In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul explains that God’s invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature are clearly seen in what God has made. Paul says that’s why we have no excuse for rejecting him. But we can be the opposite of Captain Obvious at times. We can miss what is clearly right in front of us.
In Psalm 19 King David said that God’s glory is revealed from heaven. Here, in Romans, Paul says God’s wrath is revealed from heaven. The heavens aren’t sending mixed messages. It’s a matter of vantage point. The believer sees glory (Psalm 19). The unbeliever sees wrath (Romans 1).
Paul says that God has shown what can be known about him—apart from Scripture—in a way that is plain (Romans 1:19) and is clearly perceived (Romans 1:20) so that we are without excuse (Romans 1:21). But since Paul says that these things are “invisible attributes” how can anyone see them?
Why does Paul say that God’s existence is obvious, plain, clear?
What else can this be but basic intuition? We see these attributes plainly, though they are invisible, by simply being human. To be human is to have a sense that there is a powerful and moral source behind the universe. It doesn’t take a degree to figure that out. In fact, often advanced education can dull our God-given intuition by which we perceive God’s clear role as Creator and Moral Lawgiver.
We look at the world around us and perceive that something outside of nature, something supernatural, brought the natural world into being. We recognize intuitively that there is a moral fabric to the universe. These senses, the sense of the divine and the moral sense, should be trusted in ways similar to how we trust our other senses.
Of course, God’s world isn’t sufficient to save us—apart from God’s Word. In Romans 10, Paul makes it clear that faith comes by hearing the Word of God and not just by perceiving God’s invisible attributes in the world. But when we allow these basic intuitions to point us in the right direction, we will sense glory. To reject them, to stifle them, to ignore them, to suppress them, is to learn wrath.