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Romans 1:18-23 – Are All Mankind Now Being Judged Individually Through Creation?

Romans 1:18-20 is often quoted to justify the thought that God is now judging every person in the world for their final judgment. The claim is made that God has revealed himself to everyone in the world through his creation, and thus the final judgment is determined by whether one comes to God before death.

What is Paul writing about in Romans 1:18-20?

Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness,

Paul speaks of the wrath of God, the condemnation, that has come upon mankind through the sin of Adam, which wrath remains upon any any who are outside the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. (Romans 5:1-19; John 3:36) This wrath can be seen in all the subjection to futility and the suffering of mankind. — Romans 8:20; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13,14.

Romans 1:19 – because that which is known by God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.

Paul is not saying that all mankind living has received this revealing, but he is referring to mankind in general, as represented in the first human pair, Adam and Eve. It was as represented in Adam and Eve that mankind knew God (Romans 1:21), and to whom God revealed himself. Through Adam especially, all mankind in Adam were being judged regarding God’s law of love and obedience to the Creator. Nevertheless, mankind does still have a left-over sense of God’s law as revealed to Adam, for Paul later refers to this, when speaking of the heathen, that, they, by nature, do things of the Law. (Romans 2:14) Not that any of the heathen were actually fully obedient of the Law, but that we find remnants of God’s original Law as revealed to Adam, the law of love and justice. Paul later says that he “previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” — Romans 3:9.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

Romans 1:20
ta gar aorata autou apo ktisews kosmou
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tois poieemasin nooumena kathoratai hee te
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aidios autou dunamis kai theiotees eis to einai
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autous anapologeetous
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Westcott & Hort Intelinear

The unseen things of God, his eternal power and godship, being perceived, is seen from the creation of the world, so that they are defenseless.

The creation refers to the world of mankind, not all creation in whole universe, as is also the case in Romans 8:19-22, where Paul writes of this creation as having been subjected to vanity. (See Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15) It is the same “world” that is spoken of Romans 5:12, into which one man — Adam — introduced sin. Thus, in Romans 1:20, Adam and Eve are still being used to represent the creation. From the creation of the world of mankind, as mankind looks back upon what is recorded about Adam and Eve, one can see the demonstration of God’s eternal power and godship. The invisible things of God were seen in the original creation, and still can be seen although man’s perception of God’s creation has been marred by man’s disobedience, so that many men draw the wrong conclusions from the present-day things that are seen. It is similar to the parables that Jesus spoke to the people, for he says that they were as “seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13) But to Adam and Eve before they sinned, God’s eternal power and godship could be seen clearly in their own creation. Today, however, that perception has been marred by corruption through sin. (2 Peter 1:4) Nevertheless, as Paul later shows, all mankind are included in Adam (Romans 5:12-19), and thus all mankind are counted as without excuse in Adam.

Romans 1:21 – Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Mankind, represented in Adam and Eve, once knew God, but they didn’t give him the glory, the honor, due to him as God. They became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Romans 1:22 – Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

The story in Genesis shows that Eve was tempted by witchcraft, or the crafty “wisdom” of the serpent. The serpent told her, in effect, that Jehovah was a liar, and thus Jehovah was not worthy to receive the glory and honor of rulership and godship. The serpent lead Eve into believing that disobedience to the One who made them would a wise thing to do. Adam, however, was not deceived as was Eve, and thus in his hands lay a greater responsibility. Although not deceived, he evidently considered it to be a wise thing to obey the voice of his wife, rather than the commandment of Jehovah. And thus mankind become fools.

Romans 1:23 – and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

Until Adam and Eve sinned, they had the incorrupt (but not incorruptible) glory of God, since they had not fallen short of the glory through sin. Once they sinned, however, they fell short of the glory. (Romans 3:23) Their original image of God (Genesis 1:26) in them was thus marred due to sin.

God created mankind upright, straight, incorrupt, without sin, but mankind was not created incorruptible. (Ecclesiastes 7:29) Had they been incorruptible, then it would have been impossible for them to have become corrupted by sin. (2 Peter 1:4) On the other hand, being created upright, without corruption, mankind was not created in a bondage to corruption, but was later subjected to such a bondage due to Adam’s sin. (Romans 8:20) Being incorrupt, yet corruptible, God gave mankind — represented in Adam and Eve — the freewill to either obey or disobey. (Genesis 2:17) Paul hints in Romans 1:23 that their obedience would eventually have led them to possessing the incorruptible glory like their God. But, instead of seeking to become incorruptible, they traded that hope for the image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, etc. Thus, it came to be that man was reduced to being like the beasts of the field, so that now, “man [who was originally given dominion over all the lower creatures of the earth] has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.” — Ecclesiastes 3:19; Genesis 1:26,28; Psalm 8:5-8; Hebrews 2:6-8.

Nevertheless, the condemnation that resulted from mankind’s disobedience in the Garden is offset by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. (Romans 5:12-19; 2 Timothy 2:5,6) That condemnation in Adam is not the final judgment, for Jesus died to save, deliver, the whole world from the original judgment, so that the world may be enlightened and given another, a more favorable time of judgment in the “last day”. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 26:9,10; John 12:48,48; Revelation 20.

Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment

The Ransom for All

The Restoration of All Things


2 Comments on Romans 1:18-23 – Are All Mankind Now Being Judged Individually Through Creation?

  1. Tom Adams on Sun, 21st Dec 2014 10:05 pm
  2. Puzzling. Treatise not conclusive, unless it is implying individual judgment?
    Condemnation of this current corrupted order, bc corruption can not administer in righteosness, must be, has been judged generally – nations, governments, religions, institutions, corporations, etc. – to be dispensed with, making way for a righteous king, kingdom, and an individual judgment of each for continual life upon this planet, for all those who ultimately love righteousness, and the one who brought stability. The purpose for Ransoming, Redemeeing, Restoring, Resurrecting, and Reconciliation of mankind is for their really first (except Adam & Eve) favorable opportunity for life, and life in perfection, continually. No sickness, no dying, no mayhem, at all! And man will have the grandest reunion of its family and live in unison & harmony. This plan, foreknown to God. is designed to fit a 7000 yr span, and we are in the last 1000 yrs of it, that Jesus called “the last day” (Jn 6.), plus a “little season.”

  3. Bill Nippel on Mon, 22nd Dec 2014 9:08 am
  4. I have often heard Christians of the Calvinistic persuasian use Rom 1::20 to justify condemnation and “eternal torment in hell” for all those who die outside of Christ in their lifetime. They reason that because these all had a knowledge that “there is a God” based on the witness of the created world around them – they are without excuse and totally deserving of their eternal damnation. But the knowledge that there is a “Creator God” fails to offer any knowledge of the “Redeemer God” and His Christ – let alone any real chance of hearing the Gospel in order that they might turn from their sins and put their trust in Christ. The cold and erroneous conclusion on their part fails to take into account “the whole picture” of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who died for all these ones. Had Christ not died for the sins of the whole world as a satisfactory propitiation – their condemnation (death- not eternal torment)) might be considered just. However Divine Justice must be understood as pertaining to the transaction between YHWH and our Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of the satisfactory propiation that Christ made for the sins of the whole world and as “a ransom for all” from the original condemnation applicable to Adam and his posterity, the justice of God is that which is toward Christ – not toward Adam and mankind. This justice “for Christ” is what is being offered as grace to undeserving sinners now and in the age to come as our Lord sees fit. To God be the glory!

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