The Expository Files

"Someone Had To Make The World"

One of Paul's opening arguments in his letter to the church at Rome is this statement of the wrath of God against sin, which contains a declaration of the certainty of the existence and power of Deity.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Rom. 1:18-21

Verse 20 contains a literary paradox; a statement that seems to be a contradiction in terms, but as the reader concentrates on the apparent contradiction, the point of the statement finds its place in the objective mind.

Observe the phrase: "His invisible attributes are clearly seen." The apparent contradiction could be stated in the form of a question: How can you clearly see something that is invisible?? If God is invisible; if His divine attributes are invisible - In what sense can this be said, "His invisible attributes are clearly seen."

The paradox is resolved as you continue to read. Paul explains: "His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made..." When we observe the manifold elements of life and human existence and honestly consider the physical universe, in its intricate order; when we include the human body and reflect on the mental capacity and creativity of the human intellect - we understand there is a Maker, an Original  Cause!

We do not demand direct visible confirmation - that is, seeing God in person - to believe there is a God, because there is so much tangible evidence in the things He made (see Jno. 1:18a).

In many other areas of human endeavor, we are not demanding of direct, visual confirmation; we rely upon evidence. In matters legal, historical and scientific, absolute conclusions are affirmed based on evidence that isn't accompanied by direct, visual confirmation.

This example has been used often, and retains validity today. No one reading this article directly witnessed the existence of George Washington. But based on the evidence, we all believe he existed. The historical existence of George Washington is witnessed by the things He did; the impressions He made; the witnesses who knew him and saw him - then reported to others. The legacy he left; the influence he exerted on people testify to his  existence. We know - we believe George Washington was a real historical figure - not because of one-on-one observation; rather, due to the abundance of the evidence he left.

The existence of God is witnessed by the things He made. Though I cannot show you God, or show you His attributes in a direct setting - I can affirm to honest people that God is -

"For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,so that they are without excuse."

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals  knowledge." - Psalms 19:1,2.

"I have never found a person who when urged could not give a reason why he or she believed in God. The reason has always been to the effect that 'Someone had to make the world and the laws that run it,' or 'There cannot be a machine without a maker.' That basic truth is understood by every normal child and adult." - Dr. Andrew Conway Ivy {The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe (New York: G. P. Putnam and Sons, 1958), p. 229.}

By Warren E. Berkley
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From Expository Files 10.5, May  2003