God can judge all people and not just those with access to biblical revelation, because God’s general revelation in nature confronts every person. In saying this, Paul teaches that there is a natural law that continues to bind all people and that people actually know something of this law. It is precisely because people know this law that they are without excuse when they violate it. Paul says that what may be known about God is “plain” (1: 19), that God’s invisible attributes “have been clearly seen, being understood” (1: 20), and that all people “know God” (1: 21). How extensive is the moral knowledge that all people have (though they suppress it)? The remainder of Romans 1 teaches that this moral knowledge is practically comprehensive. It includes knowledge of the sinfulness of idolatry (1: 23); sexual perversion (1: 24, 26–27); falsehood (1: 25, 29), covetousness (1: 29); murder (1: 29); ill speech (1: 29–30); and disobedience to parents (1: 30), not to mention many other things, including the general category of every kind of wickedness (1: 29). The context makes it perfectly clear that all of these things are known by natural law, and Paul seems to go to additional lengths to emphasize the point. For example, he condemns one sin, homosexuality, as “against nature” (1: 26). It is tempting to see the reference in 1: 28 to things that “ought not to be done” as an allusion to Genesis 34: 7 that, I argue in chapter 4, is an appeal to natural law. The final verse of Romans 1 is worth quoting: “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (1: 32). The point should not be lost. All people know, by nature, that the comprehensive list of sins in the preceding verses are not only wrong but deserve God’s judgment. There is still a natural law, and all people know it.” – David VanDrunen, A Biblical Case For Natural Law (Loc 291-300)


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