Monday, April 1, 2019

The Gods Cannot Possibly Be Subject To Natural Law or Fate

I came across something today that I have heard far too often and that I couldn't disagree with more. Everyone, of course, is entitled to their beliefs and how they see Deity, and I'm not going to loathe someone for that or start a battle over it, but some of the things that have emerged as official statements of modern Hellenic religion just don't add up to me. Some think the Gods are subject to Natural Law, and they also believe, which I think is contradictory to the first, that the Gods are unchangeable and can move through Nature as they choose and at their own wills.

The first thing I would like to point out is the obvious theological narrative that proves the Gods rule Nature and Fate, that they are in no way subjected to or controlled by it. Nature and Fate certainly have their own consciousness and powers, but they are not above that of the Gods. If the Gods were controlled by Nature, it would make no sense to give the Gods titles such as Averters, Saviors, Protectors and Guardians. Since ancient times, the Gods were prayed and offered to so that things would go well, such as for healing or so that there would be a good crop or sea voyage. These prayers and petitions would be useless if the Gods were the subjects of Natural Law or Fate, because the Gods wouldn't be able to change the course of Nature. If your crop was bad, or your voyage was going to sink at the mercy of Natural Forces, there would be nothing the Gods could do about it if Natural Law dictated them. If a person fell gravely sick, there would have been no need to visit and rest in the temples or sanctuaries of Healing Gods, because there would be nothing those Gods could do to alter Fate or the disease that had been laid upon the afflicted by Nature. If the season is bad, it's bad. If the storm comes, it comes. If the sick die, they die. There would be nothing the Gods could do. The very Nature of a God dictates that, in fact, nothing dictates them, and that they control all things. Plus, we all agree that the Gods are immortal. However, pretty much nothing else is. Planets, suns, and everything on Earth, has an end. So you can't say that the Gods are subject to Natural Law, and then say they are immortal, because Natural Law also dictates that everything eventually has an end, a destruction, a dying. 

To say that the Gods serve Natural Law is to basically say they are not Gods at all. If they are forced to serve something which has power over them, how can they be Gods of anything? And if the Gods are unchangeable and permeate Nature, then there's absolutely no way that they can be subjected to Natural Law, or be a servant of it, because Nature is changeable, and nothing bound by it would have exterior power to permeate it beyond its own will. In other words, if the Gods can choose to permeate Nature, they are above it. And if they are unchangeable, they are not controlled by Natural Law because the Law dictates that things change every single day. In fact, if the Gods impose order as many believe, the question begs, order to what? If it's order to a chaotic world or Universe, that was beforehand chaotic in Nature, then the Gods would have to have control over Nature and its existing laws to change and bring order to it. You can't impose upon a Nature or Universe which you are bound by or subjected to. It would be the opposite, it would impose upon you. Now, if we are referring to the laws that the Gods THEMSELVES create, that's a different matter. Naturally, they would honor and serve the laws that they themselves have laid down. 

I myself have always held the view of Panentheism, that being that the Gods can be everywhere and nowhere. They can be here in Nature, or they can leave it to its own. It has always made sense to me that a God can do whatever they want, that's why they're called Gods. More of my views on this can be found here.

I also don't agree with what some believe about the gender of the Gods, that being that they have none. Sex has clearly been connected to the Gods since ancient times. If gender was irrelevant, half the stories about the Gods wouldn't make any sense, and there would be no need for the words God and Goddess. It's fine to say that gender doesn't determine the Gods, because they certainly engage humanity regardless of gender. But to say that they have no such identity is simply incorrect. If the gender of a God had no bearing on the ancient minds, there wouldn't have even been genders equated with priestly service and ritual. In the Panathenaia, it was the women who made the peplos for Athena's statue and clothed it. Some festivals, in fact, strictly barred men from participation because they were men. Gender doesn't have to degrade people, but it clearly made a defining difference in the ancient theological mind. It's part of the Gods' identity, and we humans have no right to try and take that from them.

I think, in some ways, those who have the reins of ancient Greek religion today are trying to change some things about it, which in itself isn't necessarily bad. However, if integrity is to remain, there must be distinction made between ancient belief and your own personal one. The good thing is that we are not a religion centered around a correct dogmatic belief system. There is room for many viewpoints. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.