Friday, March 09, 2007

Romans 1:20

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

Clearly seen?

At Bible class on Thursday, we spent the whole time (more than an hour) on half of a verse from John ("that which is born of the Spirit is spirit). We got into quite a discussion of spirit, soul, body, and flesh. One of the passages Pastor took us to was this section in Romans 1. But then I got distracted. How can something that is "clearly seen" be "invisible"?

Something to ponder....


  1. Susan,

    This is one of those passages that forms the basis for the traditional understanding of the natural law/natural order. It is very incarnational as well. God Himself is invisible, but His "invisible attributes" are clearly seen through that which He has made—the Creation, the created order. Man, according to natural reason, can discern God's intention in Creation. The Lutheran twist on this, as outlined by Robert Preus in the first volume of The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, is that such knowledge does not enable fallen man to take a step toward "congruous merit." Natural law remains law, so it will always accuse. Indeed, St. Paul uses it that way—in its light, we are "without excuse."

    Hope you have a great day!

  2. Okay, Aaron, I understand what you're saying. But I'm still a little stymied by the fact that "attributes" is a word inserted by the translator. When words are inserted "for the sake of clarity," I like to look at it without those additional words. "What is impossible to see is clearly seen." Or "the invisibility of God is visible." It's paradoxical, and I think there must be something to it that I'm not fathoming deeply enough.