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Atheist/Believer Discussion - Romans 1:20

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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?

8. denial?

 

- DRS81 :26::th_handshake:

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I think it is very true what Paul is saying.  When we look at the wonder of the Earth and Universe it's impossible to explain the precision.  A few degrees closer to the Sun we burn, a few degrees further we freeze.  Even without the Moon we'd be in big trouble...  The harmony of nature as well.  If you begin to grow something it is amazing how the life cycle appears from nowhere.  First come the bugs, that bring the birds, lizards, etc... until there is a complere eco system out of nowhere.

 

People are without excuse and any other explanation, except God keeping things in a delicate balance, is a feeble arguement.

 

The Word of God is poweful but it is falling on deaf ears when it comes to unbelievers.  The Holy Spirit definitely helps you understand scripture.  Before I got saved the Bible was like Chinese algebra to me.  Sure I heard the stories but lacked the spiritual understanding.  After I got saved the scriptures made sense and I developed an incredible appetite for them.  I still can't get enough of the Bible and will spend the rest of my life searching for a deeper understanding.

 

Atheists also don't put any value in the Bible and scriptures don't mean much to them.  They are blinded and deaf- but it doesn't mean the Word may fall on fertile ground.  The Lord works in mysterious ways and I've seen hardened atheists see the light and become devoted Christians.

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paul's whole theology had to be changed, he persecuted christians, he hated Jesus. But you know what? God called him. Struck him down on damascus road, with blindness, and sent him to the desert to re-evaluate his thoughts.  His whole theology had to be changed. God called him to be a preacher of the gospels.  Obedience always brings blessings. 3 forms of blessings to a believer. Peace, Joy and Contentment.

 

If you look at Mark 9:41, It talks about in God's eyes in a act of obedience. with anyone who gives a cup of water in His name.

 

In life we will go through hardships. And the atheists who only believe in a science or other gods, which ever, they only hinder their own blessings, they only live in the NOW and only cheat themselves out of all the blessings from their creator. And the thing is after we leave this world, God has more blessings for us in Heaven.

 

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I was an athiest for many years, heavily influenced by the new atheists and evolutionary psychology. I suppose I knew the world was amazing and beautiful, but my senses were dulled by drugs, alcohol, cynicism, hatred, and bitterness. It all looked gray to me, much of the time, but I was still aware of beauty and grandeur. I did not attribute the majesty of creation to a creator because of the existence of evil. I reasoned that the existence of evil meant a God couldn't exist. I was also scornful and proud as a defense against God's rebukes and chastening. (I am still proud at times and a little pretentious, old habits, unfortunately.) Didn't understand what he was trying to bring about: my salvation.

 

I now understand my place in the grand scheme of things, which is certainly not standing above God, judging Him based on what seems fair to me. Suffering can bring about incredible good -- so much suffering in my life has had the effect of making me CARE ABOUT PEOPLE! :) Jesus lived as a man partly so that he could identify with our suffering and weaknesses: that is why he is the perfect priest and intercessor for us. He knows us. He IS us, except without sin. The problem of evil is partly resolvable with this question: How does your suffering make you feel empathy for others who suffer? Do you love people who are suffering more because you have suffered? Taken to an extreme, this question could even be about torture . . . hmm, is that worst fate imaginable something our Creator knows about, by any chance? God's wisdom is infinite.

 

I don't see God much in creation, as a Christian for the past 3 years, but I see His attributes sometimes. The reason is I tend to focus on the negative, on the darkness, instead of the light. But the darkness is as light to God!

 

Psa 97:2  Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
 

Isa 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

 

My senses are still somewhat dulled, but I notice that if I focus on the Lord, he awakens me to reality. One fact I try to remember, wherever I am, even in a modern city that woud relegate God's wonderous works to antiquity or myth, is that HIS HAND HAS MADE ALL THESE THINGS. He is not absent anywhere in the world, and yet 21st century people try to make him inaccessible! Prayer is faster than email, our thoughts faster than the fastest computer -- and God created all this centuries prior to our new technological age. Trees that use photosynthesis are more technologically advanced than an iPad, but look at how impressed we people are by our gadgets and technologies (myself included, undoubtedly)! People are impressive, and do amazing things, but God is far beyond us, His ways far beyond ours.

