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God and science are not incompatible. There is no excuse for believing they are.

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

You know the term ‘flyover state”? It’s a mildly derogatory/joking term for states that are often flown over but much less frequently flown into. They are important, but too often ignored for their more popular neighbors.

Romans 1:20 is a flyover verse. Romans is chock full of great verses, so this verse often falls to the wayside and gets overlooked in light of the more well known, memorized-in-Sunday-school verses. Have you ever actually read it, though? Truly read it and paid attention, rather than skimming it as you get to later chapters or to complete your daily reading plan? Romans 1:20 has a lot to say in one verse, so let’s give it a try.

“For since the beginning of creation, God’s invisible qualities- His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen from what has been made, so that men (and women) are without excuse.”

Whoa. It may not seem like it at first, but that’s a lot to unpack. Let’s read it again


For since the beginning of creation, God’s invisible qualities- His eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen from what has been made, so that men (and women) are without excuse.”

Let’s unpack this one step at a time.

For since the beginning of creation…

The verse starts off strong here. Whatever this verse says has been true since the beginning of creation. From the very second God thought the big bang into reality, this has been truth and will remain true until the end of time. No beginning besides that of creation, and no end date. Not one human (or any life form at all) has existed in a time when whatever follows did not apply. So what follows?

“…God’s invisible qualities (eternal power, divine nature) have been clearly seen.”

You know those days (or weeks, or years) we all have when we just can’t see God? When he feels so far away and invisible that we sometimes wonder if he’s even there?

Or perhaps you think he’s not there. He is just something we humans fabricated due to some desire for a higher power as means to explain phenomena we don’t yet understand. Either way, the verse hits us the same- not only are we able to see God and his invisible qualities, his character, but it is clearly seen. God’s existence and character are not hidden behind a curtain. He is not obfuscated by a haze. If we are looking, God is clearly seen. “Okay,” we then all immediately ask ourselves, “it doesn’t seem that way, so… seen where?"

“…from what has been made…”

God and his character is evident in the things He made. Creation tells us of the creator. When we look at the world around us- our homes, our friends, the buildings, the trees, the stars- we see a lot of things. We see people we love. We see people we struggle to love. We see beauty. We see life. We see struggles. We see complexity that we are learning to understand. We see images under a microscope. We see vastness that we cannot comprehend. But, if we’re really honest, we rarely or ever see God.

In fact, what this verse is saying is not only often counter-intuitive, but also flat-out contradictory to how we as a society normally operate. This whole site exists because we hear through multiple avenues, explicit and implied, that belief in God and science (the study of His creation) cannot be compatible. We are told they are mutually exclusive and that we must choose our allegiance. This verse flies directly in the face of everything we’ve heard thus far. Not only are science and God not incompatible, they are inextricable and complementary. In one, we see the other. Science is the study of God and His character, and faith and knowledge of God's character is furthered through studying science. If we pay attention to this verse instead of flying over it on our way to another section, this verse should change our whole world.

For all the instances where we find it difficult to look at creation and find a creator, God has given us ample opportunity to see Him clearly. It's just... well, with everything else going on in our lives, it's just oftentimes hard. God understands, right?

Of course He understands. He created you and everything about you. He is not surprised that this is hard for you (and most of us). And yet...

“…so that men (and women) are without excuse

Without Excuse. This verse does not say that "If we look really hard, we could possibly see God if we are lucky." It does not say "There is a chance you are in the right time and place to see God." In this verse Paul says that there is literally no excuse any human could possibly have.

No excuse for what, exactly?

I suggest this verse strips us of our excuses for multiple things. For believers, it means we have no excuse for missing God or His character when we can look at what He has created and see him clearly.

For nonbelievers, it means we have no excuse for studying all that has been created and still being blind to the Creator. Creation inherently cannot disprove the Creator, and there is no excuse for thinking that it does.

Though indirect, I also suggest that this verse labels false any excuses believers think we have for not using God's creation to show non-believers who God is. If we truly believe that this whole God thing is the real deal... if we really think it's so good that we should dedicate our entire lives to it, and we do, then how can we not use every means possible to display Him in all his goodness?

So, to believers and non-believers alike, I ask: What's your excuse?

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