Romans 1:18-25 ESV

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

I've highlighted verses 19 & 20 because they contain the crux of the argument: does the universe clearly point to an Almighty Creator, leaving us all without excuse?

(Note: this passage is commonly cited in the context of natural theology, e.g. Natural Knowledge of God: Reflections on Romans 1:18–32, The Knowledge of God in Romans 1:18–23: Exegetical and Theological Reflections)

EDIT: Another passage that echoes the same purported undeniability of God's existence:

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. (Psalm 139:7-10 ESV)

(which probably puts it in direct conflict with the Argument from Divine Hiddenness.)

  • 1
    My wrath is revealed against the illiteracy of men, who in their haste to defend or condemn atheism suppress the grammatical structure of the cited paragraph. For the antecedent of them and they is revealed to be "men [or humans], who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth," not "us all". So that they shall be without excuse.
    – g s
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 3:44
  • 6
    The argument is valid so its soundness depends on whether the premise is true, not just that what is said about God is true, but also that it is plain and clearly perceivable, or, at least, is so to those acting in good faith. On this last point, however, even many believers disagree with Paul, see SEP, Hiddenness of God. To paraphrase Kant, perhaps God had to "limit knowledge to make room for the faith".
    – Conifold
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 7:22
  • 2
    It doesn’t seem to me that this passage is making the argument described, viz. “God undeniably exists”. Rather, it reads like “given that God exists, certain facts about God can be readily deduced”. Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 18:25
  • 1
    @gs Makes an extremely good point. While this is not clearly supported my many translations I have found that the Philips translation actually addresses such nuances apparently (according to him & I :-) ) well - as in this case. Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 10:50
  • I’m voting to close this question because it is a religious question.
    – Olivier5
    Commented Dec 16, 2023 at 11:36

9 Answers 9


St Paul is referring to pagans who recognized God through natural theology, not to anybody indiscriminately, even if knowing God through natural theology is theoretically possible for anyone with reasoning capacity, with varying degrees of sophistication.

The verses make two separate claims we need to analyze. 1) God can be known through the created order, and this is sound if natural theology is sound. 2) There are people who know enough about God and morality through natural theology and natural law that their immorality and idolatry are condemnable enough on their own standards and without access to Christian revelation, using natural reason alone. The Greeks had many philosophers by that time deriving monotheism or something close to it, such as Anaxagoras and Plato. St Paul had philosophers in mind (cf. verse 22). No wonder, St Augustine in City of God furnishes arguments against pagan practices still alive in his days using mostly Plato as a foundation.

So 2 is plausible, and I would say it's the main point of the excerpt. But it is 1 which seems truly intractable to modern audiences, when it was pretty much taken for granted by pagan Greek philosophers (and not just the Greeks, as worldwide pagan philosophical traditions will attest). Anaxagoras himself would be even more befuddled than your average Christian at the modern inability to recognize the Nous ordering the cosmos. This is a different problem than what St Paul is dealing with in Romans.

  • Lovely answer! :-)
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 12:03

Aside from a lack of philosophical argument in the verse you posted (which I’m sure someone else will answer), there is actually a philosophical debate about how God is hidden, rather than being “clearly perceived”: if God exists, why is he hidden from us?

Here is a summary from the IEP article for it:

these arguments try to demonstrate that, if God existed, He would (or would likely) make the truth of His existence more obvious to everyone than it is. Since the truth of God’s existence is not as obvious to everyone as it should be if God existed, proponents of arguments from divine hiddenness conclude that God must not (or probably does not) exist.

As the article explains, the problem rests on the assumption that God has hidden his existence from us, or at the very least been reluctant to give evidence that point towards his existence. If there were clear signs towards his existence, nonbelief would be less prevalent than it currently is.

There are some good arguments against the Atheist position (which you can find in the article), but since there is an ongoing debate about the hiddenness of God I would say the argument in the verses you posted doesn’t hold up philosophically.

  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Philosophy Meta, or in Philosophy Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 21:47
  • Does the statement "God will force no one" change your position any? (We may end up with a second chat but it doesn't fit the first one at all.)
    – Joshua
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 23:28

From a philosophical point of view one may ask the following questions concerning soundness:

  1. How to conclude from observations in the world to a creator of the world?
  2. The author speaking about God means Jahwe, the god of the Jewish and the Christian religion and the god of Islam. Even if the world is created, how to conclude that it is Jahwe who is the creator?
  3. Should one blame those who object to my argumentation, as unrighteous and suppressors of the truth?

