Turn with me in your Bible to the 1st chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Tonight we’re going to examine verses 19-23. Now this is such a tremendous section of Scripture with so much import and impact that we want to think carefully and closely along with the Spirit of God as He writes through the apostle Paul. I really believe that this passage answers many, many questions that are constant questions asked by folks about the meaning of the gospel, and the nature of God, and the destiny of man.
Let me read to you verses 19-23, and you follow along as I read. We ought to begin I guess at verse 18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”
Some years ago the head of the department of evangelism for one of the largest denominations in America said this, “We don’t need to evangelize the people of the world who have never heard the message of salvation. We only need to announce to them that they’re already saved.” Today we are living in a day in Christianity when there is a rising trend in what is called “universalism.” That is the belief that ultimately everybody’s going to be saved, that God is too kind, and too gracious, and too good to cast people into an eternal hell. So ultimately everybody is going to wind up in heaven.
We shouldn’t be concerned about judgment. We shouldn’t be concerned about hell. God is too good to send people there forever. And the upshot of it is that we don’t have to worry about evangelism, either. We don’t have to get too upset about spreading the gospel around to the ends of the earth. After all, they can’t be responsible for what they don’t know. So just leave them alone and they’ll make it.
Now this is not the view of the apostle Paul. This is not the view of our Lord. Our Lord said, “The harvest is great, and the laborers are few. Pray the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” And the harvest of which our Lord spoke was a judgment harvest. He saw humanity as this mass of people about to be cut and judged, and the need for laborers to enter that harvest to warn them was on His mind.
The Lord spoke more about hell than anybody else in all of the Bible. In fact He spoke more about hell than everybody else put together in the New Testament. The men of God who have lived through the history of the church are men who have understood that God is a God of judgment, that the wrath of God is indeed revealed against ungodliness.
John Knox, on his knees for lost souls in the little country of Scotland pleaded with God and said, “Give me Scotland or I die.” Hudson Taylor as a young man looked across the thousands of miles to the unreached multitudes of China and cried out to God, “I feel that I cannot go on living unless I do something for the lost in China.” Henry Martyn after landing in India said, “Here I am in the midst of heathen, midnight and savage oppression. Now my dear Lord let me burn out for Thee.”
Adoniram Judson, the great missionary to Burma, spent long exhausting years in translating the Bible. In the midst of it he was dragged away to prison, and while he was in prison his dear wife died. And after his relief, he was stricken with disease and breathed out this prayer. “Lord, let me finish my work. Spare me long enough to put the saving Word into the hands of this people.”
So concerned was James Chalmers for those without the Savior that it is said of him, “In Christ’s service he endured hardness, hunger, shipwreck, exhausting toil, and did it all joyfully. He risked his life a thousand times and was finally clubbed to death, beheaded, and eaten by men whose friend he was and whom he sought to enlighten.”
Robert Arthington couldn’t go overseas to reach the lost, but through sacrifice he enabled others to go. He lived in a single room and cooked his own meager meals and gave 500,000 of his dollars to foreign missions. And he wrote, “Gladly would I make the floor my bed, a box my chair, and another box my table rather than that men should perish for want of the knowledge of Christ.”
You see, they understood what it means to die without God and Christ. They understood that men were inevitably headed to judgment. They understood that men were under the wrath of God. And unless you understand that, you do not understand the greatest impetus that you have for concern and compassion.
And so the gospel begins at verse 18. That’s where the main body of Romans starts. And it begins with the wrath of God revealed on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. And as Paul says in Ephesians 2:3, men are “children of wrath.” In other words, they are born unto wrath. Wrath is their nature, if you will. Wrath is their inevitable end. Wrath is their destiny. They are heirs of wrath. They are inheritors of wrath.
God’s smile has turned to a frown. And as the Psalmist said, “Who knows the power of God’s wrath?” Thomas Watson that great Puritan wrote, “As the love of God makes every bitter thing sweet, so the curse of God makes every sweet thing bitter.” Now Paul says man, then, is under wrath, severe wrath.
