18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Although General Revelation is all around us, it condemns. Although it is beautiful and God’s creativity is still conveyed in the world around us, it counts against most people. The passage runs through a judicial case. The case is made against humanity that, in general, we have seen the evidence of a power greater than ourselves but we have not acknowledged that God exists. We have looked at the broader world and we have mastered it – we have exercised dominion – but then a process has recurred in each culture that descends toward godlessness.
When I was 18 and lived in Pakistan, I looked at a leaf and it saved my faith. The beauty of the sunlight shining through the veins in the morning convinced me that, although science has extensive explaining power, it is insufficient. My wonder goes beyond the God of the Gaps. The God of the Gaps presupposes a secularism that has the sacred fill the gaps that materialism cannot explain. That which we do explain belongs to God. That which we can not explain also belongs to God. Whether there is a universe or a multiverse, the God who transcends all fills it. Whether matter is comprised of energy or whether solids exist, the most minuscule particles speak of design.
Those who look through the telescope and microscope and don’t see God stand condemned. That is a point of the passage.
May we see your nature revealed in the grain of wood, the flight of the birds and the colour of the sky. In the fall leaves here, may we give thanks that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.
- What words describe Natural or General Revelation?
- What is the role of revelation in this passage?
- Why would Paul seek to make sure people know God is just in condemning people?
- How do those around you respond to nature?
- How do you?