Acts 17:29

ESV Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.
NIV Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by human design and skill.
NASB Therefore, since we are the descendants of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and thought.
CSB Since, then, we are God's offspring, we shouldn't think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.
NLT And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.
KJV Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

What does Acts 17:29 mean?

Athens is a city filled with idols (Acts 17:16). There, Paul is showing Epicurean and Stoic philosophers how idolatry is an affront to their Creator God. He quotes two ancient poets to show that through God "we live and move and have our being" and that "we are indeed his offspring" (Acts 17:28). This second quote refers to Zeus, not the God of the Bible. "God," here in the phrase for "Divine Nature", is from the Greek root word theios, which means just a general deity which Paul has identified as the world's creator.

Stoics believed humans are the offspring of God; if that is so, Paul points out, how could we move while the idol stands still? The argument sounds like that of Elijah who mocked the prophets of Baal for worshiping a god who did not answer by asking if he was in the bathroom (1 Kings 18:26–27). After Elijah, Isaiah spoke of the folly of comparing the Creator of the universe to a metal object made with human hands (Isaiah 40:18–20).

If our own likeness and being cannot be contained in a statue, neither can God's. If God's image cannot be represented by an idol, it is sin to worship an idol. God overlooked such foolishness in the past, but now that Paul leads the philosophers to understand this, they must stop, realize what they're doing is wrong, and discover what is proper: they must repent. God has already chosen a day in which He will judge the world and He has identified His chosen judge by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30–31).

Paul's ability to take an altar to an unknown God and wind it around to Jesus' resurrection is impressive. Unfortunately, neither Epicureans nor Stoics believed in the resurrection of the dead, so they did not believe in judgment. Stoics thought the chief aim of man is to live in harmony with the logos—the law that governs the universe—to which they will return. Epicureans thought life is about finding just enough food, pleasure, and comfort to not be in want but not be in excess. For them, fulfillment comes in the moment, and when they die, they will cease to exist. Most of the philosophers mock Paul, but a few ask to know more, and a few join him and believe (Acts 17:32–34). Athens is not known as a significant church in the rest of the New Testament.
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