Now the question that comes up in this passage is this. Does man deserve this? After all, we couldn’t help being born. Why should we be born having nothing to say about it and then spend forever in hell? We didn’t ask to be born. We didn’t ask to be born to sinful parents. We didn’t ask to be born into a sinful world. We didn’t ask to be placed in a predicament of judgment. How can we be held responsible?
And that is precisely the question that Paul answers in this text. The wrath of God is revealed on all men, because of their ungodliness and unrighteousness. That’s verse 18. And verses 19-23 tell us why, why God is justified in being angry over the sin of man.
Now some men through the history of the world have recognized God’s right to be angry. That is right. Some who are even pagan have understood that God had a right to be angry with them. Let me give you an illustration. Turn in your Bible to 1 Samuel chapter 4, 1 Samuel chapter 4. Now at this particular time in the history of Israel, Israel is paying no attention to God, none whatsoever. Oh there’s a little bit of religious tokenism, but there’s no genuineness. But all of a sudden Israel is confronted with their perennial enemy, the Philistines, and they are worried.
And so somebody says, “Look. We don’t want to fight the Philistines on our own, somebody go get God.” That’s pretty good thinking, actually. And at that point in their history, God is symbolized in the ark of the covenant, which is up in Shiloh. And God, as it were, in His presence dwelt on the ark of the covenant between the wings and the cherubim. And so when they wanted to be assured of the presence of God, they had to have the ark of the covenant. So they said, “Go get God.” And so they got very religious. They ran up and got God, the little box.
Now to the pagans this was just an idol, just the Israelite idol. And so they came down, and they’ve got God, they’ve got the little box. First Samuel 4:5. “And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again.” God is here. Talk about the arrival of the cavalry in the battle with the Indians wouldn’t be anything compared to this. God is here. The day is won. And of course, the shouting was deafening. In verse 6, “When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? And they understood that the ark of the Lord was come into the camp.” The God of Israel has arrived. They’ve gotten their God.
“And the Philistines were afraid, and they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Woe unto us! For there had not been such a thing heretofore. Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods?” That little box is a powerful thing. Why’d they say that? Because they remembered a little bit about Egyptian history, and they remembered about the entire Egyptian army being drowned, and they remembered prior to that all the plagues.
And then one of them stood up and gave the old pep talk speech in verse 9. “Be strong, and acquit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that you be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight.” Now let’s get our act together and get out there and win this battle. And you know what happened? The Israelites were in a euphoria. They thought the day was won. Verse 10 says, “The Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten.”
Now wait a minute. That’s not the way the script was supposed to read. The Israelites were supposed to win. They have God. But God is not a utilitarian genie. You don’t just rub your little lamp and say, “Now God go do Your thing. I’m in trouble. Haven’t paid any attention to You for a long time, but I need You now.” God doesn’t operate like that.
Thirty thousand footmen of Israel were killed. The ark of God was stolen and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were killed. Devastation. The sons of the high priest are dead, 30,000 footmen die, and they take the ark.
Now if you think that’s a problem for the Jews you haven’t begun to imagine what kind of problem it is for the people who have God on their hands. Now the Philistines have God. Now if you want to know what happened, come over to 5:1. Eli the high priest, who was big and fat and old, was so upset about his sons dying he fell off his little stool and broke his neck and died. So now the high priest is dead. So devastation has occurred in Israel.
And now the Philistines have got the ark of God on their hands, and they’re running around with the presence of God. And so they decided this is the Israelite God. We’ll put Him with our god. And so they took Him in verse 2 it says, “And put him in the house of Dagon.” Dagon was a Philistine god that was half fish and half man, the fish god. And so they just took the ark and put it in with Dagon. It was in the town of Ashdod.
They rose up early in the morning, went back, and Dagon was fallen on his face bowing toward the ark of the Lord. And they were pretty puzzled by that. They must have thought there was some localized earthquake or something that knocked him over, and so they set him up again. The next day they came back, verse 4. This time he was fallen on his face again, only this time his head and both the palms of his hands were cut off, and only his stump was left. And God was saying, “I don’t tolerate any competition.”
