I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
Whenever I read this verse, I am struck by Paul’s word choice. Not ashamed? Why does Paul feel the need to defend his belief in the gospel?
One reason I gravitate to Paul’s writing is his logical bent. He took the message of Jesus to the centers of culture, where the greatest minds of the time were located. He spent time speaking to philosophers in Athens. Now he is writing to believers in the seat of power, Rome. Paul knew that he needed to appeal to the intellect, as well as the heart, to persuade his audience of the truth of the gospel. And he didn’t shy away from this.
As someone who naturally favors logic over emotion, I can appreciate Paul’s perspective. I, too, would associate shame with an inability to logically defend my position. In fact, I think it is the fear of this shame that drives me to take such a keen interest in defending my faith when the “intellectual elite” try to cut it down.
No subject elicits more intellectual attacks on our faith today than the subject of origins. Popularly over-simplified as a choice between a “6 day creation account” and “godless evolution”, debate rages on about how the world, and we humans, came to exist. And curious Christians (including this one), immediately start looking at the theological implications of these alternatives. Undoubtedly, the interpretation of the Genesis creation account hinges on the answers to these “HOW” questions. But the even bigger question, the “WHO” question, has been answered:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20
While the details of the mechanics of creation are in hot debate, Paul makes it clear that God is the creator and his creation testifies to his eternal power and divine nature.
Thank you that the beauty, majesty, design, and intricacy of your creation testifies so boldly to your existence and your nature. I pray that the pursuit of the “how” questions draws more people to a saving knowledge of you.
from the archives, originally published August 11, 2010