A “Syntopical Analysis” of two Saints using the Word of God to defend against Paganism during there time

Athanasius uses the Word to triumph over paganism in a defense for a Creator. Philosophers declared that if there was a God who created everything there had to be preexistent matter for which the Creator used to create other material things. Athanasius replies by appealing to Matthew 19:4-6. In addition to showing that the philosophers remove the definition of what it means to be by definition a “creator (51).” A creator in the sense of being able to create anything out of nothing that formerly had no being. Moreover, Athanasius also refutes the Epicureans who held that the universe came into being by chance. Athanasius uses the Word of God further to defend against the unbelieving Jews. Athanasius uses at least seven prophesies from the Old Testament to show disbelieving Jews that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (84-86). Finally the most thorough case Athanasius makes against the Pagans is the case for Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Employing verses such as 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 to defend the life of Jesus. Athanasius also incorporates Hebrews 2:14-15, and 11:35 to defend Jesus’ death and resurrection. As well as employing verses and others to show why Jesus Christ had to come down and pay the penalty of death because of man’s fallen state. He shows the necessity for everyone to believe in Jesus’ resurrection to have eternal life. Paganism suffered during this time primarily because Athanasius used the Word of God to show that Christianity is a rational belief in Scripture.

In contrast to Athanasius work Augustine uses the City of God to refute those who believe that Christianity was responsible for the social riots that were caused by the barbarian invasion. In fact Augustine believes that the invasion of Rome was brought upon them not because of Christianity but because of its absence. He states, “The true God leaves those who do not worship Him to their own devices (33).” Augustine further shows the foolishness of the gods by showing the complete destruction of Troy and further questioning if the gods being unable to protect the most devout cities. Next, Augustine shows the folly of the god Jupiter who was Rome’s great god. He shows how polytheism as opposed to monotheism is ridiculous because there is no explanation for a god who calls oneself great and yet be apart of a family of gods that are required to do what the one God of Christianity can do alone. Furthermore, Augustine argues against the pagan poetry and plays during the Roman times that depicted the Roman gods. The poets, and actors of such plays would depict their gods full of vices. Thus the no one seriously should consider worshiping a god full of failures. In all of this Augustine simply writes that because Rome was built on mans glory and his imaginative god their reward was just for their invasion. In defense of the Christian faith one word that defines the whole reason why Christianity could not have been responsible for the invasion on Rome is happiness. Augustine shows that man’s happiness can only be found in God and not in the gods who cannot even give eternal life. Augustine is also different from Athanasius in that he show the rational for believing in God without the Bible.

Augustine defense is similar to Athanasius defense for Christianity. When Augustine exposits Genesis 3 he as well as Athanasius shows that the Christian God is not the creator of evil. Both authors agree that if God created all things to be good that evil was not a creation of Gods. However Athanasius does not go as far in to say that it was because of mans disobedience for the existence of evil like Augustine does. They also both show with substantial evidence the weaknesses for paganism and why it is irrational for one not to accept the Christian God. Another similarity and perhaps more obvious is that these two authors dealt with similar problem. Christianity needed to give a defense for the faith during a time when it was absolutely crucial or otherwise the pagans would have been more successful in smothering Christianity. One way in which these authors essentially argued the same thing is that they both showed that faith in God is a rational belief and that Christianity is not a foolish thing to believe in. 


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