Old Testament vs. Hellenic Divine Intervention
The Old Testament and Hellenic texts we have studied have numerous examples of divine intervention. The range and complexity in human affairs that these interventions occur have similar, yet different attributes. Both texts describe divine intervention as a way of explaining "why things happen(ed) and being "chosen" by God or gods to fulfill a destiny. Both also see divine intervention as something that can not be understood by humans; God or the gods have their reasons why people are "chosen" and why certain gifts, events, and catastrophes happen and we will never understand the reasoning. Differences in the texts stem from the reasons they are the same; why certain people are chosen, why events happen, etc.
The range and complexity in human affairs of divine intervention as described in the Hellenic texts and the Old Testament are similar because of the interference in human affairs, yet they are different because of why certain people are chosen to fulfill a destiny. For instance, in the Old Testament, God chooses Noah and his family to be the only survivors after the flood that wipes out the earth. His destiny was to build the ark and take a pair of every living creature to help repopulate the earth after everything is wiped out. This is similar to Oedipus at Colonus, in the Hellenic texts, because the gods choose
Oedipus to save the city of Colonus from his own sons. They differ because God, in the Old Testament, chooses rather blindly. He does not choose people for any reason except that is who He wanted. If He does choose, it is based on goodness or loyalty to Him. The gods of Hellenic texts, like in Oedipus at Colonus, the gods choose Oedipus because of his wisdom and his family line. The Hellenic texts choose based on prestige, family, and honor. Another example of this is the story "Joseph" in the Old Testament. Joseph was chosen to be a powerful ruler in Egypt for no reason whatsoever, just because God wanted him to be. In
The Illiad, this would never happen, Achilles is chosen to defeat Hector because of his prestige, honor, and family line. Achilles is not chosen because Zeus just wanted him to. Not just anybody could have killed Hector, it had to be someone famous.
In the Old Testament, divine intervention, especially in "Genesis," plays a very important part. For example, in "The Creation of the Universe,"
God wills everything into being. "God said, ‘Let there be light,'" (Genesis
1:5) "Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce growing things,'" (Genesis 1:11)