Many rulers, writers, inventors, mathematicians, scientists and cartographers lived long before the birth of Christ. They surely came into the world in the ordinary way, rather than by divine intervention or Immaculate Conception. They were, in their time, considered important enough to have busts sculpted and portraits painted. These are among the people everyone learns about in high school and college. Their existence was undeniable, unquestionable, and provable. They left behind works, histories, plays, maps and pyramids. Yet, were any of these men as great or as important to the human race as Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, God incarnate?
Some figures from ancient history are shrouded in fantasy and folklore, making their existence virtually improvable. Many, especially those of ancient Greece and Rome, have been relegated to myth and legend. Yet, many were very real and provable beyond any doubt.
Aeschylus, the Greek writer of tragedy, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a renowned Roman general, Amenhotep IV, an 18th dynasty pharaoh of Egypt, Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, Anaximander, inventor of the gnomon on the sundial and cartographer the first map of the world, Archimedes, Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer, and Aristophanes, writer of political satire and humor, were very real indeed.
The existence of these men is irrefutably proven by extant writings, clearly delineated histories, inventions, mathematical formulae, and pyramids filled with hieroglyphics and artifacts. View the list for more information and photographs.
Yet Jesus, the one and only son of God the Father left no writings, drew no maps, invented nothing of consequence, and did nothing in the world of science and mathematics. Christ had no headpieces, gold or gems. He engaged in no military actions or battles. No massive edifices filled with pictographs were built to Him. No busts were sculpted or portraits painted.
Was Jesus real? Christians will continue to believe, agnostics will continue to doubt, and atheists will continue to deny. Theologians and biblical scholars will continue to study, and archaeologists will continue to excavate. Perhaps one day the world will know beyond any reasonable doubt. Until that time, Christians continue to draw strength from Hebrews 11:1: ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’
References: About.com: Ancient/Classical History, Wikipedia, Hubpages.com: 99 Famous People of Ancient Western History, Infoplease.com: Ancient History, The official King James Bible online.
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- Bible Verse of the Day
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- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
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Aeschylus was the first of the three great ancient Greek writers of tragedy. Born at Eleusis, he lived from about 525-456 B.C., during which time the Greeks suffered invasion by the Persians in the Persian Wars. Aeschylus fought at the major Persian War
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (60?-12 B.C.) was a renowned Roman general and close friend of Octavian (Augustus). Agrippa was consul first in 37 B.C. He was also governor of Syria. As general, Agrippa defeated the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. Upon his victory, Augustus awarded his niece Marcella to Agrippa for a wife. Then, in 21 B.C., Augustus married his own daughter Julia to Agrippa. By Julia, Agrippa had a daughter, Agrippina, and three sons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar and Agrippa Postumus (so named because Agrippa was dead by the time he was born).
Pharaoh Amenhotep IV
Akhenaten or Amenhotep IV (d. c. 1336 B.C.) was an 18th dynasty pharaoh of Egypt, son of Amenhotep III and his Chief Queen Tiye, and the husband of the beautiful Nefertiti. He is best known as the heretic king who tried to change the religion of the Egyptians. Akhenaten established a new capital at Amarna to go along with his new religion that focused on the god Aten, whence the pharaoh’s preferred name. Following his death much of what Akhenaten had had constructed was destroyed deliberately. Shortly afterwards, his successors returned to the old Amun god. Some count Akhenaten as the first monotheist.
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great, King of Macedon from 336 – 323 B.C., may claim the title of the greatest military leader the world has ever known. His empire spread from Gibraltar to the Punjab, and he made Greek the lingua franca of his world. At the death of Alexander a new Greek age began. This was the Hellenistic period during which Greek (or Macedonian) leaders spread Greek culture to the area Alexander had conquered. Alexander’s colleague and relative Ptolemy took over Alexander’s Egyptian conquest and created a city of Alexandria that became famous for its library, which attracted the leading scientific and philosophical thinkers of the age.
Anaximander of Miletus (c. 611 – c. 547 B.C.) was a pupil of Thales and teacher of Anaximenes. He is credited with inventing the gnomon on the sundial and with drawing the first map of the world in which people live. He may have drawn a map of the universe. Anaximander may also have been the first to write a philosophical treatise. He believed in an eternal motion and a boundless nature.
Archimedes of Syracuse (c.287 – c.212 B.C.), a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer, determined the exact value of pi and is also known for his strategic role in ancient war and the development of military techniques. Archimedes put up a good, almost single-handed defense of his homeland. First he invented an engine that threw stones at the enemy, then he used glass to set the Roman ships on fire — maybe. After he was killed, the Romans had him buried with honor.
Aristophanes (c. 448-385 B.C.) is the only representative of Old Comedy whose work we have in complete form. Aristophanes wrote political satire and his humor is often coarse. His sex-strike and anti-war comedy, Lysistrata, continues to be performed today in connection with war protests. Aristophanes presents a contemporary picture of Socrates, as a sophist in the Clouds that is at odds with Plato’s Socrates.