below), you will find that it simply means one who does not believe it possible to gain ultimate knowledge.
Historically, it wasn’t one who discounted God, heaven or the spiritual. It was one who simply believed that we cannot have complete knowledge of Him. And can we honestly ever be bold enough to state that we believe we can know God fully in this life?
I know that my life is an ever unfolding revealing of Who He is. I pray that someday I understand my theos more, and know Him by Name.
————-~~~~ Bibliography ~~~~——————–
American Psychological Association (APA):
agnostic. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 21, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic
Chicago Manual Style (CMS):
agnostic. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic (accessed: September 21, 2007).
Modern Language Association (MLA):
“agnostic.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 Sep. 2007. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic>.