Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Great is Artemis of the Ephesians?

One of the less convincing arguments of the religious feminists is that Jesus Christ could only have come as male because no one would listen to a woman in that culture.

Oh, really?

Artemis was one of the most widely worshipped goddesses in the ancient world, appearing under many names including Diana and Phoebe. Her temple at Ephesus, where she was called the Lady of Ephesus, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. There she was worshipped as a mother goddess, though she was widely known as the goddess of the hunt as well. In Sparta, sacrifices were made to her before a military campaign.

Every time I hear this complaint, I can't help hearing the words that chased Paul out of Ephesus echoing in my head:

"Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"

As Tim Challies notes about this episode in biblical history:

". . . Acts 19 where Paul preached the Gospel at Ephesus. Fearing the success of the gospel would destroy the business of men who crafted images of Artemis, a man named Demetrius rallied the crowds and began a riot. For two hours they yelled "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Stop and imagine that for a moment. For two hours they filled the city with senseless, stupid cries . . ."

It seems to me that if a city could be roused in defense of a goddess, some in the ancient world just might, perhaps, have listened to a goddess, a god appearing in female form.

But let's grant that they are right, that Jesussette wouldn't have been given the time of day. Such a true claim still wouldn't help their case. As Fr. Dwight Longenecker reminded us not so long ago, He came in the fullness of time. For, if Jesus Christ indeed came in the fullness of time and that time required his incarnation as a male . . .

Artemis may have been great, but only one column of her wondrous temple remains.

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