For our time of study this morning, I want to look at a passage in Romans 1 and see if we can understand who it was that God gave up. Romans chapter 1, verses 19 through 23, is known among theologians as the classic passage on natural theology. But is Paul teaching here that all men are without excuse before God because God is revealed in creation? I don't think so.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:19-21 ESV
Now let me ask you something: Can man come to know God through nature? As man looks at the creation, the earth and heavens, does he realize there is a God, and therefore, become without excuse before Him? Is this what these verses teach? That is the common interpretation of them.
Tertullian, the early church father said, "It was not the pen of Moses that initiated the knowledge of the creator. The vast majority of mankind, though they have never heard the name of Moses—to say nothing of his book—know the God of Moses nonetheless. Nature is the teacher; the soul is the pupil."
Do men come to know God in any way through looking at nature? What about the physicists who study various aspects of Yahweh's creation? When they see the complexity and awesomeness of God's creation, do they fall down and worship Yahweh? They do if they are Christians. But if they are not Christians, what they worship is the big bang theory.
The late author and astronomer, Carl Sagan, said, "The universe is all that ever was and ever will be." As an astronomer who studied the heavens, he didn't see the glory of God, he didn't see God at all. Julian Huxley, who was an English evolutionary biologist, said, "It is all accident, all a matter of chance. No reason, no end, no purpose at all." These men didn't just view God's creation; they studied it. But they never saw Him or His glory. Natural man says that the matter, of which the universe is made, somehow organized itself over billions of years into all that we see without any outside assistance or intelligence.
What is called "natural or general revelation" will not bring anybody to God and neither will special revelation. The only way man comes to God is if God draws him to Himself.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 ESV
Someone wrote to me recently basically accusing me of using John 6:44 as my "end-all verse" and of failing to apply audience relevance to it because Jesus was speaking only to Israel there. Really? If that is true, is mankind no longer born dead in sin and separated from God? No. Men (all mankind) were born dead in Adam before the Old Covenant, during the Old Covenant, and are still being born dead in Adam today. Did the nature of man change after AD 70? If so, where does the Bible predict this change in the New Heaven and Earth? Did the Gospel change in AD 70? Were the churches that were set up by the Apostles to all end in AD 70? Was the New Covenant that contained the Gospel to end the day it was consummated in AD 70? No. Men, all men, are born dead in sin and separated from Yahweh. And only if Yahweh gives a man spiritual life, can he believe in Him. Paul told the Gentiles in Corinth
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
Is this no longer true? The man without the Spirit, the unsaved man, cannot appreciate God's glory through the heavens or through special revelation. God must first effectually call a man before he can see His glory in creation and in the Word. How much do dead men see of the glory of God?
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV
This verse destroys every variety of "natural revelation" and natural theology: "The world did not know God through wisdom." Knowledge of God comes only through His propositional revelation.
Thomas Aquinas taught that Romans 1 was endorsing Aristotle's pagan theory of knowledge called "empiricism." But Romans 1 doesn't teach any such thing. It does not teach that men learn truth about God or anything else from sensation. Francis Schaeffer warned the Church about Thomas Aquinas and "nature eating up grace." By this he meant that if you give "natural revelation" an epistemological inch, it will displace Scripture.
Can natural men, using natural means, derive spiritual truth from nature? No, they can't. What, then, are these verses in Romans talking about? Well let's back up to verse 18.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18 ESV
Notice that Paul declares that this wrath "Is revealed from heaven." To understand this, we must see the parallelism in the language and structure between verse 17 and 18. He said in verse 17 that God's righteousness is being revealed in the Gospel, so in verse 18, we see that God's wrath is also being revealed in the Gospel. Paul's Gospel reveals God's covenant faithfulness, which involves the announcement that God will judge the covenant breakers, and that the agent of this divine judgment is Yeshua.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Romans 1:19 ESV
"For"—this is the reason for the wrath of God in verse 18. "What can be known"— is the Greek word gnostos, which means "well known." The phrase "Is plain," is from the Greek word, phaneroo, which means "to make visible, to make known."
