At the time when Romans chapter one was set down on parchment, the world had two parties: the Judeans and everybody else (right wingers and left wingers biblically). The Judeans were considered the chosen ones of God, the rest were the wild and wooly unbelieving pagans. It was law behavior verses no law behavior.
In the beginning there was Adam. I guess you might say there was no one who could fit the bill better than Adam of being the chosen one. There was no one else around until Eve. When Eve arrived, along came the dual opportunity of someone to be chosen and someone not to be chosen. God is not sexist so the choice was not between Adam and Eve, but between them and God’s instructions. They chose.
You might say the poor pagans don’t have a chance. It’s not like God is walking with them in a garden. Wait a minute look around, don’t they have a choice too?
Romans 1:20a But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power…… (The Message)
There is an epistle growing in our front yard. It’s a tree. Trees are incredible. The roots dig down deep to provide sustenance. The trunk shoots upward in an amazingly entirely different direction for life energy. The branches fan out so every leaf with its flat, upturned architecture gets an equal shot at the sun. The whole organism works together with intricate precision to do its thing. It wasn’t by ‘luck’ that a tree became a tree (sorry Darwin) and yet God’s word is even better than a tree. It’s roots run very deep and it would take more than a lifetime to dig it out. It’s trunk (Christ) is sturdy and holds us up stalwartly to get the best from God. It’s leaves are equal-opportunity positionally! ‘The basic reality of God IS plain!’ It is simple. We choose to accept it. God has put the beautiful things of His creation right in front of our eyes. It’s our choice to see them.
God is big on freewill choice. If He wasn’t, how hard do you think it would be to make everyone in this world believe Him? Think about it! He’s God! He had to go and give us all freewill choice! There is no determinantly chosen spiritual elite. God doesn’t operate like that. Everybody had, has and will have a choice! The poor pagans are without excuse! We don’t have to feel sorry for them.
Just as the pagans changed the truth of God’s creation into strange twist and turns, ignoring the perfection with which it was designed, Israel went to another extreme. They became experts eventually of pushing the letter of the law way beyond God’s intention, landing in the ditch of judgmentalism. Both roads are miserable and are described in Romans chapters one and two.
Romans 2:4(Amplified Bible)Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)?
The big point that is made is that God’s goodness and love are readily observable in all that He created and not to be taken lightly. God is all good. The darkness of this world is from another source. It is our choice to accept or reject, real life or the ditch.
There are lots of versions, translations that foster denominations, non-denominations and undenominations. Regardless of this, there is still one body of Christ. A tree is a tree whether it is an oak, an elm or giant redwood. Basically, lightsynthesis (or photosynthesis) involves first God, then His Word, Christ, and the gift of holy spirit. All these sources of light all operate effectively in our lives when we choose to center our lives appropriately.