A closer look at Romans 1:20, 23
"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).
The wrath of God is due the ungodly because they hinder truth through false teaching and ungodly practices. Furthermore, they make it manifest that they have clearly ignored the obvious signs of God's "invisible things" (i.e., "His power and divinity"). Though invisible, God's power and divinity are made manifests by "the things that are made. " The Gentile who rejected God's laws for his own religious practices is without excuse because the material universe proves that God is (see Psalm 19:1ff; 33:6-9; Jeremiah 5:22 and 32:17-18). God is incomparably great (see Isaiah 40:12-25).
God has manifested (made known to man) his attributes by his creation. When one hears and accepts God's truths because he believes the words of the prophets and apostles, is awe inspired by the resurrection of Jesus, and convicted by visual observance of the creation he is said to fear God. Solomon said, "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7). Those who reject God after all the evidences of his being and the validity of his truths are truly foolish (see Psalm 14:1). To reject all the evidences of God is to be "without excuse."
Whether one grew up in a single parent home with an atheist parent or in a home with two parents who raised them in a denominational church matters absolutely nothing so far as one's accountability goes. "23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible Godfor the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" (1:23).
The "glory of the incorruptible God' is his divinity and everlasting power to create things out of nothing (Romans 1:20). The Psalmist explains that when the ungrateful Israelites made a calf in Horeb and worshipped the molted image that they "20 changed their glory for the likeness of an ox that eats grass. 21 They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible(KJV) Awesome(NAS) things by the Red Sea" (see Psalm 106:19-22). Jeremiah said of the idolaters of his day, "My people have changed their glory for that which does not profit" (Jeremiah 2:11b). The Apostle Paul, speaking of man being created by God, said "29 Being then the offspring of God we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man" (Acts 17:29).
When man worships by any other means that God's authorized and divine words they have "changed" the glory of God for another. The word "change" (Greek hellazan) means "to change, altar, or transform" (Moulton 16). Liddell and Scott define the Greek word as "another, one besides, or any one else" (LS 38). When people look to the creation of this world and conclude that God is yet replace his divine revelation for their own human opinions they are identified as idolaters. They have treated God as though there were "another" besides him. The "glory" of man is being created in the image of God and being directed by his divine will. To exchange this glory for another is a great perversion. Anyone who does religions acts based upon their opinions, personal beliefs, or convictions aside from the authorized words of God are due his divine wrath.
John C. Robertson