Theophilus then proceeds to speak of the difference between the biblical and pagan understanding of the world: their inspiration:
And without meaning to do so, they acknowledge that they know not the truth; but being inspired by demons and puffed up by them, they spoke at their instance whatever they said. For indeed the poets,—Homer, to wit, and Hesiod, being, as they say, inspired by the Muses,—spoke from a deceptive fancy, and not with a pure but an erring spirit.
Now this is without question impolitic in contemporary culture: these poets spoke by demons or “deceptive fancy”. It is interesting that we, at least in educated society do not believe in such things. And yet Shamans, Astrology, and any number of other such things are believes. Unabashedly demonic merchandise and imagery is very common. The culture is frankly gnostic. A scientist on staff at an internationally known institution and respected institution told me, “My colleagues are quite superstitious”.
Theophilous contrasts this with the prophets:
But men of God carrying in them a holy spirit and becoming prophets, being inspired and made wise by God, became God-taught, and holy, and righteous. Wherefore they were also deemed worthy of receiving this reward, that they should become instruments of God, and contain the wisdom that is from Him, through which wisdom they uttered both what regarded the creation of the world and all other things. For they predicted also pestilences, and famines, and wars.
And they not only predicated, but their predications have come true:
and they all have spoken things consistent and harmonious with each other, both what happened before them and what happened in their own time, and what things are now being fulfilled in our own day: wherefore we are persuaded also concerning the future things that they will fall out, as also the first have been accomplished.
Theophilus of Antioch, “Theophilus to Autolycus,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Marcus Dods, vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 97.