Although I ended on Romans 1:20 previously, that was several weeks ago, and we probably forgot what it says; besides that, it helps us understand verse 21 better.
Romans 1:20-21 CJB For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities—both his eternal power and his divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. Therefore, they have no excuse; (21) because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.
I used to communicate with Pastor Paul Begley, but I don’t anymore as he has become inundated doing videos and speaking about prophetic events. His opening line for every breaking news broadcast is, “are you serious?” The implications are that the incident he is about to report on, is such a flagrant insult of logic and common sense that it must be challenged with a harsh reproof such as, “are you serious?”
Well, that is how I feel about Paul’s statement here, are you serious?
- “For ever since the creation of the universe His invisible qualities – both His eternal power and His divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what He has made.
Everything around us, in terms of God’s handiwork, demonstrates both His POWER and, His NATURE. These two invisible aspects of God surround us. From where I live, only a few miles from the mountains with its trees, streams, and waterfalls, I can see the hills that lead up to the beauty that is hidden over the ridge. And then, there are the “natural” clouds and the spectacular shapes and effects they can have.
I accentuated the word natural, knowing that I really did not need to mention it, except that globally we have been inundated by chemical clouds. These clouds are the end result of those long trails spewed by airplanes as they cross the skies, at very high altitudes, on what seems like a continuous and daily mission. These “chemical trails” can create a spectacular colorization at sunset; however, they are incredibly harmful to our food supply, water supply, and our general health. (If you are interested, take the time to look up the incredible array of chemicals and particulates they are intentionally spraying in these chemtrails.)
The idea of seeing God’s handiwork in a pleasant outdoor environment has always been with me. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have come to the conclusion that there was a God on my own, as I can see the destruction in a piece of granite (Destruction is a concept that seems in opposition to creation.) So I am quite sure that my parents, by their conversations to and in front of us, must have imprinted this idea of God in the creation upon us as very young children because I cannot remember a time that I was not aware of God’s hand being involved with what I was experiencing. I also, cannot remember a time when I did not know God, and maybe that is a legitimate reason or explanation for my own understanding.
Raised in the church, I can now say that a tremendous amount of the hurt and injury to my thinking came out of the church, or at least from some twisted religious concepts that were shoved down my throat. My mother, God rest her soul, had some dreadfully, distorted legalistic ideas. She did not seem to have any concept of grace; I assume that because she taught us to pray a ghastly prayer that goes like this – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul, to keep…” I shall not go on for it caused me, for years, to live in a state of fear that the slightest indiscretion would cause God to stop loving me and send me to a fiery hell. I learned that a belief like that is not valid, but it took me years to undo the damage and change my misconceptions that conflicted with this nature and character of God. Sadly, I realized that I did not know God; fortunately, all that changed, and, it evolved through studying on my own. The overarching theme I found, is that He is Love, and He redeemed an entire world through the death of His only Son when it did not love Him.
So, because since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, and understood through what has been made, they are without excuse. But the question must now be, who is the “they?”
The Jews knew they were chosen, but that did not stop them from worshiping everything but God, nor did it force them to honor or obey Him. This information makes them the prime suspect as I try to determine who Paul is speaking of.
As I sat in Bible study recently, the leader used background information, given in the form of a commentary on the Roman church. The author of this commentary was Dr. James Dobson. It turns out that Dr. Dobson saw history as an avid hobby. The leader of the Bible study, following Dr. Dobson’s lead, talked about Paul being a missionary to the Gentiles. Think about how, in every town Paul went to – he went to the synagogue; is this where you ordinarily find Gentiles? Not hardly. Paul himself, tells us, that eventually, he did take his message to the Gentiles, but after the Jews stoned him, flogged him, had him arrested, and a few other things.
The Jews considered anyone outside of Judaism to be a godless pagan – a Gentile, and so a generalization is to think of the “they” as the Gentiles because the presumption is that they were outsiders without God. We, in the Christian world, adopted the word Gentile to mean non-Jewish believers. At this point, the generalizations point me to, not only the Jews but just about anyone else.
One day I made a bold statement about how Jesus could come back at any moment. An acquaintance of mine attempted to angrily rebuke me, saying, that is impossible because we are told that every human being would have to have obtained a copy of the Bible for the prophecy to be fulfilled and therefore allow for Jesus to return. Paul didn’t see it that way, and neither do I.
Verse 21 tells us:
Romans 1:21 CJB because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.
Again, I am dealing with this vague “they.”
The Jews did not gain the title Jews until long after the exodus from Egypt. Upon their leaving, they were merely known as“my people,” or the people whose God is named I am who I am. The name Jew emanated from Judah, one of Joseph’s sons. In time they became the people of Israel.
If I were to say, once again, that Israel saw the signs, I would have to include, the plagues God dumped upon Egypt as He tried to impress upon Pharaoh the necessity to let His people go. Indeed, these signs would have demonstrated God’s power. Was Israel awed? Hardly, for it seems but days go by when (a bit over 40,) and, while Moses is gone up into the mountain without food and water for forty days – not something normal men survive, when this group of people, who should KNOW God, set up the “tent of Molech”, one of the many items they happened to bring with them out of this Egyptian bondage. They enlist Aaron, Moses’ older brother, to make the statue of Molech out of gold – a statue that was designed to roast children as sacrifices – while they indulged in a sexual orgy dance-off as they worship the goddess Rephaim.
Now, in light of Paul’s statement, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God, who do you think the “they” is talking about? Again, this is not just talking about Israel.
- On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.
Futile is the Greek word mataioō and has the implications of becoming foolish, morally wicked, idolatrous, or to become vain.
The Complete Jewish Bible tells us that they became futile in their thinking. The Amplified Bible, which typically gives you all the other definitions without the Greek word, includes vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations.
This idea of absurd speculations takes on a valid meaning when someone, whom you would think would have a greater understanding of God’s Word, asks absurd questions about multiple levels of hell or heaven. That might seem reasonable to you, but when you realize that most of our ideas about levels within hell come out Dante Alighieri’s book The Inferno, where he placed corrupt politicians, priests who should have been defrocked, and persons who had harmed him, into some form of disgusting purgatory.
Since Jesus destroyed the fear of death and took the keys of hell from Satan, then this is a non-issue. Any answers we have for such a primarily come from two sources, the story of the rich Jewish man and the Jewish beggar, Lazarus. The rich man went to a place of discomfort where he complained about the heat. While Lazarus was now being comforted in paradise. Jesus, speaking to the thief on the cross, said, this day you will be with me in paradise.
Does this place, paradise, still exist today? We, don’t know, and can only conjecture. A conjecture is when you convey that something is real but have no evidence.
- And their undiscerning hearts have become darkened.
It is even more brutal than that.
2 Corinthians 3:14 CJB What is more, their minds were made stonelike; for to this day the same veil remains over them when they read the Old Covenant; it has not been unveiled, because only by the Messiah is the veil taken away.
But there is always hope.
2 Corinthians 3:15-16 CJB Yes, till today, whenever Moshe (Moses = the Torah) is read, a veil lies over their heart. (16) “But,” says the Torah, “whenever someone turns to Adonai, the veil is taken away.”
A little more proof.
Deuteronomy 30:2 CJB and you will return to Adonai your God and pay attention to what he has said, which will be exactly what I am ordering you to do today—you and your children, with all your heart and all your being.