Paul proclaims that "God has shown it to them." Who is the "them?" To whom did God make Himself visible or known? In the first 17 verses, Paul uses "you" in reference to the first-century Roman Christians. Then in verse 19 he switches to "them" while in verse 20 he uses "they." To whom did God make Himself visible or known? When I did the study of Romans, I said that this is referring to Israel! Had God made Himself visible or known only to Israel?
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV
I questioned whether or not Paul is actually talking about the physical creation in this verse? The Greek word used here for 'creation' is ktisis. While it is used at times for the physical creation, it is also used for mankind. We must, therefore, determine how the word is used here. Thirteen years ago, I thought Paul used ktisis here to refer to Israel, but I no longer think that.
Two things have changed my view on this. The first comes from my new understanding of the Israelite worldview, and the other stems from my recently acquired understanding of the Gospel in the stars. Starting with the second view, let's look at Romans 1:20.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV
Literally, this verse reads, "For the invisibles of Him from the creation of the world, the made has clearly understood being discerned" The word "made" here is poiema, which means "a product, thing that is made, workmanship." It is only used here and in Ephesians 2:10.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV
"Workmanship" is from poiema. We, as believers, are a direct creation of Yahweh and so also is the zodiac. I believe that the constellations of the Zodiac are signs that point to the Messiah and to His death on the cross. How has God made His eternal power and divine nature clearly seen? He has written the Gospel in the stars.
The Book of Enoch states that an angel revealed the constellations to Enoch.
Enoch 8:1 "…Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations…"
This makes sense because knowledge of the constellations would have to have been a special revelation because those pictures just are not there for anyone to see without a lot of instruction.
The Bible tells us that Yahweh named the stars.
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Psalms 147:4 ESV
The stars all have names, and their names all have meaning. The star and constellation names have been handed down from antiquity. This knowledge may well have come down from Noah and even from Adam. The names of the stars have retained their meaning in various languages. When we look at the ancient names, we see the Gospel laid out in the stars. I think that this is how the "expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (NASB). The ESV says, "the sky above proclaims his handiwork." The word "expanse and sky" are both terrible translations. The Hebrew word here is raqiya. The raqiya, the solid dome over the earth, proclaims God's handiwork.
The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands. Psalms 19:1 CJB
Believers, if the earth is flat and has a dome over it with the sun, moon and stars in it, wouldn't that dome proclaim Yahweh's handiwork? How can anyone realize that there is a dome over our flat earth and not understand that someone made it?
Genesis 1 states that the stars are in the raqiya, (same word). I think that David is referring to the dome that contains the Zodiac. The word "zodiac" means "path" or "way." The Zodiac reveals the stages of the sun's path through the heavens in 12 months. I think that Psalm 19 is referring to what some have called "The Gospel in the Stars." God's glory is seen in the Zodiac because it tells the plan of redemption. I believe that the Zodiac, the raqıya, proclaims the Gospel.
"His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made"—how have His eternal power and divine nature been clearly seen? They have been seen in the Zodiac. Like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the vault of the heavens declares the story of the Lord Yeshua the Christ, the Creator of the universe, to the glory of God.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:21-22 ESV
Who was it that knew God? In my original study of Romans, I taught that "It was Israel, and only Israel." The text I used was Psalm 147.
He declares his word to Jacob, his statutes and rules to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nation; they do not know his rules. Praise the LORD! Psalm 147:19-20 ESV
So, Yahweh gave Israel and only Israel His statutes and ordinances. He gave them to no other nation. This is true, but was Israel the only people to ever know Yahweh? No, Adam and Eve knew Yahweh. They dwelt in Eden, the Temple of Yahweh. But because of their sin, they were put out of Eden. I used to believe that once that happened that was the end of Yahweh's communication with man until he called Abram.
Even though man is removed from the Garden Temple, Yahweh is still communicating with man. Notice the following very important verses:
Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:22 ESV
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV
These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. Genesis 6:9 ESV
"Walked with God" is a very significant phrase. It occurs only three times in the Bible, none in the New Testament. When God walks with men, it is a really rare thing. The first occasion of this was in Genesis 3: "LORD God walking in the garden." Adam was in that Garden, Adam walked with God in that Garden/Temple. Walking with God depicts a direct divine encounter, a direct divine relationship. Sometimes we think (or at least I did) that the people from Adam to Abraham were ignorant of Yahweh and His ways, but these men walked with Yahweh. They knew Him.
