«For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring’ (Acts 17:28).
The words «in Him we live and move and have our being» contain a profound philosophical meaning as they enclose all the dimensions of our existence. The first verb, live (tzao) refers to the physiological functions—to the physical context that we humans’ beings share with superior mammals. The second one, move (kina)contains the movement principle, but it also includes the emotional experiences: love, hate, fear, joy, sadness, jealousy, mistrust, serenity, anger, compassion, etc.
The third verb, be (esmen) encloses the highest and most distinctive qualities of the entire being which is present only in the human species, including the intellect and the will.
The verse offers us an idea of the wholeness of God’s presence in man. God is the essence of our existence. He did not only create us; He is intimately tied to our daily existence and fully embedded in all of our functions. Paul gives a speech to the intellectuals of Athens. He uses a philosophical tone to reach the public of Areopagus. He even quotes the Greek poet Aratus (310-240 BC), who was born in Solos (CiliCia), near Tarsus, the city of Paul. Three hundred years before, Aratus had written a poem called Phenomena, which was probably memorized by Paul in his youth. There he speaks of the god Zeus and says that «we are descendants of him[Zeus].» Paul tries to present the gospel using the language and the culture of his hearers.
But this does not mean that he approves the way they practice their religion. Amidst their material idols, Paul presents a God who created all things. Instead of temples and altars everywhere, Paul teaches them of an omnipresent God. Instead of an «unknown» god who was worshipped at one of the city’s altars, Paul presents a known and accessible God. Paul reveals the God who created the world and the universe, who «gives to all life, breath and all things» (v. 25)—a God who embraces all aspects of our existence.
It is said that a teacher asked a child:
«Why is there only one God?»
And the child answered,
«Because God is everywhere and there is no place for another one. Believe that you live, feel, and act because He is in you and you are in Him. Without His presence in your life, you would perish. What an enormous privilege to know that God loves us so much that He accepts our entire life despite our faults