How does an atheist and.or a believer see this scripture as?
Perspective and healthy opinions from both sides are welcome.
Please be kind in your posts, and try to listen to the other person. Blessings.
Romans 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
I'd like to focus on..
1. his invisible attributes
2. his eternal power and divine nature
3. clearly perceived
4. things that have been made
5. they are without excuse
6. Does this scripture HELP atheists understand or no?
7. spiritual blindness?
It's Paul preaching to the choir I believe, perhaps we are looking at the precursor of the teleological argument in the Christian tradition, i.e. the argument from design. I see the passage as all bark but no bite.
1-5: I believe Paul is saying that the world is so magnificent that the only way it could happen is through God. To him it is so clear he doesn't see how anyone could disagree with him, and if they do they are therefore "fools" (verse 22) without excuse.
His invisible attributes are his power and nature, which is imbued in creation, and because such power is clearly perceived in creation we are without excuse to acknowledge God, and perhaps even acknowledge the Christian God, because creation speaks of a designer.
6-8: But, of course, as a nonbeliever, I do not clearly perceive any divinity in the universe, at least not in the sense of theism or deism being clearly evident in nature. All Paul really does is make the assertion that creation speaks of design, but doesn't explain why, his justification appears to be that his position is just self evident. It might be self evident to him or you and every other Christian, but not to me and many others. So the battle cry of us nonbelievers would be, "show me".
Paul doesn't give a specific argument, which is probably a very good thing for Christianity overall (people's understanding of basic things like germs and the existence of gravity or how epilepsy is a bad thing was all foreign 2,000 years ago, so any specific argument would probably be equivalent to Bill O'Reilly's argument for God, "you can't explain the tides"). So it is up to contemporary apologists to give us specific arguments of design, like WillfromTexas mentioning Earth's distance from the Sun.
Greetings, D-9! Having been an athiest, and a quite militant one, for much of my life, I understand somewhat how you feel about all this. Regarding claims about Paul's health or mental state, those are certainly claims that require evidence, of which none exists.
Paul's specific argument goes along these lines: I give you a deck of playing cards, and I tell you to throw it into the air. What results from your action? Nothing resembling design. You can repeat this an infinite number of times, and you will never get anything at all. I then give you a deck of playing cards and tell you to build a house of cards. You build a house of cards, something clearly designed, and design is evident from what you've built. The level of complexity involved is very minimal, not even close to the kind of interdependent complexity observable in living creatures and the laws of physics.
Incredible complexity of design does not originate from nothing, or from an absence of intention. Even a very simple design does not originate by chance. That's the argument. It's incredibly straightforward, but I could not understand it for most of my life! I didn't understand because I chose to believe that God did not exist. I was a strict materialist and evolutionist, and I thought people who believed in God were uneducated. I was a fool. I am still a fool in many ways
I have suffered intensely for my foolishness, and while I most definitely love God, I also fear Him, because while He might suffer foolishness for a while, He certainly won't do that forever. God is a loving spiritual parent, and He does correct foolishness, because He desires something greater for his spiritual offspring. Sometimes He corrects people in ways that are terrifying, and that's what has happened to me. To quote the apostle himself:
2Co 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
There are fates worse than death, worse than hardship or terror. God fights for us, for our protection and wellbeing, and He is not willing that any should perish. I state with certainty: Jesus Christ is real. He is a real person, and He is really God's Son, and He is really God! He was here in the flesh 2,000 years ago, and He is present in Spirit right now! We have not made Jesus Christ any less real with our knowledge or inventions. He is still with us, and He is a mighty God with which we have to deal! And when I say we HAVE to deal with Him, I mean that is not optional at all! If you don't address Him directly in this life, you most certainly are going to encounter him once you die (I pray that is not your end).
Isa 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Is an atheist without excuse for their denial of reality? Absolutely! But to say that I was without excuse does not mean I didn't have reasons for my belief. My reasons were no excuse, but I have been granted mercy by a God who is merciful to foolish sons. To me, that's amazing! Instead of a place where natural selection sheds oceans of blood for nothing, from nothing, we have a reality in which Jesus Christ shed his blood to redeem us from the law's condemnation, showing us the depths of His love for us, in spite of us! We have not only a good spiritual Father, but a mighty warrior who fights for us, even when we are resisting his goodness! That gives me joy!
If you have been deceived by evolutionary theory, the best place to start freeing yourself is the fossil record. Think about the amount of time evolutionists require to produce modern humans, or any observable species, and think about the number of transitional creatures supposedly populating that span of time. Should be a veritable treasury of fossil evidence. If we have a complete skeleton of a t-rex in a museum, we should have an entire museum hall full of transitional forms leading up to the t-rex, and I am talking about COMPLETE SKELETONS of many, many transitional forms leading up to the real species, the real animal, that we know existed from the fossil record. And what the evolutionists have are speculative illustrations based on scraps of bone of debatable origin, and scraps that are really difficult to find, at that. In the case of pre-humans they offer gorilla skulltops, chimpanzee skulls, human femurs, and human teeth, all mixed together. That's absurd. God has said the scorner is an abomination, and I wish I had the strength to never be scornful of anyone, but I'm still somewhat angry at how I was deceived by evolutionary theory. There should be millions of COMPLETE transitional skeletal forms available, at every level of the geologic record, everywhere people dig (and people dig everywhere, at all depths). There's nothing.
Also, be aware that the geologic record is no record at all. There are modern human skeletons (complete skeletons) at the "oldest" layer, along with stone tools, and there are supposedly ancient bones at the topmost layers, complete with stone tools. If you've been told differently, you've been deceived.
I suggest reading about the assumptions built into carbon-14 dating, also: http://www.answersin...prove-the-bible
Answers in Genesis is a good resource for debunking evolutionary theory. I am not a scientist or even a diligent student of science. I know God makes foolishness the wisdom of this world, and unfortunately I know that from humbling experience after humbling experience. But I also know that I trust God, because God is love. I pray you find peace in what he desires to bring about in your life: love, joy, peace, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, goodness, faith. And I pray nothing I have said hinders you in your search, and I commend your search! It is more than worthwhile to ask the questions you are asking. Seek and ye shall find.
1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
1Ti 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1Co 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
1Co 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Co 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Jn 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.