Coming to understand the divine council view is what helped change my view of Romans 1. Israel was not the ONLY people to know God. Let's take a brief look at Israel's worldview. In the creation account, we find that God created Adam.
So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 ESV
We are created "as" the image of God would be a better translation. This means that we are divine representatives. We are to represent Him; we are to do what Yahweh wants us to do as if He were physically present with us. So, Yahweh created Adam. And according to Job, Adam had access to the divine council.
"Are you the first man who was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills? Have you listened in the council of God? And do you limit wisdom to yourself? Job 15:7-8 ESV
The question is literally: "Were you born before Adam?" The first man, Adam, was in Eden in the council of Yahweh. Adam was in an intimate relationship with Yahweh.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8 ESV
Adam and Eve walked in the Garden with Yahweh. They dwelt in His presence. Eden was where Yahweh lived and issued decrees. He was with His heavenly host, who existed before humanity did. This is the divine council, the family of God, and Adam was there with them.
You know what happened next. man was tempted, and he sinned. Who tempted him and why? I don't think it was a snake. I think that in Genesis 3, we see one of the watchers, a council member, tempting man so he could get rid of him. God had made man vice-regent with Him, and some of the watchers may not have been too happy about it.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" Genesis 3:1 ESV
We see here, then, that it was the "serpent" who tempted them. That we know. But who or what is the "serpent." I believe that this "serpent" was a divine being. It is not a member of the animal kingdom but is, rather, a member of the divine council.
"Serpent" here is from the Hebrew word nachash, which is most likely a triple entendre (a word or phrase that has three different meanings at once). If you take nachash as pointing to the noun, the word here would mean "serpent." If you were to take it as a verb, it would mean "deceiver" or "diviner." As an adjective, it would mean "bronze" or "the shining one." Luminosity is a characteristic of a divine being in the Hebrew Bible and in the ANE texts.
This watcher chose to oppose Yahweh's plan for humanity by prompting humans to disobey Yahweh so they would either be killed or removed from Eden, Yahweh's council and family. What we have in Genesis 3, then, is a divine being, not an animal. It was a throne room guardian—a seraph, a serpentine being, one who was part of the divine counsel in Eden—who decided to deceive humanity in order to get rid of them by having them removed from Eden and, thereby, from Yahweh's council and family. Why? I think the Scriptures hint at pride or jealousy.
The Pseudepigrapha work called, Life of Adam and Eve, elaborates on the motive and role of Satan in the fall of humankind. In chapter 14, it states the following:
And Michael went out and called to all the angels, "Worship the image of God as the Lord God has commanded." And Michael himself worshiped first; then he called me and said, "Worship the image of the Lord God." And I answered, "It is not for me to worship Adam." And since Michael kept urging me to worship, I said to him, "Why do you urge me? I will not worship an inferior and younger being than I. I am his senior in the Creation, before he was made, was I already made. It is his duty to worship me."
When the angels who were under me heard this, they refused to worship him. And Michael said, "Worship the image of God, but if you will not worship him, the Lord God will be angry with you." And I said, "If He be angry with me, I will set my seat above the stars of heaven and will be like the Highest."
Does that sound familiar to you?
You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; Isaiah 14:13 ESV
The devil is seen explaining to Adam in chapter 16 of Life of Adam and Eve:
And the Lord God was angry with me and banished me and my angels from our glory; and on your account we were expelled from our abodes into this world and hurled to the ground. Straight away we were overcome with grief, since we had been robbed of such great glory. And we were grieved when we saw you in such joy and luxury. And with guile I cheated your wife and through her action caused you to be expelled from your joy and luxury, as I have been driven out of my glory.
The book of Enoch attributes the temptation of Eve to Gadreel; here it is attributed to Satan.
