Today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, St. Justin Martyr. St. Justin was the first Christian to directly engage the dominant pagan culture with the message of Christianity; in other words, he was the first Christian “apologist.” If you read his works today, many of his arguments seem a bit odd, but you must read them within the context of the culture he lived in, as he was highly effective in spreading Christianity throughout the Roman Empire.
One of Justin’s primary arguments was the concept of the “spermatos Logos” – the “seeds of the Word.” This is the idea that the Christian faith is present in some form in the Greek philosophers and in other non-Christian religions and philosophies. When Plato, for example, taught something that was true, he was supporting the Christian faith, which is founded on Christ, who is Truth. Although Justin and the early Church condemned the pagan aspects of the Greek philosophers, this positive attitude towards them led the Church to use Greek philosophy to explain doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation in terms that all men could grasp. It was a huge leap in promoting the Christian religion throughout the world.
St. Justin, pray for us!