Make no mistake about the influence of Greek mythology on our literature. For centuries, the stories of epics and tragedy have influenced many authors and great pieces of writing. Despite the gods not actually existing, their stories still resonate with our lives because the people and themes are so memorable.
Even though Greek mythology isn’t compatible with the Christian Worldview (polytheism vs. monotheism), there are tons of morals and lessons that are emphasized in the myths that are truths in Christianity. Along with many differences that highlight the stark contrast between the two.
Let’s examine a similarity.
In the myth Arachne, it teaches a good message regarding conflict with the gods. This myth tells the story of Arachne who is a very talented weaver. She boasts and brags about being better than Athene, the goddess of arts. Athene mysteriously disguises herself as an old woman to get her to take back her remarks, but Arachne refuses. Suddenly, Athene comes to challenge Arachne to a weaving contest to prove her wrong. Ultimately, Athene wins and turns her into a spider for her punishment of claiming equality with the gods.
Also, the myth Daedalus informs us about the error of attempting to be like the gods instead of giving them worship as they deserve. Daedalus and his son Icarus were held captive by a king. Daedalus, being a brilliant craftsman, decided to make wings to flee the king’s house. Daedalus gave specific instructions to his son that the wings they have are not to be compared to the gods because theirs are far more superior. Daedalus shows the way by flying first off the island, then Icarus follows his father’s steps. Tragically, Icarus disobeys his father’s advice and takes a joy ride in the wings and ultimately gets burned by the sun all under the assumption that he was imitating the gods.
On the surface, these stories are bizarre as heck! But both of them maintain a very important moral for even Christians to follow: That humans are finite and God is beyond our abilities, and far superior in might.
From Scripture, we know that God is the Eternal All-Powerful Creator of the universe. He simply spoke and boundless stars, universe, animals, planets, and galaxies came into being (Gen 1: 1-27). In addition, Job emphasized God’s rule and sovereignty we he exclaimed, “I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (42:2).” Against God’s Omnipotence, how can man, God’s pinnacle creation, stand up to such a Being? This is the same God that caused those to tremble at His presence (Ex 20:19), fall to their knees (Lk 5:8), and make mankind realize their overall unworthiness before His holiness (Is 6:5).
For humans to attempt to compete or outperform tasks ordained by God, it’s a losing cause. Just as the Psalmist realized that the nations that plot against God are counterproductive and futile because he causes derision and laughs at their plans (Ps 2:4), we too must not attempt to emphasize our humanly pride over myth God’s power. Lest we make the mistake of those at the Tower of Babel.