In Genesis 3 the nachash (the serpentine, shining one, deceiver) was in the Garden of Eden where Yahweh walked. Notice what Ezekiel says.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. Ezekiel 28:13 ESV
These stones elsewhere describe the brightness of Yahweh's throne. So, whoever this is talking about is in Yahweh's Temple, His throne room.
I think we learn something about the fall of Satan in the passages of Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-19. The passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel are about evil tyrant kings whose pride is described in terms of an ancient story about a divine being who fell from paradise due to rebellion against Yahweh. These accounts reference Eden directly in Ezekiel's case and indirectly in Isaiah's case.
This being talked about in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 was in Eden; he was a member of the divine council. This being tempts man so that man sins and falls and is removed from Yahweh's Temple. He is put out of the Garden. But then we have this promise from Yahweh:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 ESV
Eve's seed, a human being, will come and fix what Adam has done. A deliverer will come. I believe that in an attempt to stop and corrupt the "seed of the woman," a group of the watchers left heaven and cohabitated with women.
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Genesis 6:1-2 ESV
These watchers got man kicked out of the Garden/Temple and then proceeded to try to keep a redeemer from bringing them back into the Temple.
Even though man is removed from the Garden/Temple, Yahweh is still communicating with man. Sometimes we think that the people from Adam to Abraham were ignorant of Yahweh and His ways, but some of these men knew Yahweh and walked with Him.
Then the LORD said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, Genesis 7:1-2 ESV
Anything strike you as interesting in these verses? How did they know "clean" and "unclean" animals? The Law wasn't given until fourteen hundred years later. These men knew Yahweh, and they had been given laws. They were in a covenant relationship with Him.
Enoch and Noah are Yahweh's prophets, according to Jude and Peter.
It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, Jude 1:14 ESV
if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2 Peter 2:5 ESV
As earth's population grew, it became wicked as a result of a divine rebellion (Genesis 3 and 6). Man began to worship the watchers instead of the watcher's creator, Yahweh. This rebellion of man culminated in the building a ziggurat at Babel.
So, the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore, its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:8-9 ESV
Things are in a state of chaos. Mankind was in rebellion against God, and they were judged. They would not follow Him, so He disbursed them and turned them over to lesser deities. This is a very significant text, as evidenced by Deuteronomy 32.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. Deuteronomy 32:8 ESV
The English translations that are based on the traditional Hebrew text of the Tanakh read: "sons of Israel." But there is a variant rendering of this passage used by the ESV. It's based on the 3rd-century BCE translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, the Septuagint, as well as on Hebrew manuscripts of Deuteronomy found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.
In Genesis 10, the table of nations, Yahweh divides Noah's descendants into 70 different nations. This is recorded in Genesis 10.
These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. Genesis 10:32 ESV
This passage is the backdrop for Moses' statement in Deuteronomy 32:8 that Yahweh is responsible for the creation and placement of the nations (Hebrew: goyim). In fact, variations of the same Hebrew root word, parad (separate), are used in both Genesis 10:32 and Deuteronomy 32:8.
The idea that the separation of mankind into 70 nations at the Tower of Babel was by and for the angelic "sons of God" is supported by the ancient Book of Jasher (which is mentioned in Joshua 10:13: "Is it not written in the book of Jashar?" and 2 Samuel 1:18, "it is written in the book of Jashar.")
And they built the tower and the city, and they did this thing daily until many days and years were elapsed. 32 And God said to the seventy angels who stood foremost before him, to those who were near to him, saying, "Come let us descend and confuse their tongues, that one man shall not understand the language of his neighbor," and they did so unto them. JASHER 9:31
If in Deuteronomy 32, Moses was indeed referencing Yahweh's separation of the nations according to Noah's offspring (specifically their physical separation at the Tower of Babel), it is important to note that Israel is not listed in the index of the 70 nations found in Genesis 10. The nation of Israel did not yet exist at that time. Therefore, the statement that God "set the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the children of Israel" clearly seems out of context here.
With the tower of Babel, man's disobedience caused Yahweh to divide them up and give them to the lesser gods. They were to worship the lesser gods because Yahweh was done with them. Man continued to reject Yahweh and serve other gods, so Yahweh gave them up. What happened, then, in chapter 12?