My answers:

  • Ad 1: The problem is discussed since thousands of years. Theists and atheists do not come to an agreement. That’s also testified by many discussions on this platform.
  • Ad 2: Even on the supposition that the world is created by a creator, there is no indication which candidate (Jahwe, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiwa, Ptah, …) is the creator. It is undecidable who from the many candidates is the right one.
  • Ad 3: The rules of a fair discussion interdict to presume that my opponent suppresses the truth.
  • 3
    When you recognize that a being exists which is omnipresent, omnipotent, omni-etc. then the name is a wholly secondary matter. It would be like imagining there is much difference between Venus and 金星, or even that just because someone (wrongly) thinks the Morning Star and the Evening Star are separate celestial bodies then he is not talking about the same celestial body which you know as Venus when he mentions one or the other. This is why St Augustine (following St Paul) recognized that Plato truly knew God, even if Plato's conception differed from the Christian understanding.
    – Mutoh
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 17:28
  • @Mutoh Astronomy found out that the Morning Star is identical to the Evening Star: There is only one planet. That's the standard example that two different intensions may have the same extension. - How to demonstrate that the different god-names from the list refer to the same existing being?
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 9:09
  • Your point 2 seems to say that 'Jahwe' could exist yet not be that god which created everything. If that's what you are saying, sorry - it's just silly and the argument would be better without it. I don't mean to sound rude, but silly points are unhelpful :-)
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 11:46
  • @JoWehler I can't give a systematic answer (say, a cut-off minimum of divine attributes) but I'd give as evidence 1) the diversity of faiths grouped together under classical theism, including pagans, Jews, Muslims, & Christians of various denominations. Despite divergences which are far from superficial, they almost invariably recognize each other as speaking about the same God, or something close to it. And 2) the fact that the word for "God" in many languages comes from the name of a god that used to be the head of a previous pagan pantheon ("Allah" itself being an example).
    – Mutoh
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 15:44
  • 1
    @ScottRowe Thanks to your remark I slightly edited my point "Ad 2".
    – Jo Wehler
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 17:50

The biggest problem there is the questionable assertions / premises. The actual argument is not that meaningful.

We can take the original verse:

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 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.

And break it down as follows:

Premise 1: God has shown them what can be known about God
Conclusion 1: Therefore what can be known about God is plain to them
Premise 2: His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived in the things that have been made
Conclusion 2: They are without excuse (from Conclusion 1 and Premise 2), i.e. they believe God exists

I disagree with every part of that:

Premise 1: I don't believe God has shown me anything, especially given that I don't believe God exists.

Conclusion 1: Even if I grant that e.g. people claiming things about God is God revealing those things to me, I still wouldn't agree that those things are "plain" / obvious to me (because they aren't). Being shown something (in any way) doesn't mean you should automatically believe it. For this to be a valid conclusion, it would need to have been shown clearly enough to make it obvious, in which case I'd reject premise 1 much more strongly. I could be pedantic and point out that it may be obvious to me that Christianity says certain things about God (even if what Christians believe vary greatly), but that doesn't say much about whether that god actually exists.

Premise 2: I certainly haven't perceived God's eternal power and divine nature (never mind perceiving it "clearly"). One might argue that the verse is merely saying that it's been perceived by others, since it doesn't say "to them". But that would be a huge issue for conclusion 2, since something being clearly perceived by others (still questionable) doesn't mean that I have a good reason to believe it.

Conclusion 2: This conclusion may not be the biggest issue, if we're being generous in interpretation (and if it weren't for all the other problems listed above). But the core idea of skepticism is to question things that seem obvious - I could simply be mistaken about something I think is obvious. Even if something seems obvious (which it doesn't), that doesn't automatically mean I have every reason to believe it and no reason to doubt it.

I'm presuming myself to be included in the "they" mentioned here. I consider myself to be doing the opposite of "suppressing the truth", but that is nonetheless an accusation that theists commonly make against atheists (and I wouldn't be surprised if some have quoted this very passage). If one were to limit it to those who are consciously suppressing the "truth" of God's existence, then those things still don't necessarily follow (although it's less unreasonable). But then the whole passage would also be kind of pointless and misleading, since we've already granted that we're talking about those knowingly suppressing the truth, so you don't need to argue that they know the truth. It makes much more sense as an argument against any outspoken atheist, to argue that they do in fact know the truth (even if the argument to do so is very flawed).

It's also arguably contradicting itself in implying that God's eternal power and divine nature are things that cannot be known about God... yet we can clearly perceive it. That's somewhat nitpicking, although one might wonder what are the things that "can be known" about God, what does it mean to know something, how can we know it, what does it mean for something to be "invisible", how can we perceive that, etc.

