We continue to consider the Greek word for “God,” theos, by looking at the hidden meanings of the word as it would have been understood to a first-century Greek. For each aspect of the meaning behind theos I also share quotes from both the Bible and from influential Christians to help us understand this deep word.
god, gods, or God?
In Greek culture, the term theos could be used in either a singular form, a plural form, or as an absolute proper noun; in other words, theos could be used to refer to a god, many gods, or to the supreme God. In later development, theos has the tendency to refer to the concept of gods in polytheism more broadly, including in reference to human-like characters in mythology, together with some elemental, universal, and natural forces or principles which are designated as “gods.”
The Bible, which was written in this culture, says, “For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth–as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”– yet for us there is one God” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6a, ESV)
America is ensnared in self-indulgence and its future hangs in the balance. Our moral and spiritual foundations are rapidly being destroyed. Our arrogance is producing a socialist state that is becoming our god. The entitlement state of mind has created a nation that looks to the government for the answer to our problems, when the only answer is, “Our Father which art in heaven.”John Hagee
Creation and Theos
In Greek culture, theos refers to one who is primary and ultimate. All things are from him and will be unto him. The deepest realities in the universe, such as love, goodness and power, are theos himself. Theos is the origin and provider of all virtues and is the transcending, unique, unsearchable and mighty creator.
The Bible underscores this understanding when it says, ”Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!…For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:33, 36, ESV)
Theos himself is full of meaningful plan and purpose. He produces the existence of the living entities according to his plan and purpose. One of the very marvelous entities is the visible world. Theos is the origin of the existence of everything in the world. Theos is the essential condition of the order of the world. Theos is the all-inclusive principle of all things and operates among all things in the world and among them are human beings. Their love for theos becomes a drawing force to motivate themselves to advance unto higher existence. Their prayer to theos is a reflection to attain a more pure and complete ultimate realm.
The Bible said, “Ages ago I [Christ] was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth… then I was beside Him [God], like a master workman… rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” (Proverbs 8:23, 30, 31 ESV)
The first step to becoming what God made you to be is to stop worrying about what others want you to be.Rick Warren
Theos has a plan
Theos is not only a creator to keep the world order for all things to be guarded and secured; he is also the designer and architect of the whole universe (including the inhabited world). Theos designs and places the whole universe (including the inhabited world) in time and makes plans for all generations, all histories, all events, and even the existence of all human beings and all their experiences in their whole life.
The Bible said, “And he [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…for him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.” (Acts 17:26, 28, ESV)
Seek to have your life in God, not in things, not in people, not in places, not in circumstances, not in arguments, not in human intelligence, but in God.Theodore Austin-Sparks
God will always bring the right people into your life, but you have to let the wrong people walk away.Joel Osteen
At this very moment, God’s working behind the scenes in your life… Stay in faith!
Theos leads man to eternity
According to Greek mysticism, theos fills all things. Theos is “the one” and is everything. Theos is one and is unique; he is the unique creator who has a very personal relationship with human beings in order to lead them unto eternal existence. The Greek mystics believed theos’s essence and power to be the surety of “eternity” and that, through meditation and reflection on theos, they would be incorporated into the harmony of the infinite universe; the harmony of the spiritual unique “I”, they are theos.
The Bible said, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding (and reflecting) the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)
“God Became Man that Man Might Become God.”Athanasius
There are three of you. There is the person you think you are. There is the person others think you are. There is the person God knows who you are and who you can be through Christ.Billy Graham