Gregg Nydegger column sig

Nearly 25 centuries after its construction, this temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, still crowns the Acropolis of Athens, Greece. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, the Parthenon’s majesty is visible for miles.

Construction began in 447 BC and was completed in 432 BC. With 46 outer columns and 23 inner columns of white marble — each with 30 flukes carved into them — and resting on an enormous limestone foundation, this ancient edifice draws 7.2 million visitors annually.

The Parthenon’s rectangular shape measures 228 feet by 101 feet and stands 45 feet tall, with beauty packed into every inch. Architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, along with supervising sculptor Phidias, designed Athena’s temple using an eye-pleasing 9:4 ratio, and continued this ratio for the diameter of the columns versus the distance between them.

Adding to the structure’s visual appeal, the outer columns lean in slightly. Why? The architects knew that large structures appear slightly curved when viewed from a distance. Thus, they intentionally built it slightly curved so it would appear perfectly straight!

They designed the floor to rise 4 3/8 inches at the long side’s center and 2 3/8 inches at the short side’s center. Why? Besides helping water runoff, these architects understood the human eye would perceive a truly flat base as if it actually rose slightly at the corners. These optical illusions help the Parthenon to look faultless from every direction.

Another impressive detail: the four, corner columns were short spaced in relation to the others. Again, designers visually tricked the human eye into seeing these supports as more substantial, heftier, and giving the overall structure more stability and grandeur.

The outside was decorated with 92 detailed carvings and a frieze that ringed the building; both pediments were filled with sculpture, too. Every piece was designed to tell of great Athenian victories and heroes.

The temple’s inner ornamentation boasted the grandest sculpture of all: a 40-foot tall statue of Athena made of gold and ivory and mounted on a massive base. Wearing military garb, armed with a spear, holding her shield in her left hand, and Nike — the Greek god of victory — in her right, the patron deity of Athens stood watch in her temple, inspiring awe, adoration and worship.

In 2019, Athena’s great image is gone, likely melted down centuries ago for its gold; the Parthenon sits partially in ruin. Athena never was a god, and she’s no longer worshipped anywhere around the world. None of the other ancient Greek and Roman gods and goddesses are worshipped either but appreciated only as the mythical deities they were.

But Jehovah God — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures — remains. The LORD God existed before the beginning of time and He reigns throughout eternity. Jesus Christ called Him “the only true God” (John 17:3).

The Bible categorically claims that there’s now, always has been, and only ever will be one God. “For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5). “The LORD is God; there’s no other besides him” (Deuteronomy 4:35). “Therefore, You’re great, O LORD God. For there’s none like You, and there’s no God besides You” (2 Samuel 7:22).

“You are the LORD, You alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that’s on it, the seas and all that’s in them” (Nehemiah 9:6). And there are many more Scriptures.

Jehovah God isn’t part of a pantheon of deities. He’s not an updated version of an ancient Hebrew tribal god. The God of the Bible is Lord of all creation and Creator of all things.

The Almighty isn’t Nature personified, nor is He an amorphous deified cosmos: “We’re in God, God’s in us, we’re all a part of the universe, and we’re all one.”

God stands distinct from His creation, but He’s revealed and made knowable by it. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1).

“For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20)

Long after this world and its false gods are gone, Jehovah God will remain. “Our God is an awesome God. He reigns from Heaven above, with wisdom power and love. Our God is an awesome God!”

Gregg Nydegger is the evangelist at Christ’s Church at Monticello.