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. Genesis 12:1-2 ESV
Yahweh calls Abraham and starts over with Israel as His people. Yahweh starts a new family. He has turned over the nations to the lesser gods, who, in fact, work for Him. They are all under His control, and He will someday call the nations back.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. Deuteronomy 32:8-9 ESV
These two verses are fundamental for understanding the worldview of Old Covenant Israel. These verses explain both the existence of the foreign pantheons and their inferiority to Yahweh.
Commenting on Deuteronomy 32:8-9, John Walton writes,
These verses are intended to contrast the fact that the Lord has set Israel apart unto himself from among all the nations, and Israel is not numbered with them. The nations have their own 'gods,' who are mortal, but they do not have Yahweh, who alone does not die and is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. (John H Walton, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College), Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament) Volume 1: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 516
The word "portion" here is cheleq, a noun related to nachal. The word "inheritance" is nachalah. Verse 9 clearly presents the nation of Israel (here called "Jacob") as an allotted inheritance of Yahweh. Whereas the inheritance of the nations was the sons of God. The point of verses 8-9 is that sometime after God separated the people of the earth at Babel and established where on the earth they were to be located, He then assigned each of the seventy nations to the fallen sons of God (who were also seventy in number).
According to Deuteronomy 4:19, this "giving up" of the nations was a punitive act.
And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. Deuteronomy 4:19 ESV
"Host of heaven" refers to sentient created spiritual beings which reside in the heavens. Notice here that these "host of heaven" have been "allotted to all the peoples." The word "allotted" in Hebrew is chalaq, which literally means "apportioned" or "assigned." Here we are told that Yahweh has assigned "the host of heaven" to the peoples of the earth ("all non-Israelites").
Israel is not to worship the watchers. Speaking of judgment that was to come upon disobedient Israel, Moses says:
all the nations will say, 'Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?' Then people will say, 'It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. Therefore, the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, Deuteronomy 29:24-27 ESV
These gods that Israel worshiped were "not allotted to them," those gods were allotted to the nations.
So, at the tower of Babel Yahweh was done with the nations, they wanted to follow and serve the watchers above Yahweh. So, Yahweh gave the watchers to rule over the nations. In Chapter 12, we find that God called Abram and started over with His own people, Israel.
As we come to the New Testament, in Acts 2 at Pentecost, we see that God began to reclaim all the nations for Himself. Yahweh, in other words, had not forever abandoned the nations to the watchers.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. Luke 10:1 ESV
What is the significance of "seventy-two"? The NASB has 70. In Genesis 10, the nations add up to 70. The Septuagint, however, has 72. Therefore, the rendering depends on whether the translator used the Masoretic text or the Septuagint.
Because Luke viewed the Gospel as God's plan for reclaiming the nations He disinherited at Babel, the number of disciples in Luke 10:1 was meant to match the number of nations in order to reinforce this symbolism.
The number "seventy" has great theological significance in the context of Canaanite religion. Ancient Ugarit texts provide evidence that the Canaanites believed there were 70 sons of God (El). For the Israelites, the number 70 was symbolic of Yahweh's choice of them as His chosen people over the other nations of the world.
Yeshua's inauguration of the Kingdom meant that these 70 disinherited nations were being reclaimed. Sending out 70 disciples expressed this theological message.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:17-19 ESV
In conjunction with the successful mission of the "seventy," Yeshua declares the expulsion of Satan from God's presence. Satan is being defeated, and the nations are being made part of the Kingdom of God.
Back to Romans.
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Romans 1:23 ESV
The darkness and ignorance of unbelieving men resulted in their creating their own gods. The reference to their exchanging the glory of God for images could be an echo of Psalm 106:20, which references Israel's sin in making the golden calf. Or it could go back to a time prior to Genesis 11.
Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24 ESV
This could be Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel. Yahweh gave up the nations to the 70 watchers because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
This is something that is true of men in all ages. Adam did this and so did his descendants and so did Israel. People who knew God walked away from Him. This teaches us that without the Lord Yeshua as our Savior, none of us will ever live up to Yahweh's desire for us. Without Yeshua, we all tend to worship and serve the creature. Thank God for a Savior who saves completely!