  • Frankly, if God's presence seemed 'obvious' (and it has to me, in the past), I wouldn't tend to be skeptical at all. But my sense of the presence has changed over time, and is now both more comprehensive and less purposive. I don't call it God because I don't call it anything, because talking about it with others accomplishes nothing. Well, that's Nonduality for ya.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 11:40
  • This may be of interest.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:26
  • @Mark Theists can (and do) merely assert that God is not hidden from other people (... as if they have access to what is and isn't obvious to other people - asserting what other people know or think is rarely, if ever, constructive). Others might vaguely appeal to Satan (... which doesn't actually resolve the objection). I find it funny, and sad, and entirely expected, that a young Earth creationist would equate the beliefs of others with flat Earth, when their own position is contrary to the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community ... just like flat Earth.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:45

Although Kant was somewhat fond, even in his critical period, of the teleological argument for God's existence, he made sure to emphasize the gap between the designer such an argument's grounds indicate, and the superlative, virtually incomprehensible nature of the ens realissimum that is the proper apex of our concept of divine beings. He asks:

For how can any experience be adequate with an idea? The very essence of an idea consists in the fact that no experience can ever be discovered congruent or adequate with it. The transcendental idea of a necessary and all-sufficient being is so immeasurably great, so high above all that is empirical, which is always conditioned, that we hope in vain to find materials in the sphere of experience sufficiently ample for our conception, and in vain seek the unconditioned among things that are conditioned, while examples, nay, even guidance is denied us by the laws of empirical synthesis.

Similarly, there are Humean objections to the argument, and attendant observations:

This general argument form was criticized quite vigorously by Hume, at several key steps. Against (1), Hume argued that the analogy is not very good—that nature and the various things in it are not very like human artifacts and exhibit substantial differences from them—e.g., living vs. not, self-sustaining vs. not. Indeed, whereas advocates of design arguments frequently cited similarities between the cosmos on the one hand and human machines on the other, Hume suggested that the cosmos much more closely resembled a living organism than a machine. (Contemporary cosmology strengthens Hume’s point, given the radical changes that have taken place since the Big Bang. The universe looks less stable and “machine-like” than when the design argument was at the height of its popularity.) But if the alleged resemblance is in relevant respects distant, then the inference in question will be logically fragile. And while (2) may be true in specific cases of human artifacts a, that fact is only made relevant to natural phenomena e via (3), which underpins the transfer of the key attribution. Against (3), Hume argued that any number of alternative possible explanations could be given of allegedly designed entities in nature—chance, for instance. Thus, even were (1) true and even were there important resemblances, the argument might confer little probabilistic force onto the conclusion.

As the SEP article continues: "More generally, Hume also argued that even if something like the stated conclusion (4) were established, that left the arguer far from anything like a traditional conception of God. For instance, natural evils or apparently suboptimal designs might suggest e.g., an amateur designer or a committee of designers."

More to the point, there is something seemingly self-contradictory about the Biblical text, here. On the one hand, Paul says that God has invisible attributes; on the other, these attributes are somehow clearly seen (through a glass darkly, as he says elsewhere!). Would it not be easier to forgive the ignorant for their ignorance, then? Or to waive accusations of infinite guilt altogether, even such as would be forgivable? I do believe in God from time to time, as the ens realissimum no less, and my metaphysics support the contention that God could create the world only by being ultimately good, so that if I hold that God created the world, I must hold that God is as good as It can be. But I would never go so far as Paul and douse unbelievers in the kind of vitriol that he does, much less while speaking out of both sides of my mouth like he also apparently does (here and, again, elsewhere).

To become all things to all men, indeed...!


Does the universe clearly point to an Almighty Creator?

This is indeed the crux of the argument. If true (as Paul clearly asserts), the rest of Paul's argument holds. If false, Paul is talking nonsense.

Therefore, what evidence do we have that a Creator exists?

  • Physics exhibits many features of Design.
  • Earth and the Solar System exhibit many features of Design.
  • Life exhibits many features of Design (e.g. homology).
  • Humans sapience is notably unique.

(I'm not going to cite sources. Wikipedia has a severe Materialist bias, and theistic sources will naturally have a strong theistic bias.)

Now, Materialists will argue that they have "answers" to these problems, but closer examination reveals gaping holes. We haven't found life, much less intelligence, anywhere else. "Common Descent" has many, many issues and is awash in failed predictions. We can't explain abiogenesis. Even the main cosmological model ("big bang") has problems. The zealotry with which Materialists seek to deny these issues is no mistake; they have a philosophical commitment, predicted by Paul, to deny a Creator, to "suppress the truth". Instead, Materialism ascribes all creative power to the power of natural processes ("the creature", or more generally, the Creation) rather than the Creator... which is also as predicted by Paul.

