| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 44 - Page 88 of 247 Index | Zoom | |
"For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we
ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and
man's device" (Acts 17: 28, 29).
We come therefore to Rom. 1: 23, where we read that men "changed the glory of
the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and
four footed beasts, and creeping things". Did the nations know the truth or did they
"hold down" the truth? The answer depends upon the meaning of katecho translated
`hold' in Rom. 1: 18. A number of commentators feel that the ordinary meaning of
katecho cannot be permitted in Rom. 1: 18, and teach that in this instance the meaning
must be `hold down' or `hold back'. Alford and Bloomfield take this view. The
Companion Bible at Rom. 1: 18 gives the note "Hold down, suppress. cp. II Thess. 2: 6",
but when we turn to II Thess. 2: 6 we discover that katecho is not there translated
"hold down" but "withholdeth". Paul uses the word 13 times out of the 19 found in the
N.T. and in no passage does "hold down" make good sense. Rom. 7: 6 reads "held";
I Cor. 7: 30 "possessed"; I Cor. 11: 2 "keep"; I Thess. 5: 21 "hold fast". We come
back to Rom. 1: 18 and read afresh that the ancients `held' or `possessed' the truth, but
that they held it `in unrighteousness'.
If one is acquainted with the writings of ancient philosophy, one is often struck with
the fact that these men did have a knowledge of the unity and spirituality of the Godhead,
but that as Socrates in his Timaeus says:
"It is neither easy to find the Parent of the Universe, nor safe to discover him to the
vulgar, when found."
Augustine blames the philosophers (see Estius, De Vera Relig. 100: 5) because they
practiced the most abominable idolatries with the vulgar, although in their schools they
delivered doctrines concerning the nature of the gods, inconsistent with the established
worship. They did not, as verse 21 asserts, "glorify Him as God" even though they knew
Him as such. Let us examine Rom. 1: 23 once more. "Changed." The word occurs but
six times in the N.T. so that it will be well to have the references before us.
"Shall change the customs" (Acts 6: 14).
"Changed the glory" (Rom. 1: 23).
"We shall be changed" (I Cor. 15: 51, 52).
"Change my voice" (Gal. 4: 20).
"They shall be changed" (Heb. 1: 12).
Instead of attempting an explanation of our own, we direct the reader's attention to
the Divine comment in Rom. 1: 25:
"Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature
more than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever, Amen."
Here, metallasso the stronger word is used, where allasso is found in verse 23. There
is but one other occurrence of this word, and that is in Rom. 1: 26.
Truth was exchanged for `the lie' when man began to worship idols. So interrelated is
the purpose of God with His Own attributes and with man's creation, that it is impossible