03 August 2015

Logos The Ancient Greek God

Logos the Ancient Greek God

The Divine Wisdom of the Cosmos

The God of Ancient Greece is an omniscient, all-wise principle, that designed the entire universe. The Ancient Greeks call it by the name "Logos." In the Book of John we find also mentioned ... the Ancient Greek Logos in his gospel, where Logos has been translated in English as the “Word” or the “Word of God,” having been equated by interpreters on behalf of the writer of the Book of John ... to Jesus Christ. So first we must ask what exactly is the Greek God Logos ... and how is the Ancient Greek God similar to, or different from the God of Christianity?

The Logos in the New Testament Bible

In the beginning was the Logos (Word), and the Logos (Word) was with God (Theos), and the Logos (Word) was God (Theos).

— John 1:1

Many Christians assume that John calls Jesus Christ the Logos, proclaiming him to be the Ancient Greek God born in the flesh, the “Word” becoming incarnate. The relevant meaning of the Greek word logos was “reason,” as opposed to mythos, or mythology. However, Jesus was not the Greek God Logos in the genuine worldview of Ancient Greece; it was merely Christianity's view that the apostle John was promoting the worship of Jesus Christ. This evangelical technique was not new in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew God Yahweh (YHWH) reigned as God of Canaan by assimilating to himself the figure of El, who was the supreme god of the Canaanite pantheon.

Neither did this manner of evangelization end in the New Testament. Later evangelists would equate Jesus with the Ancient Greek Logos with the godhead of still other religions. This practice was done mainly to convert people more smoothly into Christianity, by building on the pagan supreme god, and simply transforming this god slowly into the Christian concept of divinity. 

In John’s time, Israel had been annexed into the Greek Empire by Alexander, the apostles therefore evangelized in Greek, and the Gospel According to John ... went as far as using the Greek concept of the divine to convince the Ancient Greeks to worship Jesus. The Logos, however, unlike Jesus, doesn’t make parables, and was more straightforward. What is the Logos? What does this Ancient Greek God do?

Logos the Divine Wisdom (Sophia)

In the Ancient Greek worldview, the Logos is the divine wisdom that governs the cosmos, designing the world into a harmonious order, the same order we find in Nature. The Ancient Greek God is the reason why the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, set out to reach proper ends.

Don’t you notice that the creatures on earth somehow know what to do from the moment they are born? Haven’t you wondered how these creatures get on with their lives when they are lacking the faculty of reason that man/humans have? How do the mammals, the birds, the trees and so on, wind up doing what they should to do? How do these creatures always take the right path when they don't know what choices to make? For sure, whatever lacks intelligence cannot move forward to the fullness of its existence ... unless it is directed by something that is the source of that intelligence. This is exactly what the Greek God Logos is about.

Logos the Ancient Greek God

All things come to be in accordance with the Logos.

— Heraclitus

Ancient Greece is famed for its eloquent philosophers, who place the utmost respect to reason ... or, "Logos" in the Greek language. To the Ancient Greeks, there was reason for everything, and this reason is what the Greek philosophers unveiled through philosophy and dialogue. It was around the time of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (535 – 475 BC) that this universal reason began to take the shape of a supreme principle in the Greek worldview. Heraclitus spoke of the Logos as the principle that designs the cosmos and keeps the world in order.

Yet it was in the time of the Stoics that the Logos was widely believed to be God. This Ancient Greek God was the divine reason pervading the universe, therefore being responsible for its design and order. The Divine Logos was thought to actually exist by some, and was identified with Nature. The Greek God Logos was an immanent and omniscient principle that sows reason in everything - guiding the workings of the physical world of matter - making its various elements function in harmony.

Logos the Divine Reason in Humans

The Logos is similarly believed to exist in human beings. As above, so below ... as within, so without. While the Greek God Logos is the overall rational structure of the cosmos, there are  “seeds of the Logos,” and are exactly what human beings have in them that enable them to think and create. 

Unlike other creatures, human beings come up with their own judgment, and make choices of their own, without having to wait for anything else to direct them to their end ... precisely because they rely on their own intelligence, their own Logos. Human reason is no different from Divine Reason, except that Divine Intelligence is not susceptible to error like humans’, but is universal, and as such, is always perfect and infallible ... the Absolute.

Indeed, human beings partake of the Logos. Human beings have a portion of the Divine Logos inside them. This is the Divine Spark or Seed. Every time that they try and fathom where their curiosity takes them, every time they exercise their reason, their Wisdom (Sophia), they share in the work of the Ancient Greek Logos. Human beings share in the Divine Wisdom of the universe.

How did the Greeks think human beings should use this faculty of reason? Human beings were not endowed with reason for nothing, but to follow where Logos, or where reason leads them. One’s Logos gives a human person the capacity to think, enabling him to perceive the workings of the universe; therefore, it benefits the person to use that reason in dealing with the world, and with life as a whole. Human beings should think, contemplate, and in the process partake of the God of Ancient Greece.

Logos the Divine Intelligence

To the Greeks, the source of intelligence and Wisdom is none other than the Logos, the divine reason by whose governance all natural things journey toward their proper end. The entire cosmos flows in harmony through this divine plan, and that divine plan is designed by the Ancient Greek God - the Archetype - The Source and Architect of ALL that IS. The Greek God Logos is not an incarnate human being that conjures parables like Jesus, but a supreme principle that made order in our universe possible.

Just a thought ... 

~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.