Metaphysical meaning of Athens (mbd)
Athens, ath'-ens (Gk.)--city of Athene (named after the goddess Athene, corresponding to the Latin Minerva); virtue; firmness; strength. A satisfactory meaning for Athene has never been developed. Her prototype in Minerva gives a clew that the virtue represented by Athene has to do with Spirit, mind, intellect, thought, and so forth.
Meta. The intellectual center in man. Paul's going from Athens to Corinth (Acts 18:1) signifies the withdrawal of the power of the divine word from the intellectual center (Athens) to the love center (Corinth) .
Acts 17:16-31 shows in symbols how the word of Truth (Paul) commends the intellect's attempts at religious worship, yet proclaims its shortcomings. The intellectual concept of God is always relative. The Athenians were purely intellectual; the more than three thousand images and statues of gods and of demigods or heroes in the city testified to their material concepts of the Deity. Such conceptions are typical of the mind that is not enlightened as to the true character of God. Yet, notwithstanding all these concrete concepts of God, there is a yearning to know the unrevealed Spirit, and the mind is ever reaching out for a fuller realization of its source. This yearning is symbolized by the altar with the inscription, To AN UNKNOWN GOD.
Paul did not call the Athenians ignorant; he said to them: "What therefore ye worship in ignorance (not understanding its name, attributes, and nature), this I set forth unto you." When Truth has been declared and has been received by the intellect, a new state of consciousness i8 set up. A day, or open state of mind, has been established. When Truth becomes active in our mind, the seed germ of our being, which is the Christ of God, is resurrected; then we have within us the assurance that this uplift is for the whole of our being--spirit, soul, and body--"all men," "all things," "all life." (See verses 24, 25, 26, 31.)
The thoughts of the intellect do not all fall into line with Truth at once; some mock, and others defer the acceptance to another time. But there are the elect few that form the nucleus of a strong church--a new state of consciousness where spiritual thoughts gather.