Well, now they knew they were in trouble. To run through the text, all of a sudden “the hand of the Lord was heavy on them - ” verse 6 “ - and He destroyed them, and smote them with internal tumors.” There are all kinds of translations of this verse. Some of your Bibles might say hemorrhoids. That’s probably the worst translation. Some Bibles say “emerod” and it sounds like a perfume.
Tumors and tumors internally, in the inner part or “secret part,” as the end of verse 9 says. All of a sudden the people got tumors. And then the text says the ones that didn’t get tumors were attacked by mice carrying a deadly plague, and thousands upon thousands of the people died, and the ones that didn’t die from the plague of the mice received the tumors.
So the people in Ashdod said, “Let’s get rid of this thing.” And they said, “What are we going to do with it?” They said, “Well, let’s take it to Gath.” Which wasn’t a big favor for the people in Gath. That’s the next town along the line in the Philistine area. And there was a famous man from Gath you might remember, his name was Goliath.
They took it to Gath, and the Gathites had the same problem. And then they said, “Take it to Ekron,” and the Ekronites cried out and said, “Don’t bring that thing here.” And they were passing it all over the place, and everybody was in the same boat. They were all either dying from the plague or getting the tumors. Now this is judgment.
Now what is the pagan response going to be? Are they going to say, “What kind of a God are You? Well this isn’t fair.” No. No. In chapter 6, they got all of their diviners and priests together and they said, “What are we going to do?” In verse 3 they said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, send it not empty; - ” Now listen to this “ - but by all means return him a - ” what? “ - trespass offering.” Ask you a simple question. To what does a trespass offering admit? Sin.
These uneducated, unschooled pagans knew that they somehow, in some way, were getting exactly what they deserved, for they had violated this God. Even they recognized that God had a right to judge them, and so they sent back what they understood to be a trespass offering. So even pagans understood that God had a right to judge them. They said, “We acknowledge the sin. We have dishonored You, and we deserve exactly what we receive.”
When Achan stole the goods out of Jericho and buried them in his tent, Joshua confronted him and said, “You better confess your sin.” And he did. He confessed his sin, and then and only then did God smite him, and take his life, and all his family who were implicated in the crime. But before judgment fell, there was a confession that it was deserved.
Now listen to me. God never judges unless judgment is deserved. He’s a God of absolute justice. And if God judges and God pours out wrath, then there is every confidence in my heart to know that that is exactly what is right and proper in that situation.
Now let’s go back to Romans chapter 1. How can a man be held responsible for his sin? How could those pagans be held responsible? How could those Philistines be responsible? I mean they didn’t have the Old Testament law. How could God possibly slaughter them with plagues and inflict them with tumors? And how could God drown the entire Egyptian army? And how could God slay all of the firstborn of the land of Egypt? And how could God wipe out whole cities of the Canaanites? And how could God bury Sodom and Gomorrah? I mean, how can God judge people? I mean what if no one ever told them about the truth? How can He hold them responsible? How can so much wrath be deserved?
The answer comes beginning in verse 19, and there are four reasons for the wrath of God, four reasons. And they have a fifth result and we’ll talk about that in the next section. But there are four reasons. I call them revelation, rejection, rationalization, and religion. Let’s begin with revelation, verses 19 and 20.
The reason God can reveal His wrath against them is “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shown it unto them.” How? “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without - ” what? “ - excuse.”
Now here’s first point. The first reason for the wrath of God is revelation. Men were given the truth of God. Men were given the truth of God. The Philistines, they knew the truth of God. The Canaanites, they knew the truth of God. The Egyptians, they knew the truth of God. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plains, they knew the truth of God. All men know the truth of God.
The great theologian Augustus Strong wrote, “God has inlaid the evidence of the fundamental truth in the very nature of man so that no where is he without a witness.” Now there is a verse in Ephesians 2:12 that says that unregenerate man is “without God in the world,” but the signification of that phrase is that he is forsaken by God, not that he is ignorant of God. He is “without God” not because he doesn’t know of God, but because he will not receive God, and therefore God forsakes him.
