Tuesday, January 22, 2008

GENEALOGY: Here's to my unknown relatives!

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. "For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
Acts 17:22-23 [16-34]
Louis Mills tells a story of a woman in his local genealogical group.

The woman told the group how she had spent countless hours accumulating names of all those she suspected were relatives. There was one group that was especially time consuming: they were all Inuit Indians living on an island off Alaska.

She said she had to seek the help of the library staff in order to sort out the confusing relationships … you see they all had the same surname, “Unk.” Though embarrassed, she had a good laugh when a librarian pointed out that Unk. meant "unknown."

Paul spoke of an Unknown God at the Areopagus in Acts 17:23; he spoke of how the people of Athens were “very religious,” but that their relationship with God was confused out of ignorance. He told them of a God not of this world, not made by the craft or craftiness of men, a God who can be known. He told them, that even though they were groping in darkness, they could find Him.

If the world would only go to the Son, “a Man whom He has appointed” [Acts 17:31], He would figure out this unknown relationship.

Jesus, knowing that non-believers have “the work of the Law written in their hearts” [Romans 2:11-16], knows that all men, in ignorance, are seeking after their roots, looking for that family tree which will reveal whether there is or is not a God they can know. God has “overlooked the times of ignorance” but is “now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent” [Acts 17:30].

Paul said elsewhere, “behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” [2 Corinthians 6:2].

[RootsWeb.com, Inc., RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Genealogy News, Vol. 2, No. 39, 29 September 1999.]

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