 

I see God's majesty mostly in His works in my own life. But the more I see purpose and pattern in my life, the more I see His works in all of creation, from the irreducible complexity of plants, animals, and ecosystems, to the mysteries of physics -- a God of meaning, purpose, and love is weaving a story throughout.

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Great responses on this thread so far. I enjoyed reading them all.

Back to the OP, he asked this -

Does this scripture HELP atheists understand or no?

Me: I don't think atheists give a rip about the implications of Romans 1:20, so my answer is no. Most are pursuing their own things and really do not want a God telling them how to live their life.

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I do think the passage may describe unbelievers.  Surely even the diehard are not immune to the wonder about us and may pause to wonder.  The passage is not Christological I think.  It points out the existence of a Creator, but doesn't tell us much about Him.

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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?

8. denial?

 

- DRS81 :26::th_handshake:

 

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. 

Edited by D-9
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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.

 

Are you speaking of the same Paul a.k.a. Saul that was knocked off a horse, given a vision of Jesus, Paul then becoming blinded by God and God later giving his sight back? The same Paul that persecuted Christians, then later after getting his sight back preached the gospel far and wide? Is there a chance that God called him to be a prophet and that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Romans 1:20 through the spirit of Paul. Your thoughts. Blessings D-9.

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Are you speaking of the same Paul a.k.a. Saul that was knocked off a horse, given a vision of Jesus, Paul then becoming blinded by God and God later giving his sight back? The same Paul that persecuted Christians, then later after getting his sight back preached the gospel far and wide? Is there a chance that God called him to be a prophet and that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Romans 1:20 through the spirit of Paul. Your thoughts. Blessings D-9.

 

Yes the same Paul, I believe he wrote Romans. Also the favored hypothesis among skeptics is that Paul was epileptic, meaning his vision was a hallucination from a seizure and blindness was an after effect of the seizure, the more severe the seizure the stronger the after effects are generally speaking. This doesn't mean Paul couldn't have had a vision from God, or even couldn't have had a vision from God through epilepsy (if Paul had epilepsy, there is no way to tell exactly what happened since he lived 2,000 years ago), but it does mean it is possible to explain Paul's story without divine intervention. I think that is an important point to make because Paul is certainly a historical figure and his transformation from persecutor to apostle does warrant an explanation. But no, I do not think Paul was speaking on behalf of God. 

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Are you speaking of the same Paul a.k.a. Saul that was knocked off a horse, given a vision of Jesus, Paul then becoming blinded by God and God later giving his sight back? The same Paul that persecuted Christians, then later after getting his sight back preached the gospel far and wide? Is there a chance that God called him to be a prophet and that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Romans 1:20 through the spirit of Paul. Your thoughts. Blessings D-9.

 

Yes the same Paul, I believe he wrote Romans. Also the favored hypothesis among skeptics is that Paul was epileptic, meaning his vision was a hallucination from a seizure and blindness was an after effect of the seizure, the more severe the seizure the stronger the after effects are generally speaking. This doesn't mean Paul couldn't have had a vision from God, or even couldn't have had a vision from God through epilepsy (if Paul had epilepsy, there is no way to tell exactly what happened since he lived 2,000 years ago), but it does mean it is possible to explain Paul's story without divine intervention. I think that is an important point to make because Paul is certainly a historical figure and his transformation from persecutor to apostle does warrant an explanation. But no, I do not think Paul was speaking on behalf of God. 

 

~

 

The Best

 

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

 

Blessings I Think I've Read Today

 

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:10-12

 

Pronounced Over The Testimony Of My Beloved Brother, Saul

 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

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