It’s not easy to talk about these things. These are decidedly inconvenient and unpleasant truths.
But the apostle Paul did not hold anything back. He really wanted to tackle a question that he must have been asked many times. I know I have been asked this question more than once.
And the question is this: “What about all the people who haven’t had a chance to hear about Jesus? What is God going to do with them? How could God ever consign such people to eternal condemnation in hell?”
Paul’s answer is that God has not hidden from anyone. He’s given us instincts. And he has shown up in creation. Anyone who is willing to study a bit, open their eyes and see — in other words, listen to those instincts — will understand that there has to be someone who designed all this.
Have you ever had a spiritual moment in nature? Have you ever gazed at the stars through a telescope, or observed a living cell through the lens of a microscope? Have you ever watched a lion or a cheetah pursue it’s prey, or an elk nurse its young?
Have you ever felt a close bond to a pet? Or an attraction to a cute puppy or kitten at the pound?
Why is the ocean so beautiful? Why are the mountains so majestic? Why are the waves of grass on the prairies so mesmerizing? What makes the wind blowing through the trees or the drumbeat of raindrops on the roof sound so magical to our human ears?
Do the sights, the sounds, the smells of nature ever make you think of the possibility of heaven? The scent of pine trees does it for me!
If your answer, like mine, is yes, then know that you’re not alone. That’s exactly the way God designed it to be.
And that’s why, as Paul says so bluntly and clearly, we are without excuse if we choose to screw our eyes and ears shut and ignore all our instincts:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20, NIV).
Our Bible reading for Monday, July 13, is 2 Kings 24:8 – 25:30, Romans 1:18-32 and Psalm 84:8-12.
Lord, open my eyes to see you and know you as the only true God, and to trust in Jesus Christ whom you have sent for my salvation.
Header image based on "Yosemite falls and tourists, CA, USA" by Dzhingarova, CC By 2.0