Now this section refers primarily to the Gentiles because it assumes only what we call “natural revelation.” It’s not talking about the Scripture, which was applicable to Israel. And Israel, of course, not only rejected natural revelation, but special revelation. Not only did Israel reject creation as the evidence of God, but they even rejected the Scriptures.
But here we see primarily the Gentile world. And what he says is that they could know God because God has manifested Himself unto them. But back in verse 18, as we saw last time, they have suppressed the truth. The word “hold” meaning “suppress.”
So man cannot plead ignorance. Entirely apart from special revelation through the Scripture, which so many have never heard admittedly, God has made Himself known and continues to do so by means of His creation. Men on their own initiative, I grant you, could not know God, but verse 19 says, “God has shown himself unto them.” God would never send someone to hell who didn’t have an opportunity to know Him. God is a God of justice. God is a God of equity.
Tertullian the great early church father, has much to say about this conviction that God can be revealed in creation. He says, “It was not the pen of Moses that initiated the knowledge of the Creator. The vast majority of mankind, though they had never heard the name of Moses to say nothing of his book, know the God of Moses nonetheless.”
“And nature,” he said, “is the teacher, and the soul is the pupil. One flower of a hedge by itself, I think and I do not say a flower of the meadow. One shell of any sea you like, and I do not say a pearl from the Red Sea. One feather of a murre fowl, to say nothing of a peacock. Will they speak to you of a Creator? If I offer you a rose will you scorn its Maker?”
In other words, creation manifests God. And even for those who appear unable to perceive that creation there is the manifestation of God within them.
The great story of Helen Keller, the deaf, mute, and blind woman. Absolutely no capacity to communicate until Anne Sullivan spent hours upon hours, days upon days, and months upon months to unlock communication. And when Anne attempted to tell Helen Keller about God her response was, “I already know about Him. I just didn’t know His name.”
Let’s look at the verse again, verse 19. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them.” Now “that which may be known of God” is basically gnostos and it means “what is knowable about God.”
Obviously, we can’t know everything about God even through special revelation. But what is knowable is revealed. What may be known of God, what is knowable, what is apprehendable to the senses of man can be known - mark this - apart from Scripture. That’s what it’s saying.
And verse 20 tells us the content of what may be known. It says, “His eternal power and Godhead.” And it says, “It is revealed - ” look at verse 19 “ - in them; and God has shown it unto them.” In them, in their midst. In them, in their minds. By the way, any revelation has to ultimately reach the mind or we don’t comprehend it, right? So God has revealed Himself to us.
The commentator Hodge has written, “God therefore has never left Himself without a witness. His existence and perfections have ever been so manifested that His rational creatures are bound to acknowledge and worship Him as the true and only God.”
So what is knowable about God - now mark it - His divine power and divine nature, has been revealed to all men so they’re without excuse. And not only - now watch this - not only is it revealed unto them as an external reality, but in them as an apprehended perception. They see it, and they know it to be Him.
Turn with me to Acts 14 for a moment. Acts 14:16, and here Paul is speaking and talking about God and how God reveals Himself, and in verse 15 he talks about “the living God, who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them;” And then he says, “Who in time past allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, - ” how? “ - in that he did good.” Did He make a good earth? Yes. He “gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons - ” and He “ - filled our hearts with food and with gladness.”
In other words, the very goodness of life speaks of the goodness of God, the food, and the rain, and the seasons, and the joy of living all speak of a beneficent, loving, gracious Creator.
Now go to Acts 17:23, and Paul preaching to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, says, “You have here an unknown God,” which, by the way, was reflective of their understanding of the true God, though they didn’t know His name. “You ignorantly worship Him. So I’m going to tell you about Him. You know He exists and you’ve got an unknown God statue just to cover Him, but you don’t know who He is. But I’ll tell you who He is.” “He’s the God who made the world - ” verse 24 “ - and all things in it. He’s the Lord of heaven and earth, he dwells not in temples made with hands, He is not worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” They were always accustomed to bringing food and sticking it at the feet of their idols. He said you don’t have to feed this God. “He has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth, he has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” In other words, He controls the nations, their boundaries. He controls time, He controls destiny, He controls everything.
