The very foundations of Greek thinking and nature differ sharply from that of the Judeo Christian. To the Greek the world was surrounded by deities and man was some how the result of their presence and interaction with nature. To the Jew and Christian, man is the result of creation, the work of God, and even dough man is created in the image of God he is subject to Gods sovereignty in every aspect of his life.
The Greek’s religious background represented a deification of the creature, specially mankind, and a corresponding corruption of the moral sense, giving the sanction of religion to natural and unnatural vices.
The Greek religion was nothing more than an artistic product of the imagination. Its ethical base deformed by moral distortion, completely lacks the true conception of sin and consequently the true conception of holiness. It regards sin, not as a perverseness of will and an offence against their Gods, but as a folly of the understanding and an offence against men.
Homer knows no devil, but rather puts a devilish element into his deities. Their Gods are born, but never die. They are full of envy and wrath; hatred and lust prompting men to crime, and provoke each other to lying, and cruelty, perjury and adultery. Such was their depravity that Plato banished them from his ideal Republic.
By its superstition it betrayed the need of faith. Its polytheism rested on a dim monotheistic background; it subjected all the gods to Jupiter. It had the notion of dependence on higher powers and reverence for divine things. It had the voice of conscience, and a sense, dim, of guilt. It felt the need of reconciliation with deity, and sought that reconciliation by meditation, penance, and sacrifice.
... find the contrast between the Greek deities and the Abrahamic Gods. The contrast between the Abrahamic and the Greek gods has been shown to be ... and culture. They were nothing like any deity known to man then or now. The ancient Greeks would seek haven and ask for ... and allure is accentuated by their recognizable human attributes. Ancient Greek Gods, like man, have been known to love and lust, to be ...
These vague fundamentals of morality and the notion of an “Unknown God” (Acts 17:23) may explain in some circumstances the readiness with which many Greek heathen were willing to hear the gospel.
The Grecian philosophy particularly that of Plato and Aristotle, formed the natural basis of their theology. By the time of the apostles, Greek philosophy had run down into scepticism and refined materialism determining their moral and ethical conduct. Their pursuit of perfection was achieved on a constant search of knowledge.
For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. (Acts 17:21)
The Greeks believed that what is moral is that which will bring the greatest satisfaction to an individual. And that happiness, self fulfilment, and pleasure should be the standards that guide our actions through life.
To them morality was a path to gratification and a gratified life was a good life.
The basis of their morality was centred on man, Socrates stated that:
“Man is the measure of all things”
Plato like Socrates had the view that the noblest part of the soul is in the intellect. He believed that virtue was knowledge and as such virtue could be reasoned and taught. This thinking stated that one is virtuous only if one acts for the right reason. Knowing the good and acting in accordance to it could only be attained by philosophy. Hence, a soul is capable of virtuous action only if it is ruled by reason.
In Plato’s Republic, an action which is just is an action that has the end of achieving harmony and the greatest happiness for the individual. The Greek notion was that to be good is to be happy at doing something.
The Christian ethical ideal contrasts sharply with the Greek in that Christianity centres attention upon the motive, (Pro 23:7 and Mat 6:21) and its ideal of life may be summed up in the word “spirituality” as the Greek ideal is summed up in “beauty” or “perfection” and “harmony”. As the Greek identified virtue with knowledge, assuming it to be inconceivable that one should recognize true values and not act in accordance with them, Christianity makes virtue consist in doing what one believes to be right in the sight of God,
The Christian Virtues in Medical Practice is a soul touching and brain boosting book prepared by Edmund D. Pellegrino and David C. Thomasma in 1996. It speaks of how being a Christian makes a difference in being a physician. The philosophies of the authors made a colorful explanation in the book on how virtue ethics counts a lot. Faith, hope and charity were given emphasis since it is the three ...
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21)
Rather than in the correct perception of objective goodness.
While Greek thought was based in a constant pursuit of virtue through happiness; growth (in the spiritual sense) does not involve effort on the part of the Christian. For the Christian, spiritual achievement is obtained by grace
…not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
( Ephesians 2:8).
It is the fruit of the spirit in contrast to the “works” of the law.
While for the Greek “the end justifies the means”, the Christian view is that both, end and means, are sanctioned by God’s perspective.
The Greek believes that by his actions and pursuit of pleasure he can obtain perfection. To the Christian relaying on his own instincts can only bring destruction, eternal life is given by God.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
In Summary, Hellenic thinking was centered on man; he was as Socrates stated “measure of all things”. The Christian life is a reflection of Gods standards, and his will and actions are subject to his creator.