Romans 1:18-32 is a statement of warning to all humanity today that if we give up a knowledge of the God of creation, then we are doomed. And since the world is giving up a knowledge of the God of the Bible, then we are definitely doomed. We might add that it is not simply giving up a knowledge of “God,” but the giving up of a knowledge of a God who can create. When we substitute for creation another source for origins, then we are on our way to denying the God of the Bible. We will often retain our religiosity in this atheistic move away from God. If we move away from the God of creation, then we have created in our minds an impotent god who is not the source of the universe and all life.
There are certainly numerous gods in the minds of religious people throughout the world today, but there is only one God of creation. This one God must be the God who is the original source of all things, and especially the source of the incarnate Son of God. If He is not, then he is a god we have imagined after our own religious ingenuity.
It is significant that God the Holy Spirit directed the hand of Paul to include one penetrating statement in the context of Romans 1 that went straight to the reason why humanity was without excuse when it came time for God to bring judgment upon an entire civilization. In the context of Romans 1, the Holy Spirit did not want us to miss this critical point in reference to what causes such human tragedies. Therefore, in the context of the subject of Romans 1, verse 20 is not simply a statement to read. It is a serious thought to contemplate, and thus, reflect on continually as we study through the subjects that follow in this book.
“For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood [perceived] by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divinity, so that they are without excuse.”
The God of creation did not leave Himself without witness. His existence is continually revealed through the things that He created (See At 17:24-28). The psalmist was correct: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Ps 19:1). The declaration of the preceding statements is overwhelming. It is overwhelming because we live in a world today where much of the religious world believes “in a Higher Power,” but this power is impotent. He is simply a power in which to believe, but does not have the power to create and control that which He creates. He cannot do what the Holy Spirit claimed He could do in Hebrews 11:3:
“By faith we [true believers] understand that the universe was formed by the word of God, so that the things that are seen were not made of things that are visible.”
We must continue to reflect on this necessary truth that one must believe in order to be considered a “true believer.” If one denies this truth, then he may continue to be a religionist, but he or she is not a true believer according to how the Bible defines a believer. This may be difficult for many religionists to accept, but those who profess to believe in the God of the Bible must come to the conclusion that all that now exists was created out of that which formerly did not exist.
No matter what comes forth from the mouths of the majority of the scientists of the world, this proposition of truth must never be questioned, or denied. Believing in a God who created all things is the foundation upon which the gospel is based. If such a God is impotent, and thus cannot create, then the good news of this God being incarnate into this world is simply foolishness. If we believe in a god who cannot create, then we are “religious atheists” according to the God who is defined in the Bible.
As we travel down this road of reckoning, it is imperative that we draw a “creative line” between true faith and religion that questions a God who has the power to create, as well as resurrect. Any philosophy that comes forth from the field of science that contradicts this truth, must be considered false. Any religion that arises wherein are theologies that question creation or resurrection, is atheistic, and subsequently an attack against the gospel. Any philosophy that strikes a creative God out of the picture of establishing moral standards, must be considered false.
It is not that the Holy Spirit did not see this threat always present in our world, and thus of necessity not challenge true believers in these matters. He knew that we would continually be challenged in our faith by those who would deny the God of the Bible. Fearfully, therefore, we believe that long ago we moved into a philosophical and scientific world that has invaded the “faith” of many who profess to be “Christian.” It is because of this invasion that the very core of the gospel of Jesus Christ is under attack.
In view of the following exhortation by the Holy Spirit through Paul in Romans 1, a better definition could not have been made to explain atheistic religion. It was in reference to this religiosity that Paul warned Timothy in the following words:
“O Timothy, guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings and opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge [science], which some professing have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Tm 6:20,21).
We use the word “atheist” in reference to those religionists who do not believe that all life is the result of a God who can create and resurrect. We could also use the word “agnostic” in reference to those who may be ignorant of the word of God on this matter, but still hold on to a sprinkling of faith in Jesus. But if one does not believe in the God of creation, he will deny the miracles of the Bible, and eventually the incarnation of the Son of God. For the sake of consistency, he must deny the resurrection of Jesus. In reference to biblical definitions, therefore, he is an atheist in reference to the God of the Bible.
We must dig deeply into the inner core of our world view on these matters. The problem is that when the majority of those who profess to be “believers,” have accepted those propositions that deny the creative God of all things, then that majority seeks to lead us astray. When a world of religionists does this, then the religion of the world becomes an atheistic religion that intimidates the rest of the world to create gods that actually exists only in the minds of men. And then, what comes next is inevitable.
“God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gn 6:5).
[Next in series: June 1]