“That they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might feel after him, - ” in other words, if men would just feel after Him, if they would just see that He is, and reach out for Him, “ - they would find him, because he is not - ” what? “ - he is not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” He is right there and He has manifested Himself in an undeniable way.
Listen to this remarkable passage of Scripture, John 1:9. listen to what it says. Just listen. Christ is “that Light, that is lighting all men.” Did you hear that? Does that mean all men are saved? No. What it does mean is that all men are illumined with the knowledge of God. Christ is the Light that is lighting all men. No one has an excuse. That is the meaning of verse 20.
You say, “Well, wait a minute. You mean everybody in the world has an opportunity?” Yes. Somehow in some way - listen to me - God is a God of goodness and grace. God is a God of love and equity and justice, and God does not pour out wrath on people who never had a choice, who never had an opportunity.
They all have the knowledge of God around them. He’s shown it unto them, and in them they have internally perceived it to be Him. And Christ is the Light that is lighting all men. You say, “Well, how did this revelation come?” Well look back at verse 20. “The invisible things of Him.” That is His attributes. God is invisible. The things about God that are invisible, the essence of His nature, the reality of His existence, His qualities and attributes, namely, His eternal power and His divine nature.
You say, “What do those mean?” Well, eternal power simply means never failing omnipotence. His omnipotence, His tremendous power is available to men. And His divine nature, that is that He is wise, that He is good, that He is loving, all of the elements of God’s nature are visible.
I can tell you God is a God of beauty by looking at this world, can’t you? I can tell you God is a God of goodness, because there’s goodness in life. I can tell you He’s a God of love because there’s love. I can tell you all about His nature. He’s a God who is wise because of the intricacy of the design of His creation. You can know His divine nature, and you can know His eternal power. That’s what he’s saying.
Through the creation of the world these things are not muddy but they’re what? Clearly seen, being easily understood by the things that are made. You say, “Well, in the time that the Bible was written people didn’t have science. I mean, could they see things?” Oh they could probably see some things clearer than we can see them. We’ve just about blotted out nature with concrete.
In ancient times before the microscope and the telescope, men were able to reflect on the vastness of the universe. They were able to understand the fixed order of heavenly bodies. They could pick up a flower and see how marvelously the petals were arranged. They could look at how the leaves attached themselves to the stem. They saw the cycle of the water as it evaporated into the clouds and was carried over the land and deposited.
They understood the mystery of human birth. They saw it. And they saw a growth. They knew the glory of a sunrise and the majesty of a sunset. They knew the rolling and the roaring of the seas, and the rushing of the rivers, and the trickle of a brook, and the flight of a bird, and the caterpillar that came out a butterfly.
And they looked up and saw what the Psalmist saw in chapter 19 when he said, “The heavens declare - ” what? “ - the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork.” They knew what the Psalmist had in mind also in Psalm 94:9. “He who planted the ear, shall he not hear? he who formed the eye, shall he not see?” In other words, they said, “If we can hear, then whoever made us must understand hearing. If we can see, He must see. If we can think, He must think. And you can carry it all the way out.
Sure they understood God. They understood about His nature from what they saw in their world. In Psalm 143:5 says the Psalmist, “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.” I sit here and I contemplate what You’ve done, he says. Even in the non-sophisticated world then by our standards, they sat in awe of the creation.
Look at Job. You just read through Job and see the staggering statements of that book about the creative power of God and the revelation of His nature. But just think about some things. Let me just tell you how you can see God in creation. Do you know that some birds navigate by the stars when they migrate? And do you know that if you raise birds, these kinds of birds, from eggs inside a building - they’ve never been out of the building - and if you show them an artificial sky - and this has been done in scientific experiment - representing a place their species have never been, they will immediately orient themselves to the proper place to which to migrate. Now you tell me how they know that.
There is a special fish that I’ve enjoyed reading about called the archerfish. It gets its food like all other fish. It just swims around, and opens its mouth, and takes its food. But they have the amazing ability to fire drops of water with great accuracy and knock insects out of the air.
And did you know that there is a little thing called the bombardier beetle who produces chemicals which mix perfectly and at the right moment explode in the face of his enemy, but the explosion never occurs prematurely and never blows him up?
