Re: Fw: Underlying assumptions

Robert L. Miller (
Wed, 11 Dec 1996 23:58:49 GMT

>Richard A. Knopp wrote in part:
>> But I am interested in knowing, especially from those who take the
>> "functional integrity" approach, how does Paul's statement in Romans 1:18-32
>> fit in? It appears that Paul concedes that many will, in fact, regard God as
>> "unnecessary" (e.g. they do "not see fit to acknowledge God any longer" vs.
>> 28).
>> But this condition does not at all appear to be one which Paul is
>> commending. Rather, Paul's response here is not to give a justification for
>> the cross, but to claim that somehow God IS recognizable in and through
>> creation. Those who can't (or more properly won't) acknoweledge his
>> are charged with substituting for God, through human speculation, their own
>> explanations for what is in nature. Such people "suppress the truth"
(vs. 18)
>> and have exchanged it for a "lie" (vs. 25); they are "futile" and "foolish"
>> (vs. 21-22); and they are given over by God to have "depraved" minds (vs. 28)
>> and to do all sorts of unrighteousness (vs. 29-31).

George Murphy wrote in part:

> Paul is speaking in Rom.1:18-32 about the basic problem of sin,
>which is a lack of "true fear of God and true faith in God." Note that
>this section is prefaced by v.17 which sets out the theme of the letter,
>"The one who through faith is righteous shall live." "The things that
>have been made" do provide evidence of God's creative work for those who
>have faith, ...

And for those who do not have faith. Paul says in verse 19 that God has
plainly revealed Himself to the unrightous. A conjunction then links verse
20 to 19 which states that God's "invisible qualities" (NIV) are clearly
seen in what has been made, and clinches it with the final phrase "they are
without excuse". I take this linkage to mean that God's creation is part of
God's revelation to the unrightous, and that the unrightous recognize it as

> This problem of sin is universal, shared by Jews and Christians
>with all others. If the Jews Paul addresses are in a different
>situation from others, it is because of God's revelation to Abram &c
>and not because of any discernment of God from the created world. Abram
>does NOT become a believer because of the evidence of the things which
>have been made, but because God calls him.
IMO Paul is saying that God is calling the unrightous just as He did Abram.
"God is not willing that any should perish..." Evidence of His handiwork in
nature is just one of the ways to make that call.

> So, do I believe in "intelligent design"? Yes. I believe that
>the whole saga of big bang and biological evolution and all the rest are
>ways in which God is working out the plan to unite "all things" in
>Christ (Eph.1:10). I think that God makes use of various subsidiary
>designs along the way. But while science helps me to understand what
>is involved in that belief (_fides quarens intellectum_), I do not get
>that fundamental belief itself from science.

The evidence that Glen Morton and others have alluded to on this list that
the religious impulse in the human species is very ancient supports Paul's
contention that the unrightous recognize the evidence and with deliberation
twist the evidence to mean worship of the created thing instead of the creator.

Bob Miller