Frankly, a neutral answer to the question "does God exist" is not possible, and is probably not one this SE should be trying to answer.

So... let's assume instead that God does exist. Let's go a step further and assume that God Designed life, and that Scripture is historically accurate (keeping particularly in mind 2 Peter 3:6, "the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished"). The above would then certainly constitute a start of evidence for God's existence. Those points, along with many other lines of evidence (e.g. from archaeology, geology and paleontology), were sufficient that most people believed for thousands of years, and many people still believe today. If that evidence does in fact point to God and historical accuracy of Scripture, I wouldn't want to be an atheist finding that evidence brought against me in a context that it could no longer be explained as meaning something different.

In that respect, I would have to argue that Paul's reasoning is, in fact, sound.

What about the counter-argument, that God is "hidden"? To this, Jesus himself gives us answer: "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead." (Luke 16:31) Paul speaks of willful disbelief, of men "who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth". For God to give indisputable proof of His existence would be to deny Free Will; no one would be able to disbelieve. Any level of evidence that permits disbelief will result in disbelief. It isn't that God is, in general, "hidden", but that sinful humans want to disbelieve... and God helps; to those who "refused to love the truth", Scripture says that "God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false" (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).

  • It is pretty airtight. People were very smart even thousands of years ago, and are pretty foolish even today. One question is whether there is a better way to go about the business of having reverence in daily life, and how to convey the sense of wondrousness to others? There are many good examples, and lots of shockingly horrid ones, so perhaps the discussion should shift from theory to practice? Does God want us to sit around yakking or get on with living?
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 12:00

The standpoint presented by Paul comes from earlier text of Wisdom of Salomon 13 1-9:

1.For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the artisan; 2.But either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water, or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods. 3.Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these; for the original source of beauty fashioned them. 4.Or if they were struck by their might and energy, let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them. 5.For from the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen. 6.But yet, for these the blame is less; For they indeed have gone astray perhaps, though they seek God and wish to find him. 7.For they search busily among his works, but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair. 8.But again, not even these are pardonable. 9.For if they so far succeeded in knowledge that they could speculate about the world, how did they not more quickly find its LORD?

In this passage, the author claims, that creations give knowledge about their creator. For example in archeology we find creations of people of some culture and by examining them we get to know about existence of some culture in some place and time, and we can even theorise what their life looked like. Similarly, by examining Gods creations, people should realise His existance and can even get some knowledge what He is like.

Later the author says that no matter how great the creation is, it is always only a reflection of its creator, that he is greater than his work. This can also be understood by example from our life. When we read a good book, we realise how great the author was, and that his mind is greater than the book he created.

When we combine these two arguments we can organise creations and their creator in a tree like structure. At the top of that structure is the Creator who created the rules of that world, like evolution, and through them the rest of the creations. That Creator must have no creator of His own and he must be powerful enough to create whole world and exist by himself, without external help, otherwise He would not be at the top of that structure.

Theists call that Creator God, and for me being in that position is the definition of a God. Materialists claim that luck is in this position, which still does not mean God does not exist, rather that they unwillingly believe that luck is their god.

  • Yes, I like those words of Solomon. But I think it best to be aware of the wondrousness of existence while not getting distracted in thoughts, and to not "darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge." Because all men are by nature foolish regardless of how much they know.
    – Scott Rowe
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 11:53

Yes, the argument is quite sound. Though it is written in context of God's knowledge known to all nations, it also fits well even to the modern atheist culture which is based on naturalism, or on the biased model or religion of scientific verificationism which has been long disproven. God has justifiable reasons for his apparent hiddenness, as he wants freewill of man, freedom and genuine believers by truly testing us. He does not want to be as intrusive and dictatorial like a Marxist regime.

The hiddenness argument explains God's reasons to be implicit and hidden from the apparent sight, whereas the teleological argument in Romans 1 describes natural theology (the Psalms quote is spiritual, thus, unrelated). There is no conflict between the two. The arguments from natural theology do not argue for an apparent existence of God. For example, consider the C S Lewis "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else." The internal conscience (moral law) and need for social, moral justice, and quest for other's well-being, which points to the moral standards, leads to support for the divine moral lawgiver. Thus, moral argument too works like natural theology argument.

The argument is a general statement, and not to be confused as the modern misconception which sees all general statements as absolutes. In other words, the author of Romans was aware of very rare cases of ignorant atheists.

In fact, the following quotes from atheists like Alex Rosenberg proves the point of Romans 1, that the atheist have to be unimaginably and desperately irrational and counterintuitive counter-conscience in his counter-culture beliefs, hence requiring a greater leap of faith than a theist. The modern naturalist atheists don't just deny meaning and purpose of life, but meaning of everything. Since, the unbelievers deny the implicit evidences like the natural theology and moral law, meaning of life, it demonstrates that their view counterintuitive, and the objection against God's hiddenness as empty.

Atheism Implies that Life is Meaningless

A brief look at the writings of unbelievers reveals that meaninglessness naturally follows from the concept of atheism. Atheistic philosopher Alex Rosenberg penned a book titled The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life Without Illusions. Harper’s magazine reviewed the book, saying: “Rosenberg is admirably frank about the implications of scientism [atheism—KB].” The back cover of the book quotes from the New York Times Book Review: “The work of a well-informed and imaginative philosopher.” At the beginning of the book, Rosenberg declared: “This book aims to provide the correct answers to most of the persistent questions…. Given what we know from the sciences, the answers are all pretty obvious….” He then provided a list of questions with his concise “pretty obvious” answers following each question:

Is there a God? No.
What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
What is the purpose of the Universe? There is none.
What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
Does prayer work? Of course not.
Is there a soul? Are you kidding?
Is there free will? Not a chance!
What happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.
What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.
Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.
What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it.
Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.
Does the human past have any lessons for our future? Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.2

Graham Lawton, Executive Editor of New Scientist magazine, penned a brief article titled, “What is the Meaning of Life?” He began with his blunt, one line answer: “The harsh answer is ‘it has none.’” He went on to say: “Your life may feel like a big deal to you, but it’s actually a random blip of matter and energy in an uncaring and impersonal universe.”3 Stephen J. Gould, one of the most recognized evolutionary paleontologists of the 20th century, wrote about atheism’s meaninglessness with his customary flair: “We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher answer’—but none exists.”4

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 9:14

To be totally honest, I do not know whether "philosophical sound" is a technical term in the more knowledgeable circles of philosophy or with philosophical professionals, so I'll try to answer in the sense of whether I personally think these kinds of arguments are interesting (putting psycho-historic speculations aside), something to follow-up on, or something to base my own decisions or beliefs on.

Going by the bold parts of your quoted paragraph step by step:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

That is all fine and well. Assuming God exists, and assuming that these statements are correct, God has shown "them" everything to be known about God, and now they know.

However, this has no influence on me personally whatsoever. I know a lot of things for sure (or believe to do so) which have no influence whatsoever on other people. "How" I get to know these things has very little impact on my capability to convince them of the truth value of what I know (or believe to know). In this case, I do not know "them", I have no further explanations of why they believe some entity telling them wondrous things about said entity; I don't know the first thing of whether such a feat actually happens; of whether it is all just an allegory, or just rhetorics, or just a flowery passage in a book.

Insofar, this statement is philosophically simply uninteresting or inconsequential to me. It's like me stating that the moon is made of cheese because the little man on it has told me so - this will only be believed by people who already believe in it before I told 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.

This statement is one of many in the bible that are perfectly valid if and only if you already believe that everything in the book is true. Beyond that there is nothing in these particular words that makes be believe or disbelieve anything. Even assuming that the first part is true (i.e. that a God exists, that he is of eternal duration and all-powerful / divine), there is no logical step which leads me to believe in that from looking at nature or the "things that have been made".

Going a bit deeper, I can perfectly imagine that back in the times when people knew a lot less about the universe and nature, everything was so magical, that basically any explanation (including some God figure) was better than having none. I remember speculations that the reason why there are so many nature-based gods (i.e., God of Thunder & Lightning, God of the Sun, God of the Moon, Good of the Oceans and so on and forth) could very well be that when the human brain developed, it was so overwhelmed by these awesome things (just as we are today, even though we know every single thing that is to know about most of them, as far as practical!), that it basically had to come up with some kind of explanation, lest the awe overwhelmed the people. It was more healthy for them to have any kind of explanation than none at all.

So TLDR: the statements you highlighted contain little of philosophical value to me, because either they require me to believe first, or they seem very far-fetched with our modern-day knowledge about the world works.

Are they "sound"? I know the term from mathematics/logics, where you can ask whether a given logical argument is "sound", with a very specific meaning. This kind of meaning is certainly not present here, as the text quoted in the question has no mathematical or logical rigor whatsoever, it is simply stating facts that the reader has to believe. I see no way whatsoever in which an interesting philosophical discussion could be based on those sentences.

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