Think about the hydrological cycle of water, which just absolutely staggers my mind. Water is lifted against gravity from the sea thousands of feet into the air, and there it is suspended, just suspended, collected in clouds, and then the clouds are floated over the land and they’re dropped.
Now we can’t invent a machine to do that, so God has one and it’s the sun, and it does it all an it’s only 93 million miles away. No wonder the Psalmist says, “Power belongs to God.” No wonder he says, “The greatness of his power.” No wonder Nahum says, “The Lord is great in power.” And Isaiah says, “The Lord God is everlasting strength.” And no wonder the Psalmist in chapter 65 says, “Who by his power establishes the mountains.”
You know scientists have always tried to say it’s all evolution and it’s all explained by certain circumstances, and so forth apart from God, but they’re really running out of the ability to say that. They’re fast losing their case.
Robert Jastrow, for example, who is an astrophysicist and currently the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for space study says this. “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. It wasn’t evolution at all,” says Jastrow. “It asks what cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter or energy into the universe? And science cannot answer.”
He goes on, “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance. He is about to conquer the highest peak, and as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who’ve been there for centuries.”
Great statement. In other words, when you study science the conclusion is God created the world. And today with the 200 inch telescope at Mount Palomar, astronomers can look into space for 4 billion light years. If you don’t understand that, try 25 sextillion miles. Do you know how much space that alone would make, as far as they can see? Seven times ten to the sixty-seventh power cubic inches of space.
If someone had been examining this large of volume at the rate of one million billion cubic miles a day since the universe began, he’d be just a little shy of halfway done. And the universe that we see with that telescope is a small piece of actual space. Can you imagine the power? Then some pea brain comes along and says, “Well, once there was a one-celled thing, said to itself, ‘Let’s be two.’ ” And away they went.
A press bulletin from the University of Alberta in Canada said, “It may be surprising to people in a temperate climate to hear that there are on the average of 1,800 storms in operation at any time, and the energy expended in these storms amounts to the almost inconceivable figure of 1,300,000,000 horsepower. A large Caterpillar machine has 420 horsepower requiring 100 gallons of fuel a day. How much fuel does God have to operate storms with a horsepower of one 1,300,000,000 everyday?”
A Canadian physicist wrote, “A rain of 4 inches over an area of 10,000 square miles would require the burning of 640 million tons of coal to evaporate enough water for such a rain. And to cool again the vapors thus produced, and collect them in clouds would take another 800 million horsepower of refrigeration working night and day for 100 days.”
Agricultural specialists, for example, have found the average farmer in Minnesota, free of charge, gets 407,510 gallons of water per acre per year. That’s what the Lord gives him, nearly half a million gallons of water a year for his farm, no charge.
Where does God get all the power to be moving this stuff around? Missouri has 70,000 square miles, and 38 inches average rainfall. That amount of water is equal to a lake 22 feet deep, 250 miles long and 60 miles wide. And God moves that water around just in that one state alone.
The U.S. Natural Museum says insect species now number 10 million. And I know, and they were all at your last picnic, right? Do you realize there are 2,500 kinds of ants? And one colony alone can have 100 million ants. Do you know there are 5 billion birds in America? Some can fly 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico. Did you know that mallards can fly 60 miles an hours, eagles 100 miles an hour and a falcon can dive at a 180? I know you didn’t know that codfish can lay 9 million eggs, but they can.
The earth is 25,000 miles in circumference. It weighs 6 septillion 588 sextillion tons, and hangs in empty space, and spins at 1,000 miles an hour with perfect precision so that time is kept to the split second, and at the same time careens through space around the sun in an orbit of 580 million miles at 1,000 miles a minute.
Did you know that the head of a comet may be from 10,000 to 1 million miles long and the tail as long as 100 million miles and travel at 350 miles per second? Now where is the force for all of this? Halley’s Comet, by the way, has traveled without stopping for gas for 76 years.
Consider the human heart. It’s the size of your fist, weighs less than half a pound. Your heart pumps 1800 gallons of blood a day. Your heart does enough work in 12 hours to lift 65 tons 1 inch off the ground.
