They Became Fools
Paul wrote concerning the Romans, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). When the apostle made this statement in his letter to the Romans, Rome had become, with Athens in Greece, one of the intellectual centers of the ancient world. It had produced some of the finest philosophers (Seneca, Cicero and others), and prided itself on human wisdom. But it had at the same time become the symbol of organised paganism and immorality, though seen then as one of the most brilliant civilizations of all time.
One of the striking things this successful people was involved in was the practice of deification of the creature, hewing themselves gods out of stone or wood that they bowed down to. Paul said, “And 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” (v. 23). If it weren’t a serious matter, it would be amusing to imagine someone using their intelligence to conceive of an inanimate object, void of intelligence, as deity. The utter folly of idolatry is portrayed most vividly by Isaiah when he described a craftsman that cuts down a tree, burns some for warmth, some to bake his bread, and from what is left carves an idol for worship, begging it to save him for “you are my god” (Isaiah 44:13-17).
When the Romans severed themselves from the only true God, rejecting all evidence of His existence displayed in nature and refusing to worship Him, the consequence was catastrophic. The society gradually descended into the abyss of depravity, with men and women lusting after their own gender. Paul cataloged over twenty different kinds of sins they indulged in (Romans 1:26-27). These shameful and degrading sins were the manifestation of their alienation from God and their ineptitude in distinguishing between right and wrong. God is the origin of moral standards!
In postmodern societies, some people have chosen new gods. These are named riches, power, fame, academic credentials, sports and pleasure. Pursuits of these kinds are listed top priorities in the lives of many. Remember, God has told man, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). Do not let anything become your god. Nothing is anything on its own. Everything comes from God (James 1:17).