Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

God and Man in Asia Minor

Enbrethiliel of Sancta Sanctis has a post up about dying, the Iliad, and Christianity.

Now I understand more fully why Uncle Gilbert said that if the world were ever to return to paganism and perish, then the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die. The last words of everyone from Patroclos to Hector are fists shaken in defiance of the pagan gods . . . yet they somehow manage to be pious fists.

It is this ambivalence which marks the greatest theme of the Iliad, which is the relationship between man and the gods....

As ridiculous as all that finger-pointing is, both Trojans and Greeks have a point. The gods meddle so much in men's affairs, even stooping to cheating and lying, that men can no longer be wholly responsible for anything. To the gods go all the blame, but also all the glory. It is a delicious moment, therefore, when Diomedes is able to wound both Aphrodite and Ares. Even though his supernatural strength is just another gift from Athena, the whole episode is steeped with more pious defiance of the deities....

Two thousand years of Christianity have not diluted any of the this theme's power. The questions Homer asked in the Iliad, we are still asking today.

What is there to life besides enduring until death? Why do good men die and bad men live? Why does God show favour to some and not to others? How can we say we have free will when all the good we do is the work of grace acting within us? How can we still not blame God for all the evil in the world, when all He has to do to dispel it is to will it gone?

The only advantage we have over Homer and the ancients is that there is one answer which we at least know; there is one secret which has been revealed to us, even if we barely understand it. To us has been disclosed the mystery of the motivation of God....
It's a long post. There's much more and all worth reading. How could I not love a post which uses the Iliad to explore the relationship of man and God?

Her earlier post about the Iliad is here.

No comments: