Paul makes a universal statement here when he writes that everyone responds in a negative way to truth that God constantly reveals. What is the truth that everyone suppressed back then when Paul wrote and which they suppress today? Paul stated it in verses 19-20: ‘For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.’ We have here what is called natural revelation or God speaking of himself in his creation. What does Paul say about this form of revelation?
First, it is plain. In other words, all can see it. One does not have to be a scientist to discover it. Instead it is there for everyone to see. Second, it is provided by God himself – he shows it to them and no other power can prevent him doing so. Third, it is permanent – it has been there since God’s work of creation in the beginning and will be there as long as the creation exists.
Fourth, it reveals that God is pre-existent, powerful and divine. It reveals that he is pre-existent because he existed before he made any of it; it reveals he is powerful because he brought all of it into existence and maintains all of it in existence; and it reveals that he is divine because by creating out of nothing and maintaining it without becoming exhausted is clear evidence of deity.
Fifth, it is punishable – if it was not sufficient to condemn them, they would have an excuse. But since it tells enough for them to seek him, it is enough for him to condemn them.
Of course, this form of divine revelation is limited in the sense that it does not say everything that the gospel says about God. But there is sufficient revealed to cause everyone to search for God and to worship him. So why not go and take a look at creation and hear God speak to you about himself.