Consider the sun. The sun burns up 4 million tons of matter a second. If you could convert the energy the sun gives off to horsepower, you’d wind up with 500 million million billion horsepower. If that’s too big to handle, that’s the same as one and a half million million billion Corvettes.
Think of the distance from the sun. The distance from the earth to the sun is 93 million miles, as I said. It takes the light from the sun traveling at 186,000 miles a second, 8 and a half minutes to get here. The speed of light is 186,000 miles a second, and if you take that speed of 186,000 miles a second going 60 seconds a minute, 60 minutes an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, that light travels over 6 trillion miles in one year. And yet, if you were to go across our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, where our star system is, going at 186,000 per second, 6 trillion miles a year, it would take you 125,000 years to get across our galaxy, and ours is one of millions. Now if you’re screaming “mercy,” I’ll quit.
Now consider how small we are. Atoms are not visible. We know they exist, but to this day no one has ever seen an atom. They’re so small it takes 3 atoms to make up 1 water molecule, and if you were to take every water molecule in 1 drop of water and blow them up so each molecule was the size of a grain of sand you’d have enough grains of sand to make a road 1 foot thick, half mile wide, and the road would go from Los Angeles to New York.
But did you know the atom is mostly empty space? The actual material - and this fascinates me - in an atom takes up one trillionth of the atom’s volume. And what you really have is a lot of little orbits. Everything is mostly empty space. For example, if the average person had all the space squeezed out of him, how much volume do you think he’d occupy? Take a person who is 6 feet tall and all the actual mass that’s in him, when all the space is squeezed out, he would fit on the head of a pin for he would occupy one one hundred millionth of a cubic inch. So don’t argue when somebody says you’re nothing.
But you want to hear something amazing? That one, one hundred millionth of a cubic inch would be so heavy that a full cubic inch of that would weigh a billion or more pounds. Incredible.
Listen, if God says He’s visible in His creation, then He’s visible in His creation. You can see the eternal power. You can see the divine nature of God. You can look at creation, and so can a Canaanite, or a Philistine, or an Egyptian, or anybody living in any period of history up until today, and he’s going to see that God is. There has to be a cause for all this effect. There has to be a designer for all this design.
I mean when somebody tells me it just happened, that makes no more sense than saying take your watch apart, put all the pieces in your pocket, and see how long you have to shake your pants before you hear a tick. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Design speaks of a designer. And so you know God is. And if you know God is, you know God is powerful, and you know God is divine.
And that’s why the end of verse 20 says men are “without excuse.” Everybody living on the face of this earth has experienced God, His wisdom, His power, His generosity in every moment of their existence, though they have not recognized Him He’s been there. He has bounded their lives. He’s been sustaining them. He’s been enriching them. He’s been giving Himself to them. And in their senses, they have perceived Him. So that they are without excuse.
And as the Old Testament says, “A wayfaring man, though he be a fool, need not err.” Yes, general revelation is the foundation of all condemnation. General revelation is the foundation of all condemnation. Men have the opportunity because God is evident everywhere.
That’s only the first of four points, but my time is gone, and the best is yet to come. Let’s pray together.
While your heads are bowed just a footnote. Listen, if God judges, He judges justly with equity because man is without excuse. Much more so are you without excuse who know the gospel and the name of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “How shall you escape, if you neglect so great a salvation.” For the wrath of God is revealed against all who hold the truth and suppress it in unrighteousness. The Bible says that the way to God is through Christ, and He offers you that opportunity.
If you’re with us tonight and you do not know Christ, open your heart, confess Him as Lord, believe the gospel, the good news that He came into the world and lived and died and rose again for your sin, and enter into God’s life, and step out of the wrath of God.
Father, I pray right now for any who are in our midst who do not know Christ. May this be the night of their redemption and salvation. For those of us who are Christians, thank You for confirming again in our hearts the truth of Your power and divine nature so evident to us in the created world.
Oh God, may we with boldness stand for You in a world of skeptics who know but suppress for the love of their sin the truth. Father, break through the hearts of some tonight. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.