22 November 2005

Three Things Everyone Knows

I started a trip through Romans the other day, and I was reminded of three things that Paul says everyone knows.

(1) Everyone knows God (1:21). Now, Paul doesn't mean that they have a personal saving relationship with God; that's clear from the following verses. But neither does he mean that they know that there is a god (whoever he/she/it/they may be). This understanding would go against the grain of what he has just said about God's "eternal power and divine nature" (1:20). Everyone deep down knows that God, the God revealed in the Scriptures, is the only real God.

(2) Everyone knows that the true God ought to be worshipped. This is what is meant by "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things" (1:25). What truth do they exchange? The truth that is made plain to them every day both in nature and in their own conscience: God is glorious! God is eternally powerful! God is God!

(3) Everyone knows that those who reject God "deserve death" (1:32).

All of this knowledge is built-in knowledge. When God made humans in his image, he intended them to have a relationship with him. He built them to recognize who he is (the only true God) and what they owe him (worship and thanks). Unfortunately, these same humans continually "suppress the truth by their wickedness" (1:18). They refuse to think about the truth God built into their human framework. Whenever humans start thinking, instead of thinking the Creator-worshipping thoughts that God built them to think, they think creature-worshipping thoughts, which only bring them into further delusion and wickedness.

Only the gospel can deliver us from our truth-suppressing, ever-descending, futile darkness (1:16).

No comments: