What Is Natural Revelation?
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
What does creation tell us about God? First, in Romans 1:20, Paul said that in natural revelation we see God’s “eternal power.” How do you explain the intricacy, the design, the complexity, the vastness of this universe? Chance did not do this. Chance has no power. It is the power of God. It is through creation that we see a testimony of God’s eternal power.
Second, Paul said that through creation we can learn of God’s “divine nature” (1:20). When God came in human form in Jesus Christ, we learned from Jesus many things about God the Father. Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). But even apart from Jesus, apart from the Bible, there are some things we can know about the character of God simply from looking at creation. One thing we can know about God’s character just from nature is His kindness. The universe is a testimony to the kindness of God. In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas were on their first missionary journey, and they came to Lystra. Because they were able to work miracles, the people started to worship Paul and Barnabas and call them Hermes and Zeus. Paul quickly corrected them and pointed them toward the true God. He said in Acts 14:15-17, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Paul was saying, “Even though you wandered away from God, God still left a witness for Himself.” Everyone in this universe can know of the kindness of God.
We hear the question all the time: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Yet a bigger question is: “Why do good things happen to bad people?” We are all bad. We have all wandered away from God, and God continues to bless everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, with His gifts, whether it be rain, food, family, friendships, or health. God does that as a witness to Himself. These gifts of God are the kindness of God that should lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). The Bible says we can know from creation about the goodness of God.
No one will go to Hell for rejecting a Christ they have never heard of. Those who go to Hell will go there because they rejected the limited knowledge of God that God sent them through creation. That is what Paul was saying here. Everyone has received the knowledge of God. That general knowledge is not sufficient to save us, but it is sufficient, if rejected, to condemn us.